Magazine article The Spectator

One Man in Vegas

Magazine article The Spectator

One Man in Vegas

Article excerpt

Jonathan Ray hits the culinary jackpot in Nevada's capital of good times

T he Virgin flight to Las Vegas was heaving. Not a seat to be had. It was raucous too, and I was almost the only one travelling alone. Everyone else was either in a lovey-dovey couple or a rowdy group, and most were pretty blotto. Indeed, we hadn't even passed over Ireland before the purser admonished us about our drinking.

'Please be moderate with the vino, ladies and gents, ' he said over the din. 'There have been several instances lately of passengers arriving too drunk for immigration.

Do take it easy.'

It was the first of many such announcements, not that anybody took the blindest bit of notice. They were either too busy doing exactly what he was asking them not to do, or were glued to The Hangover , the stag party comedy set in Vegas which hardly promotes the joys of teetotalism. Several birthdays and marriages were also announced over the Tannoy, which wasn't exactly conducive to alcoholic restraint. It was the Mexican wave, though, that finally got the drinks trolley withdrawn.

But 11 hours in the air took its toll and it was a liverish and subdued group that shuffled to immigration and stood sweating in the queue. Everyone got through as far as I could see, although one officer gave a mock wince at the whiff of stale alcohol.

I was staying at the Encore, one of the many swanky hotels on 'the Strip', and joined another enormous queue to check in. My fellow guests comprised mainly lithe young Europeans on hen or stag parties or elderly botoxed Americans in voluminous shorts. In the land of the obese the merely tubby is king, and I've never felt as slim as I did in Las Vegas.

My neighbour on the plane was concerned to hear that I was in town alone.

'Nobody, but nobody goes to Vegas on their own, ' he kept repeating, making me feel really good about myself. Stacey at check-in - 'Well, hi , how are you today? !' - couldn't understand it either and looked very disapproving when I told her the room was for one rather than two. 'Oh. . .'

I started my solo long weekend by joining yet another queue, this time to get tickets for O , one of the many Cirque de Soleil shows in town. …

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