When we last left our heroine, she was making her way from Grandma’s house to meet up with her friends in Vegas. We now return for part two!
I didn’t know if I was going to like Vegas. It’s Sin City, and I kind of saw it as this trashy place where people lose all of their money: Lost Wages, if you will. Now part of that assessment is true, but for the most part I really enjoyed Vegas. I think what I liked the most was the freedom of it. Nobody cared what you did. It was sort of a general “F-it, it’s Vegas” anything goes attitude. The chill atmosphere was a complete departure from the uptight world I normally resided in, so I excitedly joined the party (although, I did so conservatively). It was basically a giant theme park for grownups.
I don’t know if there is a more epic place to spend St. Patrick’s Day than Las Vegas, NV. The entire city is one huge party, with Irish Music blasting from restaurants all down the strip, tons of bad drunken attempts at Irish accents, and lots and lots of green. My friends invited one of the German exchange students to come with us and forgot to tell him about St. Patrick’s Day.
“Dude where’s your green shirt?”
“What green shirt? I don’t have a green shirt.”
“It’s St. Patrick’s Day! Why don’t you bring anything green?”
“What is St. Patrick’s Day?” asked the German.
It never occurred to us that he wouldn’t know about St. Patrick’s day, but when you think about it, it’s an Irish American holiday, so why would he? After a swarm of drunken people engaged in a massive pinching attack, our German friend purchased a green necklace and Dr. Seuss style hat.
My St. Patrick’s Day shirt was a green shirt with shamrocks and white and pink lettering that read “Blondes have all the luck.” I figured it was perfect for Vegas. “We’ll have to see if it’s a sincere or sarcastic statement during this trip,” I told my friend as they read my shirt.
We stayed at the Tropicana where we got a really good deal because my boyfriend’s aunt works there. My share of the room was only $90 total for three nights during spring break when the rates are really high, which was an Awesome Deal!
For meals, we usually looked for awesome deals. On the first night we got crab, steak, or crab and steak specials for $14.99 at the America Restaurant in the New York, New York Casino. Our German friend asked “Yes, could you please give me crabs?” and after a massive fit of giggles, we explained what he had said to him.
The second day we got all you can eat all day buffet tickets in the Excalibur Casino for $29.99, and the third day we got steak and lobster tail specials on Fremont street for $11.99. I consumed so much food during the trip that the after effects are probably worse than the holidays, but it was so worth it!!!
Buffets are such an awesome concept, aren’t they? You can get as much as you want of whatever you want. And I did!
What would a trip to Vegas be without gambling? At first I thought I wouldn’t gamble, because I’m a penny pinching college student, and I couldn’t stand the thought of losing money. Then I decided that it was worth the life experience and free drinks, and determined that $50 would be my limit for a loss. It was an entertainment expense.
I couldn’t bring myself to seriously gamble in the slot machines because every time I watched a person sitting in their chair pushing a button repeatedly on the machine in front of them, it reminded me of B.F. Skinner’s operant conditioning experiments where he trained his pigeons to peck metal disks in their cages for little food pellets.
I decided that if I were to gamble, it would have to in something that involves a little strategy and thought processes, so I chose blackjack.
My boyfriend and I practiced a little blackjack before the trip so I knew all the rules and basic strategy. I sat down at the first table, a $5 minimum table, exchanged$ 40 for some chips, and started to play. At this point my shirt was proving to be pretty correct, when I walked away a hour and a half later with a $75 profit.
Later that afternoon all of the tables on the strip were pretty much at $10-100 minimums, so we went off the strip to the Silverton Casino and found another table. It was pretty awesome because we filled the table so we knew everyone and we could cheer for each other. I was up about $50 when most of my friends were down. So we kept playing. One of my friends was on their last chip twice before he made a huge comeback. We stopped when we were all in the black again. I finished $15 up bringing my running total to $90. We used our winnings to justify ordering room service for breakfast the next day.
I spent hours during the week playing blackjack. At the end of the trip, I was $30 up and decided that gambling was a ton of fun if you weren’t stupid about it. For me, it meant hours upon hours of entertainment, a payoff in the end, and tons of free drinks at the tables. When drinks are going for about $10 each, free drinks are awesome!
The only drinks I actually bought in Vegas were two giant daiquiris from Fat Tuesday, which ran me about $20.
When you are drinking a decent amount, you have to drink a ton of water to keep from getting dehydrated and to avoid the infamous hangover. Most places are required by law to give you a free cup of water if you ask for it, and when I didn’t have a bottle of water, I occasionally did ask for cups of water. The most memorable account of this was when we went to McDonalds on the strip and I asked for a McCup of water. The lady behind the counter was not at all impressed, but I didn’t take it personally because I realized that I probably wasn’t the only slightly inebriated person to make a smart comment that evening.
The giant theme park aspect of Vegas is exceptionally evident in its themed casinos in varying levels of cheesiness. Don’t get me wrong, many of the casinos are very elegant inside, but they are not without their cheesy themes.
The last night that we were there we traveled down to Fremont Street, also sometimes called Old Vegas. Now this we expected to be exceptionally cheesy, but it was actually a ton of fun! Freemont Street didn’t share the same kind of stuck up feeling that some of the casinos on the strip had in the evenings. It was pretty happening on a Friday night, with live music in the streets, and most of the people down there were pretty real people. $5 tables were plentiful and so were dinner specials. We had a blast.
One of the really exciting things for me about Fremont Street was that some of the casinos still had the old coin operated slot machines. I had to throw five dollars in one and play till it was gone, not because I had hopes of winning the jackpot, but because I considered it an investment in keeping the novelty of those machines around for years to come. I did at one point cash out just so I could hear and see all the nickels dropping out into the tray, but I ended up putting them all back in the machine.
All in all it was an awesome Spring Break! It was fun and relaxing and rejuvenating to a certain extent. It was more fun than I’d had in a long time. Now back to school…