Inga’s Travelogue: Viva Las ARE WE THERE YET?!

Man it takes me a long time to blog about my travels. In my defence, I’m suffering through a case of the post-holiday sads. Crikey, reality is a bitch.

Anyway, Vegas is everything I’ve ever seen in movies and on TV, multiplied by ten. It was mindblowing. Which is fortunate, considering we submitted ourselves to 30 hours of air travel torture to get there. I’m getting better at travelling though, and Nikki and I were in incredibly high spirits on Wednesday morning as we were floating around Melbourne airport pondering when to start drinking. I was enjoying my last good Melbourne coffee, when Mum called to tell me she loves me. Whenever she or I leave the country, she calls to say one last ‘I love you’, as if she’s experienced some prescience that she won’t see me again. It tends to fill me with foreboding rather than warm fuzzies, but on the other hand I half expected to wind up dead in the desert somewhere too.

As it turns out, I wanted to die before we’d even left the country. We were delayed in Melbourne and again in Sydney It actually would’ve been quicker for us to drive to Sydney – up the coastal road. On the Sydney to LA leg, the drunk Aussie yob behind us decided to plonk his manky bare foot on the armrest between Nikki and I. We could feel it touching us so we were damn sure he could feel us too, and Nikki retaliated by colouring in his toenails with marking pen. As soon as he moved his disgusting clopper, we lifted the armrest up to prevent him putting it back – so he pressed our steward call button. Everyone’s mature on a 12,000km trip.


Manky clopper

We were delayed in Los Angeles too, because some dude called Obama thought he could show up and close down the air space. Who does that guy think he is, Beyonce? (We saw his cavalcade driving across the tarmac from the plane – it was nowhere near as gangster as I’d hoped.) By the time we touched down in Vegas, we’d been awake for thirty hours, and looked and smelled like we’d been crawling around inside a dead camel. In one hundred odd years of commercial aviation, you’d think they’d have made the process more passenger friendly by now. There is nothing civilised about spending fourteen hours jammed upright in a stuffy tube, marinating in the emissions of three hundred other miserable creatures. It’s barbaric.

This doesn’t mean we didn’t lose our minds when we collected our bags and saw this:

Now THIS is exciting!

Now THIS is exciting!

We successfully caught our first taxi and hesitantly paid our first tip (thanks for the hints, everyone!), then went to the check-in counter to join the first of what would be many, many, many queues in the States. Once we explored our room (no fridge, no microwave, no kettle, no tea and coffee, no biscuits – I feel like we’re a bit spoiled in Oz), we trotted downstairs for our first Vegas cocktail. Emily the bartender was a delight, so we bailed her up to explain the tipping phenomenon to us. She was thrilled to help, and explained where on the counter to leave cash tips, and printed out a fake receipt to show us how to add it to a credit card bill, and told us to wave a fiver at a bartender to get served first at a busy bar. We gave her a koala key chain for her efforts – and a tip, of course.

Everything after that was a kaleidoscopic blur of cocktails, shots, bodily contusions and the hottest damn men I’ve ever seen in my life. Seriously America, your men are STUNNING. This was Nikki and I the entire time:

Look at him..and him...and him!

Look at him..and him…and him!

I’m going to do a separate post about American men, because I think I’m in love with all of them.

We were very surprised that we didn’t see more gorgeous women. In Melbourne, we’re used to seeing flocks of sculpted, highly-preened, designer-clad women, so of course we were expecting it in spades in Las Vegas. We imagined we’d be confronted with an army of movie stars, show girls and Katy Perry, all pointing and laughing at the colonial girls with their funny accents. Instead we found gaggles of the most normal women you’ll ever see – muffin tops, dimpled arse cheeks bursting out of booty shorts, flat shoes and pony tails. It completely threw us for a loop, when we’d expected a swathe of high-maintenance bikini models straight out of a Flo-Rida film clip.

We spent our first morning in Las Vegas looking for food. We didn’t realise there was a food court in our hotel, so we traipsed all the way up to Paris before finding a little café to have breakfast. After gulping down the oiliest salad sandwich* I’ve ever eaten, we treated ourselves to an Eiffel Tower Margarita – and said a merry goodbye to our sobriety for the next week. We bought a CD from an indie rapper on the walkway from the Bellagio, then another rapper nearby gave us his album for nothing and told us to call him ‘Dark’, which made us mildly uncomfortable but he insisted it’s what his friends call him. Diplomatic as always, we threw in a couple of mild, inoffensive ’black’ jokes, and we bonded instantly. It’s difficult being unfamiliar with a cultural climate and sensitivities, but I guess that’s the beauty of exploring other countries.

