Sunday, May 22, 2011

On the Open Road

I'm currently in the midst of a cross-country road trip while trying very hard not to think about what I will do when I get back (read: keep trying to get a job).  Fortunately, I'm not making the trip alone - I have with me a good friend from high school.

Unfortunately for anyone who reads this blag, I am blagging the trip.  So here we go:

Day 1 (Thurs, May 19)

Ah, Las Vegas.  The city that says what every other city is thinking.  Everything you’d have to work to find in other cities, everything they sweep under the rug for the fa├žade of decency, is right there, brazen and neon.

However, to reach Las Vegas from Los Angeles, we had to drive for about five hours across the desert, which is the flattest place I can remember being (though, I expect it will be “topped” in the days to come).

Barring times I have been on the ocean, it was the farthest I can remember being able to see while standing on a level with the horizon.

The desert was actually surprisingly verdant, supporting a niche ecosystem of shrubs, cacti, and kangaroo rats (we didn’t see any of those, unfortunately, but I read about them in a rest stop bathroom, which I take to be authoritative on the matter.  As the bathroom informed me, they get much of their water from plant seeds.).

In any case, we eventually hit the inaptly named "Primm," Nevada at the border, and then Jeane, a pair of miniature Las Vegases that have apparently sprouted up along the path to the real deal.  They're probably better places to play cards, though, given the lower betting minimums that they so aggressively advertised.  Shortly after those two, we reached Las Vegas itself.

We stayed in the Flamingo hotel, because it offered an extremely reasonable price for the nights that we were there.  It was very pink.

We spent the first part of our evening wandering around the casinos (The Flamingo, Bill’s, Paris, Bally’s, the Bellagio, Caesar’s) sightseeing and looking for cheap food (with limited success in regard to the latter).  The food court at Caesar's fell just within the area of overlap between my viciously competing desires to eat decent food and to overpay as little as possible.  Also, we were kind of running out of time before...

Absinthe, which was some kind of show I knew nothing about, but my traveling partner insisted we should see based on something he read on the interblags.  After seeing it, I'm still not sure what it was, but I can give an impression.  It was kind of like Cirque du Soleil with a grandiose Rocky Horror Picture Show aesthetic, a running motif of alcoholism, and seats no more than 10 feet from the 8-foot diameter stage in the center of the tent.  This third factor, how DARNED CLOSE you were to the action, was really what differentiated it from other, similar acts I have seen in the past - even the furthest seats in the (small) house are no more than 30 feet away.  It was hosted by a man who reminded me almost disturbingly of a good friend of mine and his coked-up assistant who liked to read the audience her real life erotic fanfiction as accompanied by sock puppets.  Protip: Do not sit in the first row unless you wish to be the butt of a great many jokes throughout the show.

After Absinthe, we wandered around the casinos some more, sightseeing and trying to find cheap drinks that didn't require us to actually gamble to get them (with limited success in regard to the latter).  Eventually, we found something satisfactory, and then crashed for the night.



  1. Max, you should have known you could only take a little bit of absinthe before you got sick of it. I thought we established that the other week.


  2. Hurr hurr.

    I liked the show much more than the drink. I would actually recommend it pretty highly if you're in Vegas.