So I went to Vegas …
I don’t drink, I’m not huge into gambling, and I’m not one to hit the clubs or into the party scene (yes, I’m boring), so Vegas might seem like an odd place for me to go for vacation. However, I’ve always wanted to go. Well last week I finally went. I joked with some that this trip was ‘research’ for my writing, and in all honesty that was a fairly accurate statement. As some (not as many as I would like to say) know, the main character in my Kat Parker book series, namely Katrina Parker, had something happen to her in Vegas that left her ‘altered’. In the first book you see that she has the ability to talk with comatose people, and in the second that power progresses to talking with the dead. I alluded to Vegas repeatedly in the first book without ever revealing what happened, which I know likely annoyed some people, but the focus of that first book wasn’t Vegas or what had happened to Kat there. If I had tried to tell the story of Vegas and Kat’s time there (which I will freely admit I only knew bits and pieces of) while also telling the story of Mind If I Come In, the book would have been a rambling mess. I’ll go more into this in either another blog post or more likely an Author’s Note, which I should have done originally for Mind If I Come In. Sorry, I’m still finding my way as an author and seem to be making more than a few missteps along the way.
Anyway, I went to Vegas for research/vacation. Why now? Well, I’m getting ready to release the 3rd Kat Parker book, Getting a Head, very soon and I still have several ideas for future books in the series, as well as the desire/need to fulfill my unspoken promise of telling the story of what exactly happened to Kat in Vegas, which likely will be told over two books. (I’m still trying to figure out exactly how to tell the tale as well as work out a few details for myself.) But besides those two possible/probable prequels, the next story for Kat that occurred to me has her going back to Vegas. I’ve a rough idea of the storyline, though scant details. —I just cut a massive chunk out of this blog. I realized I was talking more about the process of my writing, which wasn’t the focus of this blog. Some might have found it interesting (there are plenty of crazy people out there, after all) but it was more suited for an Author’s Note.— Anyway, so since the next book that I was thinking of writing for the Kat Parker series as well as the possible prequels would, at least in part, take place in Vegas, I figured I would go and get a feel for the actual place. I’m glad I did. The reality of Vegas and my preconceived notions of it were quite different. Of course the version of Vegas that will be seen in my books will also be different from reality, however I now have a real frame of reference from which to draw (and mangle).
I don’t want to bore you with a full trip log, but I might as well give you a few details of my trip. I was in Vegas for four days. I stayed at Paris, which is a nice hotel in the middle of the strip, directly across from the Bellagio. It had a rather small casino in comparison to the size of the hotel itself, and in comparison to many of the hotels around it. It also had a small number of restaurants and shops when compared to some of the other hotels. Frankly, I was blown away by how many stores and restaurants there are in some of the hotels.
I walked for what seemed like a million miles. Seriously, by the end of the day my feet were threatening to cut themselves off. I walked up and down the strip multiple times, going as far down as the Luxor in one direction and the Venetian in the other. I wish I’d remembered to pack my Fitbit. I would have loved to have known how many miles I walked, especially since I went all around inside the casinos, and even mistakingly somehow exited the rear of the Venetian and walked all around from the back until I found the entrance again.
If I counted correctly, I went into at least 16 different casinos, grabbing a chip from each as a souvenier Most of my exploring was done on foot. I only took a shuttle twice, both times were when I went to see shows. I grabbed a shuttle to take me to the Rio where I saw Penn & Teller, an enjoyable show, but not spectacular. They did a few tricks that were hilarious (Teller is a riot) but they also had a few that were misses. They did an overly long card trick where Penn plays the guitar and sings. It seemed to go on FOREVER, with little payoff IMO. And their final trick while interesting, wasn’t WOW look at that, mostly because it was such an up-close trick that only the two guys that they pulled out of the audience really got the full effect. The other show I saw was David Copperfield, and I took a monorail from Bally’s (which is connected to Paris) down to MGM. I grew up on Copperfield. I remember watching his specials in the 80s when he walked through the Great Wall of China, made the Statue of Liberty disappear, and became the first magician, that I know of, to fly around inside the theater, and even ended that special by saying goodnight to the television audience outside of the theater and then flying off as well! I got tickets, and then got upgraded to front row. As cool as it was being upfront and being able to high-five David at the end of the show, some of his tricks likely looked even more spectacular from further away. David is incredible. He has perfect timing and never misses a beat, even when (or maybe especially when) the people he pulls out of the audience miss their cues. There was never a slow point in his show. If you ever get the chance to see him, DO IT!
Overall, I have to say it was an extremely enjoyable trip (except for the flights, but that’s another story). Vegas was not exactly what I expected, but I had a great time, and while it wouldn’t be my first choice of vacation spots, you probably wouldn’t have to twist my arm to get me to go back there. During my time trekking around Vegas I saw a lot of interesting characters and overheard some insane stuff, much of which I’m sure will find its way into my books in one form or another.
Have you been to Vegas? Where have you stayed? What were your favorite parts? Any shows you’d recommend I see if I were to go again? Also, what is your favorite type of vacation/destination?