Stop #11 – Las Vegas
Bright lights, party music, and tumbling drunks on the sidewalk of modern civilization can be a cold splash of water to the face after viewing the relaxing, heart-stopping plunge into the wilderness of Arizona’s great canyons. We’d finally reached Nevada after 5 hours in the car , looking for food, lodging, and a little night life as our last stop before heading home the following morning.
We arrived at our Motel 6 around 10pm. Since it was a 10-minute drive from the strip, it was only $70/night for 2 people. Nothing fancy, but clean at least. After days in the car, we were just grateful to have a bed to stretch in and sleep in a position that wouldn’t wake us with cricks in our necks or cramps in our legs.
We yanked off our comfy, yet stagnant travel clothes, and put on attire that was a little more appropriate for the spotlight that is Vegas. Neither my husband nor I are party people, but we were well-deserving of a good meal, a drink, and maybe some entertainment.
Well, that’s what we thought anyway.
Out of Our Element
I’d been to Vegas a few times before on business trips. The main appeal to me is the food (love the buffets and specialty restaurants), shows, and hotels. Basically, I gluttonously fill myself with feasts for the eyes and stomach.
I’d never gone with my hubby before. I hadn’t considered how two tame people, like ourselves, would enjoy such a city as Vegas.
As we drove onto the strip, the sun had set within the last hour and the bright lights of every hotel were shining brighter than any stars that were possibly above us. The music from clubs was blaring and vibrating the doors of our cars. Considering where we’d just come from, we may not have been in the right state of mind for a Friday night in Vegas. Blinded by lights, deafened by music and yelling, I’d never felt so out of place or old… and I was in my mid 20’s at the time.
Las Vegas on a Budget
Deciding a good meal is what we needed to recharge our bodies and pull our spirits in a potential party mode, we went to Hash House a Go-Go for dinner, in Imperial Palace. Its quiet downstairs gave us a good opportunity to acclimate to the change of environment. You don’t drop a goldfish into a new tank without slowly seeping some tank water. We needed a little tank water before diving into the aquarium.
Drinks all around!
To quench our thirst, I had a refreshing spritzer to loosen me up, while my hubby had a spicy Bloody Mary with one of the most elaborate inclusions of olives and peppers I’d ever seen don the lovely Mary.
To nourish our famished bodies, I ordered cornmeal prawns for an appetizer ($9 for 3?) and shared the Boston hash – a big skillet of potatoes topped with a large blue crab cake, eggs, with crispily delicious green beans for only $15. Other plates are larger and more economical. Honestly, the varying prices for the size of dishes are confusing.
Ask your servers about the dishes you order when you’re at a new restaurant. If you’re hungry or on a budget, let them know you want something that gives the biggest bang for your buck. A server would much rather you were happy with your initial order, rather than have to send back a plate and order again. Always remember to be courteous! (Servers are people, too!)
Parking in the hotel garage was free, so we left it while stepping out onto the bright and loud strip – at least, it seemed so for two people who’d spent 5 hours in a car that just came from the gloriously transcendent Grand Canyon.
We dragged our feet as far as the Bellagio hotel (which has some great restaurants that would have been a better choice for dinner). We watched people stumble in their flashy nightlife gear of girl’s barely-there skirts and guys’ rumpled dress shirts; yelling obscenities at each other either in anger or jest, and constantly whooping with slurred delight while double-fisting tall pink, green, or red drinks.
With a yawn from each of us, light bulbs lit atop the heads of hubby and myself – We weren’t invited to this party of a city. Nobody would invite us party poopers. Not in our current state.
Maybe if we’d had more time and money to attend a show, we would’ve enjoyed ourselves more. Maybe if Serendipity wasn’t on the other side of the strip, a sweet treat would’ve brightened our moods.
But, walking the streets of Vegas after midnight, when the city is becoming an outdoor club on Friday night, just wasn’t our thing. I guess the lights of Vegas were just too bright for our tired, state-trekking bodies.
We were ready to go home.
Leaving Las Vegas
We crossed the California border in less than an hour on the road the next morning. After a much-needed, full-night’s rest, we’d said good-bye to the party town. I finally emitted my own “WooHoo!” as I entered my home state that I love so very dearly. As white-powdered mountains welcomed us back, I was happy to say that after crossing the country, I am proud to call California my home and to have seen the diversity of America.
I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to explore the states and different cultures within my country. Best of all, I got to experience this all with my best friend and forever travel companion. There are many cities and states we are inspired to revisit. I just hope those visits happen sooner than our current plan – when we retire and travel across the country in a mobile home… with full-sized beds.