Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Better [Vegas] late than never

Last week I met a group of my high school alum chums (some from elementary school on) in Las Vegas for a mini-reunion. There were some who had been good friends back then and some I had known in school but not well. Spouses were included.

This was my—and my spouse's—first time in Vegas. (Yes, you read that right. In our upper 60s and never been to Vegas!) I had a great time, mainly because of the interaction with the friendly and welcoming group of grads and their partners, but I came to these conclusions about this vacation destination:

I liked...

The late night hours of the restaurants and shops. Even though we rarely stay out late anymore, it's nice to know something's available if needed or wanted.

The over-the-top decor in the hotels and casinos. No cheap materials used in the mosaic-tiled and marble floors, leather wall coverings, blown glass chandeliers. Lovely to look at, even if I wouldn't necessarily use these in my own home.

The availability of so many shows nearby, with top-level stars. But if you want to see more than one, you might have to cash in one of your CDs.

The fact that I got my share of exercise because, as I heard about ten times during this vacation, "Nothing is as close as it looks."

I didn't like...

The smell of cigarette smoke—and stale cigarette smoke—in and around every single casino. Didn't Las Vegas gamblers get the message that smoking can kill you?

The fact that the hotels usually do not have the expected comfortable lobbies, with sofas, chairs, and free WiFi. Of course, they don't want you to sit and schmooz or access your emails. They want you to gamble, gamble, gamble.

Gambling. It's just not for me. Yes, I like hitting a button and watching my investment of a dollar grow to nine or ten dollars, but I really hate seeing it plunge to zero.

But the reason for the gathering was to get reaquainted with our childhood friends and memories. People our age get so mellow and appreciative when we visit those who shared our formative years, and these few days were a love-fest. After reminding each other of the silly, even embarrassing things we did and misconceptions we had in school, we decided that we need to stick together. After all, together we make up one solid memory bank. We need each other to fill in our blanks.