I’ve been to Vegas for a total of four times. Each one of these experiences were unique, with wildly different folks. And I happened to have a very good time, even when I didn’t expect to.
The first time I was a prude. Hating the idea of how a city could harbor wild secrets of infidelity, drugs and excessive drinking. I was 20 years old, going as a student chaperone for underaged summer students from Turkey, China and Australia. Not surprisingly, we weren’t able to enter any clubs or establishments with alcohol. It was a pretty tame trip of shopping in the outlet malls, tubing in the rapid river pools and walking in the hot sun chatting with these awesome folks. I was also able to meet up with my internet boss/founder of Mochi after only chatting with each other online/through phone for the previous 5 years. Walking down old Fremont street, I was amazed by the fire breathing Mantis, giant yellow fire hydrant and Zappo’s vision of Vegas. The students honestly didn’t really need my chaperoning. Great trip, and I had a hotel room all to myself and slept like a baby. Plus, this is when my love of Burgr by Gordon Ramsey started, and proud to say – I’ve been back three times.
The second time I went to Vegas, I went with an RA group of seniors. One of the folks was my then boyfriend, and we were all 21, so we hit the club. Although I was lucky to have my date look out for creepers at the club, I became weirdly defensive about my personal space in the crowded Omnia club, and much rather preferred the Ka show by Cirque du Soleil. We had Fat Tuesdays plus Earl of Sandwich, drank and slept quite a bit. I also had a dark thought wondering if any of the children performing on the streets were being trafficked or exploited for their talent. But I kept that to myself…also what I found interesting…Rather than taking the long distance bus, my RA buddies drove all the way there. That was wayyy tiring.
The third time had me nervous. It was a bridesmaids party. Boy was I nervous. Is someone gonna get arrested now? I had this crazy idea that it would put me out of my comfort zone – but the weekend actually turned it to be tame. We hit the day pools and ran into these polite Canadians who we spent the weekend with up until dawn. We got amazing seats for the Britany Spears show, and ate lots of Taco Bell. I passed by the Miss USA contestants and planned to check out the aquarium- until I read the horrible Yelp reviews. The other girls had already driven home and I had some time before the flight, so I just treated myself to good food and people watching.
The fourth and latest time I went to Vegas was with a different group of RAs for our friend’s birthday. We surprisingly went to a pizzeria to get kale salad, and I couldn’t have been more proud of our responsible group. Some older guys tried to buy us drinks, but we weren’t really having that and ran to see Zedd’s set. Again, I felt uncomfortable with crowded places and our guy friend had an intense stare down/shoving match with this jerk who tried to touch us. But we got to the front and stayed the whole night long. Then we ate at the Wicked Spoon, bumped into some folks we happened to know from high school. Met awesome Singaporeans from UC Berkeley who shared their mega drink with us and just took time to do some self care. One of my favorite parts was the group of laughing Asian women in their 40s holding a divorce party. I complimented one of the women’s shoes and she told me to never get married to the wrong person. I felt like she had words of wisdom.
Overall, my initial skepticism of Sin City turned out to be unfounded. Yes, quite a folks blew smoke, yes, there are cheating horndogs who holler, and unscrupulous folks. However, if you roll with me – I’ll be your mother hen. I will keep it safe and sane. I found myself enjoying these mini vacations of dressing up and enjoying the sun. Hope next time I go, I swim more, watch more shows and check out the Grand Canyon.