Friday, March 28, 2014

Ridiculous/Sublime

Las Vegas. How can you take the place seriously? Ray made all the arrangements for our trip and told me we would be staying "off the Strip."  We'd be out a ways, near where Roy and Jamie would be parking their trailer. "Good," I thought—quiet, basic, normal, un-Vegas-y. 

Not. 


This is Sam's Town, a fake old-time-y town, built around a Central Park, complete with a waterfall, trees, a grizzly bear and a cougar. Each of those pairs of windows is a hotel room. Behind me are two casino floors. In the evening, once an hour, a terrifying BOOM! heralds the beginning of the water/laser light show. The waterfall goes nuts, the bear and cougar come to life and flail a bit, colored lights illuminate the trees and laser lights start racing around the building facades. Loud music, smoke and chaos ensue for about 10 minutes.  The view from our window:


What does it all mean?  I don't know, but it does somehow make you feel you are getting your money's worth. It's Las Vegas, Baby! And, odd as it seems, the over-the-top kitschy-ness kind of grows on you. Early in the morning we walked through the park, now calm and quiet, with our coffee, past the waterfall and heard birdsong. I looked up into a tree, expecting to see birds, but the sound was coming from a small speaker wired to one of the branches. Such is nature in Sam's Town. 

And then way off the strip, out beyond Sam's Town and off the freeway is the desert. A real desert. Red Rock Canyon. Just when you thought that Las Vegas was wholly fabricated fantasy, you find the land  upon which this mirage in the desert was built, and the place is the genuine article. Breath-takingly so. 





Back in Oregon it all seems a bit like a crazy dream. It rained so hard today I wondered if I imagined the whole thing. What happens in Vegas really does stay in Vegas. 





11 comments:

  1. I especially like the 4th photo from the top, the undulating rocks.

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  2. I've got to go see Red Rock Canyon next time we are there. That is so beautiful.

    I find that I become increasingly uncomfortable with the fakery and kitch in vegas. I'm only good for a few days. Last time I was there I spent a great deal of time finding gambling alternatives. I found a Boucher exhibit, a wonderful exhibit on Calder's mobiles, and of course looked at the Chihuly glass. It was great fun. I felt like I'd stolen something by going the whole trip without gambling. And I even came out ahead! I found a quarter on the casino floor as we walked through on the way to dinner.

    A hotel in Texas where I stayed at a conference was much like yours. A glass covered fake interior park with a 'river', and fake birds. I finally went outside - into a muggy furnace and felt sortof guilty for coming back into the massive AC fake-space after only a short run in the 'real world'.

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  3. Vegas is indeed ridiculous and sublime. Your pictures of the desert and the dam in the previous post are sublime.. Thank you!

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  4. I despise Las Vegas. I hate everything about it except the Dale Chiuily ceiling and the art gallery at the Bellagio and, if money is no object, the restaurants are fantastic. Couldn't agree with you more. But if all you did was fly to Vegas, rent a car and spend all your time at Red Rock canyon, it would be a spectacular trip. The beauty is unforgettable.

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  5. I drove cross country with TY about ten years ago and my only request was to see Las Vegas. (He would have driven straight through if I let him!) We saw Sigfried and Roy before the 'accident' and stayed over just one night. I LOVED it, but one night was enough, glad to be back on the road and have UT in our sights after that! Rocks give perspective, don't they?

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  6. The first time I went to Vegas I burst out laughing in the car as we drove in from the airport. All those crazy buildings right on top of each other popping up out of nothing!

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  7. Ha! I'm so glad you got another view of Las Vegas after your post a year or so ago! It really is a great place to live. The weather is wonderful, even the heat. I have a small pool so look forward to the high temps so I can take my Kindle (in a zip-lock baggie) out there and float around on my lounger. Besides Red Rock there are several beautiful areas like it plus the Mt. Charleston ski resort is up just a little higher. I live in Sun City Anthem, an award-winning 55-plus community and our amenities are incredible. The sewing room probably has at least 15 top of the line machines, including a long arm. I'm currently doing fused glass and we have 3 kilns with a 4th on the way. Many of the residents are former entertainers and we have our own theater for local and traveling productions. Woodworking area and full athletic club with all of the latest and best equipment, yoga classes, golf courses, restaurants and bars, etc. If we want to see fabulous entertainment or art we can run down to the Strip or to any of the many "local" casinos where so many of the bands from "our" generation still perform. I have to admit I didn't really think of Las Vegas as anything more than the Strip before I moved here. Now, every day I'll hear someone saying how lucky we are to be here.

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  8. Las Vegas. They do kitsch with a capital K and then you go out a little ways and there is country so very different that it knocks your socks off. The contrast is mind-bending.

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  9. Yep. I like the Red Rock Canyon scenery much better than Sam's Town.

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  10. Found you by accident, so strange. I live in ridiculous Las Vegas.

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