Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Stranger in Strange Land

Just like Lazurus Long, I found myself a stranger in a strange land as I walked the streets of Las Vegas. I am the anti-thesis of Las Vegas, swore I would never go there, but a conference was there, so went (BTW, you know you're in Vegas when the conference help are riding around in skimpy leather outfits on Segways).

It all came home walking into the Luxor, the pyramid shaped monstrosity. We're used to lineups in airports, but this was the same type of lineup in a hotel. Four snaked rows leading up to the check-in, and of course, the check-in desk is only seconds away from the casino. Strange indeed.

I guess the thing that gets to you after a while is the artificialness of it all. There's nothing real. I look at all the people standing in line and think: 'What are you doing here?'. For the most part it looks like they don't know either. In some ways, it is the quintessential American experience, the city exists to entertain. America has reached the point, at least for a certain class of people, that there's nothing else to do but be entertained, so they go Vegas. And those that aren't in that class, aspire to it, save their pennies and go, thinking this raises them to normal American-ness.

Having said that there are lots of great shows, I only got to see one, the classic Folies Bergere. It was classic, brilliant at times and cheesy at others, in the rundown theatre at the Tropicana. The music was canned, I kept looking for the orchestra as it sounded live. Fortunately I got half-price tickets the day of.

I guess my mind wanders to water, when in a desert like Las Vegas, and I couldn't help but be astounded by the water show at the Bellagio, not from the show itself, but from it's conspicuous use of water. Of course, it must just be me. Reports say that the strip is not the source of water problems in Las Vegas.

Glad to see it, glad to leave.

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