Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Town Travel - Las Vegas, USA


Town Travel - My favourite town by Barbara Gaskell-Denvil

OK, so I am cheating because this isn’t my favourite city in the world – not at all! My favourite city is probably London, but writing about London would take me a week and a few thousand pages.

So, here’s something a little different. Let me introduce Las Vegas.

The U.S. not only contains many different States, it almost seems to contain many different countries, and the most unique is those is Las Vegas where gambling is the principal obsession. But it contains a good deal more than that. Vegas sparkles with colour and charm, it breathes friendliness and dazzles with humour. The whole city laughs at itself, with the clash and clank of slot machines, the endless decorations and the crazy combination of terrible taste and blinding beauty.

The hotels rise into that clear blue sky, parading their hilariously gorgeous imitations, such as the Venation which surrounds itself with tiny canals, Italian style bridges, and small gondolas plying their trade. The New York hotel sits next to a huge model of the  Statue of Liberty, the Excalibur is built as a giant replica of a medieval castle complete with turrets and drawbridge, The Paris displays a model  Eiffel Tower alight with glitter and romance, the  others welcome everyone with the most stunning decorations models and music, and most beautiful of all, The Bellagio is fronted by a great shining lake which springs into amazing movement every half hour or so (the timing varies according to day and to season) when a sweep  of several hundred fountains rise, dancing with  a glorious rhythm  to whatever music is playing. 

Not only is gambling of all kinds legal, so is the smoking of recreational cannabis, and the perfume of that floats like an eager advertisement within every hotel, and every street.  This is not, however, the principal source of happiness. Nor are the winnings at the card tables or the slot machines. Happiness simply seems to abound and dances like the fountains into every sunlit corner. The weather is an abounding delight of dry and invigorating warmth and welcome. Food is cheap and abundant, and everyone is smiling as though their lives have reached a peak and no worries remain.

Worries, however, remain in the shadows. Poverty leads to blatant sexual invitation, half of which is entirely for entertainment, and half for desperate prostitution. As the lights glitter against a black night sky, pairs of young girls walk the streets, some in gorgeous almost non-existent costumes of glittering feathers and the tiniest of bikinis, offering you a paid photograph beside them. But there are other more desperate offers, especially from the Mexican refugees, both legal and illegal, who have nothing for themselves. Indeed, there are many homeless men wandering the streets, sleeping where they fall, or huddling hungry beside the roads. There are extremely grateful for any help given, but they need more than a few dollars for tomorrow’s food.

Surrounding the entire city and its outlying estates, is the vast and spectacular Mohave desert. Vast stretches of sand spread to the horizon in every direction, but that horizon zooms up into the crags and cliffs of mountains, valleys and incredible peaks. patterned by centuries of wind, rain and blazing heat, these hills are spectacular. The rocks change colour, creating pictures and ridges of contrasting design, and some are breath-taking. Death Valley and eventually the Grand Canyon bring the ultimate amazement, but the entire countryside, cacti and the sudden appearance of the beautiful wild animals brings as much delight as does a win on the slot machines.

Vegas was originally created with crime rather than delight in mind, and the Mafia was behind much of the original idea. Some of that remains, but very secretive and usually unseen.  What can be seen is the amusement, the imagination, the comfort and excellent service, the wide smiles and polite friendliness, and most of all the stunning beauty, both within and without. So much haunts the heart after departure and the inspiration of man remains in the mind just as much as the glorious miracles of nature.

AMAZON UK ======

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Other Town Travels to visit...

Leiden, the Netherlands with Pauline Barclay

Somerset, UK – with DizzyGreenfield

Hexham, UK with Annie Whitehead on 5th February

In the coming weeks and months you can visit these fabulous places... Click HERE to find out where you are going

1 comment:

Helen Hollick said...

I've never had any inclination to visit Vegas - it all seems rather tasteless to me BUT the desert sounds fascinating and I did enjoy visiting the place with you Barbara!