"I'd rather be in Las Vegas 104 degrees than New York 90 degrees, you know why? Legalized prostitution. In any weather that takes the edge off." - Ray Romano
This quote is pretty much Vegas in a nutshell; it's hot and anything goes. Las Vegas, situated literally in the middle of the Nevada desert in the US, is a worldwide symbol of just how fucked up people can be with enough time and money. And people spend a hell of a lot of both in this place. Going on a holiday to Vegas is what I imagine spending a week in Lourdes on LSD is like. Despite this, it's a place that no man, woman or child should go their life without visiting at least once, and I'm going to give you ten reasons why.
Ok, I know it's an obvious one, but I had to get it out of the way. There are countless casinos along the Strip, and the lunacy within is one of those rare things that's actually the same as it is in the movies. You can't look anywhere without seeing security cameras or bouncers who look like they could dislocate your kneecaps just by thinking about it. It's also illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to walk on the carpet that's not the right colour (yes, really) in order to keep them away from the games. If you are of legal age though, there's hundreds of ways in which to lose your life's savings in games designed to stack the odds against you.
Las Vegas is known for its wining and dining too, and once again there's a virtually unlimited number of places to sate your hunger. Somewhere like the Joel Robuchon restaurant, perhaps, where you can enjoy a meal of anything from two to sixteen courses in one sitting. Of course if you're not a fan of selling your vital organs to fund your dinner, you can always pop into somewhere like the Carnegie Deli, where you can get a sandwich roughly the size of a newborn baby for fairly cheap (No exaggeration, that picture below is real).
Imagine trying to shove that down your Damien
3. You could literally spend your whole life in a hotel without seeing the light of day again
If you had sufficient capital to start you off, and were a fairly shrewd gambler, you could theoretically go into one of the many casinos and never come out. The bigger hotels' ground floors are surrounded by restaurants and cafés, and many have their own shopping centres for all your daily needs. It's a well known fact that casinos in Las Vegas have no windows so that obsessive gamblers won't realise the time of day and leave, so if you wished, you could bid our planet's life-force goodbye and turn yourself into some sort of James Bond-Gollum hybrid.
4. The hotels
The themed hotels along the strip are truly incredible. From Treasure Island & New York New York to Caesar's Palace and Hooters, there's something for everyone to enjoy a stay in Sin City. Most hotels have their own nightly entertainment from concerts to theatre to sporting events, and you don't have to be staying in the hotel to get tickets either, so there'll always something to do. The big ones can take thousands of people at a time, with between two and four thousand rooms each. I think they went a bit overboard though when they put a Four Seasons inside one of the other hotels. Who the fuck puts a hotel inside a hotel? That doesn't even make sense! It's like Inception all over again, only with hotels...
5. Roller coaster. A big one. On the fucking roof
I told you the place was batshit crazy didn't I? New York New York has a kilometre and a half long roller coaster built right on top of it in the middle of the city. There's not really much else I can say about that…
Well, I can. I was too much of a bitch to go on it.
6. Cirque Du Soleil
This show is something truly special. It's mixture of comedy, dance, gymnastics, theatre, acrobatics and live music provides and experience that really is like no other. I myself saw Mystére in 2008, and although Cirque tours the entire globe, there is something really, really special about seeing it in Las Vegas, the spiritual home of the nineteen individual shows that make up Cirque Du Soleil. It can be very pricey to see, but if there was one thing in the city I would recommend spending your money on, this would most definitely be it.
7. Guns, Hookers, and Marriage
Alright, this one isn't quite as bad as it seems. Of course for those of you who so wish, the three aforementioned items are freely available, but it's the city's attitude towards them that I find incredibly entertaining. The first two are advertised everywhere, you walk down the street and there's business cards for brothels littered all over the path and trucks drive by with sandwich boards promoting the latest deals on AK-47s. Then Marriage is utterly ridiculous. For something considered so sacred elsewhere, getting married in Vegas today is just as easy as popping into Super Valu for six Dutch. Actually for me probably easier, I'd probably be asked for less ID.
8. The Bellagio fountain display
Yet another thing to make your jaw hit the pavement, but this one's free. The fountain show outside the Bellagio goes on every thirty minutes, and every fifteen in the evenings, so it's easy to make time to go to see it. The 1200 nozzles and 4500 lights in the 8 acre lake make for a spectacular display which has come to be one of the most famous things about the city. A must see for any visitor, and if it somehow fails to impress you there's bound to be some Asians around who need the piss taken out of them for being too touristy.
9. Madame Tussauds
Yes, the world famous wax museum did originate in London, but like Cirque Du Soleil there is that extra bit of wonder about seeing it in Vegas. That, and they tend to be a bit more risqué with their models. The likes of Hugh Hefner, Tiger Woods and Fergie (controversial due to the fact that she's a talentless wreck) feature and, be honest, where else can a sixteen year old boy find a life size topless model of Jenna Jameson?
10. The MGM Grande Lions
When I was in Vegas this was definitely the thing that shocked me the most, and it was all the more remarkable to me for that. Smack dab in the middle of the lobby of the MGM Grande lies a huge glass enclose which is home, all day every day, to six fully grown lions. I thought this was cooler than Jeff Winger wearing Aviators. I think this was the thing that really encapsulated Vegas's nuttiness, putting a hotel in a hotel is bad enough, but lions…?
Follow Bríain on Twitter for annoyingly pointless tweets about toasted sandwiches and Matt Bellamy @Briainod