Saturday, June 26, 2004

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

Well, the Jay & T Whirlwind Tour o' Las Vegas 2004 has come to an end (thank you's go out to Amy & ETS for holding down the MLCotW fort on such short notice. Thanks, ladies - nicely done :)). After a stop at my sister's house to ooo & ahh over the wedding pix, we finally pulled into Casa de Jota at around midnight.

Let me just say that I wish we would've had Amy's list of Fun Things To Do In Vegas with us. It may have made the trip a bit more entertaining. But, as we only had less than a day to visit & see the sites, we piled in most all that we could do on Thursday night.

Our official reason for going out there was to meet up with a college friend of T's that she hadn't seen in a couple of years. Since neither T or I had ever been to Lost Wages, we thought it'd be fun to see what all the hoopla was about.

The hoopla stopped as soon as we got off the freeway into town.

You see, I'm not what you'd call a "people person." In fact, most people bug the crap out of me. And it seemed that most of those people were holding a convention of some sort while we were there. The First Annual Let's See How Many Ways We Can Bug the Crap Out of Jay Conference. And I was the special guest of honor. An apparent requirement to get into this conference (other than the ability to annoy me) is to chain smoke until your lungs explode.

T & I probably have blacklung now.

We went to eat at the buffet at the Alladin. They've got different kitchens for different kinds of food (American, Italian, Mexican, etc.). The food was really good...well, the Italian food was really good. And when I say "Italian food," what I really mean is the pizza & raviolli that I had, because the place was a bit busy that night, which made getting anything other than Italian food really difficult. At one point I was ready to bite a lady who, with her plate already piled high, made the unfortunate decision to stand between me & the pizza.

After dinner, we walked around the mall inside the Alladin, which was made up of pretty much all reeeeeally expensive stores. I did enjoy the Sharper Image store, with it's $500 life-sized Yoda figure & the Cartoon store, which had some really nifty miniature statues of comic book characters. And, I don't know how they did it, but the ceiling is painted to look like the open sky & as you walk, the clouds look like they're moving, even thought they, too, are painted on the ceiling. Way cool.

Eventually, we made it out onto the Strip, which is apparently named for the fact that on every corner & most points inbetween, you can find men trying to hand you business cards & brochures for the mobile stripper trade.

Yes, ladies & gentlemen, you too can have your own private strip show right in the comfort of your hotel room.

I couldn't figure out what these people were handing out at first until I looked down at the ocean of business cards with nekid women on them. And then heard a guy negotiating prices with one of the gentlemen. Call me a prude, I don't care, but I just felt icky every time I walked past one of these people.

As we were walking (& dodging drunks), we did get to see the water show at the Bellagio. It was most impressive. Of course, as I'm watching the production, my mind starts wandering to things like "I'd sure hate to be standing over one of those fountains when they go off" & "I wonder how they make repairs on those things when they break." As you can see, the show didn't quite have my full attention.

We waded through more stripper peddlers & drunks & finally made it back to the hotel at around midnight. I was trying to be a trooper & not kill the evening so that T & her friend could have a good time together, but T finally called it a night, due in no small part to the fact that I looked like death warmed over dragging my butt down the Strip. I don't like the nightlife, I don't like to boogie. Well, I like to boogie...a little.

Later that morning, we had breakfast in the Teahouse of the Imperial Palace hotel, where we stayed. Muy yummy grub & not too many people this time made for a pleasant eating experience. Shortly after that, it was off to Ceasar's Palace (nice casino - not too smoky & not too crowded) so that one of the other ladies that had traveled with T's friend could pick up some Celine Dion goodies. Not being a fan (at all...not one the least) of the Great White Bore, I just couldn't see why someone would want a rhinestone covered picture frame with Ms. Dion's likeness in it. Maybe for a twelve-year-old girl. The scary thing is is that there are probably a few hundred homes of grown women with the aforementioned picture in them...*shudder*

As it was about two hundred & fifty bajillion degrees outside (& I was the only desert dweller amongst us who was comfortable in it), we headed back to the hotel & chatted with T's friend for a bit more & then set out for home.

Our ultimate impression of Sin City? Well, it's appropriately named, for one. And we both felt that we could've gone our entire lives & been just as happy (& possibly more lung cancer free) if we'd never gone. I don't get on my Christian soapbox on my site much, but, as a Christian, I just felt dirty being there, like it was definitely not the place that I should be at.

Walking down the Strip & seeing all of the sleaze & muck that's put out there for public consumption, it occurred to me that the ex-wife frequently takes The Boy out there & he's being exposed to all of this stuff. It's hard enough to shield him from the slings & arrows of the outside world & let him just be a kid & she's walking him around in a place that has a giant thong-clad butt on a sign on the side of one of the hotels. And who knows how many times he's picked up one of the stripper service's business cards?

Vegas is trying to make itself into a family friendly resort destination, but it's only a facade. Scratch beneath the surface & you'll find an machine whose sole purpose is to feed & make money off the vices of man. From the slot junkie, betting their last quarter & hoping that maybe this time they'll hit it rich to the strippers who sell themselves, the city uses & discards them & waits for the next batch of people it can lure to it with it's lights & hopes of hitting the big jackpot.

Wow...that was deep. I'll stop ranting now.

All in all, Vegas - not that great. Meeting T's friend - great. I really did enjoy that.

Oh, & the drive out there & back is beautiful.