Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Las Vegas Strip Glitter Still Here But its Boring Now

This quote was on my coffee cup at Starbucks in the Aladdin Casino:
"Risk-taking, trust, and serendipity are key ingredients of joy. Without risk, nothing new ever happens. Without trust, fear creeps in. Without serendipity, there are no surprises."
-- Rita Golden Gelman, Author of Tales of a Female Nomad. She has had no permanent address since 1986.
The winds blow hot and dry here in Las Vegas sweeping across crowded streets day and night. The sidewalks along Las Vegas Boulevard seem to swell with traffic at night when its hard to walk comfortably. During this visit, the Bellagio fountains seem to go off more often and they seem to shoot water higher into the sky. The crowds watching seem bigger.

During the day, the sun weighs heavy on the skin. The skies here are hazy and dotted with clouds. Down below traffic is heavy especially around the resorts. Road construction slows down the already slow traffic to a crawl on the side streets. Some streets span very wide, but not wide enough. Legions of young Latinos still pass out solicitations for dial-up striptease - holding their explicit pamphlets out to just about anyone - couples, perhaps old ladies too.

People still crowd the casinos, the restaurants, the stores. People still smoke a lot in the casinos - often they smoke cigars. This is immediately noticeable by someone from California where it is illegal to smoke in just about any public place indoors. As the casino overwhelms the senses with lights and sounds that suggest players are making money, its easy to see that for all practical purposes, all patrons are in fact losing. The toursists walk this way and that. They wear a lot of Hawaiian shirts and wield lots of cameras. They often have children walking with them. Entertainment or an inticement to entertainment is around every corner. There are a lot of Starbucks. Things tend to be expensive. Upscale restaurants are easy to stubble upon these days. Advertising for cheap deals tend to be misleading.

The Wynn is the latest big hotel here. It's clean and crowded but feels serene by design - and elegant. Brown and golden on the outside, white and dotted with bright colors on the inside. The outside has piped in music from invisible speakers that are hidden somewhere behind perfect landscaping, mostly pine. The floors inside the extended lobby have elaborate and brightly colored tile work. The walls brandish clean and and colorful furniture and artwork. The theme is decidedly upscale. Outside there are tall waterfalls and a wall of cascading water over the "Lake of Dreams" - a place to provide nighttime lightshows. Within your first moments there, it becomes clear that there is not enough room for the crowds to stand to watch the shows. People tend to pool around a second-story railing for a look. The lake below and outside features bubbly water and four nude statues of male and female female figures modestly facing the giant wall.

We agree to buy a pair of drinks for the priviledge of sitting outside in front of the Lake of Dreams in the warm evening air and watch two versions of the show. It consisted of about five minutes of state of the art light visuals reflecting on the water and the flat waterfall "screen." A giant human head slid up out of the water which uses some kind of projection technology to show a woman's face whose lips and expressions are perfectly timed to the music.

As in all Vegas resorts, here people are constantly snapping pictures. The hotel is beautiful to be sure, but after a long string of new and remarkable resort hotels here, I just don't have a strong reaction to The Wynn resort. We walk through and it feels like just another giant (though this is less giant) Las Vegas mega-resort.

People seem to enjoy themselves here in Vegas, yet I tend to feel there's always a creeping feeling of frustration beneath the surface. People argue with curt faces at the registration desk, taxicabs honk in traffic a lot. Lines for buffets move slow. Children our restless. And, again, casino patrons sit at tables for long periods of time with hollow, intoxicated eyes, patiently losing money at the gambling tables. The casino is all too happy to oblige.


Blogger Padolsky said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:52 AM  
Blogger Padolsky said...

You forgot to mention the omnipresent time-sharing sales people who are constantly trying to lure you in off the streets to sit through one of their lethally boring sales pitches. Their should be a law against this kind of harassment.

12:53 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home