i made my first visit to las vegas last week. i'd driven through so many times i couldn't count how many. but i'd never gotten off the road in vegas. my only stopping place in vegas is craig road. in north vegas, far away from the strip. for gas. but my sister and brother-in-law were there on business and it's only four hours away and i needed to see my sister. so i made the drive on monday.
as i pulled into town, i had no idea where i was going--only that i needed to end up at the venetian. so i followed the lights to the strip and hazarded a guess at which direction to turn. and began the stop and go gawk parade down the strip. talk about sensory overload. more lights than one could imagine. fountains shooting 80 feet into the air. people everywhere. ads for strip shows and dancing girls. it was just so completely bizarre. and garish.
and then i got to the hotel. even the parking structure was extreme. and the building was overwhelmingly confusing. i think they built it to maximize confusion in their customers--confusion concealed under a veneer of services and amenities--in order to induce more spending. but i eventually made my way to the ballroom where my sister's company was holding their event that night. and found an amazing dessert spread, which i promptly visited. it was tasty. as was the room service egg fritata i consumed at 1 in the morning.
tuesday i spent the day at the tradeshow, so i didn't see much. until that evening, when tasha, mark and i went out walking to find some dinner. we ended up at caesar's palace. the shops, to be exact. where we ate. and then walked around so i could get an eyeful of the attractions. a huge replica of a trojan horse. an animatrix statuary show. it was so ridiculous that i couldn't help spontaneously laughing on occasion. which is kind of a fun feeling. walking down the street or through a mall, randomly laughing because of how utterly ridiculous the things you discover are. i probably sounded like a laughing fool.
we walked down to the bellagio. because i wanted to see the chihuly glass installation on the ceiling of the lobby. it was gorgeous. absolutely beautiful. and back behind the lobby there was a very pretty garden. in which there was a tree that the bellagio had had cut down in the south, shipped to vegas, and reassembled. did i say excessive? we also found this fabulous chocolate fountain in a shop back behind the garden. a three story chocolate fountain. yeah. you read that right.
on the walk back to the venetian, we were pleased to note that many of the casinos use fluorescent coil lightbulbs. very conservation-minded of them. now, if only we could convince them to use fewer than ten thousand of them...
it is a wild place. an absolute circus of humanity. one i wouldn't mind visiting on occasion just to people watch. but i think it would sap my soul if i spent too much time there.
[note: there were two primary discoveries last week. and each deserves its own post. so this one tonight. look for another in the next few days.]