Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Vegas for Kids? Ummm, not so much.
So, we headed to Vegas. Navigating insanely busy freeways in a car that was so packed I couldn't see out the back windows was a bit stressful. Girl Child for the first time panicked about her lane changing approval duties, which doesn't work so well when your lane is ending and your going 75 miles an hour. While she mumbled "uuummm, uummm, ummm" I hollered something calm and reassuring like "We need to change lanes or we're gonna die!"
As we pulled onto the strip, we were not only bombarded by people everywhere and noise, but by sign trucks- the ones that are basically a lit up billboard on wheels. I've seen these for soda and cars before, but these were selling women, or renting them at least. Each truck was plastered with about 5 larger than life and practically bare, thong wearing womens' backsides. They had a number you could call to get HOT GIRLS 2 U IN 20 MINS! There was one on every single block too.
It got worse when we parked and got out. On every corner there were at least 4 people trying to hand out fliers for the "hot girls." They all appeared to be fairly recent arrivals to the US, and I couldn't help but wonder if this was the American dream they had imagined. Standing on a street corner in a bright orange T-shirt advertising women for rent. Yes, I'm a little older now, and I'm a mother so that naturally changes my perceptions of the world, but I'm pretty sure I would have remembered the blatant selling of women and all those bare butts on signs.
Girl Child said "So, they must kind of be losers if they have to pay for a date, right?" Yes, that's right.
Boy Child could not fathom why we had to look at all those butts. When he saw one billboard with a backside that had a playing card and another had a dollar bill in the tiny fabric covering them, he was baffled and noted "That's not very sanitary."
We even noticed a woman who looked to be in her late 60's handing out the date for hire fliers. Seriously? Girl Child couldn't believe that a Grandma was doing that job. We wondered if she was probably the real "hot girl" you got a date with after you pre-payed. Boy Child said "It's like those fast food burgers that look all big and tasty on the commercial, and then you buy it and it's flat and gross." I nearly spit my coffee out on the street laughing at that one. I suppose if my sweet, innocent kids did have to be exposed to these unpleasantries, at least they realize the evil and deceptive ways of marketing.
The people on the street provided even more entertainment. For tip, you could get your picture with Elvis, Superman and all sorts of other characters. Some were amazing in their likeness. Others, well...not so much. There was a seedy, creepy kind of feeling trying to make your way through the crowds. I definitely kept my kids close at hand. There were plenty of young and intoxicated people, but also lots of people with kids. I wasn't the only silly one who thought Vegas could be for families. The Belagio was a sharp contrast to the streets, with calm, beautiful and very pricey stores and amazing glass and flower art displays.
The roads out of Vegas were as difficult to maneuver as the casinos. It felt eerily like the whole place was specifically designed to keep you from leaving. We persevered and after driving in circles with children yelling about having to use the bathroom again, we finally made it out. My exhausted co-pilots fell asleep on me somewhere in the lonely desert. That was probably good because the shock waves followed us through Nevada for a while. I pulled in to what appeared to be an all night gas station in the middle of nowhere to look at my map, thinking the sign said "Brother." When I realized it said "Brothel" I decided to keep diving by instinct and look at my directions later, glad I didn't have to explain that one to my kids too.
I was oh so happy when we crossed the state lines back into California, and while we did find some interesting things in Vegas, I don't think I"ll be back there anytime soon.