I poured vodka over ice and sipped it while pulling back the curtains on the window. I remembered the drive into the city, seeing the bright lights of the Strip beaming out of the brown, dry desert. There is a romance about driving into Vegas, taking it all in and knowing that you are entering one of the most celebrated places in the world, considered by many to be the place to party. It’s no wonder people go to Vegas with the hope of hitting it big. Before I even parked my car, I considered myself lucky.
I learned something very quickly in the days that followed: The bling can be blinding, but the big money doesn’t necessarily (or frequently) translate into conservative class –- there’s some downright drinking taking place all around you in Vegas. Sort of like a wedding reception where everyone hides their crooked eyes behind dresses and shined shoes.
Vegas has a way of doing that –- making your eyes a bit crooked -– and, as you may have predicted, that 45-minute delay was the calm before the storm. I followed my friends down a path I thought only existed in the movies. Vegas, I learned, is not the best place to let others lead (especially given the prices).
One of the most memorable mishaps was letting a drunken friend convince me to spend $50 to enter Spearmint Rhino at ten in the morning. This one bought me immediate buyer’s remorse (and, if you’ve ever been the only one in a strip club at 10 a.m., you know why). I should have left, but instead I ordered a $15 turkey burger and sat at a round table and ate. The glares from the gals, as you could imagine, were not so welcoming. My friend, on the other hand, had a great time in what I can only imagine to be the often spoke of/rarely experienced “champagne room.”
When I say I had an experience I thought only possible in movies, I’m not being dramatic. Here are a few “highlights” from my trip that I probably should not be sharing, but will because I’m old enough now to look back and say I was young and stupid:
The first morning, I returned to my room at 7 a.m. only to be “sexiled” by one of my friends. Luckily, another friend of mine was just waking up so we went off and had Jagerbombs at O’Sheas to pass the time. I ended up getting to bed at 10:30 a.m. and was woken up just before noon when another friend ordered two cases of Coors Light to the room and invited people over.
That night and the following, the friend who ordered the beers was kicked out of JET (now 1Oak at The Mirage) and Pure (at Caesars Palace). He didn’t even make it into JET –- he was tossed from line after being incapable of communicating with the bouncers at check-in. The following night at Pure, he fell asleep leaning up against the wall on the side of the dance floor.
I had to escort him home and call it an early night, but my problems didn’t end there. Soon after, one of our roommates brought home a girl and had sex with her in the bathroom while I was in bed trying to fall asleep. That’s one of those things that you pretty much just have to take on the chin. There’s nothing to do but wait.
I seemed to be doing an awful lot of people-watching with my friends having all the limelight but, on the final night, the tables turned and it was my chance to get into the Vegas spirit. After meeting a woman in the casino and assigning each other nicknames (hers was SamIam), I twisted my knee during a booze-fueled make-out session in her hotel room. An injury I certainly did not see coming as we rolled across the bed and sent the sheets into the air.
It’s safe to say I limped out of town. As for my second visit to the city of sin the following year, well, you just had to be there, and I’m not yet old enough to look back and laugh.