Date: 8 June.
Location: on the I-15, between Las Vegas and Palm Desert, Nevada.
Notable sightings: buffet culture, a show on The Strip, the Bellagio fountains, Paris, New York New York.
Late on Friday night three ashen zombies lurched into Paris, their brains scrambled by hours of nightmarish flying, their shrunken pupils dialating in the perma-twilight of the casino floor, driven only by the primal need to eat. (Pizza, not brains).
Half an hour later this dangerous trio had checked in, secured their prize and were ruthlessly devouring it with their hands, blood-red pizza sauce smeared on those and their faces. Then, tired and their bodyclocks maladjusted, they passed out like little lambs.
The Saturday was a smorgasbord of Vegas experiences comprising:
- Gorging: Late breakfast at Sidewalk which was so very truly terrible it was almost amazing. We were the youngest there by several decades, you could see Kino screens no matter where you looked and breakfast included all you can eat KrispyKreams.
- Gandering: Strolling the Strip. Learning that we were massively overdressed. Because we had tops on. And skirts. But no feathers. (Is there anywhere in the world where my backpack full of India-appropriate clothes and Chitwan National Park elephant tee would be less appreciated?)
- Glitzing: Stepping into Sephora and giving ourselves makeup Vegas makeovers. There was glitter.
- Gambling: With childlike fascination, playing the slot machines.
- Grilling: A mid-desert sunbake by our lagoon of a pool, overseen by scantily-attired drink servers. (Edit: just re-read that and lord, I’m such a prude!)
- Grooving: Seeing MamaMia! at The Tropicana.
- Gawking: Further meandering of The Strip, now littered with abandoned escort cards bearing images of topless hookers and people requesting our gracious prescence at their nightclubs.
Bunky and Tassels are both very health conscious girls. They’re early risers, gym bunnies and vegetarians. Like any other self respecting twentysomething girl they like to go out and gave a few (million) too many wines sometimes but they’re more conscious of the effect that has on their body than, say, me. They’ve been virtuous influences on me this trip.
And, to be completely candid, I’d really like to come back to Vegas for a little more sin some time. On a scale of one to ten — with one being an Amish virgin who’s never left her village and thinks Tinder is how you start a fire and ten being the lovechild of Prince Harry and Miley Cyrus during the bucks’ weekend of Paris Hilton’s kid — I’d say we ran about a four. My natural predilections likely tend more towards a healthy six point five.
However, this morning we definitely earned our Gluttony (de)merit badge when we indulged a favourite guilty pleasure: hitting the brunch buffet at The Flamingo. The hostess could have had no idea that, when she kindly seated the three Australian girls in the VIP section (right near the flamingos!) that she was not seating three young woman of rabbit-like appetites, but three bottomless pit monsters. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right? So I’ll only say that we amused those flamingoes for almost three hours with our buffet antics. At one point there were both crab legs and a cake pop on my plate…
Afterwards, a very kind lady took our photo in front of the flamingoes. She took a few to ‘make sure it works out’. It mostly did: Tassels and I look glowy and happy but this lovely photo of us will never see the light of day for Bunky truly looks 5 months pregnant. We cried with laughter.
By the time we’d sleepily (food-coma) decided where we actually wanted to head to today and hired a car, then extricated ourselves from Vegas’s wiles, then taken cool photos in front of the pretty mountains and poker-straight road, it was almost 6pm.
The sun is falling now as we drive through the Nevadan desert and all three of us are firmly in one of those funny, giggly, hazy and vaguely delirious mental good moods endemic to summer. The Lion King soundtrack, Queen, Katy Perry’s complete works and country music are featuring in enthusiastic evening singalong time. We’re demolishing a pack of chewy red velvet and white chocolate cookies along with bananas lifted from brunch. Bunky and I have taken more driving selfies than perhaps strictly necessary.
Edit: 9pm. I just taught the girls how to pee behind the car off the side of the road in the dark ( — Tassels slow learner, we’ve had to pause as she updated to new pair of knickers).
Edit: 10pm. Ah. We just passed our first really creepy American ‘would you like a serial killer with that?’ petrol station/diner. Ah!
Edit: 12pm. California now, winding through the hills around Palm Springs, the eerie red lights of the tall wind generators and half moon chaperoning. Onto the ABBA hits. Blame MamaMia!