I'm just back from a five day trip to Las Vegas as part of my mate's Stag party. It was one hell of a crazy trip that has generated a load of stories and tales to tell, along with two new stupid catchphrases that we shall be inflicting on people for years to come no doubt.
Now, as the cliche goes, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. So this isn't going to be blow by blow account of the adventure itself. Instead it will contain a few funny observations that I made while in Sin City. Mainly because I won't reveal any of the things we got up to on the trip.
Taxi Drivers Are Assholes:
One of my grandfathers drove a taxi, another was a bus conductor for many years. As a result of this I've always had a bit more respect for the men that get you from A to B for a fare. In general I will always tip a taxi driver, even a small amount. It's just the way I am.
Now, I know that in America tipping is apparently a way of life and not just a city in China. Also word on the street is that the Irish are dreadful at tipping. So any time I am in the states I generally tip something. That's if I have something to tip in the first place. But it always grates on me a little when the tip is expected from you by a taxi driver. More to the point when the situation I found myself in crops up.
Three of us got a taxi back to the hotel, the total coming to nine dollars twenty cents. Us being smart lads we didn't carry all of our spends around with us at all times, so the three of us had limited money. I had a twenty, a five and two singles, whereas the other lads had a single each on them. So I figured hand the twenty over and get a tip from that.
"Can't break that," says Mr. Taxi man.
"Well I got nothing else," I reply.
"What about your mates?"
I turned to one, who found another single in his pocket, bringing me up to nine. The last taxi passenger rummaged in his pocket and found one more dollar bill.
Ten dollars, not much of a tip but the best we can manage. I handed it over to the driver.
"That all you got? Have you not got any change?"
This really pressed my "Go fuck yourself" button. He had rejected my twenty, which would have produced a few dollars for change. Then he watches as we struggle to get a smaller denomination of money to pay the fare. Then he has the gall to complain about the size of the tip. So I just stared at him and said: "Seriously? Did you miss the entire scene just there were we scrapped the fare together?"
The look of disgust from him was met with a "Get you next time." as I got out of the cab and watched him speed away like a spoilt prick. Not that I care, I slept well that night.
Geography, It Is Important:
Now they saw that people who live in America live in a bubble, that beyond its borders they have no idea about the world and what goes on it in. That sixty percent of Americans don't even own a passport. I finally realised how big a deal this is when playing blackjack and the dealer asked me where I was from.
"Um...Ireland? It's in Europe."
"Oh right, Europe. So it's beside Finland and Holland, right?"
The lack of any semblance of geography was impressing me.
"Ah, no, not quite. We are a bit closer to America than them."
"Ah, I know. Ireland, that's right beside London, isn't it?"
Gobsmacked is something that I rarely find myself, but right then I figured why continue the fight.
"Yep, we are the next city after London."
This seemed to please the dealer and she continued dealing. I just died a little inside.
American's Can't Insult For Shit:
This may not be a known fact to readers of the site, but I've got red hair. Ginger hair. Hair that is not too far off being a shade of Orange. Growing up you'd get the usual taunts and names. Ginger. Redhead. Ding a ling, you're heads on fire. Oh how we laughed, while I plotted to kill them all late at night.
Americans appear to lack the imagination to come up with something a little more stinging. As we walked down the Strip one day there we men out on the street hawking their wares. Wares being either passes to strip clubs or guys hoping to get you to "Buy my music man, it's good shit". As we strolled I politely waved them away, saying no thanks.
One guy took this as an opportune moment to try a different tact. Rather than waving his CD in front of me and asking me to listen to it he thought that insulting me would get my attention. Get the blood boiling so that I will, in a rage presumably, go "Fuck you man, give me your CD".
Except his insult was a little on the laughable side. As I walked passed him he shouts after me "Come on you Conan O'Brien motherfucker."
Yea...calling me a famous ginger who has millions while you try and sell your crap on the pavement. Good luck with that, maybe avoid a career in comedy. A heckler would destroy you.
It doesn't need to be on your eggs at breakfast. Or ever for that matter.
But, overall, Vegas is city you got to visit just for the experience alone. Just use the observations above to help guide you carefully around some of the oddities you may encounter yourself.