I was traumatized by watching Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas at too tender an age. Then while I was going to the University of Miami, in a city lush with nightlife, I started to find the wild party scene rather redundant. I'm more of a 'stars and ocean' kinda gal.
City of Lights
That said, I was in Sin City last week and had the best time ever. One of my very best childhood friends had her 25th birthday on 12/12/12 (perfect excuse). For years we had been talking about meeting in Vegas for it and somehow we actually pulled it off! Eight of my friends, in a couple of hotel rooms on the same hall . . . which completely reinforced my childhood dream of living “Seinfeld style” and being able to pop in on your friends across the hall.
We started the three-night extravaganza on a mellow-ish note, by entertaining ourselves at a night club called 1OAK, in our hotel (The Mirage). Knowing that we still would have to survive two more nights, coupled with $20 drink prices, deterred total abandonment, but we had a lovely night.
We spent the next day walking around “the Strip”, grazing on greasy food and sight seeing. It just so happened that we were there during "Rodeo week" in Vegas which meant that Levi-adorned cowboys were roaming everywhere.
We saw the Bellagio hotel fountain show just before sunset. It was wonderful. As we waited for the fountains to rupture, our group bought cans of $2 beer from some guy's backpack. There are no open container laws and we figured, when in Vegas. . . The fountains ignited to “My Heart will Go On” - the infamous Titanic tune - and the mellow drama was just fantastic. It actually brought tears to my eyes, but then again I'm completely ridiculous.
Bellagio fountain show
From there we moseyed back to the hotel where grooming rituals commenced. We went down to dinner at 8 where we wined and dined and laughed and celebrated the birthday girl, and our awesome good fortune for being in each others' company.
Birthday friends + family
After some investigation, we had decided to get a table at a club called “Surrender” . That means bottle service, which made us feel pretty swanky. The club was just the right mix of packed and pumping, yet spacious and open at the same time. Outdoor pools reflected the glowing night sky and the palm trees that adorned its rim.
The DJ booth had an orb of frenzied dancing. The night was an absolute blur of celebration. Despite the great vibe of the club, and the energy of Vegas, 90% was just the joy of being with old friends. We managed to stay until closing time, at which point we zigzagged down walkways and through casino floors, arm in arm, talking and confessing our undying friendship for each other. By the time we made it back to the hotel, we contemplated the pros and cons of ordering room service but luckily fell asleep at some point in the process.
Thank God for blackout curtains. We woke up over a course of a few hours until finally our rumbling bellies could keep us bed-bound no longer. I took a two-hour bath, a first in my life.
We made it downstairs to the lobby where we gorged on California Pizza Kitchen for the third time since our arrival. “A round of bloody marys”, we croaked. One feature I have only just come to realize about Vegas' appeal is that it really is the one place where normal rules do not apply. In Vegas there is no guilt for ordering an a.m. cocktail.
The rest of the day floated by as we watched silly TV shows together, piled in two beds, and enjoyed each others' company. As the night encroached, we walked around the hotel and gambled half-heartedly and practiced our poker faces.
Post party relaxing
Airport drop off
The next morning we kissed good-bye and gave each other big squeezes. If there's something you can get out of Vegas, it is exactly this: it's a mutually alien territory for all of us to meet. The artificiality that I feared had actually offered me transport to a fantasy land, and in that way, Las Vegas is okay in my book.