Coming to you Live from Las Vegas!

Though I’m officially on vacation, I’m traveling with a group of Russian investors to the City of Sin and I think they lost their heads. They only add to the stress…
I travel a lot due to my job, and when this expat from Moscow hits home soil it’s usually the eastern part of the U.S. coast like Washington, Boston or New York, you know, the boring places where everyone runs by the clock, at 6:00 a.m. people are trudging their way to work with their laptop in one hand, coffee in the other and have their favorite iTunes plugged into their head living in their own world…which isn’t much different from homebase Moscow. Throughout the day you see people in restaurants, cafes, and in the evening, everyone goes home. See? Boring!
If you don’t want boring, then you take a group of 10 Russians with you to Las Vegas where there are no rules and everyone lets their hair down. Whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, the saying goes.
We arrived in Vegas after a 20-hour flight at around 9:00 p.m. on Saturday…I caught a quick glance of one or two of them in the last two days…they’ve been hitting shows, rented a “party van,” and taken helicopter trips over the city and desert. By the way, I ran into two other Russians here, and upon hearing them speak, slinked off quickly to hide. A couple of my “clan” has called me at all hours of day or night to get quick information, which I apparently know everthing there is to know and you just need to make one call to Dave and he’ll fix everything…it’s easier to ask me about Novosibirsk than Las Vegas. A phone call at 3:00 in the morning on how to turn the shower on with complete detailed information of how the system works was not received well because I had to get out of bed and look at the shower to return and give step-by-step instructions of how the “American Wonder Shower” actually operates. That is, after I had to fiddle with it for five minutes myself.
Las Vegas, if you’v’e ever been there, is not America. It’s an adult Disneyland where everything is a “go.” But even being from a big city, it’s still a huge culture shock for me personally. It reminds me of Moscow in the mid-1990s, giving me a scary reminder of “the good ol’ days.”
The streets of Vegas are much different than they were when I was last here 20 years ago. Then it was all the little old ladies plugging nickels in slot machines and prostitutes hitting up on their husbands while their wives were distracted. The place has changed demographically. It now looks like a collection of every university in the United States gathering together with everyone in their 20s, plowed out of their heads, running, screaming and dancing in the casinos and streets. No holes barred!
Since I had no idea where my Russian clan was, I ventured out onto the street to find a cafe and do some people watching, which is what I love to do. I positioned myself across from Caesar’s Palace, the Eiffel Tower and a guy dressed as Zorro giving instructions to the neverending flow of pedestrians. I forgot that in Vegas you can walk around with any drink you so desire from margaritas served in fishbowls to beer in steins that are half your height. And everyone’s drinking. I had in the back of my mind, if the Americans are doing this, I can only imagine how my Russian “buddies” are behaving and if they’ve been arrested yet. I might have joined them if I didn’t have a job to do. Oh well, sacrifices.
It’s hard for me to explain my impressions of the Wild West in words after being gone for so long, but there is a huge difference from Eastern Europe. It’s one of those times when you want to say: “OK, this was fun, but I want to go home now.” I think the Russians are having a blast, but I just want to hide out in my room because what I see around me is shocking as I’ve apparently changed over the years. No, I’m not a prude, but wasn’t prepared for such a change in lifestyle. A couple of days in New York to kind of ease back into the American way of life would have been a very good transition into the reality of the U.S. playground.
We should be getting together some time today so that I can take a head count and figure out if I have any casualties from the weekend.

Leave a comment