Beer and Moaning in Las Vegas: Part I
September 8, 2013
September 8, 2013
It all began with a blow-dryer.
A blow-dryer in a bathroom where I stared at painted toenails and yellowed tile. Where I decided a Las Vegas vacation was in order. Ruminating the possibilities of sweats or sequins. It seemed like an unassuming notion. No real harm. I hadn’t set foot in Las Vegas for near on seven years. The last time I cared about clubbing was the great Billings, Montana Wild West Saloon debacle of 2002.
But I wasn’t going for the bars and clubs. This time I wanted Las Vegas for the big 1-0. 10 years of marriage deserves a trashy Vegas wedding complete with a Fat Elvis. Easily, I talked my husband into it. And by easily, I mean booked everything without asking.
I didn’t want the typical Vegas experience of night, strip and dance clubs. I wanted old school Vegas with a side of culture. Fear and loathing, baby. Hunter S. Thompson. The mob. Good food. A seedy underbelly with a side of sunny.
I think that’s why people get disenchanted with Vegas. You go once, burn yourself out, puke in the gutter and before you know it, you’re the one asking a bum for change. No need to go back, right? Wrong. Sure, the city’s kinda trashy. But there’s also ton of other cool shit to do that doesn’t include shame filled mornings.
I planned an itinerary and booked a room at the Flamingo. I washed my Challenger before we left because HST would have wanted me to. It slid easily through the shiny desert, passing propane tanks and trailer parks in Wickenburg, town signs painted with white paint on plywood in Kingman. I watched the landscape change from craggy desert rocks to burnt reds and browns to sandstone white.
The desert is beautiful. It’s also awesomely creepy. As we passed trailers and possible meth labs, I reminded my husband that this is how a Hills Have Eyes movie starts.
After stopping at the Uranus Gas Station (located on Highway 93, between Kingman, Arizona and the Hoover Dam, Nevada)
…we landed in Las Vegas, Nevada, which is really just an uglier version of Phoenix.
So without further adieu, if you don’t want the token Vegas experience, here are a few little pit stops to make before you start slumming it on the Strip.
Counting Cars on the History Channel is one of our favorite shows (nerd alert) and Danny “The Count” Koker can get my motor running any day.
He has a bar called Vamp’d and it was our first stop after landing in Vegas.
Needing fuel before hitting up The Flamingo we moseyed on in. It was noon on a Thursday and decently deserted. We sat at the bar and I met the first bartender I could not charm. She was goth and stony. But she had flair. Oh yes.
So did the sign scrawled in the Ladies Bathroom.
Surprisingly, for bar food, the food was tasty. I got a chicken wrap and my husband a cheeseburger. The atmosphere was biker-chic-vampire-shades-of-grey.
Or something like that.
The restaurant even had a coffin phone booth so that was a huge plus.
Another History Channel show favorite, we had decided NOT to hit up the pawn shop on Pawn Stars. However, driving around downtown Las Vegas we randomly happened by, and randomly scored a super sweet parking spot, and randomly happened upon no line.
It’s cool. I enjoyed it. However, do note that nothing is easily affordable or attainable here. This pawn shop is fancy pants. Stop if you have time but if you don’t make it, you’re not missing much.
Agonizing over where to eat is a habit with my husband and I. I do not want to fill my gullet with filth. If I eat, it will be damn good so I can gorge myself.
Beijing Noodle #9 at Caesar’s Palace fed me some damn fine Chinese food. Hand pulled noodles? Buddha beer? Multitudes of bitter gold fish held captive in huge tanks? What more could you ask for?
You could ask for a fork.
Because hell if I know how to use chop sticks.
You can drink on the street, baby. It flashed me back to New Orleans and my true love of street boozin’. Eager to reminisce about NOLA I happily snagged a daiquiri and me and the man trekked down the strip.
One daiquiri and one PBR later…I remember standing outside Caesars Palace, drunkenly gazing at this statue…
and having this conversation…
Me: Man, can you believe we have artifacts like this?
Me: I mean, even though this is Vegas, it’s still so beautiful, man. It’s just as good as France.
Me: It’s still art.
Me: [shows boobs]
Or something like that.
Part II/Day 2 to come.