I love Las Vegas.
For about 36 hours then I'm done, done, done. I angrily snatch up my remaining coins and even the marathon 6 hour drive back home through the desert seems better than one more minute in an air-conditioned den of thieves.
That's right, I didn't win.
I still remember that time I did though, every time I sit down at that slot machine I remember July 2003. I was waiting for some friends at the front door of the Flamingo and we were heading on to the Strip. Someone gave me $5 and I was sitting by a $1 slot machine. I never play $1 slots, that's for you 'high rollers'. But this wasn't my money so it was fair game. First try I won $20, second spin I won $230 and I kept crying, 'holy shit, this isn't just quarters, this is dollars, this is real money'.
My friend Christy sauntered up and I gleefully relayed my news; she said 'you fucking bitch'. Spoken like a true friend.
Not this time though, even though I try and replicate the moment by playing machines near a doorway (guaranteed higher odds due to higher visibility winning!!) and at about 8pm (peak time!!). It's all a load of rubbish isn't it? I should know, I got my A in Maths with Statistics. I can throw down a Poisson Distribution with the best of them. I get lulled by the enticing burbling of the machines, by the omnipresent 'ca-ching-ching-ching' of someone else striking it rich (no doubt piped into the room along with the oxygenated air). Fortunately this time I'd blown most of my play money on Anna's trip to the ER so I was saved the ignominy of LK going 'see all that construction going on, all those new hotels? Paid for by my wife everybody. Thankyou muppet, please come again'.
So much for the recession I thought. Vegas was packed, and people were still happily pouring their money out on to the tables or into the machines (ca-ching-ching-ching). So much for the sub-prime mortgage crisis, that apparently was only our concern. Until I noticed something. There were not very many Americans there. In fact, the place was crawling with Brits. Apparently the sliding dollar is enticing them here in droves.
Do you know how you can tell a Brit from an American?
Oh ha ha, or the fact that they're asking the bemused Starbucks 'barrista' where the 'serviettes' are (I stepped in on this one - translator extraordinaire that I am).
No, the dead give away that you're looking at a Brit in America is that they're not wearing socks with their trainers/sneakers. Before I moved here I used to think all Americans were hopelessly unfashionable with their obsession for wearing white socks and trainers with everything. Now I take one look at all those pale British ankles in their Fila trainers and I think - that might work in Kirklees when it's a constant drizzly 55º in summer, but in 105º heat in Vegas, dear God man let me buy you some socks.
Despite all that, and even being pregnant and with a 3 year old in tow, we still had a good time. 36 hours in Vegas is perfect. Long enough to have fun in your hotel room (even 3 year olds sleep occasionally), long enough to show Anna the real! live! lions! at the MGM, LK taught her to say 'that's fake, that roaring, that's fake'. Our little party pooper. She loved the pools and I tried to blinker myself from the seductive looking bars with their luscious overpriced martinis and consoled myself with the thought that for once, I could out-boob anyone. Take that Vegas! Thanks for the mammories!