Monday, April 23, 2012

France and England on $98 a Day - Las Vegas First

What do Las Vegas and London have in common? Absolutely nothing. But David's Just for Openers convention meant we had to go.

The place makes you want to scream for help because your senses are violated at every turn. Music blares from speakers lining the streets, buildings careen at odd angles, lights blaze wherever you turn, and boys in sunglasses thrust little packets of photos in your face. Las Vegas is where brass trumps charm.

It's full of excess. The meek have no place in Vegas. While the Bellagio Hotel and Casino gardens are reliably lovely, that's the only area of The Strip that is tasteful.

White clouds and blue skies never change in the Miracle Mile Mall shops--not even when it's "raining" every hour on the hour into the pond below.

The All Saints Spitalfields avant-garde clothing shop has 1,800 old-fashioned sewing machines dressing its considerable storefront.

The people who visit this town also intrigue.

This man, Art Santen, is in The Guinness Book of World Records. He has over 32,000 bottle openers. Yes, bottle openers.

These octogenarian twins still dress the same way every day.

We met a man from the California Coast who said he towed his boat to a Vegas parking garage. He roamed the streets during the day and retired to his private yacht every night to sleep.

We met only one man who tilted at windmills, trying to sell his photocopied booklets of poetry to passersby.

I'm delighted that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas because I couldn't pack all the brash bravado of that city in my suitcase no matter how large the bag. 

Practicalities -
If you do go to Las Vegas, consider staying a block off the strip in one of the less frenetic hotels that doesn't have a casino.  We had a lovely room at the Carriage House, complete with its own kitchen. 

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