This is what I call a margarita.

This is what I call a margarita.

Given that it was about 38 degrees C, we decided to hit the pool – and very quickly became acquainted with Rigo the Pool Bartender. Rigo is a 45 year old Latino with slick hair and an expensive watch, and he repeatedly plied us with free cocktails, bottles of water, called us ‘mami’ (which I enjoyed, just quietly) and told everyone we were from Australia. Everything he said was a carefully engineered concoction of English and Spanish – enough English so you understood the gist of what he was saying, and enough Spanish to appear mysterious and exotic. I also suspect it was a device to make sleazy comments without anyone calling him out. I adored Rigo, and on our last day we presented him with koala key chain for his trouble. He in turn gave us his email, phone number, and a pair of utterly poisonous cocktails to carry with us to the airport, thereby ensuring we had a blood alcohol reading the entire time we were in Vegas. Cheers, Rigo.


*American peeps: does sandwich equal ‘sub’ everywhere in the US? Where does one get the type of sandwich that involves two slices of bread?


8 thoughts on “Inga’s Travelogue: Viva Las ARE WE THERE YET?!

  1. Epic! I’m not exaggerating, you should start a travel book. Or be the next Justine for Lonely Planet. I think it would be great.

    we’d been awake for thirty hours, and looked and smelled like we’d been crawling around inside a dead camel

    LMAO. This is why I carry a toothbrush and paste with me when I travel. It’s bad enough someone should witness my bad hair, my sweat and body odor. But when I share a map with some airline guide and I might kill someone when I open my mouth, I usually rush to the bathroom to spare anyone the agony. I get strange looks in the women’s bathrooms as though people have never seen anyone brush before. I’m just being considerate, for gods sake.

    Damn, I didn’t even know about the fiver trick at the bar! And you’re right, some American men are pretty hot. Unfortunately women around the world generally outnumber men (from what I’ve heard) almost 2:1. There was an entire tv show on this village in Alaska where it’s the opposite. It’s icy freaking cold there but some women go there just to find a husband. The men are rugged, independent and desperate to find a gal. Personally I think it’s great.

    Sandwiches refer to the kind of bread you can fit in a toaster. I never thought of it as a regional thing but that’s interesting – maybe it is. At least here, a sub is one of those loooong sandwiches with 2 long, thick buns (insert filthy joke here) with lots of meat and mayo. Think Subway. A burger or a BLT are both sandwiches that come with lots of meat between 2 buns.

    Technically speaking every sandwich has 2 pieces of bread. Unless you ask for it “open faced”, where one slice of bread is left to the side. I think sometimes there is only one slice on those, but otherwise it’s always stuff between 2 slices.

    • Yeah, I feel like I’m developing a real talent for spewing my cultural ignorance all over the planet 😛

      The toothbrush is a good idea – I would’ve killed for one! I settled for chewing gum, but my teeth still felt like I’d been chewing flour.

      Well, guess I’ll be going to Alaska for my next holiday 😉

      See, I agree with your definition of sandwich/sub. But all over Vegas, whenever I wanted a sandwich I ended up with a sub…I mean I do love a good sub, but it made me curious whether sandwiches actually exist! Foccacias are a big thing over here too, and I didn’t see any there.

  2. If you want a sandwich that involves two slices of bread, you need to go to a deli counter. Preferably inside a liquor store. Seriously, they have the best ones.

    “enough English so you understood the gist of what he was saying, and enough Spanish to appear mysterious and exotic”
    Yeah, that’s what we locals call “Spanglish,” and it no longer sounds exotic or mysterious to us native gringos. 🙂

    • Wait, you have delis inside liquor stores? I’m moving to your country.

      Haha, yeah I’m guessing Spanglish isn’t quite so exciting when you live there! I think he was one of the only people we spoke to who wasn’t homespun American though.There really isn’t a big ethnic mix in Vegas – you’d think for one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world, it’d be a whole melting pot of different nationalities…but it was very, very white.

      • Not all of them of course, but look for the ones that say “Market” or “Deli” alongside all the other stuff like ATM, Beer/Wine/Liquor, Checks Cashed, Money Orders, etc.

        That’s surprising to me, too. I’d expect a pretty diverse mix of people, especially amongst the workers. Here in SD we got it all: Mexicans, Whites, Blacks, Philippinos, Indians, Ethiopians, Israelis, and a number of displaced New Yorkers (who are like a race unto themselves). 🙂

  3. Thanks for the tip … my vacation plans are to go to Melbourne and see the “highly sculpted” women! I’ll drop my wife off at your dad’s place on the way …

    30 hours in a metal tube doesn’t sound fun at all.

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