Lest you should think that I spent all 30 days of our RV trip roaming in nature, sleeping in the wild, gazing at mountains, cliffs, geysers and waterfalls, I shall quickly disillusion you: We went to Las Vegas, where we stayed with friends for a couple of days.
Never having been to Vegas, nor to Atlantic City, I was quite excited over the prospect. The Strip! The glamour! The backdrop to so many memorable scenes in movies! Why, Nicolas Cage alone starred in several movies featuring Las Vegas. Remember Con Air, and the plane crash-landing on the Strip? Or Leaving Las Vegas, where Elisabeth Shue watches Nicolas Cage drink himself to death?
Our dear friends, Sheila and Sandy Epstein, don't live on the Strip, of course, but a short drive out, in a spacious house with a beautiful garden complete with hand-painted mural:
Hubby had been to Vegas in the past; so had my beloved friend Lynne Richardson, who flew over specially from Dallas, TX to see us.
But for me it was all new: the glitz, the charm, the art, the fake, the sham, the astonishingly well-executed make-believe:
the artificial "Venetian" canals,
complete with skies that gradually darkens as evening falls…
The posh, pricy shops …
But what really got me was the casinos.
I'd only been to a casino once, for a couple of hours, on some short vacation in Rhodes. It was nothing to write home about (or blog, not that there was such a thing at the time).
Here, on the other hand, was the Real McCoy, apparently. The ones we walked through looked nothing like the well-lit, glamorous establishments where a suave James Bond coolly wins or loses fantastic sums in a game with the villain, while elegant, bejeweled, mysterious women watch on with a sultry expression, sipping Champagne. I assume such posh places do exist somewhere; that is, other than on a movie set. A VIP room, perhaps? Or somewhere like Monaco?
These casinos were huge, dimly lit, with hundreds of gambling machines and games, and full of totally ordinary people, many in shorts and flip-flops:
And all these ordinary people were sitting there dumbly, persistently, apathetically, hope-filled or inured, just throwing out perfectly good money.
I don't get it.
These casinos are full of people, day and night, 24/7, who come from far and wide, come especially for the thrill, or the hope, or the escape from one's daily grind, or a host of other reasons. Most of them don't even look as if they're enjoying themselves. They just sit there and throw dollar after dollar of their presumably hard-earned money at these machines.
I just don't get it.