The Real Las Vegas, Nevada

Photo couresty of Dana Damato

A few months ago, my BFF’s husband sent me a Facebook message with a burning question.

As a birthday present to Stephy (his wife), do you and Mikey want to go to Vegas?

Do we want to go to Vegas? Is this even a question? Yes, it’s a question. But when asked, the answer should always be yes. And with that, guess what… the answer was yes!

In just a few days, we are boarding a 6 a.m. flight bound for Sin City for a two-night stay at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino with two of my bestest friends (Stephy and Megan) and our husbands. Its been over a year since we’ve seen each other, and there couldn’t be a better way for us to reunite after a much-too-long hiatus. I must give full credit to Scott, Stephy’s husband, for this brilliant idea. It kind of made me feel all spontaneous and sneaky because he kept it a secret from Stephy until her birthday rolled around on April 1st.  But now the secret is out, and we’re just counting down the days.

Bid Day, 2005. Stephy, Megan and I go way back.

A trip to Vegas can mean a number of things to a number of people. It all depends on who you are and what your interests are. Because as the folks at Vegas Tourism will tell you, there’s something there for everyone. Whether you’re into shows or gaming or clubbing or fine dining, there’s no shortage of entertainment for whatever your interests may be. (Listen to me, I sound like a commercial.)

But Vegas is a whole different story for me. I lived there for four years when my dad got stationed at Nellis Air Force Base. I remember super hot summers where highs hit 120 with the heat index. I remember Vegas being the fastest-growing city in the country, at the time. And as a result, my middle school was the most over-crowded school in the nation. Swainston Middle School was even featured in an issue of National Geographic because of it. I remember going through my alternative rock/skater phase. I listened to Silverchair and wore Airwalks. (Ha!) I remember the radio jingle for In-N-Out Burger. I remember the house we lived in was located at 5823 Old Ridge Road. I remember a few miles away from our subdivision was a pig farm that reeked every now and then when you drove out of our subdivision towards Craig Road. But most of all, I remember I made some really good friends in Vegas — one of which, I’ve reconnected with on Facebook and another who officially plays the role of longest-standing BFF. We’ve been friends since 6th grade.

When I think about all of these snippets of the life I lived in Vegas, it seems so far-fetched from the twinkling lights of the Strip. But it’s good to have seen a different side of Sin City. The side that the tourism department doesn’t tell about the real people who live or lived there. For me, there will always be the part of Vegas that was completely grounded and unhindered by cocktails or flashing lights. And I think that’s pretty special.

Not that this upcoming trip won’t be hindered with cocktails or flashing lights. Because while there’s more to Vegas for me than meets the eye, there’s no denying that… it’s Vegas! Bottom line is we’re excited, fired up and ready to rock and roll.


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Filed under Travel, Vacation

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