Only in Vegas

2,000,000 years from now, long after the sun has imploded and our planet has turned into a lifeless ball of ice, spacemen in little silver orbs will land on Earth on an intergalatic reconaissance mission. We hope they land in Las Vegas, for this reason: no where else in the Universe will they find a place that represents the duality of mankind in such well-defined and transparent terms.

Getting to Vegas from Laughlin meant a 90 mile drive across the desert on a two-lane highway where the concept of speedlimit was purely subjective and allowed drivers to answer this question on their own: how fast can this car go? In our case, in a four-cylinder Nissan rental, it meant all of 68 mph. With the pedal pressed to the floor.

The only time (some) motorists made any attempt to slow down was when they passed this police cruiser parked on the side of the highway. We had little to worry about, as we were well under the posted limit. We still let off the gas and slowed anyway, out of habit. A Lotus grew larger in our rear view mirror before zipping by at 110 mph- right in front the cop. We looked at the cruiser expecting to see reds and blues flashing in fast pursuit. Nothing happened. Something wasn't right. We slowed down even more, and when we pulled alongside the cruiser, we saw the officer was a mannequin. Ha ha ha. The Lotus must have driven by Officer Ken Doll before.

One stretch of road where no one was speeding (much less moving at posted speed), was Las Vegas boulevard, better known as The Strip. Everytime we've been to Vegas, one constant feature is the crowds. It matters not the time of year or time of day. Tens of thousands of people clog the sidewalks and the traffic moves slower than a desert tortoise. For what? $12.99 steak and lobster tail dinners. Free drinks while you play nickel slots. Don Rickles at the Stardust. The town, both smarmy and pretentious at the same time, provides an interesting insight into humanity; billion dollar casinos treat millionaire high rollers to beluga cavair brunches and helicopter tours of the Grand Canyon while penniless bums scavage for cigarette butts in front of the Graceland Drive Thru Wedding Chapel. No where else will you see the extremes of the human existence so oblique. Only in Vegas.

Everywhere we went, we witnessed more evidence supporting this conclusion. At the Bellagio, the digital billboard advertised the Ansel Adams photography exhibit (lower right), and Rolex watches (lower left). We submit there is no greater value spectrum span than seen here, side by side, (with one unique common trait): Ansel Adams represented a humble existence dedicated to protecting our most sacred natural jewels. Rolex watches are lined with sacred jewels and represent affluence, vanity, and consumerism. Only in Vegas.

Over at the Aladdin, thousands of gallons of water plummet over a fake waterfall. Not like this is a desert or anything. Not like water evaporates quickly in 100 degree plus temperatures and 7% humidity. Not like in 50 years from now, Vegas and Phoenix (and all the other rapidly growing western cities), will be ghost towns when the aquifier runs dry from all the golf courses, wave parks, and citrus farms. Mark Twain once said, "In the West, water flows uphill. Towards money." Very true. Water can also shoot into the sky towards money, as seen in front of The Bellagio (and choreographed to an Aaron Copland composition). Only in Vegas.

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