August 2006
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Weekends in Vegas suck. Fact.

During the week I had become fairly impressed at just how quickly I was managing to get around town.  When the lights are with me, I can make it from our driveway in Green Valley, five blocks from the Beltway, to pretty much anywhere on the strip or downtown in under 20 minutes.  I caught a break and made it into Caesars, dumped the car in the Colosseum Valet (which is deathly quiet when there are no shows on, and not far from the Poker Room) in not much more than 15, which is pretty damn cool.  Even having to negotiate the World’s Busiest Intersection (it would be, wouldn’t it) I can fly into the Tropicana and walk over the bridge to the MGM or Excalibur (I’m starting to much prefer the latter, on account of the wheel you spin with any four-of-a-kind, or aces cracked.) in next to no time.

Obviously there’s more traffic at weekends.  I’m in the minority of visitors that stay in Vegas for more than 2 days at a time.  During the week, the casinos wish you "enjoy your evening".  As soon as Friday is here, that becomes "enjoy your weekend".  I wish I could, but getting anywhere and doing anything is just a complete nightmare.

Last Saturday I went home early because I failed to park anywhere. I started with the Tropicana, but valet was full and I was decieved by the fact its parking garage has only one level so I wasted too long here looking for a space and ended up back on the crawling strip. From there I tried the MGM but their valet was full, and the only way out after seeing the sign that tells you the bad news is back into the horribly slow queueing traffic. There’s no way to even try to self-park, even if you assume there will still be spaces, once you find out that Valet is full. This week it took a good hour to get as far as being rejected by the Valet parking at Caesars on Friday night, because I’m not a Harrah’s Diamond VIP member.  To get this honour, you have a full year to earn 10,000 Total Reward points, equivalent to total stakes of $50,000 on slot machines or $100,000 on video poker.  Even being this reckless (best case: it costs a theoretical $1000) for the sake of priority parking wouldn’t make the strip traffic move any faster, although I’m sure many Diamond VIPs expect it to.

About half an hour was spent in a queue to turn off Flamingo Road, which has the World’s Longest Intersection Signal Sequence (as determined by me, but unofficial), and only allows two cars to turn left onto the Strip every ten minutes.  This also gave me plenty of time to fume about the unnecessary punctuation on the road sign indicating "Caesar’s Palace" for a new dropoff only zone, clearly no use to me when driving on my own.  The missing apostrophe has been the World’s Most Famous Grammar Error for 40 years – why change it now?

So having to actually park my own car (god forbid) I fight my way up to the top floor of the garage and finally get in a space.  Then it’s down four floors in one elevator, and three more in another.  This makes no sense.  Plus, the second one is full of people leaving the Celine Dion show, and I wait for ten minutes without seeing a single down elevator with room for a person in it.  Parking my own car, and having to use the stairs – what on earth is this town coming to?