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Las Vegas Trip Report
January 16, 2002

What kind of fool rides a bus for 38 hours straight?

If you're planning a trip to Vegas, let me know, and I'll try to help you with any questions! Here's one tip, don't take a 38 hour bus ride!

Las Vegas 2002

Most people would fly to a destination that was 2500km (1500 miles) from where they lived. Usually I would too, but for some reason I felt like taking a bus. There is a high supply of flights from Calgary to Las Vegas, and at the time of our travel there was a low demand. So while the bus ride was still cheaper, it wasn't by much, and it was about 26 hours longer (each way). So was it worth it?

Hardships always seem rosier when you're looking back on them. During our 30 hour (continous) bus ride from Calgary to Las Vegas, I couldn't believe I had chosen to take the bus rather than fly. However, it definitely makes you appreciate air travel, and you meet a lot of interesting people, everyone seems to have a story.

So on New Years Day at 5AM, after a night of New Year's Eve partying, my buddy Ryan and I began our bus ride to Las Vegas. There were supposed to be 4 of us, but 2 people cancelled at the last minute because they couldn't get time off work.

Interesting highlights from Vegas:

  • $0.99 3/4lb Hot Dog
    Be sure to stop in at the Westward Ho Casino on the strip and buy a $0.99 3/4lb hot dog. If you've never seen a 3/4lb hot dog you will be in for a shock. If you're male, you'll be overcome with a sense of inadequacy.

  • Mayfield The Singing Bum
    Try and find Mayfield near the north end of the strip. He'll sing you a song, give him a buck. At least he does something, and doesn't just beg for change. He claims to have a CD out. Ask him to shout out his motto, "Believe in yourself!"

  • Tom & Jerry's
    Tom & Jerry's is the big hangout for the University Of Las Vegas. I was dissapointed in this place, but we were in Vegas during winter break so maybe it would have been more fun during the school year. However, on Thursday's they have a $10 'All you can drink' deal, with free cigarettes. I don't smoke, but I still thought that was cool.

  • Saw D.T.A.
    Walking down the Strip, and I bump into a buddy of mine from Calgary. Sure Calgary has almost a million people, and Vegas is a popular tourist destination, but it's still a 'small world' when you run into someone when you don't expect to. Tom came and partied with us that night, smoked some cigars, played some blackjack.

  • Fat Tuesday's
    Go to the bottom of the MGM Grand Casino and find the little concession stand called 'Fat Tuesday's'. They have a drink that's 190 proof (95% alcohol), in slurpee form. It tastes great, and you'll be slurring in no time.

  • "The Beach"
    'The Beach' is a nightclub on Convention Centre Drive. It has a reasonable cover ($10, compared to $20 for most in Vegas) and it's one of the better nightclubs. The waitresses parade around in thong bikinis, and body shots are taken to a whole new level. All in all it's a really fun atmosphere, and they played really good music the night I was there. I recommend this place.

  • Hard Rock Cafe
    I've always hated the Hard Rock, it's a rip-off. I've never sent back food in my life, but they undercooked my hamburger so much it was still mooing. It was literally blood red throughout. They were good about replacing it though, and 4 different people apologized for the error. Anyways, the hamburger was like $13 U.S., which is around $20 canadian.....for a hamburger!

  • $69, Straight To Your Hotel Room
    The most annoying people in Vegas are the guys on every street corner who try to hand you fliers advertising their whores for sale. They continously snap the flyers together to draw your attention and then try to hand them to you. They won't harass you or even try to talk to you, but they're everywhere. After a while you just learn to tune them out.

  • The guy from Oz
    Walking through the Bellagio, Ryan spotted Chuck Zito, who plays Chuck Pancamo on Oz. We weren't 100% sure if it was him, and he was wearing a Hell's Angels jacket so we left him alone. Ryan took off somewhere, and I noticed him about an hour later eating dinner with his fiancee/girlfriend/wife. What better time to bug someone? So I went up and asked if he was the guy from Oz, and it turned out he was. He couldn't have been a nicer guy, and he really is a member of the Hell's Angels. I asked him to give a shout out to Ryan on my camcorder and he did (although upon later review I noticed he called him 'Brian). He even took the time to plug the new season of Oz, "Starts tomorrow!"

  • "Double down dad"
    When you gamble for hours on end at the blackjack table you're bound to meet some characters. We met one obnoxious guy who thought he knew everything about blackjack. Now during our 30 hour bus ride we had plenty of time to learn blackjack strategy. I won't claim we were experts, but we definitely knew what we were doing. On top of that, we were winning. Nevertheless, this guy would always blurt out stuff like "Double down dad!" (telling one of us to double down our bet) or he would always say "I hate the way you play!" He was one of the guys we would find still playing the next morning after we woke up.

  • Obnoxious cigar smokers
    When you're in Vegas, you have to be obnoxious for at least one night. Grab some cigars, have a few drinks, and head over to the $1 minimum blackjack tables where the real fun is. Try to ash your cigar in the ashtray, but if ya miss and hit the table oh well. The dealers will hate the smoke being blown in their face, so be sure to tip them well. Order free drinks from the cocktail waitress while placing your high roller bets. Become more obnoxious.

  • Stratosphere Rides
    The roller coaster is lame, but the 'Big Shot' ride is really good. Do this one during the day, it's more exciting because you can see the entire city. Also, once you're up there, you can go on the ride again for $3. Check the coupon book they give you at the Stratosphere for a '2 for 1' pass.

  • Elvis song
    There is this one song that played continously on the slot machines beside the blackjack tables at the Sahara. I still hear it in my sleep.....I want to find a sound clip of it. Apparently it's the song that was used to introduce Elvis.

