Victoria in Vegas: Day Two – First Impressions

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OK, let’s start with the basics: Everything in Las Vegas is oriented around The Strip – the six-lane highway that cuts right through the heart of the city. On both sides are the vast casino-hotel complexes which are stacked and racked, all packed in close to each other, meaning you can walk from Venice to Rome, then on to New York and Ancient Egypt all in a morning.

Not that walking is *that* big a thing here as I’ve never seen so many escalators and travelators in my whole life. It’s amazing! There are up and down escalators on each and every bridge crossing The Strip – elevators too – and any stretch of walkway that’s longer than twenty metres, without question, has a travelator.

Now, you may think I’m heading into a casual body-shaming observation about laziness and obesity, especially as this is America. But you’d be wrong. These are terrific ideas!

Walking around, I saw so many people with more limited mobility being able to get out and see more of the sights – to really take in more of Vegas – because of these additions. They are encouraging people to be more active, hard as that may seem to grasp at first. But when you see people with walking frames using the travelators to get to the Bellagio fountains, or grans using the escalators to keep up with their young grandkids desperate to see the King and Queens at Excalibur, you realise they can make meaningful positive impact.

And, frankly, The Strip is bloody lengthy, even for a walk-aholic like me. (It’ s over four miles long). There is so much to see – it’s a visual overload both day and night – and all these little boosts are, frankly, damn welcome when you (i.e. me) are traipsing endlessly. (21,000 steps per my pedometer – and that’s just my first day!)

So, I’d argue that the electronic walkways, whether they go up, down or straight on, are absolutely bliss. And inclusive too.

Another thing I love so far about Vegas? The restrooms. Cross my heart and hope to die if there isn’t an exquisitely furnished and clean set of public bathrooms every twenty metres in this town. Sure, I know it’s largely to ensure that gamblers don’t leave the casino floors for longer than necessary, but it is heaven, HEAVEN, I tell you!

And I’ve not queued once. Though that may have something to do with the fact that Vegas is EMPTY.

Seriously, the casino floors are deserted. As I walk through the acres of sparkling slot machines, there’s barely a soul at any of them. The croupiers at the poker and baccarat tables are slumped on their feet, not a player in front of them. They stand almost like sleeping soldiers – alert and upright in the body, but zoned out in the eyes.

Where is everybody? Admittedly, though it is only Thursday. Friday and the weekend should bring in Vegas’s weekly harvest of partygoers. But I know there must be *some* people here because I can smell them. No, not like that. What I mean is this….

I appreciate I am the least streetwise person on the face of the earth but I did not know that marijuana was legal in Nevada. That, basically, Vegas was Amsterdam but Stateside.

The air here just reeks of weed. And not just like how it is in London where you pass a guy smoking it because he knows the police don’t really give a shit anymore and he’s basically just doing it for show… Whatever. No, here it is bonafide legal. As in there are billboards advertising dealers.

Amazing. You think you know Vegas but it’s only my first day here and I’m already surprised!

Food

You’ve got to think carefully about food in this town. Vegas sells itself on the fact that, if you gamble, the drinks are free. That means it’s looking to recuperate in other ways. Las Vegas is a town where a one-dollar bet could make you a millionaire but a slice of pizza costs eight bucks.

OK, so, starting as I mean to go on, breakfast was at Mon Ami Gabi in Paris, Las Vegas as I’d heard that it was the best place for brekkie and, well, I bloody loved it! Incredibly this was the first main venue to arrange outside seating on The Strip, so you can eat your crepes, croissants, or – in my case – eggs benedict with salmon en plein air watching the world pass by.

The place is set up as a French brasserie, and it has all the dark wood furnishings and small round tables to give that feel. You want to make sure you specifically request to sit outside though. When you first come in and give how many people in your party, the staff are trained to respond with, ‘We can sit you inside straight away.’ Which is, of course, met with nods and agreement.

However, if you respond with, ‘How long for outside?’ You’ll often find the wait is quite short. My wait of fifteen minutes was well worth it as I could a seat right at the foot of the Eiffel Tower (you know what I mean). Vantage point and great food = happy Victoria. At $25 for brekkie, it may not be cheap but I’ve a feeling that’s pretty standard in this town.

Late lunch I decided to hit the top first and go with what’s, apparently, the best buffet in town – The Buffet at Wynn Las Vegas. And, come to Mama, it is high-quality food. Fifteen serving stations producing excellent cuisine, whether it be Asian, Italian, salads or a carvery. And, praise the Lord, includes all-you-can-eat dim sum and gelato. 😍😍😍 And it’s healthy food too in a light-filled room. Hallelujah! And at thirty dollars, it makes for a cheaper meal than pretty much any restaurant in town.

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  1. Posted by Charlie, at Reply

    I love reading your wonderful blog, it really makes me feel I’m there. I once went back in 2004 and briefly went into Paris casino but I’ve lived and fealt more of it then I ever did in my memory just from reading about your experience. You are genuinely a beautiful writer.