Monday, February 28, 2011

Viva Las Vegas

by Steph

So even though we’re here for a week in Sin City, our days are filled with work and other poor blogging topics. However, we have had some time to do a few fun things too.

First off, we visited and camped at Lake Mead, which is the largest man-made lake in the US, and is formed by the Hoover Dam.

We also camped at Red Rock Canyon- a premiere destination for rock climbing. Unfortunately, our one day at the climbing gym in Arcata, California doesn’t qualify us to know what the hell we’re doing on the rocks, so we left it to the experts. Besides, we don’t have the right shoes…

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IMG_1023Once in the city, we had a few good meals out. One night we went to a place called ‘Hot and Juicy Crawfish,’ which is exactly what it sounds like. We were served a pound of shrimp and a pound of crawfish, each presented in a plastic bag full of spicy cajun marinade, with a bib to wear and a giant roll of paper towels to mop up your hands and face afterwards.

On our friend Justin’s recommendation, we also went to a place called Sushi Fever, and sat at the bar in front of the charismatic chef who seemed to know everyone in the absolutely-packed-to-the-rafters restaurant. He served us up some of the best rolls ever. This one was our favorite:

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After stuffing ourselves with raw fish we headed to the strip for an obligatory spin around the casinos. The funny thing is, they look so spectacular—mini pyramids, New York skyline, and Eiffel Tower, etc—they draw you inside but once you get there, they are just big smoke-filled rooms with bad lighting and ugly old carpet, and swarms of people dumping hundred dollar bills out of their pockets as if they were crumpled old receipts that needed cleaning out of their purses.

I had spent some time studying up on table games and really wanted to try my hand at some craps and blackjack. Unfortunately, I’m a cheapskate and didn’t want to (nor can we afford to) throw away any cash. We set aside $30 for gambling for the evening and decided that was all we would spend between the two of us, then discovered that most tables have a minimum bet of $25 or more! So $10 went to slots, which kept us going for a half hour or so, and then I found a craps table with a $10 minimum—the cheapest I’d seen all night. I lost $20 in about 60 seconds and we decided to give up on our gambling careers.

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We stepped outside to get some fresh air, and ended up with handfuls of photo cards of ‘live hot girls to you in 20 minutes or less.’ Then we confessed to each other that we both hated the strip and really wanted to ‘Foxtrot Oscar,’ ASAP.

We stayed for a few minutes, watching hired stretch hummers filled with bachelor/ette parties rolling by, and laughed at the fact that the whole town trades on the fantasy that something wild might happen…you know, what happens in Vegas and all that. Why do we have that fantasy? Why do people dream of waking up married to a stranger, freshly tattooed, covered in the dust of having buried a dead body in the desert, with no memory of the night before? None of these things are actually going to happen. What is actually going to happen is that you’ll spend a small fortune, you’ll drink too much and possibly get sick on your best ‘high roller’ dress, or twist an ankle stumbling in your high heels, and then wake up in your discount hotel to find you are the same person you always were.

IMG_1049Perhaps Steve and I are just old people at heart. Case in point: the highlight of our time in Vegas was a visit to the Silverton casino, which is not on the strip, because it contained the Bass Pro Shop. Yes! We strolled around looking at outdoors gear, played a little fake golf, and then attended a presentation on fly fishing. Afterwards we sat in the casino ‘mermaid’ bar and drank a beer while watching the fish in a giant aquarium. We’re going to make great elderly people one day!

Our last day in town we had breakfast with Steve’s cousin, Sam, and his girlfriend Ashley. Sam and Ashley are both acrobats in the shows on the strip—Sam in Le Reve at the Wynn, and Ashley in a Cirque de Soleil Elvis show. They told us about life in Vegas show biz, what it feels like to drop 80 feet from a trapeze into a pool of water, and the perils of doing extreme physical work every day. Sadly we couldn’t go see one of their shows, but I’m sure they are spectacular.

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