Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Plus, it’s a Dry Heat

I just got back from a trip to Las Vegas. P. and I made a surgical strike, spending barely 24 hours in the city. The plan was to see a show (Avenue Q) and meet up with some L.A. cousins for a short, sweet trip. And that turned out to be just about right.

I may be the one person in history who found Las Vegas to be less tacky than imagined. I really expected wall-to-wall Liberace-style excess, but it just wasn’t as bad as I expected. We did a smart thing by staying at the Las Vegas Hilton, which is about as low-key as Vegas gets. The swanky properties have Wal-Mart -size casinos and shows by over-the-top personalities like Elton John and Celine Dion. The Hilton, on the other hand, has Barry Manilow as its artist in residence, and a Star Trek-themed casino.

Really my biggest disappointment was discovering that the casinos are all moving towards computerized slot machines. Very few take coins anymore, and there isn’t always a lever to pull. Somehow feeding your credit card into the slot and hitting the spin button just doesn’t have the same tactile reward. And I actually miss handling the filthy coins, but that’s just me.

One good thing about Las Vegas: If I wear my regular clothes in New York City, I feel like a hayseed. But if I wear that same outfit at, say, the New York, New York casino, sure I look like a tourist, but everyone’s a tourist, so I fit right in. I’ve never felt so free to gawk or keep my camera handy at a tourist attraction in my life.

The other good thing about Vegas? Dozens of flights home daily.

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