Tuesday, March 03, 2009

We'll always have Paris

Well no, I didn't hit the jackpot, but not for want of trying. Needless to say I'm back considerably lighter of wallet, but hey, isn't that the idea?

I'd forgotten just how full-on Las Vegas can be. It's a sensory overload. It's incredibly noisy. Music belches out of nowhere (Here, you really can walk down the street to Herb Alpert's Casino Royale). Slot machine noises and the tinkle of gaming chips gives you a constant headache. There's commotion at every turn.

But it was great. It's on such a massive scale. Of course it's all change since I was last there. We stayed at the Luxor, which frankly has become one big chavarama. Eleven years ago it was cutting edge, but it's been severely blunted. Places like the Wynn, Paris, The Venetian, Bellagio and The Palazzo weren't built back then, but now they dominate the Strip and there's no expense spared. Recession, my eye.

It's such a bizarre world. I couldn't imagine being there for longer than four days at a stretch, it's just too much. It's unreal. It's like being hermitically sealed into one big theme park. There's little fresh air and you don't spend a lot of time outside, so you're breathing in the scent of gardenias one minute, and legionaire's diseas the next.

Of course there's always the illusion that you're outside. Ceaser's Palace Forum Shops has a very realistic blue sky, so it appears to be daylight. Same goes for the casino floor in Paris and the shopping centre at the Venetian. At 11pm one night we went of r gondola ride, captained by a gondolier, who sang Volare, much to our consierable emabarrassment, as we glided through a recreation of Venice, albeit a Venice that only has Pizza Huts and Banana Republics.

I did a lot of walking. I'd forgotten how long it takes to walk past one hotel. Each one is set in the equivalent of Regent's Park. They're so huge. My blisters are legendary.

Other highlights:

1. Real lions in the MGM Grand.

2. Roads called things like Mel Torme Way, Frank Sinatra Boulevard and Wayne Newton Avenue.

3. The food - we had some amazing food. And so much to choose from. I don't remember Vegas food being anything to write home about last time, but this time we were spoilt for choice.

4. Three card poker. Okay, I didn't lose my shirt, it was that tempting. Mrs F-C won $300 on one hand alone. But then you get serious and before you know it, it's all gone. The slots captivated me too, so like some pensioner, there I was. You can't use coins anymore though.

5. The people. Americans are such stereotypes. Grizzled old grannies with long grey hair and leisure suits in those motorised wheelchairs, big Coke in hand. Fat teens. Men in baseball caps with polo shirts tucked in over large bellies. Men who look like scarily like Willie Nelson. Surgically enhanced waitresses who look desperate and vacant. I tell you, all human (American) life is there.

6. Being on a TV panel. I think this must be my main highlight. It was one of those audience appreciation things they love in the US, where you don't know what show you're going to see and then you're given questions about it afterwards. This one was CSI: Miami. Throughout, I had to twiddle a device between one and 100 indicating how bored/interested was in each scene. Then we had to answer questions about the show like: Do you think Horatio Cane is a) Professional, b) Silly, but in a good way, etc. You had to rate each character, and answer questions like, If David Caruso was no longer in the show, would you watch it, and who would you like to join the show - Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock and I can't remember the others, but it's clearly going to be Bullock as the others are definitely not available. I loved doing it. It's like you have a real say in what actually happens to the shows you like. I wish they'd do that here.

Anyhoo, back now. Better do some work.


Cocktails said...

Sounds good, but did you see Seigfried and Roy? I hear that they're back, back, BACK!!

Five-Centres said...

I thought they were dead. I saw the bronze statue and the waxwork in Madame Tussauds.