I never wanted to go to Las Vegas. When my friend Jess first brought up the idea of heading to the City of Sin, we were sitting in a Sports Bar in San Diego. I tried to come up with a lot of excuses: the expense, the distance, the fact that it wasn’t in our plans. But with our plans pretty open and with me finding $9 megabus tickets from LA to Vegas, and a $13 a night hostel, I stopped complaining and decided to suck it up and go.
I didn’t think of myself as exactly a Vegas person. To me, Vegas seemed like a place that would be artificial and…. soulless. I thought Vegas would be all about partying and everything in excess. And is that the truth? Well… in a way. Vegas is definitely over the top. Everything about it is. For proof of that, you have to look no further than the Heart Attack Grill, which is the sort of place that is difficult to put into words. In Vegas people are found at the slot machines at a 711 at 9am on a Thursday. And of course a city in the middle of the desert, built on gambling, is going to feel artificial. But while I thought that the over the top-ness of Vegas would be depressing, I actually found the city to be humourous. Both Jess and I laughed at all the middle aged business people going wild at Coyote Ugly’s, and when the inevitable Vegas craziness happened (me buying a bike off the street from a random man in the middle of the night, our hostel mates getting lost, falling in love, picking up a cocaine dealer in their car and driving him home, etc) all this managed to still feel funny. I think whether you enjoy Vegas or not just depends on how you look at it. At the same time, I think Las Vegas had the nicest people I’ve ever met. And that made all the difference in how much fun we had there. The atmosphere at our hostel made it easy to make friends very quickly. I also found that there’s a sort of ‘Vegas gaze’ that people have there, specifically tourists. Maybe it’s in part due to the heat, everyone’s lack of sleep, or simple dehydration (and yes, drugs and alcohol play a part too), but everyone seems a bit off there, and I felt the effects as well. The whole time I was there I felt slightly drunk, and everyone around me acted that way too. It wasn’t until we were back in LA that I felt like myself again (and got some proper sleep.) Even though there wasn’t a lot that held my interest in Las Vegas, I still surprised myself with how much fun I had. While you can obviously spend a lot of money there (especially if you’re into gambling) it can also be a cheap city to go to if you travel a certain way (this means not going to see Britney Spears.) It’s also easy to rent a car and drive to the Grand Canyon for the night, or even for a day trip. The whole trip just proved that I was (and I hate to say it) very wrong about Vegas.