robertisenberg

Lost Vegas: 2

In Nevada on June 30, 2009 at 12:00 am

Excalibur

When most people picture Las Vegas, they think of colossal, world-famous hotels, like the pyramid-shaped Luxor, or the French-themed Paris. If you want to see knights jousting, visit Excalibur; for pirate battles, Treasure Island. The Strip has become Las Vegas; there is more hedonism and entertainment packed into the Strip’s three miles than in any dozen American cities. Many casinos are strung along the Las Vegas Monorail, which easily whisks tourists from Sahara to MGM Grand for a (comparatively) measly $5 a trip. And if you book a room in, say, Caesar’s Palace, you could spend an entire day exploring the mall and casinos.

But the Strip is also gigantic. Each hotel is its own maze-like superstructure; there is a general absence of maps and directories, or even exit signs. Visitors are expected to wander on foot, from slots machine to theme-restaurant to souvenir shop to blackjack table, leaving just enough time to hail a cab to The Phantom of the Opera. Few people make a plan in Vegas, except for specific shows, like Penn & Teller or Cirque du Soleil. Otherwise, the hours are spent on impulsive gambling and shopping, picking up a chili-dog simply because the hotdog stand enters one’s view. The only taboos on the Strip are a schedule, a budget, or a proper bedtime.

Over 30 million visitors a year can’t be wrong: The Strip can be great fun. That’s what it’s designed for, after all.

But it can also be a good recipe for exhaustion. And when you’re lost in the nether-corridors of Paris, you’re hungry, your feet hurt, and nobody – not even the security guards – can give you sensible directions to the Monorail, the alienation can get frustrating, and some people can get snippy. Like us.

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