Friday, March 6, 2009

When in Vegas, Do as the Vegans Do

So I work in technology media, and I guess that kind of job lands you in Vegas a few times a year. Not the showgirls, Cirque du Soleil Vegas. Mostly it's hanging around the convention center and the hotel scrounging for free WiFi and bagels.

We tried to fly through Charlotte early last week to get to Vegas on the heels of an Eastern seaboard snowstorm. We didn't get very far. Flight delayed. Exasperated ticket agents. People with mullets who didn't understand what was happening.

When we finally got on an airplane headed for Charlotte, airborn at long last, the pressure began to leak suddenly from the cabin, and our captain announced that he'd be taking us back to Dayton.

Raised Catholic, the first impulse I felt after nausea was guilt. Jesus would smite me now, surely he would. I hadn't been to church in years. I hadn't even filed my taxes yet.
The good news? We landed in Dayton. The bad news? We landed in Dayton. Eventually, we found a plane that would actually take us to our destination.

Arriving in Vegas around 8 PM meant that it was 11 on the east coast and I was a hungry, hungry hippo. Conveniently, the very hotel I checked in to was a mecca of casual dining establishments.

Mexican sounded like a great idea - doesn't it always? Margaritas, tableside guacamole assembly, and a build-it-yourself spread of supreme taco fixings. That's the kind of indulgence I needed after an intense day of air travel.

There were more good meals during my Vegas stay. Caprese salad at some Italian place at the Venetian (not owned by Mario Batali, sadly) - good. Tall pink cocktail - even better.

After a long day working and what was turning into a long night, a walk down Las Vegas Boulevard was disturbing and invigorating all at once, the way Vegas is disturbing and invigorating all at once. Thinly veiled advertisements for prostitution. Drunk midwesterners howling at each other.

But how can you dislike a town lit up like fireworks at 2 AM on a balmy Tuesday night? A warm walk back to an overstuffed hotel bed is a walk I'll take, especially in Vegas.

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