The capitol of weird!

And I say that as someone who grew up in Orlando, so I know me some weird. Actually, Vegas is kind of like a grown-up Disney world, just with booze, cigarettes and gambling instead of anthropomorphic mice and disturbingly cheerful guest services.

We stayed downtown, which we tend to do since the Strip has just gotten bananas in the last 10 or so years. It's seriously like trying to walk through 10 malls just to get to another casino. Booo on that. Downtown also tends to be less expensive, re: food and booze. We stayed at the Golden Nugget because, frankly, look at this fucking pool:

Yes, that's a waterslide going through the shark tank.

We were there 10 minutes and I proceeded to become best pals with a local bartender. Finally I was pried away from my booze muse to play some craps. We did ok. Then I met the rogue party of British tourists who declared I looked exactly like Catherine Tate and had me do "I ain't bovvered" impressions into their phones so they could send the recordings back to friends all over England. I AM FAMOUS, Y'ALL. Then we saw a guy dressed as Jack Sparrow viciously kicking a pigeon. At a Starbucks. I mean, c'mon. Jack Sparrow buying overpriced coffee? That's just bleak, man.

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We also had dinner at this place called The Golden Steer, which is like the steakhouse equivilent of a hot-air balloon full of tits. It's pretty great. It just looks like the place Frank Sinatra punched someone in the face. We also got the owner to show us where there was some insane mob shootout decades earlier, which I imagine is something any owner of ANY place in Vegas is happy to show the yokels.

It's in a strip-mall on Sahara, but don't let the outside fool you. It's swank as fuck. There we ALSO met a guy claiming to be Nixon's nephew, doing Nixon impressions and wearing what appeared to be a fanny-pack. Back on Fremont St, we were nearly accosted by a young fellow who, when brushed off, grouchily said, "I mean, I just wanted to put you both up in a helicopter. That's all." We wisely decided against such a helicopter ride.

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Note: The poverty and pan-handling on Fremont was really, really bad this year. Worse that we've seen it in a while. Very sad.

Then my BFF came into town. She lives in LA so I never get to see much of her, given we live on separate coasts. But we had a fucking BALL. Spent way too much money at the pool on drinks, but the drink lady was so nice and, hell, we were in VEGAS. Mr. MacNasty, not wanting us to trouble ourselves by, you know, MOVING, brought us both ice-cold shrimp cocktails from The Best Tail in Town (at Du-Pars, in the Golden Gate) to enjoy poolside, which we totally did, making everyone sitting near us jealous. BWAHAHAHA.

I broke a chair at a bar, thinking I could pick it up and scootch it closer. It was unschootchable and instead I lifted the top off the base of the damn thing. I drunkenly gave directions to the elevators in French, apparently well-enough to get the nice tourists to where they were going. My BFF: "You still speak French?" Me: "Well, not when I'm sober."

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We didn't win a lot, but we didn't lose, either. Lessons learned: In the desert, you should have access to plenty of water at all times. Don't ever try to steal a pit boss's hat, no matter how jaunty it would look on you. If a steak is only 4.99, there is a reason — that reason might be botulism. If a midget dressed as a Transformer yells for your attention, do not make eye contact. Also, I'm fairly sure it would be easy to buy meth anywhere on Fremont, not that should be on anyone's agenda. Finally, don't forget to come home to the Groupthink that loves you. :)