If you love Vegas and think it's the best place ever, prepare to get offended. If you've been saving up for months to take a trip there with your girlfriends, prepare to get offended. If you've considered a family trip there at some point, prepare to get offended.
I f**king HATE Las Vegas.
This particular post is motivated by my dread of having to go there again in a few days. You see, I work for a labor union, and we have pretty much all of our really big conferences in Vegas. It's a union-friendly town; there's tons of conference and hotel space that can be had on the cheap; it's relatively central for people from all over the country to attend; and it's got the kind of entertainment that is, well, 'suitable' for the more blue-collar among us (which is a lot of the union folks). So over the past several years working this job, I have been to Vegas a good five times. I think I've seen enough to hate it with a burning passion.
Allow me to describe just what makes me wish the entire place would get swallowed up by the earth in some kind of freak geological phenomenon:
(oh, and I should open by saying that I don't gamble. I find it a pointless and unenjoyable way to throw money in the garbage. I guess if you love gambling then maybe Vegas could be okay? Probably not though)
There is nothing to do, and they've built it that way
The entire downtown area of Las Vegas is intended to be as hideously boring as possible. They want you to be so bored you have no other choice but to sit for endless hours in the casino, wasting your kid's entire college fund one dime at a time (and then maybe at night you'll go see a show for only $200 per ticket!).
The hotel rooms generally suck. Even if they seem really nice and clean and modern and fancy, take a closer look and you'll notice that your room is designed to keep you the hell out of it. The TV will only get the worst channels, so enjoying a lazy evening lying in bed watching TV is out of the question (unless you LOVE C-SPAN and the Weather Channel). There's nowhere useful to sit and eat in your room -- you'll have to go out. The hotel has a fitness center, but guess what? To use it, you have to buy a pass that is stupidly expensive. The hotel has a pool, but it will be absolutely jammed with the lowest scum of the earth (more on that later).
If you decide to leave the hotel in search of entertainment, you will find that there is nowhere to go. "Going for a walk" is nigh on impossible (more on that later too). So eventually you give up on finding some reasonable way to pass a free afternoon, and you'll just wander through the casino breathing cigarette smoke and listening to the interminable pling-pling-plinging of those f**king slot machines until you black out, and then you regain consciousness hours later with a nosebleed and a neck tattoo.
And that's when you know Vegas has broken you.
It is impossible to get anywhere
Oh hey, were you planning on checking out the other casinos? Maybe standing in front of the New York, New York and taking a picture, or watching the fountain show at the Bellagio, or even going to see that Prince impersonator at the hotel down the street?
Well, I hope you budgeted the 32854 hours it will take you to get there. Because Vegas is a big ol' labyrinth of despair.
Even getting out of your hotel room will be a Herculean effort. The hotels are so gigantic that on average, your hotel room will be a full five minute walk from the lobby. Uh oh, you forgot your sunglasses upstairs? Leave them. Buy a new pair. It's not worth it.
Then you have to find your way outside. Good luck with that! If you follow enough signs marked "Exit", you may eventually find yourself on the street. You'll know for sure that you're outside when you feel the blast of 120-degree desert air hit you. Even if it looks like you're outside, don't believe it until you start sweating through your shirt (more on this later).
Oh hey, the Bellagio is across the street?? Ha ha, you idiot -- YOU CAN'T CROSS THE STREET! IT IS IMPOSSIBLE!!!!! You can't cross any street! You may walk the 6 miles to the nearest crosswalk or pedestrian overpass and then wait ten minutes for the walk signal. I once had to travel half a mile on side streets to get from one hotel to another for a meeting. It took me nearly twenty minutes. And that was with some illegal jaywalking. I imagine if I'd only crossed streets at crosswalks with the little white "walk" signal flashing, it could have taken me twice that long.
F**k you, Vegas.
Feeding yourself costs roughly $1 billion per day
I hope you brought your wallet, because Las Vegas is basically just like one giant airport. All the food is shitty and expensive, and if you want something that isn't shitty, then it will be really expensive. Usually when I travel for work, I use a corporate credit card so I don't really care what my food costs -- I will buy a $25 salad if I have to and I won't feel bad about it. But for this particular conference, because of the incredibly large number of staff attending, we get per diem checks instead and are not allowed to use the credit card. So the money I have to spend on food feels a lot more like my money.
And I have to spend it on a $25 salad.
It is the trashiest place I have ever been
Las Vegas is dumpster people Mecca.
There, I said it.
It is where the worst people ever go to spend their fancy vacation.
Imagine for a moment that you are a dumpster person. You grew up in America's asshole; you tip 3% at restaurants because you are awful; you think sequins are fashionable and five-inch stripper-heels are classy; you have lipstick on your teeth and you speak in a local accent so thick people have trouble understanding you (whether that accent is Boston or Alabama or cave-person). Your do-it-yourself spray-tan is unevenly orange and your roots are showing from that botched dye job your friend Janet did for you while you were both drunk.
Now imagine that you and Janet are in LAS-F**KING-VEGAS, BABY!!!!!! You've seen all the movies; you've been saving up for months and you are GOING FOR BROKE, BABY! (you scream everything and say "baby" at the end of every sentence -- it's a critical part of being a dumpster person). Now that you're here, your goal is to be drunk 24/7, to turn that last $500 in child support payments Ricky sent you into BIG MONEY, BABY (the kid's with grandma and he's fine, okay?). You brought nothing but sequined minidresses to wear and your giant shoes are so uncomfortable that f**k it, you'll just walk around the casino barefoot with your shoes in one hand and your giant blue slushie-drink in the other. Did you know they let you drink for free as long as you're gambling? INCREDIBLE! How do they make any money doing that, right?!?!?!
Vegas is full of these people. Full of them.
It's not good people-watching. It's the kind of people-watching that makes you depressed enough to climb to the top of the fake Eiffel Tower and just end it all.
The whole place is constructed to prevent you from ever going outside, even accidentally
Remember how I said you'll never find the exit, and if you do, there's nowhere to go anyway? Yeah. They know that.
That's why they built inside to look like outside.
In Paris, the high ceilings are all painted blue with little clouds and birds. The adorable cobblestone street is lined with little outdoor cafes where you can sit and eat crepes and sip on espresso. How lovely!
Except you're inside. The whole time, you're inside.
They won't let you out. You breathe air-conditioned air instead of fresh air; your hotel room windows are bolted shut to keep you from killing yourself in case you lose all your money or see too many overweight middle-aged women spilling wine on their spaghetti-strap tank tops; the actual doors to the outside are miles away ... you don't want to go to that awful place called "outside," do you? No, of course you don't. That's where the bad things are. Outside, there are cars and honking and it's hot and your skin will burn in the sun. Outside there are no crepes or cobblestones or Edith Piaf music. No no no, silly, stay in here. Stay in here with us. Pling-pling-pling. Pling-pling-pling-pling-pling-pling-PLING-PLING-PLING-PLING-MOTHERF**KING PLING.
The goddamned fountains at the Bellagio play that f**king music every half hour or so and if your hotel room is anywhere nearby and you plan on sleeping, YOU WILL KILL YOURSELF
Haha just kidding! You can't kill yourself! Your hotel room window is bolted shut, remember!?!!?
This trip will be even more fun than usual because now I'm pregnant so I can't even drown my sorrows in alcohol.
I'll let you all know how it goes when I get back. If I get back.
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