You might be wondering why I would dub Las Vegas, of all places, “The Other Hawai’i”. Well what some of you may not know is that people from Hawai’i LOVE Las Vegas. It would probably be rare to meet an adult over the age of 25 from Hawai’i who hasn’t been or doesn’t plan on going at some point in their lives. Actually, there are many who live there. I might even go as far as saying that there are more people who are from Hawai’i that live in Las Vegas than in any other city in America, but don’t quote me on that! ( I also want to say that for me, its like watching creatures in their own, natural habitat!)
Anyway, here are some of the reasons why I suspect we love Las Vegas so much:
- Gambling is illegal in Hawai’i (and a lot of us love to gamble)
- Flights are fairly reasonable at the right time of the year
- The weather is warm just like Hawai’i
- The lights!
- Did I mention that a lot of us like to gamble?
I’m not sure exactly what started the obsession with Las Vegas, but from as far back as I can remember, my grandparents have been going to Vegas at least once or twice a year. And over the years, Las Vegas has been smart enough to capitalize on the influx of Hawaiian tourists. If you’ve ever been there and spent time in the downtown area (the old strip), you know what I’m talking about. Places like the California Hotel & Casino have gone above and beyond in catering to the Hawaiian clientele. There are restaurants that serve local Hawaiian food, slot machines that are Hawaiian themed, and even their ballrooms have Hawaiian names!
One of the very first trips I took with my family to the mainland was to Las Vegas. I was only 15 at the time and not old enough to gamble, but legally you’re allowed to sit in the casino, as long as you’re not playing at any tables or slots. However, my grandmother would let me sit next to her and occasionally pull the slot machine arm down. Our family took numerous trips together and since I’ve left home, I’ve met up with them there as much as possible being its a halfway point, and a little cheaper of a flight.
Needless to say, I think that my take on Las Vegas is a little unconventional than most. I’ve been there so many times that its almost like going to the summer house on vacation. Don’t get me wrong, its a great place to visit at least once. And having an opportunity to be traveling with my family is great! However, I don’t ever see myself doing one of those “Hangover” trips with friends, getting all kinds of crazy. To be quite honest, I avoid The Strip as much as possible when I’m there because its a little too claustrophobic for me.
On the flip side of things, if one does decide to visit Las Vegas, I would definitely recommend seeing both The Strip and Downtown Las Vegas to get a mix of the old and the new. Also, when you’re there, don’t forget that you have an opportunity to get a “taste” of Hawai’i!