When I was a child, I loved hot dogs. Whenever we had cookouts, we grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, mostly because they were cheaper than steak or chicken, and we were not rich. One summer day at a cookout, I ate one too many hot dogs and got really sick. Really, really sick. For years after that, I couldn’t even think about hot dogs or look at them or smell them–let alone eat them–without feeling nauseated.
Why am I telling you this story? I was in Las Vegas in early May. I had an epiphany when that trip was over: Vegas is my hot dog.
I’ve gorged on Las Vegas for the past fifteen years and finally, it made me sick. Sick to the point I couldn’t wait to get home, and I didn’t want to write about my trip, process my photos or anything. I just wanted to forget about it and focus on other parts of my life. So that’s what I’ve been doing the past few months. Honestly, I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner.
It’s not that I had a terrible trip. There were many highlights.
I paid for the cheapest room type and still somehow scored a kickass view of the Park and T-Mobile Arena from my room at the Monte Carlo. See?
(I, for one, am really going to miss the Monte Carlo as a budget resort option on the Strip.)
I saw three terrific shows–The Beatles’ LOVE at the Mirage; Billy Idol at the House of Blues, and Lionel Richie at Planet Hollywood. I highly recommend them all. If there’s one thing Las Vegas really excels at, it’s shows.
I spent some lovely mornings reading by the pool at Monte Carlo or reading at Sambalatte. It was very relaxing.
I had some enjoyable meals at Brand Steakhouse, Bruxie, the Yard House, Aria Cafe, and California Pizza Kitchen.
I saw the Bellagio Conservatory’s Japenese Tea Garden display before it changed over for the summer season.
I got to check out the new Park between Monte Carlo and New York New York. Basically, it has some good eateries and lots of outdoor space to hang out when the weather’s nice.
As I’ve already written, I used Lyft almost exclusively on this trip and it was an excellent experience. I’ll probably never go back to cabs again.
Most importantly, I got to see my friends JoAnna and Cory before they moved to the Ukraine. Okay, I only got to see Cory for about 5 minutes, but better than nothing. Seeing them was my primary motivation for making the trek to Vegas when I did, so in that regard…Mission Accomplished. (Future trips to Vegas just won’t be the same without you guys! I will miss you!)
But I also had a hard time finding new things to do during the day. The temperatures were much hotter than they were supposed to be (in the 90s and almost 100 one day). I got severely dehydrated and sick as a dog one day and didn’t recover for the rest of the trip. It was 100% my own fault, but it put me in a very bad mood. I missed out on 4 meetups with friends and cancelled my stay Downtown.
On the bright side, I read the entire second book of Game of Thrones while I was there, which is 768 pages long. But I could have done that for free if I’d stayed home.
So yeah, the bloom is off the rose. The honeymoon is over. Vegas and I needed to go on a “break,” which is why you haven’t seen any blog posts from me all summer. I needed to focus on my “real life” for awhile. Going forward, I plan to focus my travel budget and time on new destinations and new experiences. (First up: San Francisco!)
But let’s not kid ourselves: Eventually, I will go back. (Maybe even sooner than I think.) At least I learned some valuable lessons on this trip that will change the way I visit Las Vegas in the future:
- No more weekends. Weekends are crowded and noisy and expensive–all things I hate. Also, there seem to be more drunken idiots wandering around on the weekends. I’m not a fan of that, either. And get off my lawn!
- I’d like to stay at a nicer hotel and not worry about pinching pennies to stretch my budget over an entire week. So from now on, when I am ready to go back to Vegas, my trips will be shorter. This will also hopefully solve my problem about finding new things to do during the day.
- I can’t tolerate the heat any more. So traveling to Vegas from May through September is no longer an option for me.
- I may try to travel to Vegas with a friend or two next time. That might help me see the city through fresh eyes.
A few weeks ago, I started to read Vegas articles again on my favorite blogs and listen to my favorite Vegas podcasts. I’m hearing about new restaurants and shows and other things happening in Vegas and thinking “Ooh, I’d like to go there!” or “I’d like to see that!” Finally, this week, I thought it was time to break my long silence on this blog, after I was inspired by a post over at Vegastripping that touched on the same things I’d been feeling about Las Vegas recently. The difference is that I’m still not at a place where I’m back in love with Vegas again. I’m sure it will happen in time, but I’m not there yet.
More soon. I think enough time has passed since my trip that I can start to process my experiences with some objectivity in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, enjoy the last blast of summer wherever you are!