Every once and awhile I write a blog post about things people should do in Vegas, like see Red Rock mountains or wake board Lake Mead or basically anything not involving The Strip. I am a true local and I want to prove to you there is SO MUCH MORE to my fair city.
The truth is, there is this road where I live with a whole bunch of hotels and casinos and odd attractions, and every once and awhile I drive down there, mostly to eat (my greatest overall motivation in life), sometimes to shop or meet friends. I rarely take my kids there because, I mean, self explanatory, right?
But my oldest daughter has always had this fascination with Paris. I don’t know if it’s all Eiffel tower lamps in the tween aisles at Target or fluffy poodles or the french bakery nearby that I occasionally (always) frequent. Whatever the reason, the ultimate reward for her as always been to go to the Paris Hotel and have dinner.
So a few weeks ago, the girls and I were at a birthday part on the other side of town. I missed my freeway entrance, and figured I’d drive them down the Strip for a bit, just to point out a couple hotels and share memories, like the time in high school when we snuck into the Tropicana Pool and had an impromptu party (midway through this story, I realized I should not be sharing this, and changed the ending to… “and then we found elderly people who needed help crossing the street and did that all night. Yay!) The girls saw the fake Eiffel tower and started begging to go there and I thought, you know, why not? There are so many tourist places here that locals never go to, because IT’S FOR TOURISTS, but I’d never been to the top either, so off we went.
Again, my oldest daughter, Rylee (8 and 3/4), had been talking about this for at least two years. I bought the surprisingly pricey tickets to ride the elevator upstairs, feeling like a hip, spontaneous mom as I curtailed my children across the fake bridge that led us to the fake monument. But just as we were about to get on the elevator, Rylee had a melt down. WE ARE GOING UP? THAT IS SO HIGH. WHAT IF WE FALL? WHAT IF A BIRD SMACKS US IN THE FACE AND WE DIE? Now, I’m an understanding Mom, but I’d already bought the tickets, so after much (little) sympathy, up we went.
It was not a magical experience. I’d forgotten their coats, which on some winter Vegas days is allowed, but the chill up there was enough that I was getting judgemental looks. My 3-year-old screamed the whole way up. We got off the elevator, looped around, and were back on when the next one left. Ten minutes, tops. We promptly headed to a cafe to drink hot chocolate, and a traumatized Rylee said, “Well, that’s not what I wanted it to be.”
I guess it was a life lesson, because how many times do we romanticize something, only to be disappointed with the actual experience? Does it make the experience not worth experiencing? I don’t think so. We talked about the real Paris versus fake Paris, real anywhere versus Vegas’s version. And there is still some part that is similar. I mean, the tower was still half the size of the original. It took some courage to go up there. And just because our dreams might turn out the way we dreamed them, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t dream anyway.
Tomorrow, we’re going to Red Rock instead. This is more my speed.
Bonus: Here’s the video I did a couple of years ago when ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by the charming Stephanie Perkins first came out. When Rylee is older, I want to read this book with her and travel to The Real Paris. I want her to experience as much REAL as she can in life. But, for now, the Eiffel Tower chocolates were pretty decent 🙂