Viva Las Vegas? Why did my oldest college friend and I go to Las Vegas? Because he didn’t go to Iceland! Makes sense, right?
MAK and I were hanging out at a bar/restaurant in Albany. He told me he and a friend would fly out of Stewart Airport in Newburgh. It’s pretty reasonably priced. So MAK was excited for about 48 hours until his friend got injured moving furniture; he was bummed.
This led to a conversation about travel more broadly. I said, “You know, somewhere I really don’t ‘get’? Las Vegas!” MAK said he’d been there several times. Did I want to go there with him? Hmm. (Actually, I misunderstood him. He had been there but one time but for over a week.)
On the one hand, gambling doesn’t interest me. The few times I’ve been stuck at a casino, always with other people, I was bored silly. On the other hand, there are still 20 states I’ve never been to, and Nevada was one of them. I was up for an adventure.
The window had to be between September 13 and 28. It was after my Anthropocene Reviewed review at the APL and before my annual physical. Moreover, my wife has a timeshare she took over from her parents, and there were points to be used or lost by the end of September. Also, while my wife’s job is busy in September, it’s busier in October, so she could feed the cats.
I asked Mark Evanier, a comic book and TV cartoon writer, among many other things. “As someone who has been [to Las Vegas] a lot, what would you consider are the must-sees (if any) and avoid that like the plagues in 2023?
He replied: “Well, I haven’t been there for several years and have very little interest in returning to a city that for many years was like a second home to me.”
Still, he answered at length. “Perhaps take in a show. They’ve gotten way outta hand price-wise, but in many of those hotel clusters, you’ll find booths with names like Tix 4 Tonight that sell same-day tickets for reduced prices. You can also sometimes find deals through Groupon. Unfortunately, the real superstars who play the city usually only play on the weekend…when I told you not to go…
“But not everything costs money. Walking around and sightseeing doesn’t…yet. So you can have a good time…and one final tip: Avoid (1) street performers who want you to pay them to pose for a photo, (2) prostitutes and (3) the folks who are trying to sell you time-share deal. Actually, (2) and (3) aren’t are all that different except that with (3), the screwing is way more expensive and goes on forever.”
I kept that in mind.