Las Vegas Stories that Didn’t Stay in Vegas

First of all…take your wife. You’ll both have fun. The so called sin city isn’t exactly the best family spot but for a couple, young or old, it is a lot of fun. Just walking the streets is a treat. There is no place like Vegas. The architecture is a cross between Hollywood and someone’s strange dream. You’ll love it but beware of two things while walking the streets of Las Vegas.

You might notice the well dressed attractive young lady or gentleman politely speaking to the people as they walk by. They’re trying to get your attention by offering whatever it is that you might desire (not sex, that’s illegal in Vegas)like a free show or hundreds of dollars worth of gambling chips or whatever gets your attention.

So unless you want to waste what little precious time you have there walk right on by. If you do bite you’ll be directed to a street booth where you’ll get your choice of enticements if you’ll be willing to sit through a “time share” sales pitch. Now if you can afford it the time share can be a good investment but if you can’t it is just a waste of time and energy.

Still want to see a show. Drop by one of the booths in the afternoon and offer 25% of the ticket price. They’ll bid you up but still you might get a seat for less than half price. However if the show you want to see is one of those that is “sold out” for months ahead you need to buy the tickets before you buy your flight or book your hotel. Also forget the “chips” because what you find out when you go to use them is that they only can be used in one casino on one set of machines and that you can only win if you hit the jackpot. Anything else showing on the machine is only a step towards that jackpot so even if it shows a thousand dollars you don’t have the option to stop there and guess what…no one ever wins.

When the sun goes down the “hawkers” come out. Whole families of them will stand wherever they can find a spot and try to hand you a pamphlet that advertises the seedier side of the city. They get paid by how many they can get into your hand but there is a trick to it. They have to catch your eye and thus you have to want to take the advertisement. Don’t look them in the eye as you walk by and they will not try to force it upon you. However if you do look them in the eye take it and place it in your pocket with a smile. Later you can throw it away and my suggestion is don’t even look at it. It might be a bit more suggestive than you like.

When you get tired of walking try the bus. It goes up and down the strip practically constantly. They now have beautiful new double decker buses that charge a reasonable fare. Get up top and if not taken ride in the very front. It’s an experience in itself.

For a quick ride try the monorail. However the stations are at the back of the hotels so you need to be going a distance when you get on. You could walk to the front of the hotel that the next station is behind before you could walk all the way to the back and then ride and then walk back up. But you must ride it and if you don’t use all the rides you purchased they’re good for a year. You’ll be back!

Unless you’re in a hurry forget the taxi at the airport. The shuttle vans will go to every major hotel and even help you with your luggage. I notice others tipping $2 but I was in a generous mood and showed my appreciation for his efforts with a $5 dollar bill. He was more of a tour guide than I expected and he had plenty of advice for a newcomer. He deserved it.

If you do need a taxi just walk up to the entrance of any of the hotels. There will always be a taxi there waiting to take you anywhere you want to go. Forget stopping one on the street. They won’t do it. Not only is it illegal but unsafe also.

When you do walk on the strip there are elevated sidewalks and crosswalks to keep people out of the street. Sometimes there is a simple wall between the pedestrian and the traffic but a few places you can actually step into the street. When you do be sure it is safe. The drivers are looking at traffic and not to avoiding pedestrians. Don’t become a statistic.

One of the best adventures in Vegas is not. Book you and your wife on a bus tour of Hoover Dam and while there try the dam hot dog. It’ll feed two and you get with it a bumper sticker saying, “I had a dam hot dog at Hoover Dam.” It’s really good…the hot dog that is.

If you don’t gamble all your vacation funds away save them for a helicopter ride over the strip at dusk. Take your camcorder along to record the adventure and you can live it over and over again. Expensive but well worth it and the trip we took included a glass of champagne after landing. Buy the cap that shows others your adventure and many a conversation will start because of it.

You don’t have to go to Las Vegas just to gamble but if you do mind the rules.
#1 The house makes the rules and they make the rules to win!
#2 If you lose (and you will) you’ve lost. Step back gracefully where others can do the same!
#3 If you win (and somebody has to) you’ll be back to try it again…see rule #2!

When you do gamble and you will do it within your budget. Whether it’s $100 or $10,000 don’t gamble what you can’t afford to lose. My wife loved the slots but she would go through a $20 bill every 20 minutes or so. Now she might win $40 or almost $50 but she wouldn’t stop until she gambled all of it away. You will too!

The slots are fun but you have no control on the outcome. It’s just luck or rather the lack of it that controls your fate. Of course there are the various tables from blackjack to roulette but I watched people play those games and they all lost, not a single winner. Thousands of dollars gone in a few minutes. It was such a waste and the players were disgusted with themselves afterward. They had taken the chance and they had lost. Some just hung their heads as they headed towards the elevators back to their room but others actually shed tears. It was hard to watch!

Are you a serious gambler and you want to know something about how they do it in Vegas. Well thank goodness someone wrote a book for the people that know nothing about it. I am sure you can find it at any local book store. Read it before you go.

I did and I knew better than to try and win at the tables. I found the blackjack slots over behind the blackjack tables. Finally something I could control and the machines used one pack of cards while the actual tables used more. With these machines I could stick on 16 or 17 or whatever I needed to do. I had contol and with it I could take a $20 bill and build it up to around $60 before eventually losing it all. However it took me almost an hour, sometimes more to do it and it was a heck of a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to doing it again.

Go to Vegas. Walk the streets and ride the rides. Go up into the tower that over looks the city and then later the facsimile of the Eiffel tower. Walk the halls of Rome and take the tour of New York. Walk the street where the ceiling is a theater. In the evening catch the volcano as it explodes and then the pirate show as their ship sinks beneath the waves. After the musical water ballet (a must see) take a tour of the hotel behind the lake and take in the classical art hung on their walls. While there explore their seasonable display that changes with the seasons. If hungry take a meal there and you will cherish the memory.

Flights there are reasonable. Rooms are affordable on a week end but if you can go during the week the prices can be unbelievable. Airlines, tourist agencies, various Internet travel providers and the hotel themselves can and do offer some very serious packages to get you there. They know you will gamble more than any money they might lose on a room.

When you do get to your room don’t expect a television with all the channels. They keep that form of entertainment to a minimum. They need you downstairs, not upstairs. Bring your cameras, take some pictures and take home some memories but when you do come plan to spend at least 5 days, 7 days would be even better. I know from experience that 3 days is not enough and that is why I am going back. This time it will be for 7 days.

Las Vegas is a desert town and in the summer the outside heat is unbearable. If you can try to come between October and April. The weather is usually decent and the people are a lot easier to get along with. If you drive the hotels do have free parking and it might take a few minutes to find a spot but you will. However the walk to the hotel might get a bit long. Same with a rental car if you fly in. My advice is to fly in on a Monday and walk everywhere you can. Then when you want rent a car and explore the other areas of town. Downtown Las Vegas is a must see.

Lastly don’t come to town to win. Come to have a great time and if you do win be sure to come back and do it again…see rule #2.