Las Vegas is an unusual place. On Saturday evening, the city is full of thin, short-skirted perfectly formed young ladies with cocktail glasses and shiny-shoed hairbrush friendly suitors coolly beside them in lounges and around poker tables, but by Sunday afternoon they have all morphed into plump t-shirt wearing middle-aged midwesterners in ill-fitting shorts and flip-flops, dragging their feet through glitzy bars looking for the buffet, and emptying their wallets into the slot machines. I'm starting to fall into category B, I realise (I would come under 'football-shirt wearing Londoners with hangovers' but I didn't have a hangover, and I'd left my football shirt at home). It's where America mixes which each other, Vegas, and it's a funny old place. I've been there many times now, and last weekend we visited Sin City for my wife's birthday, taking in the amazing Cirque du Soleil show 'Love' (the one with all the Beatles songs) and having quite amazing food at the Venetian. We stayed at the Mirage; that's the view from our window, sketched above.
This is the view down the Las Vegas Strip, the ever changing skyline and parade of glowing lights stretching off into the distance. Beyond, the usually dusty mountains were awash with snow, an unusual sight for us, and while it was cold, it remained sunny. Inside the casinos, day and night are pretty indistinguishable.
And here's Las Vegas for you in a nutshell - a slot machine, and a buffet. The dreaded Wheel of Fortune machine - you win on it once, on a different trip, and then that's almost all you play when you come back, and it starts hoovering up your money. I think I was hoping to win big to start a 'Lisbon' fund but it didn't quite work out. Wheel of Misfortune more like. I did win $10 in one of those Star Wars machines though - the Force is with me, for sure. And of course, the Buffet, you have to do a Buffet. This was breakfast and there was a LOT to eat, and I tried to eat it as well. I don't normally sketch my food, but I needed a break between bites of chocolate mousse. I didn't eat that donut, if you're wondering, and the croissant I saved for later and then forgot about. Viva Las Vegas!
by Pete Scully