Trip Start Jun 06, 2011
51Trip End May 22, 2012
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Where I stayed
What I did
Avoided vice, mostly
LK: Having caught up on some sleep and stuffed our faces with seriously overladen breakfasts we embraced the ludicrousness of Las Vegas and went for a stroll along the strip. Actual flamingos at The Flamingo Casino – "Forever Fabulous" (and the building's pink); not the actual Eiffel Tower at Paris Casino; nor your actual New York at the hotel across the road. We arrived at MGM Grand just in time for the lions to appear; two real live lionesses doing what cats do best ie. not doing what was expected of them and then being lazy. We were offered the amazing opportunity of taking a picture of the lion cubs, an opportunity which we failed to agree was so amazing as to pay $25 each for the privilege.
KK: Minute by minute your mind flips from “this place is the most grotesque abomination I have ever seen” to “oh wow look at that!” An indoor shopping arcade with sky and a rain storm; Luxor recreates ancient Egypt with a sphinx and a pyramid (LK’s dad would not approve); and Mexican midgets kept trying to hand me cards with pictures of “girls on who want to meet you!!!!” – what, jobless English cynics wandering the streets with their sceptical wife? I very much doubt it
LK: In retrospect, we might have been out in the sun too long. By the time we hit our bar, iced water was more of a priority, and the ice cubes applied to our wrists were essential to bring down our temperatures. Maybe that’s the point: get the sun to addle your brain; go see an overblown show; gamble away your last red cent; and then get sent home in your underpants.
Tuesday 19 July
KK: We wondered how the hell our hotel could be so plush and only charge £25 a night – firstly there are thousands of rooms and secondly they have human fish hooks looking to snag a few bucks more at every turn. “You guys want to see a show?” “How about playing cards with our celebrity look-a-likes?” A tip for Las Vegas; before you come buy a T-shirt with “No! Piss Off!” on it. Even the worst Salt Lake City flea pit had free wi-fi and here they claim it illegal to have booze in your room that isn’t bought from their on-site overpriced liquor store
LK: And they’re so good at the subliminal selling - why, after wandering around the cavernous Venetian Hotel and Casino, enjoying the gondolas floating along the Grand Canal on the second floor, marvelling at the Rialto Bridge right next door to the Doge’s Palace, being awestruck by a St Mark’s Square somewhat lacking in a Basilica, you know I wished from the pit of my stomach that I was in Italy instead.
KK: And designer shops with all our favourite brands were resplendent and in great abundance. How many of you saw Louis Theroux’s interview with Michael Jackson? MJ goes to a shop selling all manner of grossly overpriced gaudy tat and buys half of it every time he is in town. We found that actual shop. The owner looked sad. But we found worse. Oh yes we did. After a delicious dinner in the hotel we wandered over The Strip into Caesar’s Palace
LK: Dragging KK away, we returned to our hotel, a selling point of which is the “Dealertainters”, an enchanting concept where 'celebrity look-a-likes’ deal your cards. We think Grace Jones was one of them, or it could have been Mr T. There was also the Elephant Man in a spangly red jacket, although KK suggested it may have been Michael Jackson. Rupert Murdoch got hit with a custard pie today and Piers Morgan said something sensible on CNN. He also interviewed a vindictive woman by the name of Nancy Grace about the Casey Anthony trial who was more odious than he was. What a strange world this is.
Wednesday/Thursday 20/21 July
LK: Oh god, are we still here?
KK: Weird thing about Las Vegas; you always think there is stuff undone – I can see why people keep coming back
LK: Onto the next car, this time a smart Ford Focus in heat-attracting black for our drive across the Mojave Desert. Called in at Calico Ghost Town, but it wasn’t very ghosty, just a restored and well-run tourist attraction (only three of the buildings can claim to be original, the rest are like X-Factor contestants). We really must stop being out at midday in the desert.
KK: The Ghost Town was compensation for not going to The Grand Canyon, which we never planned to do but we were tempted once we picked up the car – that and back to Vegas for Alkaline Trio on Friday and Queens of the Stone Age and the Amir Khan fight on Saturday. But by the time we got to Bakersfield we were glad we kept it simple – it was a long way and it was hot – The Grand Canyon would have put another ten hours on our day.
LK: And then we might have been so exhausted and in such a deep sleep that we wouldn’t have woken up around midnight to the pop of four gunshots in some distant dispute. Oh well, only four more days to go in this crazy country.