So I’ve spent almost 18 hours in Vegas (including my first overnight), having flown in a day and a bit early before the start of the Mix06 conference. And I have to say Las Vegas feels bizarre and alien.
Those that know me well will know that my character traits are complete miss-match for what Las Vegas has to offer. I don’t drink, I don’t gamble, I am stingy when it comes to spending money on stuff I don’t value, I’m cynical of the American attempt at faux-culture, I’m conscious of the quality of the food I eat and I’m happily in long term relationship with Sofia.
So the 24hr gambling, free alcoholic drinks / uber bar-culture, expensive shows, fake Venetian scenery, all-you-can-eat buffets, and readily-available women (both the single female tourists and the ‘professionals’) are just wasted on me. In fact it does feel pretty pointless being here, until the conference of course.
(If you didn’t know I was a boring fuck already, you do now!) .
I arrived at around 6pm at my hotel, The Venetian. For those who don’t know, it’s a ‘stunning’ (their words, not mine) indoor replica of Venice that cost over $2bn to build. Actually, if I’m honest it is stunning in places. It’s also tacky, but it is visually, architecturally and technically stunning.
My suite is probably the same size in square-footage as my apartment in London. Whilst the faux-Italian/European décor looks somewhat Americanised and confused to me, I have to admit it’s not a bad room in its own little way.
So at least I’m comfortable.
But that’s where it ends, and the miss-matches begin to jar.
Once I had settled into my suite, I ventured down to the Casino hall. As mentioned above, I don’t really gamble (a flutter on the Grand National once a year is about as far as I go). But I’ve also never actually been to a Casino – so I was interested just to ‘dial in’ into the experience and observe what was going on.
I should point out at this point that I quite like playing card games, especially Blackjack and Texas-Hold’em Poker online. I enjoy the mathematics, pattern recognition and visual memorisation aspects of the game me greatly (fuck, that sounds sad), and I don’t think I’m a bad player either. But I only play the ‘free’/non-gambling sites like Yahoo! Games.
I’m going to write about my socio-economic experiences and observations of Las Vegas (yes, I really am having that much of a great time here!) but in a nutshell it was fascinating to see the very different types of people playing the tables and pulling one-armed bandits – from clearly well-off people on the card tables throwing down blasé $100 bets through to what I guess were local workers wielding plastic carrier bags popping 25c coins into the slot machines before/after their shift. And of course everyone in between.
However I was not tempted in the slightest to dig out a Benjamin or two from my wallet and cash them in for some chips.
PS: Oh, and Sofia says I should ‘lighten up’ and ‘have some fun’. Hrmmmph.