I’m no expert on Las Vegas. I’m just a regular guy who had a three day experience, but that three day experience was enough to satisfy my appetite for sin for several decades.
Everything in Vegas makes you feel that way, starting with the buffet at Treasure Island (renamed “TI” by the pornographers who haven taken Las Vegas over from the amusement park people, who took it over from the mob at the end of the film “Casino”). After I gorged myself on a breakfast buffet that included cheese blintzes, four kinds of sausage, sushi, and a mango smoothie, I vowed never to eat brunch again, for at least another ten years. Thus goes every experience of Las Vegas.
The city’s transition from family-friendly to porn-friendly can be jarring, especially as it has manifested itself at TI. Their Pirates of the Caribbean-esque pyrotechnic show remains, except that now one of the vessels is overrun by “Sirens” with large breasts, who would have their victims “cross swords” in a way that Disney would undoubtedly frown upon.
Jarring as it can be, this transition to a focus on prostitutes and pornography was probably a good business decision. When I stopped to watch the enormous fake volcano that erupts in front of the Mirage, I couldn’t help but feel that something vital was missing amidst the epic display of fireballs and explosions. And that something was prostitutes, of course.
When the promise of sex is as blatant as it is in today’s Las Vegas, everything else fades into the background and loses color. The sound of an enormous, exploding volcano becomes background ambience in comparison to the sound of street people flicking cards with the names, numbers and prices of escorts. The sound is deafening.
And now that Vegas has been taken over by the pornographers, there’s no going back. The pornographers will rule this city for a thousand years, possibly until the end of time. No Bugsy Siegel or Walt Disney will ever rule in Las Vegas again, now that the sex trade has come out of the shadows and flies its large-breasted flag on the mastheads at the once family-friendly Treasure Island.
Cirque du Soleil, the fountains of the Bellagio, all of these iconic Las Vegas attractions are now nothing but pacifiers to distract the rest of your family while you sneak away to be upsold on services offered by a woman named “Eden”. Just be prepared for it to cost a lot more than you expected, and to leave Las Vegas with the feeling that if you never saw a boob for the rest of your life, it would be too soon.
And they also have gambling there.
Many people who have not visited Las Vegas mistakenly believe that a hangover can only last a couple of days. Experience these Las Vegas attractions and discover that a hangover can last a lifetime.
Gondola Rides at the Venetian – the ceiling at the Venetian is painted and lit to look like the blue skies of Venice, creating a truly surreal experience of perpetual day. A nightmarish experience for sleep-deprived gamblers on the brink of amphetamine psychosis.
The Mirage – After you see the huge, artificial volcano erupt outside and say, “Meh”, go inside and make uncomfortable eye contact with fellow gamblers being escorted by women who are clearly prostitutes. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotions – first you judge them, then you’re jealous of them, and then, by the end of the night, you’re one of them.
Brunch at T.I. – the next morning, fill the dark pit in your stomach by gorging yourself on every conceivable breakfast food. Then, pay for it with a revulsion for Portuguese sausage that will stay with you for years. You may never leave and, indeed, many never have.
Fountains at the Bellagio – You’re supposed to be in awe of these gigantic fountains of water spraying in a choreographed dance to “Billy Jean”, but deep down you know it had a much greater emotional impact when you saw it on DVD at the end of Ocean’s Eleven.
Madame Toussauds – this was a highlight of my trip to Las Vegas, not because I’m into posing with incredibly life-like, 3-dimensional replicas of celebrities like Angelina Jolie, but because I know that in 20 years this will be a brothel. It’s only a matter of perfecting the technology.
What to Skip:
Skip all of it, because by the time you escape from Las Vegas you will have spent enough money for a vacation to Paris. Or, at the very least, wait until they’ve perfected the technology to make Madame Toussauds into a interactive brothel.
Paul “the Party Animal” Parker is a freelance gopher for Absolute Perfection Media in Baltimore, where he is responsible for getting the donuts. He describes himself as a “lover, not a fighter” and “a great fan of Norah O’ Donnell, the most beautiful and intelligent person in journalism today, with a snorting laugh that makes my heart skip a beat.” Follow him on Just Sayin’ (PaulThePartyAnimal) for a good time.