Las Vegas Oddities

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Michael and I just returned from a trip down the Strip to Encore. It’s a beautiful luxury hotel, sister to the equally elegant Wynn. My friend Jon Schneider from Cheshire is visiting. We had coffee. Very nice.

The rolling signs advertising “Girls That Want To Meet You” are still driving around, though as Michael noted, they’re looking faded. Some of the women pictured on the signs must be in their forties by now.

The world’s largest Ferris Wheel is now visible, though seemingly not yet running.

It was cool–high was near 60&#176. There were still people out at the pool this morning. For some people, being in Las Vegas this time of year is like receiving a pardon from winter.

The Wynn is all dressed up for Chinese New Year. The influence of Chinese culture is very visible in Las Vegas. Some of the casinos’ best customers are of Asian ancestry.

Here’s a perfect example. We’re staying on the 50th floor. Except it’s not. It’s really the 40th!

The express elevator counts 38, 39, 50, 51, 52, etc. My understanding is “4” is an unlucky number to some Chinese people.

At some point in the constructions some contractor must have said, “Renumber the floors? Sure, we can do that.”

There’s also a large Buddha shrine with fresh flowers as you enter the lobby and red everywhere. Red is a lucky color.

At the Wynn/Encore, where their players club card is called, “Red,” there are Chinese gardens with large red ornamental dragons hanging from the ceiling.

Everywhere you go there are statues of horses. It is the year of the horse.

This is smart marketing. I’m sure the Catskills marketed this way toward my parents and their friends in the 50s and 60s.

In Vegas Sex Still Sells

“$35 special,” says one. “$47 special,” say another. Tina’s “TOTALLY NUDE” ad claims her $99 charge includes “no hidden fee’s”


Now that we’re back a few people have asked me about the economy in Las Vegas. I don’t usually go in late November, but the crowds were certainly down from what I’ve seen during the summer. That’s probably expected. Helaine was told some casinos have put their dealers on a four day week. The housing market there has tanked.

IMG_4274.JPGThere’s still a lot of construction–huge construction nearing completion. Someone’s going to take a bath there. Who’s coming to City Center when it opens? It’s a $9 billion investment for MGM-Mirage. Who’s filling Adelson’s Palazzo or Steve Wynn’s new luxury tower Encore?

I just got an email ad from Wynn tonight. They’re seeing tough times if they’re down to my level.

Last recession Las Vegas proudly said it was bulletproof. And it was–then.

IMG_3863.JPGA number of years ago… maybe when they were scared of the last major recession, Las Vegas decided to re-brand itself. It would become family friendly. Think “Vegas Vacation.” That’s gone.

Walking the Strip I passed the Flamingo. It’s an older hotel. It would be considered nice any place else where there isn’t as much competition. The entire casino is covered with an ad for Donny and Marie, their current house act. Under the D&M sign a doorless doorway opened to the casino where bikini clad go-go dancers did their thing above a blackjack pit.

IMG_3883.JPGThe Strip itself is an amazing flesh peddling supermarket. Let me make myself clear, there are no obvious (well, to me) streetwalkers. There are dozens and dozens of exceptionally short (under five feet) Hispanic (mainly) men from somewhere in Central America who help these unseen women advertise.

IMG_3723.JPGHolding a stack of what seem to be playing cards they slap against their upper leg then thrust a card for you to take. Of course they’re not playing cards. They are ads for ‘entertainers’ and ‘dancers’ who will come to your hotel room. The ads show women of every color and persuasion, some beautiful, some innocent, some overtly slutty. They are all erotically alluring.

“$35 special,” says one. “$47 special,” say another. Tina’s “TOTALLY NUDE” ad claims her $99 charge includes “no hidden fee’s”

Tina, there no apostrophe on “fees.”

Stef wanted to know if the girl you got was the one pictured–like I’d know. After reading the Elliot Spitzer stories I’d guess not. Girls to your room are a fungible commodity.

IMG_3789-1.JPGIn tiny mouse print on Roxy’s ad it says, “If paying by credit card, nature of transaction will not be reflected on statement.” I would have guessed they’d play that up?

For the first time this past week I saw men passing out cards while having a lit sign strapped to their body. That was among the more surrealistic moments of the trip.

All the girls have (I saw no men advertised) phone numbers. Most also have websites!

Since the cards are given out on the street there is “protection” for the kids. These nude women have their nipples obscured. Sometimes it’s with a star or other printed symbol. Most times it looks the the nipple has had a glowing led attached! It looks like some sort of ‘breast ray.’

They re-did the Mirage a few years ago. Until they did hookers would hang out at the Baccarat Bar late at night. OK–do I really know they’re hookers? No. But they were. Helaine and I would often scope them out critically on our way to our room. It was part of the Las Vegas charm.