‘Tis a funny odd place Las Vegas, a city that lures you there so it can make believe you are somewhere else.
I’m no gambler. For me, visiting Vegas is all about gawking at the human tide along the Strip and seeing stupendous shows. I will mention Cirque du Soleil in particular as I’ve been incredibly lucky to see not one but three of these extravaganzas, being Mystere, O and Love. They rock!
These stage spectaculars and the outstanding spread of dining options are enough to satisfy me. But what I also find fascinating and hugely entertaining about Las Vegas is its brazen attempt to fashion the idea that you are actually elsewhere.
The last time I rolled into ‘Lost Wages’, I ended up staying in Paris. Or was it Venice? Maybe it was Florence – or was that the time before? It’s difficult to recall when I spent most of my time wandering through what may possibly be the world’s biggest outdoor stage set.
I recall thinking that in the years immediately following 9/11, the main raison d’être of Las Vegas other than building ever more elaborate casinos was to create credible facsimiles of some of the world’s greatest destination cities, simply so fearful Americans never had the need to travel abroad again.
By simply strolling along the famous Strip, which is a mandatory activity on any Nevada visit, it’s possible to “travel” from past to future; from the pyramids of ancient Egypt at the Luxor, past the pop-cartoon castles at Excalibur and on to the high-tech high jinks at Stratosphere.
And in between these opposites you can indulge in some European ‘history’ by visiting the plazas and fountains of Rome and then hop across the road to Venice for a paddle along a canal.
Your “global meandering” can be fuelled by having a coffee with croissant in Paris before winging your way to New York and then moving on to the facsimile of a signature Fairmont hotel in Canada.
At least this Disney-like castle below looks like it belongs in the USA:
In comparison to all this architectural confection I find the newer, high-end Vegas developments such as CityCentre and Wynn to be flash but boring, totally bereft of fantasy. And without fantasy what’s Vegas all about?