December 8, 2008

Wretched Excess.

"I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him;
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones,
So let it be with Caesar ..."

I have just now returned from a lovely wedding in Las Vegas, Nevada. I had never been out there before, so it was all fresh and new to me. I had a great, and very interesting, time. I'd like to state for the record that I am no gambler. I did play some of the games. I won. I lost. I won. I lost.

Thirty bucks in the hole was where it stood at the airport. Not too shabby for having gone to something like 12 casinos. Vegas is a giant money vacuum.

I have long been fascinated by the concept of Las Vegas, from its humble beginnings as an organized criminal venture, sanctioned by the State of Nevada, on up through the Fear and Loathing of Hunter S. Thompson (which I read again while I was there). I knew that the Vegas of yore was long gone years ago, but I had no idea how gone it really was.

Real gone.

If a casino gets too old or run down on the Strip, well, goodbye. Knock it down and scrape the earth until no trace remains. In its place will be built a super behemoth casino, nicer and more opulent than any casino ever built. Ever! In the end , even if they make it a Super Nice Class Sextuple AAA Palatial Gambling Center, it's still a casino. All the games are the same as every other casino on the Strip. Gambling, food, drink, and titty, that's what you get.

Clark County, Nevada really offers nothing to the casual tourist but the chance to (rarely) strike it rich. And to buy shit. And hookers. And that's pretty much it. There are some thrills to be had, I guess, if any of that stuff is your bag. But doesn't offer anything really tangible, just greed and gluttony for the dead-eyed potato people (Hey, it just happens. You play video poker for an hour or three, see if you don't end up looking a little zombified). It's the world's largest sin shopping mall, and it's far more obnoxious than you could ever imagine. I mean, I had no idea...

Honestly, I was entertained by just about everything presented to me. To the point of total exhaustion, which is where I am, currently. I spent a lot of my time just watching everyone. It's an intriguing microcosm of like-minded individuals milling around, doing the vice thing. They were the happy, sad, pretty, ugly, young, old, totally wasted humans of every hue, shape and size, and they were all cuttin' it loose, Vegas style. It's amazing.

If you have never been, you should go at least once, just to see it all unfold in front of you. If you have been there you already know what it's all about. I can't tell you nothin'.

The linky for today is a lecture by Hunter Thompson at Boulder University back in 1977, in all his mumbly glory. Pictures from the trip are here if'n you want a look-see.


Spacebeer said...

Did you guys go to downtown Vegas at all? The lazer light show over the street is goofy, bu the casinos have that old school charm. And cheaper drinks. And real quarters.

Mr. Krotpong said...

Unfortunately, we never made it off of the strip. We stayed mostly on foot, so that kept us pretty localized. Circus Circus was as far away as we got. Wish y'all could have gone.

Spacebeer said...

Let's go back!

milk and cake said...

what amazes me are the folks i know who go to vegas over and over again, always their vacation of choice, always coming home broke and with cheap tchotkes. when i met anyone who thinks vegas is the ultimate destination, i tend to steer clear of them after that. i mean, once or twice, and to take pictures and eat too much, it's fine. a few times a year? um, no.

Lei-Leen said...

i can't even grok tolerating this. i respect you both for handling it. i remember getting very close to flipping out in times square six years ago because of sensory overload (and a blood relative claiming he'd take shrooms and sit in a lawn chair in the midst of the clamorous horror).

p.s. i hate "grok" but it's the best word for it at the moment. fyi, fwiw.

Mr. Krotpong said...

I do believe that your choices are to assimilate or have an aneurysm.

Colleen said...

I've only been in the airport, where they have amazing carpet and one of the few remaining oxygen bars.