Sunday, July 12, 2009

Las Vegas, Nevada

I leave it to a roadside coin toss to decide. Heads it's Ely. Tails I go to Vegas.


Okay, two out of three.

I tell myself to cowboy up, but it's no use. I am just not a Vegas guy. My vices are furtive and small-bore. That is not the Vegas way.

There's a big neon sign out at the desert's edge, flashing the city motto.

"Gamblin' and Whores! Whores and Gamblin'!"

They say it's visible from outer space.

I walk from my hotel up to the Strip, and realize quickly that only losers walk in Vegas. Car exhaust combines with cigarette smoke and cheap perfume into a hot, acrid cloud. On the upside, I make faster progress than the snarled traffic.

Carrying a tripod and wearing dirty cargo shorts and a baggy shirt, I look like a cross between a Danish backpacker and a skate punk gone to seed. It is not a flattering look.

I make it as far as the Flamingo. The crowds are moving thickly between refrigerated casinos. An 80-foot portrait of Donnie and Marie Osmond stares down from the hotel billboard, distracting me from the dozens of nude call-girl trading cards littering the sidewalk.

The lights, the crowd, the noise, the frickin' Osmonds...This is not my place, and these are not my people.

I turn and walk back to my hotel, stopping just long enough to buy a six-pack. By the time I get there, I can't even be bothered to decipher the pay-per-view menu.

I stop on my way out of town just long enough to take a parting snapshot. The flipside of the famous "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign offers some sensible advice.

"Drive Carefully. Come back soon."

Um...I'll do what I can on the first bit. But don't hold your breath otherwise.


Rusty said...

Boulder City, next door to the Hoover Dam is nice and only 20 min. away. Just follow the power lines.

Paul Souders said...

Thanks Rusty. I'll keep that in mind for next time.

Photobby said...

Ya should have visited Ely. My boss is from there. Real small town. Their version of debauchery is more like petty trouble making...

Drive safe now.

cliffrose said...

I only go to Vegas to visit the Valley of Fire out towards Logandale (Wayne Newton's ranch is out there). There is a little hot spring with tropical fish called Johnson's Spring...much better than the city.