This weekend, Squinty and I will be flying to Las Vegas. Vegas is one of my favorite places to visit, but I haven’t been there since my honeymoon in 2007. Since I figured I wouldn’t be going on too many fun vacations in the near future, I thought one more trip was in order. It doesn’t take much to convince Squinty to go to Vegas, so he decided to join me.
Last time I was there, the city had gotten really expensive. While Vegas has always been known for it’s glamorous casinos, it was also a place where you could get cheap rooms, cheap food, and gamble at low rates if you chose. By 2007, that had mostly changed. If you searched for lower limit gaming tables, you could still find some, but they were becoming more and more rare, especially on the Strip. This was especially bad for me because I was in the midst of my horrendous gambling slump.
In addition to the higher limit tables, it seemed like everything in the city had gotten more expensive: Hotels, restaurants, shows, etc. It had gotten to the point where you couldn’t go to Vegas without spending a lot of money.
From what I’ve heard, since the economy’s downturn, this trend has reversed somewhat. Cheaper tables are now much more available. I’m guessing that it still might be hard to find them on Saturday night, but for Sunday and Monday, I shouldn’t have too much trouble. The big shows are still very expensive, but I’m not sure I would go see any of them anyway.
Doing some advance research, Squinty located this deal, which I am uber excited about. One of the major reasons I love Vegas is because of the buffets, so this is pretty much perfect for me: http://www.lasvegassun.com/blogs/coin-bucket/2010/apr/09/seven-harrahs-buffets-24-hours-2999. Take a good look at me now, because there’s a good chance that I’m going to be a lot fatter when I return.
Anyway, if anyone has any suggestions as to places to eat or things to see, I’m open to hearing them.
Here are my own personal Las Vegas memories from my past trips there:
1986 – Went with my family as part of a West Coast trip that included a trip to the Grand Canyon. My parents apparently thought that it would be a good idea to take a small plane tour of the Grand Canyon. This might have been nice if it hadn’t been the middle of August and we weren’t in a small plane with no air conditioning. Quite a few people got sick on the flight. For some odd reason, my most lasting memory of this trip was waking up and watching MTV (I didn’t have cable at the time so this was exciting) and watching David Lee Roth’s California Girls video. It’s amazing the things that stay with you.
1987 – En route to Las Vegas we had a very short layover in Chicago, and our bags didn’t make the connection. I had worn my bathing suit onto the plane, so I was able to go to the hotel’s pool when we got there. Unfortunately, after we were done at the pool, our bags had still not shown up. My father had to run out to a nearby gift shop and buy me some tacky Las Vegas branded shorts to wear around. These shorts were about two sizes too big, so I was holding my shorts up all night.
1994 – This was when Vegas was in its big “family friendly” push. This meant that all of the casinos started putting in rides and amusements for children. This also meant that the staff was much surlier if children lingered on the gaming floor. I hold a grudge against the MGM Grand, because I was constantly shooed out of one place or another. Plus, the hotel is too damn big. It took like ten minutes to walk from our room to the elevator.
1996 – Don’t go to Vegas as a 19 year old. It’s just a big, constant tease. I did learn that the loosest slots in town are by the elevators at the Monte Carlo. I don’t know if this is still the case, but those things were paying off big at the time.
1998 – Finally! I was 21 and could gamble! And I did fairly well too, ending up on top thanks to a couple of big nights at Blackjack. We spent most of our time at the Barbary Coast, which featured karaoke. Gambling is definitely more fun when there’s a fat guy singing “Baby Got Back.” Plus, my sister found a $100 bill on the floor. Score!
2000 – I remember eating so much on this trip that I must have gained about ten pounds. People recoiled when they saw me after I got back. One night, we ate at Battista’s Hole in the Wall (always a great meal) and I was so full I could only waddle my way back to our hotel.
2002 – Went with some friends over MLK weekend. This was not to far removed from 9/11, so tensions were still kind of high at the airport. A family in front of me had a small child who walked through the gate ahead of them unbeknownst to her mother. Her mother tried to run through the gate afterwards, and almost got tackled by security as a result. Good times!
2004 – Mrs. Cutter had a work conference at the Mandalay Bay, so I decided to join her for a few days. While I won money during this trip, I think I may have set the fates against me, prompting my ensuing slump. I had a red eye flight home, so I wanted to gamble for a bit to kill some time. I sat down at a Blackjack table with $40 and I said I’d walk away if either I lost it all or doubled it. Somehow, I managed to double it in under ten minutes. I was left with the choice of leaving the table and finding another way to entertain myself or to press on. I pressed on for about an hour without gaining or losing too much. But I think I royally pissed off the gambling gods by doing so.
2007 – We stopped off for a couple of days on our way home from Hawaii. We had tickets to see Wayne Brady and towards the end of the performance some guy walks in with a giant clock around his neck. Mrs. Cutter and I wondered why some guy felt like dressing up like Flavor Flav, only to have Brady announce that Flavor Flav was in the audience. I’m pretty sure he was high.
Hopefully, this trip brings me some more lasting memories. At the very least, I’m sure that I’ll eat well.