What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, though not for reasons you might think. Michael and I are pretty sedate guys when it comes to vice. Neither one of us gambles and we’re not big drinkers but what we are is observers and Vegas is a good place to people watch. Plus our perspectives of Vegas are vastly different. Michael’s father was a major Hollywood Director, so Michael’s Vegas is the Vegas of, “The Rat Pack,” and when, “The Boys,” looked after everyone. The Casinos used their Desert setting to their advantage, creating an oasis in every spot. The interiors reflected the names of the Casinos. I think his Vegas is a richer experience than mine where all of the interiors of every Casino look the same and legions of Mexicans and people who have hit the end of their rope line the walkways of the streets and snap cards promising, “Women delivered to your door in 20 minutes,” because they’re not allowed to openly solicit prostitution within the boundaries of Vegas. I wondered if the female delivery service was like pizza, twenty minutes or less or your liaison is free.
Vegas is a world dominated by the surface of things. The interior often doesn’t live up to the hype. Sometimes the surface doesn’t live up to the hype either. Casinos fading or long faded for glory, hanging on to their existence by their fingernails. Much of the place is a bit of a shock. The fact you can carry open liquor around on the street is a bit of a shock. That some people need a hit at nine in the morning not so much, though in all honesty they probably haven’t been to bed yet.
But I’m getting ahead of myself a bit.
One thing we learned is Vegas is a place for drivers. So don’t get the bus to your hotel, rent a car. You will be whisked to the rental car terminal where in air conditioned comfort you will have a car rented and in your possession quickly and cheaply. Really, this was the easiest part of our trip.
We checked in to the Paris, the one under the big Eiffel Tower replica. The thing to know about Vegas is it’s in your pocket the minute you touch down. So whether you gamble or not, the house is going to win. It does get a bit irritating.
So the first place we checked out was The Bellagio right across the street.
The inside is very nicely decked out. Lots of marble but not too much gilding of the lilly. They have a huge Chihuly instalation on the ceiling of their foyer. I’d say about $3 Million bucks worth. The last instalation of his I saw was in LA at the MOMA and I am a fan. so these shots are actually from the next morning when I could shoot them undisturbed.
There’s also a central garden courtyard in the Bellagio that they change four times a year to reflect the seasons.
I should explain that we were being shown this by a very nice gentleman who was trying very hard to squash a Jersey accent by pronouncing every word he spoke. You know they type, friendly on the outside, hard as an iron bar on the inside if needs be. He also took the time to show us the world’s tallest chocolate fountain.
Walking around Vegas is a trip.
And the Flamingo still looks the part of the old Vegas.
But there are other really cool things that are a hop skip and a jump from Sin City and involve engineering on a scale that really has to be seen to be fully appreciated. I am of course talking about the Hoover Dam. If you want the nitty gritty on how it was built, I suggest you Wiki it. I just thought the sheer size was mind blowing.
It was 110F outside which was a bit punishing. Inside the dam was a lot cooler, especially way down in the base where the generators live.
The guide told us that if everything went to hell tomorrow, the dam would run unattended for another twenty five years barring any major geological calamity. Not bad for something built during the depression.