Vegas was wonderful in many respects. I spent the entire weekend getting quality time with 5 of my favorite girls, and one of my favorite guys. I didn't get on a computer, I didn't watch TV, I didn't read a newspaper, I just hung out with my friends, ate food, got drunk, and hung out at the pool (in no particular order.)
It was Danger J's first time in Vegas, so we took him around from casino to casino, showing him the Eiffel Tower at Paris, the Chihuly sculpture at the Bellagio, the canals at the Venetian, the Caesar Salads at Caesar's Palace. (Okay I made the last one up.) It was really neat getting to see Vegas almost for the first time through his eyes: the beauty, the seediness, and the ostentatiousness. "Vegas is like one huge mall," Danger J finally declared, and ... it is. The Strip is known more for its casinos and its exotic dancers, but it is also absolutely bursting with shops, shops, and more shops. Consumerism knows no bounds here in Sin City. If you're not the gambling type, fear not. You can lose your money to some tacky jewelry instead!!
Overall, I tried to keep the blogging in my head to a minimum, and instead just enjoy the company of my friends. We are all in our late twenties or very early thirties. It won't be too long before marriage and children prevents us from engaging in a weekend of debauchery. I wanted to make the most of the weekend, instead of wasting time agonizing over the plastic waste in Vegas (yes, it's terrible) or the water waste (bad, though clearly steps have been taken so it's not quite as bad as one might fear) or the food waste (the buffets! the buffets!)
Oh, sure, I had my moments, like at breakfast when the waitress threw like 15 straws at us, and I reacted like someone had just killed a puppy. (Honda: What is wrong with you? Me: Nothing. Honda: Oh my God. It's the straws, isn't it? Me: No? Honda: Yes. Me: Yes.)
And then there was the yard (yes a yard) of some delicious pina colada concoction that came in a ridiculous plastic glass. Every time we go to Vegas, we end up buying one of these, and this year was no exception. Yes, I did hear Fake Plastic Fish writhing in agony, but what can I say? I am a weak woman when it comes to my bitch booze.
I didn't, I am proud to say, end up with an over-priced bottle of water though. Instead, I carted my Klean Kanteen around with me, filling it up in the hotel sink. I also didn't end up buying any of the junk I might normally have succumbed to: no chocolate at 2 am, no ice cream, no pretzels. Instead, I stuck to the necessities: meals and alcohol. I'll offer a detailed accounting later, once the credit card charges get processed, but all told, I think the Vegas vacation cost about $275 including the $100 for the hotel that was paid ages ago.
And that, is honestly why we go to Vegas. There are few places that we can go to for that little money. Pie and I spent some time in the car on the way back trying to think of other places that might be more suitable since we don't really gamble, and aren't much into the clubbing scene anymore. But unfortunately, there aren't many places within a five hour drive of LA where one could find nice hotels priced cheaply, and good restaurants, and a pool.
So anyway, that's our trip to Las Vegas. It was a fabulous weekend, and I wouldn't have traded it for the world, but at the same time, I couldn't help but feel that Las Vegas, and especially the Strip, is just not sustainable. Because I live in LA, I am extremely hesitant of calling places unsustainable. I have learnt that even cities like LA that don't seem eco-friendly at all, can actually be very sustainable in their own ways. But the Strip is out of control extravagant, and I really can't foresee that kind of decadence surviving the next 20-30 years.
And in a way, that's too bad. Because yes, Vegas is opulent and ridiculous, but she is also a city of love, of friendship, of dreams, and of plain old fun. I have teetered out into her streets, arm in arm with one of my best friends, drunkenly expounding on everything and nothing in particular. We have stayed up all night gossiping in our hotel room. I have danced until I thought my legs were going to fall off in the club. Vegas is littered with memories of my twenties. It is a city that I used to hate, and which I have grown to love. Because, ultimately, for me, going to Vegas doesn't mean gambling, or seeing over-priced shows, or hooking up. Vegas means spending time with people I love. And it's frustrating to me to think that this place that has provided me with so many fond memories, is ultimately not sustainable.
But I don't think it is. I hope I'm wrong.