blur of organisation and checking-in went quickly/slowly by and after a $2.50 MacDonald’s supper we all gratefully retired to our respective beds and sleeping mats.

The next day began with the long-awaited Las Vegas buffet breakfast. This I had been keenly anticipating for some time due to the hype granted it by the Maassen clan, my own gluttony, as well as a reasonably genuine interest in North American post-industrial cuisine. Suffice to say it didn’t disappoint—unfortunately, the pathetic brown liquid being advertised as “coffee” (roughly the consistency and colour of mop-bucket water reminiscent of my short-lived career as a kitchen porter) and the grey-sweet foam “cappuccino” (think depressed Eastern European shipping port floating chemical sea scum) did. For moment I was genuinely worried my breakfast would be caffeine-free and, therefore, no breakfast at all. 

However, the land of opportunity proved itself well-named as, next to the not-coffee/not-cappuccino machine sat an eight-nozzle soda stream complete with Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Mountain Dew dispensers. All these drinks I already knew (as a result of consuming these imported products back in the Old World) contained traces of caffeine, and therefore could suffice as a stand-in for my normal breakfast beverage. Drink a couple of litres or more of these three sodas and you have yourself at least an espresso-worth of awakening goodness.

The selection of exotic foods and dishes available was extensive and pleasingly unfamiliar. For about an hour and a half I sat and