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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hawaii's ninth island offers everything we need

By Rodney Lee

Ahhh, Las Vegas. Home away from home. The city that never sleeps. Hawaii's ninth island.

Welcome to the Vegas, baby! weekly column and blog where I hope to entertain you with stories, tips and general musings about Las Vegas. Or, as it's better known locally, just "Vegas."

First of all, I am not a big-time gambler commonly known as a "whale." I'm more like a papio.

I don't have casinos calling me up, willing to pay my way over to play at their casino. Nor do I have a limousine waiting to pick me up at the airport. But I do know how to catch the shuttle bus to the car rental facility. And I do know how to drive from the car rental facility to the California Hotel.

I'd guess my wife and I have been going to Vegas for around 15 years on average, about twice a year. People often ask me: Wouldn't I like to travel to other places, like the East Coast or a foreign country? I tell them that Vegas has it all.

I can visit New York New York, or the Eiffel tower in Paris (Paris Las Vegas, that is). I can see the Sahara, and visit the great pyramid at Luxor. I can even travel back in time and see the knights in shining armor at the Excalibur. Vegas has it all!

Staying at The Cal is a treat in itself. Folks who live in Hawaii who I haven't seen for eons, I'll bump into at The Cal.

Oahu is known as The Gathering Place. Well, The Cal is "the gathering place" for Hawaii folks in Vegas even Hawaii transplants who've settled down there.

When my wife and I travel to Vegas, we always go with a certain budget in mind making a plan for how much moolah we plan to leave there. Sometimes we get lucky and end up withdrawing money, but most of the time it's a deposit.

Our budget doesn't allow us to play all day and all night in the casinos. So we usually spend the daylight hours shopping and visiting different locations. Once the sun disappears behind the mountains, like moths to a flame, we're attracted to the bright lights of the machines.

I've often wondered what is it about Vegas that draws us locals. I mean, I know Hawaii people love their gambling, but why do we love it so much more than our Mainland counterparts? My guess is that because our homes cost so much here in Hawaii, everyone is looking for that one big break where we can pay off our mortgage. It doesn't have to be winning Megabucks, but maybe hitting the Wheel of Fortune jackpot just enough to pay off our home, yeah? And maybe a nice Lexus for the garage.

Visit the Vegas, baby! blog at HonoluluAdvertiser.com and share with me what is it that attracts you to Vegas. Because once the flight is booked and the rooms are reserved, we're counting down the days for Vegas, baby!