As one of my articles focusing on Las Vegas, I’d like to delve more into my 13 year old daughter’s view of things: namely, that it runs on sex and money. (I wonder if I’d have picked up on that at that tender age…)
Now, it isn’t that I didn’t expect this, in such a huge area, where these two aspects of life scream at every moment and opportunity, this point is brought home much better than any ad or spoken word could ever convey. When one steps foot off a plane and sees a few hundred slot machines, it hits a person that gambling really is big, big business, albeit fairly one-way.
Then, when a visitor must walk through a casino filled with between 2000-4000 slot machines and poker tables, just to get into any hotel lobby, it’s obvious what the priority is. All of the examples I’ve heard were true, from the little old ladies hypnotized at the penny slots to the high stakes poker tables with their glamorous clientele. But, except for one occasion, I did not hear anyone win big.
The money-angle is so obvious in Vegas it hits a person in the face. Where else are there back to back, 5 star resorts filled with the best that money can buy? With acres of marble, mosaic, statuary, fountains, landscaping and artwork, most first time visitors wander around in a suspended state of disbelief. Add the dozens of high-end designer stores and restaurants charging $200 for a fixed price meal, and you’ve got the makings of a city that demands a lot of money for and from its guests. For the first couple of days, I thought I liked Vegas more than New York, but by the time I left, I’d changed my mind. New York does require a lot of money as well, but seems grounded by the fact that people really live there, and as such, there are deli’s and convenience shops that are fairly reasonable in pricing. Not so in Vegas. I didn’t even see a pharmacy the whole time I was there, and who the heck is going to walk several blocks off the strip just to get a glass of milk under 3 bucks?
As far as the other enticement…well, along the strip are folks giving away cards and flyers which promote nude shows, and vehicles of all sorts carry the same ads. A man cannot walk down the street without having something shoved into his hands, even if he is already with a woman. Huge billboards showing g-stringed behinds boast the topless reviews, and even the headliners have sexy poses plastered over entire sides of buildings. Girls in provocative costumes stand outside of casinos, and we even saw a showgirl (in all of her buxom feathered glory) in our hotel lobby. (Upon which my daughter exclaimed, “I feel so inadequate!”) During our very first hour in Vegas, as we walked in a single line through the packed, Saturday night crowds, my daughter was approached by a 50-ish man who was not shy about his intentions, and I’ve no doubt a proposition would have been forthcoming if my husband hadn’t caught up with her and made his presence known. Just when I though we were out of these particular woods, a woman at the airport approached my daughter as we were waiting to leave, for the sole purpose of telling her that prostitution was not legal in Las Vegas. (Now, why she felt the need to do so, I’ve no idea.)
Oh well, we all know what makes Vegas run, so the good thing is, it’s not trying to hide anything. But there are other more positive aspects to the city as well, and I will gladly give them their due.
For example, it’s easy to get around Vegas, with all-day bus passes and monorails and trams, and one can find just about any type and range of eating establishments. Even with kids, a family can have a great time, with so many attractions-many of which are free. In fact, it’s worth seeing at least once, because there just can’t be anyplace else like it on earth…sex and money aside.