  • Plane Crazy
    Well we decided to extend our stay in Vegas by 2 nights, we were having too much fun to go home. Unfortunately we didn't have a hotel room for the night, and if we checked in at 2AM we would have had to leave by 11AM. So in order to get the room for the entire day, we had to wait until 8AM. You might think in a city that never sleeps it wouldn't be hard to stay up until 8AM, but things definitely slow down after 5AM.

    After walking all day, I was exhausted, and all I wanted to do was sleep but we had to wait for 3 more hours. So we walked around some more, in a zombie-like state, and when you start going delirious things become amusing. One of those jogging spandex queers ran by, you know those guys that have spandex suits so tight you can count the ripples on his sack. Man, and the way he was running.......it was just too much.

    And then it seemed every casino we walked into had one of those 'Wheel Of Fortune' slot machines and it would shout out "Wheel!......Of!.........Fortune!" in that deliberately slow, raspy voice. You have to imagine the state of mind I was in, and it just sounded hilarious. Everywhere I went....WHEEL .....OF......FORTUNE. WHEEL.......OF......FORTUNE......And no matter what time it is in Vegas you can't escape the noise, everywhere you go there's the bling-bling of slot machines, and the clink-clink of coins, it never stops. Never. No matter where you go, there's no escaping it. WHEEL......OF......FORTUNE.

    So finally we had to stop somewhere, and went to a hotel lobby and sat in front of a big screen TV. The big news story was plastered all over it, about Charles Bishop the 15-year old kid who crashed a Cessna into a bank building out of support for Bin Laden. This tragic story was being covered by FOX News, and my incredibly tired mind was trying to comprehend the event, it was hard enough just to focus on watching television.

    All of a sudden I noticed the caption on the bottom of the screen...."PLANE CRAZY"..... and burst out laughing. It was one of those laughs that was amplified by my fatigue and shock that FOX would use such a colorful play on words to describe such a terrible event. "PLANE CRAZY"....

    And as if that weren't bad enough, they alternated it with another news caption at the bottom which said "KAMIKAZE KID".... Jeeeezus....I love FOX. All class, all the way.

  • PA Crew
    I won't reveal too much about them, since I didn't ask if they wanted to be mentioned on my site, but they were a fun group of 4 from the state of Pennsylvania. We partied with them for 2 nights and they were a big reason why we stayed. We smoked some cigars together, played some blackjack, had quite a few drinks and even more laughs. On vacations & trips it's often the people you meet that turn out to be the most entertaining and interesting part.

  • "Lobsters from Maine."
    I saved my favorite story for last. We're walking down the street and this guy comes up to us and starts chatting with us. I don't even remember how the conversation started, but he was asking us if we like sports, and being Canadian we mention hockey. He asked us who our 3 favorite players were, blah blah blah. He mentioned that his brother used to own a bar right across from the Boston Garden (he definitely had a Boston accent). He told us a story about how Bobby Orr used to come in and sign autographs for all the kids, and if he couldn't make it, he'd have someone buy pizza for all them.

    After talking to us for a while he mentions that he just lost a bunch of money at the Casino, and they comped him with tickets to the Blue Man show. He tells us we can have them if we want 'em, since he's going back to Boston right away and won't be able to go.

    "Sure!" we say, we'd love to see the Blue Man show. "Alright," he says, "Let's go find a phone and I'll have guest services switch them over to your name." So we walk a ways and find a pay phone, and he gives me the number to call. I ask for V.I.P., and then Boston takes the phone from me and starts talking, the conversation went something like this:

    "Hey it's me.......yeah you guys got me again, 4 grand this time.......Hey you know those comped tickets you guys gave me, I wanna switch 'em over to another name. What's that? A buffet?

    [turns to us] "Hey guys, there's a buffet too, you hungry?

    [us] "We sure are mister!"

    [continues talking on phone] "Hey where are the seats anyways?"

    [turns to us] "3rd row center guys."

    [us] "Wow, awesome. You're the best!"

    [continues conversation] "Hey what's your name, what name should I put 'em under?"

    [me] "Myden.....Chris Myden.....M - Y - D - E N

    [continues conversation] "Alright buddy, thanks a lot, hey next time I'm up I'll bring ya some lobsters from Maine."

    [hangs up the phone] "Now make sure you guys use these tickets, they're great seats, and I'd hate to see them go to waste."

    "Well gollee of course mister! Thanks a heap!"

    Now if it sounds too good to be true.......it always is. Here's where things take a turn:

    "Alright guys I'm outta here, you don't think you could help a guy out and lend me some money for a taxi & a pack of smokes?"

    Now I'm far from gullible, and more cynical than most, so a few warning bells went off. But there was a conflict in my conscious. What if this guy is for real? I don't want to just blurt out, "Oh fuck off you scammer." So I gave him some money for smokes, and Ry gave him money for a taxi.

    After he left, I turned to Ry and said, "I think we just got scammed." Ry thought the same thing, and we both started laughing. So we went to the payphone and called the same number. The number was real, but the guy in V.I.P. services said this guy has been calling all week, and has pulled the same scam numerous times.

    I have to admit, this guy was good, and looking back I love all the little 'extras' he throws in to the fake conversation. "Lobsters from Maine".....brilliant. I still wonder if the Bobby Orr story was true, or his brother owning a bar across the street from the garden. Somehow I doubt it.

    I looked at it as entertainment, and as a shoe shiner we met shortly thereafter put it, "You paid a little bit of money for a lot of experience."

    Everything about Las Vegas is geared towards taking money from you, The casinos are designed with few actual exits, and the drinks are free so you'll get drunk and gamble more. It's the most crass, superficial, artificial, greedy city on earth......and I can't wait to go back again.

    Related: Las Vegas Trip Image Gallery