Anybody who has been to Vegas knows that the sound of the inescapable beeping of slot machines stays in your head for ages afterwards. The one-armed bandits, which still have their levers, unnecessary though they are in this age of buttons, now have the pre-recorded sound of quarters dropping into a plastic tray when you win or cash out your paper token with a little barcode on it, replacing the sound of real quarters, the sound of winning big. The first time I went to Vegas, nine years ago, quarters were everywhere. They gave you big plastic slurpee cups to hold them in, and the cashiers distributed little sanitized towels to wash the metallic stain from your fingers. The world has changed so much, except for one thing: the house always wins in the end. The thing is, you win big one time, maybe twice, and it keeps you playing, and then ultimately you lose it all, because you don’t know when to stop. I won $100 on the Wheel of Fortune machine at the airport once, just before getting on the plane; that didn’t happen this time, oh no. Oh well.
And of course, the buffets – you have to do the buffets in Vegas. They are good. The problem with buffets is that there is so much choice, you end up getting too much and not eating all that much of it. Not that I didn’t stuff my face of course, and we got there late enough for breakfast that lunch was starting to be served as well, which was handy (there’s one for Alan-Partridgesque buffet tricks 101). This was what remained of my very big breakfast. That chocolate mousse thing was delicious.