Paradise Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada
September 21, 2009
Interstate 15 South is very curvy descending from the loftier elevations of Utah through Arizona and into base flatlands in southern Nevada.
Promises of riches, happily-ever-afters and Elvis sightings are part of the allure of Las Vegas. There is quite a contrast between the natural badlands and the man made ones. One can cover several millennium and travel around the world on the same street.
I have been to Las Vegas numerous times, but I have never written about it.
After weeks of describing aspects of the Paleozoic Age, what would you like to know about Ancient History in Egypt and Rome, the Renaissance and Elizabethan periods in Europe, and the Space Age? Getting tired of New York, New York? Hop a monorail and head for Paris, Rio, Monte Carlo, the Barbary Coast or Treasure Island. The entire strip is one giant Mirage and worthy of Encore.
The weekends belong to the young and often times, the foolish at any age. There were bachelorette parties everywhere I looked. I didn’t see many bachelor parties going on, but with promises of the “best last night of bachelorhood” I guess most of the guys were upstairs in their rooms. Standing in front of two guys in line for coffee, I heard one say to the other “whatever your vice, you can get your fix here.”
We arrived late Saturday night and pulled up to the hotel donning wrinkled clothes, scuffed hiking boots and messy hair. There was quite a contrast between Brad and me, and the throngs of young women wearing very short black dresses. They were the same ones who wore skimpy thongs at the pool a few hours before. Except for the multitude of tattoos, the guys looked just like us.
Something special was going on at the hotel that night. There were at least two hundred young military personnel in dress uniform with smartly dressed civilian escorts wearing beautiful long gowns and dark suits. I was proud to think these folks were getting the recognition they deserve.
We caught Jon Lovitz performing at the Excalibur and we laughed our heads off. Much of his repertoire was about being Jewish and growing up as the son of a doctor in Encino, California. The audience was on the small side on a Sunday night. He asked if anyone in the audience were Jewish. We were the only ones to raise our hands. The paucity of other Jews probably had to do with the fact that Rosh Hashona fell on the weekend. When the houselights went up so Jon could see us better in the back of the room, he said “of course, you guys are in the CHEAP seats.” Lovitz made fun of every race, religion and gender. He happens to be a very talented musician who sings and plays the keyboard with exquisite grace. There were many clever ditties, and songs about Bob Sagat being gay. It was one of those “you had to be there” moments.
Pretty soon Brad and I will return to Los Angeles to resume life as normal. Normal? Well, back to reality. I have learned a lot about different people in blue and red states, local economies and American expansionism in the west. I have also learned a lot about myself, my partner and our marriage. It will take some time to sort out the impact that five weeks on the road has had on me, and what changes, if any, Brad and I will make once we get home.
By the way, George Bernard Shaw said “A perpetual holiday is a good definition of Hell.”