Cabin in the neon woods

Yesterday I returned from my annual vacation in Las Vegas.  This was my 32nd trip to Vegas over the last 25 years.  (I made a couple weekend jaunts over the years when I worked for a boss in Silicon Valley.)  I love Vegas because they entertain me, because I can leave my problems 3000 miles behind me for a week, and because there are no time constraints.  If I want to go to breakfast at 1AM or play blackjack at 10AM or see a show at 3PM, Vegas will accommodate me.

I’ve taken traveling companions with me to Vegas a few times, but mostly I go by myself.  And having been there so many times, it’s no longer an “adventure” per se.  I have seen everything I want to see at least once, so I’m never under any pressure to fill every moment of every day and night with activity.  What I don’t get to this year, I’ll get to next year.  So if I feel like sleeping in or watching TV in the hotel room, so be it.  That’s why I refer to Vegas as my cabin in the woods.  (Disclaimer: The only way you would ever catch me in a real cabin in the woods is if it had a TV.  And a casino.  And air conditioning.  And no woods.)  I never bring back great stories of what I did, because largely, I sit around and play blackjack, and wander the Strip sightseeing the rest of the time.  My motto: What happens in Vegas is boring to others.  What stays in Vegas is my money.

But, because of my God-given gift for sensing weirdness all around me, I always find ordinary things that entertain or astonish me.  I’ve taken some pictures of my trip, which are posted here.  Below is a sampling of non-visual events from Las Vegas 2013:

  • I realize that I have become a jaded traveler.  As the plane landed in Vegas, an 8-year old kid a couple rows behind me exclaimed, “It’s so exciting we didn’t die!”  I’ve been on probably 200 planes in my life.  Somewhere along the way, I guess I started taking not dying for granted.  (I also wonder who put the idea of dying on a plane in an 8-year old’s mind.  I really hope it was a 12-year old sibling.  Otherwise it’s borderline child abuse.)
  • There are a lot of Gordon Ramsey restaurants in the hotels on the Strip.  Given all the yelling and swearing, why would anyone work there?
  • One of the casinos has a “comedy hypnotist” show.  I heard one of their advertisements over the PA system.  “Come watch your friends do outrageous things, or be hypnotized yourself!”  Hmmm, I can come watch my friends be publicly humiliated!  Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll get up on stage so I can be hypnotized to stop smoking and feel better about myself!
  • I happened to arrive on the last day of something called the Electric Daisy Carnival.  It’s some sort of techno-rock weekend festival that attracts upwards of 100,000 people every year.  If you took Woodstock, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Lady Gaga and threw them into the Brundlefly machine, it would approximate the crowds waiting in line for the shuttle to the fairgrounds on Sunday night.  The average male was early 20s, dressed in something tie-dyed, something with a superhero logo, and some sort of headgear.  The average female was also early 20s, and “dressed” in a thong bikini, thigh-high striped stockings, fake fur snow boots, ribbons, and glitter.  Tutus are also common, and one girl was carrying a hula hoop.  From the pictures in the Las Vegas paper, the audience made the performers look like an IBM board of directors meeting.  Go Google “Electric Daisy Carnival” if you think I’m kidding.

Vegas Picturebook 2013

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