”Wow. It almost makes you forget about Jesus.”
I was walking on an overpass above the famous Las Vegas Strip when a random youngster, probably just off the bus from some small town in the Midwest, uttered those bewildered words to her friend. I stopped for a moment, standing next to the awe-struck twosome, staring at the endless row of neon in the dusk. I couldn’t disagree.
Las Vegas is confusing, ecstatic, appalling, enthralling and completely incomprehensible. It’s a daydream and nightmare all packed into one gaudy gift. It makes you forget about reality for a while. That’s what makes Vegas such a great getaway – it’s literally an escape, from normal life, from reality, even from yourself. Nobody is just themself in Vegas. Vegas is not human. It’s much more.
A City of the Night
The sense of dirty decadence surrounds me as soon as I leave the airport and enter the city. It feels like someone pumped drugs into the dry desert air. A giddy feeling clings to me. It feels impossible to be depressed here. At least during the night. Las Vegas is definitely a city of the night.
The surreal mess also known as Las Vegas is a 24/7 city. Everything is always open and everything is on all the time. The overly flashy atmosphere is just what I needed to let go of (the last remnants of) my inhibitions.
Las Vegas has its own set of rules. There’s an anything goes mentality; everyone does what they want here, and so will I. So I grab a plastic cup filled with piña colada and start casino hopping. For how long? Don’t know. There are no windows or clocks at the casinos – time means nothing here.
Only the casinos ultimately win in Las Vegas. I don’t let the inevitable defeat get me down, because gambling is a must in Vegas. I win $1,50 after betting at least $20. It’s ok – even a loss can be a gain in Vegas. The drinks are free while you’re gambling and you can easily meet new people at the casino and tell them you’re the national poet of Uruguay. Nobody will question your alias because they’re too busy thinking of their own white lies!
A Night to
I’m a man with a plan. I’ve joined a large group of friends in Vegas to celebrate one friend’s birthday. We’ve rented out a ridiculously over-the-top penthouse suite at The Cosmopolitan, probably bigger than all our apartments combined. There’s a wrap-around terrace with amazing views over this insane city. The amount of lights and sounds strikes me just as hard as the hot desert air as soon as I step out on the terrace.
For a moment I feel like I’m floating out of my body just because the situation feels so ridiculously unreal. Then we raise a toast to an unforgettable night, fully knowing that none of us will remember much the next morning.
The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas (3708 South Las Vegas Boulevard) wasn’t just our
humble abode; it was also the first stop on our night tour. The hotel’s Marquee nightclub made a cardinal mistake by letting hotel guests know that ladies drink free for a certain period of time.
Naturally the ladies in our group were less than, and filled our table with drinks even for us gentlemen. Rules are made to be broken in Vegas.
For some reason this is about the last thing I remember clearly. From what I’ve heard, my friends found me wandering the hotel’s hallways alone, looking completely lost. I made a quick recovery, though, jumping into a stretch limousine and heading to Rihanna’s favorite strip club, Spearmint Rhino with old and new friends in tow.
While my female friends were getting lapdances at the titty bar, I wandered off to the bar and met twins, who might have been called Cara and Tara. Not sure. I ended up joining them in another bar nearby, where I found myself wearing a cowboy hat and listening to country music until early morning. My dark odyssey ended with me in the backseat of a Corvette, on my way to an afterparty and finally saying no.
At 8 in the morning it was finally time to take off the cowboy hat, say goodbye to my new friends and head back to the hotel for some sleep. I was so sure that my friends would be angry at me because I was getting back so late. Turns out I was the first one to get to the room and the first one to go to sleep, and even then I only got a few hours of sleep before the party started up again. Las Vegas is a city of the night, but it’s not made for sleeping.
I wake up with the warm sun on my face. Apparently I’ve fallen asleep on the terrace. As the sun comes up and a new day dawns, I really see that nothing looks quite as good in the harsh daylight. Luckily there’s a plethora of distractions to keep me from coming back to reality. Marquee Dayclub is the perfect spot for afternoon drinking cocktails and eating nachos, all while floating in the pool. Nothing remotely real about this!
Las Vegas equals buffets. When the alcohol begins to wear off, I head to Wicked Spoon, the incredible buffet restaurant at our hotel. There are eggs benedict and sushi and chinese food in little take-out containers. I eat my own weight in food and for the next few hours I can’t do anything but lay on the floor moaning. Still, one of the best experiences of my life.
Downtown Las Vegas offers a whole different set of distractions for the afternoon, including deep fried twinkies, topless parties and water slides going through shark tanks…
Casino hopping is another way to waste away the daylight hours. There’s Egypt at The Luxor and the Brooklyn Bridge at New York, New York. Paris, Rome and Venice are all waiting further on the strip. The Venetian even was gondolas sailing the indoor canals of the casino’s shopping mall. This would all seem very weird if I wasn’t on my third cocktail from a plastic cup.
Luckily the daylight disappears eventually and a new night begins.
Vegas is a city of the night and I’m a man of the night.