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Advertise on the Tentacle

April 30, 2008

Las Vegas Finale

Tom McLaughlin

Las Vegas was built and runs on tips” was the advice given to the bus load of passengers as we returned from the Grand Canyon in a not so subtle hint. To make sure we got the point, on the “menu” at the National Geographic Center where we were served the most god- awful lunch probably prepared from the remains of animals on failed expeditions, was advice on how much to tip him, which was between $5-$10 depending on the service.


To make sure we really got the point, he let us know he was retired after 22 years in the Marine Corps. A not-so-subtle, veiled threat used in earlier decades by the Mafia.


The local newspaper, Las Vegas Review Journal, printed a half page article complete with chart on the cost of services. The ones you and I tip here in Maryland are the same; but here are a few Vegas style extras.


Sommelier-(wine guy) – 10 percent;

Restaurant maitre’d – $20 for one of those sold out tables;

Valet Parker – $2 in, $5 out; $20 if sign says full;

Bellhop-$1 – $5 per bag;

Maid – $5-$10 per night depending on the party;

Dealer – 10% if winning, $1-$2 if running for cover;

Slot Jackpot – $20 to each person you are dealing with; and

Lady who brings you free drinks while gambling – $1-$2 per or you will never see her again


I had figured I could walk the “Strip” (coined after Sunset Strip in L.A.) in a couple of hours. I could not believe it was so long. It runs between four and five miles depending on where you start. It sure looks much smaller on television.


An amusing thing is that when you are walking along, the sidewalk takes a gentle curve, and you are suddenly walking through the front doors of a casino. I had no intention of entering the facility; the sidewalk just went into banks and banks of slots. But I learned. There is a small two or three person elevator that will take you back down to street level located just before you enter the slot parlor.


To be on the strip, the entertainment must be the best. Not just good, but the very best this country has to offer. And they are. Because of time I saw only two, a Circus and a Neil Diamond imitator.


The circus is not like anything I had ever seen or can describe. I sat next to an Australian family and commented: “I don’t know what that was but it was good.” The imitator was like the real thing.


Would I go back? Yes, but only for two reasons: the shows and the Grand Canyon. And a girl I met named Linda.


Place to Stay – Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall; six miles from the strip, but with free coach bus trips every day throughout the day and evening. Prices are very reasonable: $69 per night except $110 on weekends. Restaurants with fares ranging from Diners to top of the line. Has a McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts, as well as full gambling services.


Call for exact rate quotes: 702-450-8344.


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