By Tony Hooker
Ma and Pa go to Vegas
I just flew home from Vegas, and boy are my arms tired. <rimshot> Although I’m sure this old joke has probably been told a million times in Las Vegas, Robert Q. Lewis, who is widely regarded as its author, probably wouldn’t recognize today’s sin city.
The smokey gambling parlors are largely gone, swallowed up by behemoth “resorts,” each one capable of hosting most of Douglas County without having to ask for extra pillows. We stayed at Excalibur, and it is home to 3981 rooms. That total makes it the fifth largest hotel on the strip, with the MGM Grand, right across the street, topping them all with 5044 rooms. Next door, the Luxor, the one that looks like a pyramid, comes in second with 4400 rooms. Basically, everyone in the river city could have two rooms each if they could afford it.
Which brings me to my second point about my Vegas trip. Back in the day, gambling was the money maker and everything else was relatively cheap, to entice more people to the tables. While I’m sure people are still dumping tons of cash on the 100,000 square foot casino floors, the entertainment itself has become a money maker for the hotels. David Copperfield. Chris Angel. Scorpions. Heck, Lady Gaga herself performed while we were there, at $250 a pop. Want to see the “Tournament of Kings” at Excalibur? Be ready to lay out $80 per ticket for the privilege. Of course, this also comes with a Cornish hen dinner that you’re required to eat sans silverware, ripping it apart like the Knight of the Roundtable. (or like Mr. HLS eats at home when Mrs. HLS isn’t present!)
Which brings me to my third point about my Vegas trip. Many of the resorts have changed their focus from adults to families. I swear I couldn’t walk through the casino without some little ankle biter charging at me. Most of the time I saw them coming and was able to avoid them, but a few times the laws of physics ensured that the little curtain crawlers bounced off me like a quarter off an inspection rack in boot camp. I guess I wasn’t mentally prepared to be walking into little tykes on a casino floor at 11:30 p.m.
Which brings me to my fourth point about my Vegas trip. Be prepared to get your steps in if you travel to Sin City. The Excalibur covers over 70 acres of land, meaning ma and pa had to walk a fur piece just to get out of the building. Oddly, everywhere we tried to go meant we had to walk through the entire casino. Heck we even had to walk a long way to get to the pool.
Which brings me to my fifth point about my Vegas trip. Yowsa, do they fit a lot of people into their pools. It was crazy full of people….for a half hour until they closed it because of the 70 mph winds and sandstorm that blew through, right as we opened our first adult beverage, but I digress. It was shaping up to be a prime people watching excursion, until it closed.
Which brings me to my sixth point about my Vegas trip. The Fremont Street Experience. Hereafter known to Mrs. HLS and me as the “human zoo.” Do you want to see freaks, weirdos, jugglers, magicians, acrobats and things too exotic or obscene to describe in a single column? Fremont street is the place to go. I fit right in, but the Missus is way too normal for such shenanigans. Overall, I am glad that I went, and I encourage everyone who hasn’t been to go at least once. Twenty or thirty years ago, I would have burned the place to the ground, figuratively, but it’s way too fast paced for Mr. Almost 60 HLS. Give me a beach hotel and an umbrella drink in my hand, and I’ll be in heaven. As a matter of fact, I should probably schedule a beach vacation to recover from our Vegas vacation. Safe travels everyone!