Ugly, Nevada

I was fortunate to be sent to Las Vegas on a business trip.  Fortunate, because I didn’t have to pay for the trip, or anything associated with it.

Most places I travel to, I manage to find something interesting or of merit. The most interesting thing about Las Vegas was that I didn’t like Las Vegas, at all.

Everything about this city is ugly. If you don’t like gambling, prostitutes or fakery, there’s nothing here for you – by day, or by night.  The sheer, neon-lit obscenity of the place can only hold your attention for a few minutes. After that, you’re left with a sinking feeling that you’re trapped amidst the worst products of the human imagination.

I was mystified by the expectation in Las Vegas that every visitor was there to be “entertained”.  Taken out of themselves, transported to fake castles, fake pyramids, fake Parisian monuments, to be shamelessly stripped of their money while being bombarded by sound and fury. It is a singularly depressing thought that anyone  comes to this town of their own free will.

Occasionally during my stay, I was reminded of a sane world beyond the glittering gulch. At points along the Strip, there was a gap bewteen the high-rise hotels and I glimpsed the desert and mountains beyond. Nevada seems like a beautiful state, at least the parts  not afflicted by circumstance, customer service and casinos.

The good news is that Las Vegas has an airport. You can escape.