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Friday, March 1, 2013

Vegas: The Land of Many Temptations

Vegas, baby! Sin City. What happens there, stays there and all that. For me, Vegas is the Land of Many Temptations. I just returned from 5 days in that land and I'm still trying to catch my breath.

My daughter had a work trip to Las Vegas and wanted a travel companion. I thought it would be a nice opportunity to show her the ropes of work travel and, heck, a getaway would be nice! I hadn't been to Vegas for almost 30 years but how much could it have changed? Turns out, quite a bit.

To put it nicely, Vegas is a giant circus of sights, sounds and sometimes, smells. At times it just felt like an assault on the senses. There is temptation at every turn. I had to be strong for both of us. Everything there is designed to part you from your money. And they are very, very good at it.

The casinos lure you with jingle-y, celebratory sounds and bright lights. My husband has a theory that Vegas knows who is a first timer. That person is rewarded with a series of small wins, drawing them in. My daughter was that person. $20 win here, $30 win there, she was convinced she has a sixth sense for picking slot machines. But Vegas always wins and I had to pull her away when the winning skidded to a stop. We both had to fight that temptation hard. 

And there's the food. Vegas has more restaurants than I could count, every variation of every cuisine. And the drinks! If you weren't carrying the foot-long cocktail cup down the street, well you just looked out of place.  Healthy options were tough to find, deep fried Oreos were not. I thought I would faint at the tower of warm mini donuts at our hotel buffet. Crispy and delicate, some drizzled in chocolate  others dusted in powdered sugar or cinnamon,  those donuts could have destroyed the last six weeks of super-fitness effort. We had to stay strong. 

The biggest temptation was the shopping. I could not believe the stores that line the lobbies of the fancy hotels! Like Rodeo Drive on steroids, everything is there from Christian Louboutin to Christian Dior. This was the good stuff. For months now I have been beating myself up for buying cheap, clearance stuff I really didn't want or need. Here was my chance to buy the good stuff.

The good stuff, it turns out, is beyond expensive. I was truly shocked by the price tags. Who affords this?  Here's the thing: there are so, so many designer stores in Vegas, it began to feel normal. Keep looking and suddenly $695 for a pair of shoes seems about right. Ahhh ... those Vegas tricksters were at it again. " Of course this is what we all buy. You definitely need this. We all do." Could we make it out of 5 days in Vegas without having to re-mortgage the house?

We did but it was really hard. Temptation abounds. By the last day, we were exhausted by it all. I think 5 days in Vegas is too long. A weekend, we both agreed, would be plenty. The longer you stay, the more the outrageous becomes normal. Vegas can wear you down. Even the promise of Girls, Girls, Girls Delivered to Your Door felt normal and that is just sad. In the end, my sins from Sin City were mostly calorie-laden. I have become stronger since the Bye Buy challenge and it's a really good thing.

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