Hatred is not what Las Vegas is about. We will have zero tolerance for anyone who is intolerant.
….And we’re back!!
Hey, so what did I miss while I was gone?? Anything happen?? I mean, other than Katie Holmes filing for divorce from Tom Cruise?
It was nice to enjoy some well-deserved R&R. Erin and I went to Las Vegas to meet a couple friends from Kansas. I left my laptop at home and, for at least a couple days, focused primarily on relaxing and having fun. It was in many respects a surreal experience; I’d never been to Vegas, so I tried to absorb as much as possible without losing my sanity. Large crowds, chaos, and high energy aren’t usually my thing, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed myself. It’s not the place I’d want to go to for weeks at a time, but for 3-4 days, it’s a lot of fun. I just have to keep reminding myself that Las Vegas is about crowds…and excess. Even what might be mistaken for subtlety is over the top. If you’re on the Strip, there is nothing even remotely close to understated. It’s like Time Square on steroids. Every day. All the time. Non-stop. And it gets kinda nutty after awhile.
If you go to Las Vegas for peace and quiet, you’re going to be frustrated very quickly. I knew what I was getting myself into, and so I was able to deal quite effectively with something that would normally stress me out. I found myself fascinated by a city solely and completely dedicated to siphoning as much money from your wallet as possible. The Strip is a melange of hotels, restaurants, casinos, upscale shops, theaters, and all manner of other methods of separating fools from their money. Las Vegas functions as a single organism that feeds on the contents of your wallet and your credit card limit, and I found it difficult not to appreciate the efficiency and the alacrity with with the organism conitnually feeds. Everyone- and I do mean EVERYONE- in Las Vegas is selling something. The question is whether or not they can convince the turtistas to buy. More often than not, the answer is an unqualified “YES!”…and at ridiculously inflated prices. The hotel rooms may seem inexpensive, but nothing else is. If you’re looking to vacation on a budget, you’re going to want to think about heading to Branson, MO.
In Vegas, I got into a long argument with the man at the roulette wheel over what I considered to be an odd number.
It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that Bugsy Siegel built a city almost literally in the middle of nowhere. There’s no logical reason for Las Vegas to be where it is, but logic doesn’t seem to be a consideration where Las Vegas is concerned. The question is whether someone can do something bigger, flashier, gaudier, and/or more eye-catching and attention-grabbing than whatever came before…because subtlety is lost on Las Vegas. If you’re looking for understated, you’re going to want to head to Flagstaff, AZ. If the fountain outside the Bellagio can’t convince you of that, there are many other examples of excess and over-the-top debauchery that undoubtedly will.
Of course, being in the middle of a desert is hardly a problem. If you’re into shopping, gambling, and/or eating, it’s possible to wander from place to place in air-conditioned bliss and never concern yourself with the reality that it’s 106 degrees outside. There’s really no reason to even go outside; everything you could possibly want, with the possible exception of melanoma, is available in perfectly air-conditioned comfort.
Another good reason to go to Las Vegas is the quality of entertainment. It seems that anyone who’s anyone is either performing, has performed, or will be performing somewhere along the Strip. We saw Martin Short at the Mirage on Friday night, and his show was exactly what you’d expect from a performer in Vegas- smooth, professional, and flawless. And there’s no lack of entertainment all over the Strip; it’s just another way to separate you from your money.
One thing that surprised me, but probably shouldn’t have, is the degree to which Las Vegas is a world unto itself, contained within the US but not really OF the US. Sure, everyone speaks English and worships at the altar of the Almightly Dollar, but you really have to make an effort to find out what’s happening outside of the Strip, which seems almost hermetically sealed off from the outside world. When news does break through the force field, it’s often not what you’d expect. For instance, when we were enjoying a day at the pool at Mandalay Bay, the TV in our cabana was spewing forth nothing but endless, breathless analysis of the “breaking news” that Katie Holmes had filed for divorce from Tom Cruise. Right; the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, the Syrian government is still massacring its citizens…and the top story of the day was the impending demise of TomKat. It was a “WTF??” moment that seemed perfectly normal in Las Vegas. Syria? Where’s that? ObamaCare? Who cares? TOM CRUISE AND KATIE HOLMES ARE GETTING DIVORCED!!
Welcome to reality…or what passes for it…in Las Vegas.
It was good to get out of Dodge for a few days. This trip was the first time I’ve gone anywhere without my laptop in…well, easily several years. It felt good to get out of the routine, if only for a short time. Now I’m back in Portland’s grey, 65-degree embrace (it’s July, right?), and I feel refreshed and ready to go. Where and how remains to be seen.