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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • Five days in Sin City

  • Everyone has the same reaction: Five days? FIVE?
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  • Everyone has the same reaction: Five days? FIVE?
     
    Few people can handle Vegas for three full days, much less five.
     
    I’m not sure if I’m proud to admit or ashamed to admit that two full days probably would have been enough Vegas for me.
     
    We stayed downtown on Fremont Street in the old Fitzgerald’s, now remodeled and called “The D.” 
     
    Downtown Las Vegas has undergone revitalization recently and many of the casinos and hotels have been updated and/or remodeled. However, not even locals seemed to realize this.
     
    According to the Mob Museum we visited, crime was pretty heavy in downtown Las Vegas once-upon-a-time. It was a place locals learned to stay away from. Since the revitalization, it’s become a safe place for tourists again.
     
    Since Hubby had been to Vegas once before, and thoroughly enjoyed himself, he laid down the “Rules of Thumb” for the week, in no particular order:
     
    • Play as much poker as possible, but remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
    • No cigarettes.
    • Don’t get too much sun during the day.
    • Walk The Strip at least once.
    • Try to gamble at as many casinos as possible. Things can turn stale at the same casino.
    • Always keep your wallet in your front pocket.
    • If you’re not feeling any table karma, walk away.
    • And finally, the most important “Rule of Thumb” Hubby told me was to never tell a cab driver, “Hey, I just won (x amount) of money!!!” He said legend has it that you’ll end up getting driven out to the desert, stripped, robbed and tied to a cactus.
     
    Here is how the “Rules” panned out:
     
    • I’m not a gambler and I soon discovered that poker is a solitary game that does not need to be accentuated by the presence of a non-gambling spouse.
    • Neither of us are smokers, but in Vegas you don’t need to be. The smoke inside the casinos and out on the street is enough to blacken your lungs like a die hard, three-pack-a-day smoker.
    • To me, all casinos seemed stale–with smoke, loud music and hundreds of people yelling over the incredibly loud music that never reduced the volume, even at 3 a.m.
    • I sat in the sun one day for about a half-hour and I began to get some of the color that I craved. I was a little on the pinkish side, but for me, color is color. And after this winter, warm sun on my skin felt great! 
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    We did leave the casinos of downtown to tour several places. Taxis were expensive so we used public transit. It would have been cheap, but our ideas were bigger than reality in the beginning of the week. We bought a three-day pass to The Strip for $20 each.
     
    We spent less than 12 hours on The Strip and never went back.
     
    Tourists are stationed about every 10 feet, always in the center of the sidewalk, oblivious to the foot traffic maneuvering around them, snapping photos of casinos, neon signs, street performers, bushes, rocks, the sky, everything.
     
    Prices on The Strip were through the roof compared to downtown. The bill for two burgers and a couple of drinks was nearly $100 and took the enthusiasm out of wanting to spend any more time on The Strip.
     
    The most common question we’ve been asked is: “Did you win?”
     
    Well ...
     
    As improbable as this sounds, we actually finished on the positive side after four consecutive days of gambling. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for gambling, it did pay off. Going into this trip, I was just hoping that our losses would remain under the “$100 per day” mark; so leaving Vegas at a positive $100 feels like a moral victory.
     

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