Though my youthful days of nocturnal casino carousing are long gone, the siren song of the craps and blackjack tables still beckoned. That is, until I saw the room service menu prices, and that quickly faded.
$26 for a hamburger?
$18 for a pot of coffee?
$9 for a bottle of water?
But cost was no matter. We were going to make the most of our three days and two nights of G-rated debauchery. Within 20 minutes of check-in, we saw the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and a roller coaster coming out of the New York skyline; a pyramid, a giant golden lion, the Eiffel Tower; a castle, a rain forest and a Transformer willing to be photographed for a nominal fee.
Our first stop was a place all three of my ladies had been dreaming about for months: the M&M Store. No ordinary candy counter, this is a four-story monument to the lovable candy-coated chocolate morsels. Time stood still as we perused the selection of key rings, underwear, plush toys, multi-colored jumbo packs and a full-sized NASCAR race car emblazoned with the M&M logo.
I may never eat one again.
Getting around Vegas is easy, if you're a competitive walker or professional running back. Otherwise, with kids and limited time, taxis are the only (yet costly) way to go. The monorail is a nice idea, but borderline useless at $5 per person one-way, with stops a half mile from the attractions you want to see.
Besides, the most enlightening conversations you'll ever have are with cab drivers. Among them was a Vietnam vet conspiracy theorist (“Wanna know what I think about UFOs?”) and a too-friendly former school teacher with encyclopedic knowledge of the city (“Did you know that Vegas visitors consume 60,000 pounds of shrimp per day?”).
Oddly, besides the weather (“Was it cold where you came from?”), the most frequent topic for Vegas cabbies is how horrible traffic is in L.A. Who knew?