It's been a bit over a month since my brother and I drove to Vegas to spend Christmas weekend (plus a few days) with the rest of our family (who flew out). I was being lazy but it seems that I'm getting called out so here are my major recollections.
The water : The water in Vegas tastes terrible and is no good for rinsing. I don't think that I've dealt with worse tap water in the US before. I was quite happy to have refilled and brought my 5 gallon, road-trip, water jug before leaving San Francisco.
The drinking : In Vegas, there is booze everywhere and you can drink it anywhere on The Strip. Being able to wander from place to place while carrying drinks is quite convenient; I really enjoy partaking of public activities while carrying a drink or, to put it better, it's nice to have drinks without having to be cooped up in a bar. Then, of course, on top of the ability to wander with booze is how very easy it is to get an awful lot of the stuff: free drinks while gambling, drink specials all over the place, cheap convenience stores just across the street.
The hangover : Vegas leads to an almost perpetual state of hangover. I wasn't drinking enough to get a particularly bad hangover but between the drinking, the terrible water, and staying up late, I was definitely a below 100% most of the trip. P.S. Worth it.
The poker : I should never play poker with people that aren't my friends and I should never play poker where anyone expects me to drop more than $20-$40. I lost about $100 in under an hour (maybe half that) the first night we arrived. Fuck everything about Vegas poker.
The craps : Let me tell you about Christmas Day (parts of it at least). Christmas stuff happened; Dave and I hung out with the rest of the family; and we all went out for dinner at Pampas Churrascaria, which was phenomenally good. After dinner, we all wandered The Strip for a bit, lost a little money on a few things and then Dave and I split off from the rest of our family to continue adventuring on our own.
I had been in contact with my friend Gautham, who happened to concurrently be in Vegas, and we made plans to meet up later to play craps. While Dave and I were waiting for Gautham to be ready to hang out, we had a few more drinks, checked out the Vegas architecture (Luxor is awesome; Aria is gorgeous; MGM is strangely green), and generally wandered around. At some point, we grabbed ourselves a couple of Four Lokos (so terrible but so awesome) from a convenience store and, shortly thereafter, managed to properly get a hold of Gautham.
We met up with Gautham at the Aria and promptly decided that $25 was too high a minimum for craps. Keep in mind that I had never played craps before in my life. So we wandered over to the Bellagio to avail ourselves of their $10 minimum tables. Understanding the basic principle of craps (roll some dice, sevens are good opening rolls but bad otherwise) I mostly took my guidance from Gautham at first and started availing myself of free scotch & sodas. As I became slightly more inebriated and started to get the hang of the game, things became increasingly more entertaining. We had a pretty good table with some pretty fun folks around but, most importantly, we had a really good winning streak. At peak, I was probably up about $300-$400 and when we eventually cashed out, I was up about $200 and a handful of drinks.
The net : Between my poker losses, slot machine losses (shiny things are hard to resist), drink purchases, food purchases, roulette winnings, roulette losses, and craps winnings, I ended up leaving Vegas slightly (<$50) richer than when I arrived.
The guns : On our last full day in Vegas, Dave, Joe, our dad, and I went out to shoot some guns. At first we went to The Gun Store, which is advertised all over the place, but the line was atrocious (well over an hour, possibly two) so I fired up Yelp and found out about Las Vegas Gun Range & Firearm Center. We bailed on The Gun Store and found that the line at Las Vegas Fun Range & Firearm Center was a few minutes long.
I fired off a few clips from a 9mm pistol (don't recall the make or model) and a couple clips from an H&K MP5. Man oh man, let me tell you, the MP5 is a nice gun. Firing the MP5 fully automatic was kind of neat but being zombie survival minded, I rather preferred switching it to semi-automatic and going for accuracy.
The company : Vegas was awesome. Hanging out with Dave was awesome. Hanging out with Gautham was awesome. Having dinners with my family was nice. Going to the Valley of Fire with my family was neat. Hanging out with my family on the strip was not particularly awesome.
I'm pretty sure that, going forward, I am going to view Vegas as a place to go with friends but not family. I would say, if you're going to Vegas with family, plan to do some stuff with them and plan to ditch them the rest of the time.
Return : I'm probably going back with a bunch of Fort Awesome folks in April and I'm really looking forward to the trip.