Vegas is unlike any other place in the country. It’s a continuous cascade of colored lights, punishing temperatures, booze, shows, food, and girls. It’s an oasis in an inhospitable desert–a town born from a dream. Being in Vegas is like living in a dream–whether it’s a fantasy or a nightmare is all a matter of perspective.
This town is a neon-studded dreamland of smoke, sounds, and alcohol. Here, it is far easier to find a bar than a water fountain, and margaritas flow by the gallon rather than the ounce. Each hotel whisks visitors to a new country of debauchery and glitz, each larger and more bedazzled than the last.
In this world, there’s no sense of time. The 110-degree daytime temperatures are imperceptible from the 99-degree evenings; the only difference is the absence of that big light in the sky. Days collide and overlap like tectonic plates as visitors ponder the pleasure of a midnight dip or marvel at the impressive eruptions of the world’s most famous fountain.
Tourists stumbling in from redeye flights and weekend escapes maintain an endless stream of caffeine, cocktails, and blackout curtains to overpower their circadian rhythms. Soaring daytime temperatures necessitate midday siestas for anyone wishing to venture down The Strip–the one street in America whose nighttime illumination jauntily competes with that of the day. Even the time zone caters to this routine-less, indulgent lifestyle–the clock reads hours earlier than most of the country.
Inside, it’s midnight 24/7–hotel owners can’t allow high rollers to recognize the time slipping away like desert sand. A single, gluttonous lunch lasts them all day, eliminating the rhythm of regular meals. Seasons are indistinguishable as frigid air conditioning clashes with nature’s oven, and slot machines sound their endless loop of clinks and whistles. Years of cigarette smoke soak into everything, joining a stale blanket that transcends brand recognition and is noticeable only in its consistency. Gamblers are honed into the glowing screens of the slots with such intensity that the ebb and flow of surrounding foot traffic disappears, save the personal service of scantily clad waitresses prepared to cater to every whim.
And among all this, you have to admire Lady Vegas for her unapologetic intensity. In a country of insecurity, Vegas flaunts her good and bad with equal vigor. She is as self-assured as any model, and why shouldn’t she be? She was founded with the money of mobsters and imagined in the minds of dreamers. Nowhere on earth is it easier to lose yourself in fantasy, and she excels at creating it. Men have ruined their lives in her casinos and made it big on her stages, but she watches over all of it with a neon glitter in her knowing eye.
She is the land of opportunity–and the city of ruin.