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Wednesday January 16, 2008 // By Sarah

Vegas: pretty OK, it turns out

I had planned to never go to Las Vegas. Specifically. I had singled out that particular town and said, on many occasions, “I will never go there.”

But, like many well-laid plans, this one hit a bump. Matthew and Johanna decided to get married there, and we wanted to go to their wedding more than I wanted to not go to Vegas, and so off to Caesar’s Palace we went.

I have something of a gambling phobia, probably a combination of a temperamental aversion to risk and a lifetime of hearing stories about my dad’s dad who was a serious gambler. I don’t enjoy gambling, but more than that, I don’t even like being around it. It makes me really, really sad. So, I was a little nervous that the constant gaming was going to freak me out.

But what I hadn’t counted on was that Las Vegas is pretty much Disney World. And like at Disney, everything is really clean and surreal. There may have been really sad people in Las Vegas losing all their money, but I sure didn’t see any through the neon haze. Or, maybe I did, but the flashing lights short-circuited my brain so I don’t remember.

I was so out of it that when Sandy decided to set down $100 at a $10 blackjack table, I didn’t blink when he staked me my own $10 and told me to take a seat. I never bet more than $10 and I promptly forgot everything he had told me about doubling and splitting, but in the end, I probably made like $60 on my $10. And it was fun. Not fun like I’m dying to do it again, but fun like it didn’t make me cry or throw up, and I remember it sort of fondly. Vegas should count this as a huge success.

Vegas also scores points for the Caesar’s Palace rabbi, who puts on a really nice wedding; the $7 roller coaster at Circus Circus – no line, two loops, and two corkscrews; The Star Trek Experience complete with the Borg Queen literally in your face via 3D glasses, grabby mechanical chairs, and insane space ship maneouver-induced vertigo; the fountains at the Bellaggio, which really do look like they’re dancing, which it’s totally fun to watch; and last but certainly not least, the Pinball Hall of Fame, a stripmall storefront packed tight with pinball and arcade games, all playable, most for under a dollar. Oh, and the food: really, really good, pretty much everywhere we went.

So, while I never intend to return, Vegas turned out to be a pretty OK place to be part of a lovely celebration for two of our favorite people. Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Aron.

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