Vegas. it…

Las Vegas, NV 21-23/10/2012 (3 -Night Stop)

…is what it is. Nothing needs to be understood. Nothing needs to be done.

“Often regarded like America’s dirty little secret, Sin City is a bastion of naughty, hangover-inducing weekends for people from all walks of life. You can reinvent yourself a hundred times over or hide out with your lover in a hotel room for days. It doesn’t even matter if you play the penny slots or drop a bankroll each and every night – you’re guaranteed to leave town convinced you’ve just had the time of your life.”

Lonely Planet, Overview of Las Vegas.

Alison finds the entrance to the Mandalay Bay…it was some hours before she found the exit

The hotel was next to ‘The Strip’ without being on it or part of it. It was less than 22 degrees in Vegas and the wind blew constantly. We saw some clouds in the Desert above the fake Empire State Building and Chrysler Building of the New York, New York Mega resort. We went into other Mega-Resorts. Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, Ceasars Palace and the Bellagio.

From the outside…The Luxor Hotel and Casino

There are no clocks in the Casino’s. You can take pictures in the Casinos as long as it doesn’t involve a third-party. There are no benches. You can’t sit anywhere except at a cafe, restaurant, monorail transit, bus, taxi, your own car, slot machine, bar or a gaming table.  You can sit by the pool in your hotel.

The Luxor Hotel and Casino…from the inside. Complete with its exhibition of the Titanic memorabilia entrance to the right

There were a lot of stag do’s. There were a lot of hen nights. There wasn’t much celebrating outside. All inside. There were a lot of seedy men trying to hand Rohan a “Girl to your door in twenty minutes” promotion cards even when he was holding Alison’s hand.

Left concrete, right plastiform…your stay on the left, where you will lose your pay on the right…Right?

There were a lot of seedy men trying to hand Alison a “Girl to your door in twenty minutes” promotion cards even when she was holding Rohan’s hand. They rapped their card stacks like unfriendly crickets.

“F*ckyoutoo, F*ckyoutoo” was their little cricket song. And so it went on. Each time we walked past. Up and down the strip. Which was often.

There were a lot of fat people there. There were a lot of serious people. Happy people. Distracted people. You can buy a 3-pint Margarita in it’s own jug for $22.00. There were a lot of homeless people. There were some charity workers collecting for them. There were families with young children. There were children playing while their parents loaded up slot machines.

Caution…This skyline does not exist…The bling of New York, New York on the outside with the Blah all on the inside.

Mostly tired children. Mostly tired parents. There were givers and there were takers. Neither happy. Nor content. Occasionally someone would win on the Craps table. There was yelling and whooping. Mostly people would lose on the $10 per chip Blackjack tables. Sighing and lip biting. Looking away to somewhere in the distance. Where their imagined fortune was.

We ate a $22 buffet in Excalibur. Under it’s fairy tale spires its a machine with many corridors.  Many shops, bars and restaurants. The Excalibur restaurant could seat up to a 1000.  Six serving counters with four closed. We sipped coffee too long for the Manageress and her darting glances. So we drank up and left. Back out into the warren. The offers. The deals. Jousting at 9pm every night. We didn’t go. Instead we went back into the casino.

Paris by night…in South-West Nevada

Alison found a game “You bet your ass” amongst pew after plume of cigarette smoke, hope and despair. She liked it as the animated donkey characters were funny.  She won $69 dollars on the evening. she went back the next day and lost $50. Rohan lost $25. The hooms of Pookaverse lost £45.00. The Houyhnhnm’s made $2.45 million over three nights. And then ate it. Ate the lot. They know spite.

Some people there probably lost more. They all looked a lot like you and an awful lot like Pookaverse. Some lost less. Some even won. We didn’t see many of them. Winners. We don’t belong to that club.

Not so much a collision of ideas. or substance…just a collision.

This is Las Vegas in a recession. Rewards are less. Payouts are smaller. The ‘House’ is on the take. But still, new casinos are being built. One opposite Mandalay Bay on another patch of desert waste ground.

It’s startling, exhausting. It can bring out your worst side. It’s not just you. Its the cynicism with every chunk of change. In every over-priced drink and corral-like restaurant.

An Adult Disneyworld they say. The people with your money. Enjoy it. Just don’t be part of it. The dancing, fearsome fountains outside the Bellagio. Go and look at them.

Part of the stunning Bellagio Fountain and Light Show…every 15 minutes…

And marvel. That in the middle of a great desert a city can exist. Because of the damming of the Colorado River 30 miles away at the Hoover Dam. Without this level of control. This strangulation of water in steel pipes and lakes, noone would be here. In these kind of numbers.

And without the power drawn from the water at the Dam. These light’s wouldn’t be here. The plastiform foot of the gaudy Sphinx wouldn’t be here for you to knock on and here that hollow echo. The approximations of Italian Fresco’s in the Venetian Hotel and Casino. All the effort is on the outside. That’s where the illusion ends. Inside. Another casino. Another bank of machines lanterning unhappy faces. Processed. Spent.

These people wouldn’t be here. The whores and the touts. The waitresses. The barkeep. The Pit Boss.The refuse collectors on the Strip. The Homeless. Families and their parents in the greater part of this vast city. The endless malls, blue skies, evening lights and lilting palms.

Embrace it. Even if you can’t love this cross-eyed, loud and american cheese step-child that needs taking down a peg or two.

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