Overall impression of Las Vegas:
I arrived late on Friday night and my mom and I walked over to Denny's for a 10pm breakfast - the best! With full tummies, we moved on to the casinos. It didn't take us long to figure out that there were no blackjack tables to be played for less than $5 a hand on the strip, so we bit the bullet and took a bus downtown. Downtown turned out to be the part of Vegas I'd come to see - a little less glam, a little more old school kitsch.
We worked our way down and then back up Fremont Street, stopping briefly to admire the "light show" (which is a really misleading name for a huge, tunnel-shaped TV screen) and periodically to play a few dollars at the slot machines whenever we felt like acquiring another free drink. Then finally, we came upon the poor blackjack player's mecca - the $2 table at Fitzgerald's. I plopped myself down between a friendly frat boy and a drunk Texan and got in on the game. Our dealer, Jorge (referred to affectionately by the rest of the table as "George"), was good to me, and before I knew it I'd turned my $20 into $45. "Weenah, weenah, cheeken deenah," said Jorge.
Being in Las Vegas with my mom made me realize just how hard-core she really is. As we walked to the bus stop to catch a ride back to the strip, I noticed the time: 6am (that's 8am in Chicago!) I hadn't been up that late in ages and I was exhausted, but I couldn't let my mom outlast me on my first night in Vegas! Once back on the strip, we were making our way to our hotel when my mom said, "Oooh, let's just pop in here a minute - I think we might get lucky on the Wizard of Oz slots." And the nice thing about the casinos at 6:30am is that you can actually play the popular Wizard of Oz slots because most people (reasonably) are in bed.
Well, I put in $20 and a few pushes of the button later Glinda the Good came along and granted me five wilds and a BIG WIN of $515! Pure joy. "What does that mean? Did I break it?" I asked, like the smart ass that I am, and my mom just smiled and told me, "You - are - cash - ing - out." There's no arguing with a mother who only wants the best for you, so I let her hit the cash out button and the Wizard machine printed my beautiful receipt. Thanks, mom!