Las Vegas may not be one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but of there was list Seven Weirdest Places of the World, it would certainly be there. In a couple of hours, you can walk from Venice to Paris to Mandalay Bay to Luxor—and hit New York and Bellagio on the way back.
Caesar himself would be proud of Caesar’s palace. Seriously! If didn’t know my history, I’d believe the Romans made it to Vegas, too.
There are pirate fights on the hour at Treasure Island, an erupting volcano at the Mirage; the fountains at Bellagio burst with color and music into the night sky.
Once, when there was a Monet exhibit at the Guggenhiem gallery at the Venetian (sadly, now defunct), I looked at a painting of the Doges Palace for a long time, then walked out on the traffic bridge and looked at the Vegas version, cars zooming under me on Las Vegas Boulevard. Except for the gargantuan video screens advertising Wayne Newton or Bette Middler or Cher, it was eerily right-on.
Speaking of art, note the fabulous sculpture from the Riviera, the posteriors of the women shining from being touched gazillions of time for good luck.
It’s Vegas, Baby.
And here’s a shoe from a shop window at the Mirage. Women wear these shoes here! Some can actually walk in them without looking like their ankles are going to give out on them any minute. It’s kind of a miracle.
Me, I play video poker on the nickel machines. My idea is winning is taking a really, really long time to lose my $20 stake. Better yet, playing a long time and cashing out the same $20—or maybe, on a good day, $25. Or $30. Who-hoo!
Steve, though—he wins more often than not. $6,000 this time! A trip to France.
Of course, there’s a sad side to Las Vegas, too. Yesterday morning, walking, we saw a guy up ahead of us, weaving a little, talking to himself. He was filthy, his hair tangled, his clothes in tatters. As we followed him up the escalator to cross on a traffic bridge, Steve took a twenty-dollar bill from his wallet.
He tapped the guy on the shoulder. “Have you had anything to eat today?” he asked.
The guy shook his head, no. Steve gave him the money, and the guy’s face broke into an astonished smile.
“Some people aren’t as lucky as we are, you know?” Steve said to me, as we moved on.
“Yes, we are very, very lucky,” I said.