$7.95 – cost of “jumbo shrimp cocktail” (actually six shrimps) purchased in the Aladdin’s Desert Passage that is the most likely reason why I threw up eight times within a day, including once at the taxi stand of the Imperial Palace.
TV – Without Internet (a cafe down the Strip advertised access at $12/hr.), I suffered a bit of information withdrawal, and turned to TV to get some sense of what was happening in the outside world. Unfortunately, there were only 13 channels, and two of them were hotel advertising with creepy clowns and a Keno channel, respectively. The only news available was CNN Headline News. However, there was USA Network, and I had the pleasure of watching two classic gangster masterpieces, Casino and Scarface. They advertised both movies as “uncut”, which in USA Network-speak means removing every swear word and cutting half an hour’s worth in scenes to make room for more Progressive Insurance commercials. Watching Scarface was especially amusing since it was such a large inspiration for the Grand Theft Auto series of games. In fact, GTA3 had the Scarface soundtrack in it, and the main druglord’s mansion in Vice City is heavily inspired by Tony’s own estate.
50 cents – The total amount of money won at the casino. It was from the Slots-of-Fun two free pulls (coupon available at small southeast entrance of Circus Circus)
Tips – De Niro’s character in Casino called Las Vegas “kickback city”, and he wasn’t kidding. If you give someone $15 for a $11 charge, they’ll keep it. If you give someone $20 for a $11 charge, they’ll keep it. As interested in tips they are, the more rude and sullen they are. Taxi drivers were very friendly though.
Prudes – For all of Las Vegas’s reputation for lasciviousness, they’re actually pretty prudish. Prostitution is illegal. A club cannot show fully nude women and possess an alcoholic licence at the same time (you will never pay so much for fruit punch). There is actually a curfew for people ages 21 and younger.
The Bosses – There appears to be a lot of excess staff around. Some people, it seems as if their sole jobs are to stand in front of doors. There was this one guy who’s only job was to supervise the shuttle at Circus Circus. He was attached to an oxygen tank. :O I guess the unions are pretty strong!
Food – Las Vegas’s reputation for cheap food is a bit exaggerated. Sure, the Westward Ho serves 5 cent coffee and 99 cent lemon lime margaritas (with almost no tequila), but most food deals are offered at weird times and quite frankly suck. The only real deal can be had at the various McDonald’s on the Strip. Expect to pay at least $10 US at a buffet for any decent food. Even then, most of what’s on the table will be fried or covered in cream, or both. I was relieved to get back home and eat food I couldn’t see my own reflection in.
View – Have you noticed how all the promotional photos of the Strip are all taken at night? At night, you can’t see the construction, peeling paint, and litter.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the Las Vegas strip, heaped itself like a buffet with faux cultures and obscene proclamations of wealth and grandeur. I’m just saying it’s not hard to tell who has the winning strategy around here.”
– Tycho Brae, Penny Arcade