VEGAS FOR BEGINNERS - LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
A first timer’s observations of the Strip
With a career in architecture, I guess I felt like I knew what to expect from the built environment that the Vegas Strip has to offer. And although my suspicions weren’t that far off, there were a couple of surprises…
Staying on the Strip in one of the big hotels proved one thing very quickly and clearly — the hotels and casinos are huge, dark and maze-like. Big, adult-themed mazes. This made me very uneasy. I realize that it’s probably cliché to say this, but it’s very hard to keep a sense of direction and time while in these spaces. If you’re not on a casino floor, you’re in some other type of money-making space that closely resembles a mall. The only observable difference is that in these mall-like spaces, you can just freely partake in a vast variety of alcoholic beverage (especially slushy tropical drinks in big tube cups). If you find yourself enjoying more of these adult slushy beverages then you would normally have, it may be wise to write down your room number and elevator bank number so you can be sure to find your way back to your room at the end of the night.
I’m not exactly sure why this surprised me so much, but I ran into some very, very nice and conversational people everywhere I turned. I guess people are feeling relaxed and in a party mode while in Vegas, so maybe that makes them open up more than usual. Whatever the case may be, conversations between me and strangers just became a regular thing. These conversations occurred in a multitude of places — chit-chatting with fellow elevator riders, with the guy sitting next to me at a slot machine and while waiting in line for food… I think I kind of thought this was nice. I’m not really use to this sort of thing, but it was good to see happy people willing to stop to chat.
Again, it may sound cliché and I can’t say I wasn’t warned, but everything is so much further away than you would ever think it could possibly be. If you’re standing on the Strip near let’s just say the Luxor and you decide that you want to get to MGM you may think, hmmm, that’s pretty close. You may think that’s about a block or two away…maybe a five minute walk… Oh, it’s not. Get ready…you have to walk along the strip, walk up flights of stairs, through two casinos and cross three sides of an intersection to get there. A predicted five minute walk becomes a 25 minute journey. It is just confusing.
Vegas is like a big adult Disney World. Having just had the pleasure of visiting Disney World a couple summers ago, I can confidently say that Disney World does a much better job and they do it with what I describe as military precision. Every detail is tended to and their facilities are in tip top, ship shape. In Vegas, well… let’s just say that things just seemed a little over-used. I almost started to understand why everyone had sanitizer gel hanging from their bag. You constantly feel the need to wash your hands.
Last, but not least — the gambling. By no means do I consider myself a big gambler. I may put a responsible, legal wager on the occasional sporting event, but I was surprised to discover how much I got into being in the casinos. I gambled minimally and certainly didn’t win, but it was fun. And although gambling all day, every day was tempting, I decided to venture into the light of day and capture some images of the places and people that make Vegas unique. Viva Las Vegas!
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Dan Caruso is a Guide to Illinois and Wisconsin. He grew up in Wisconsin and moved to Chicago to get his masters degree in architecture. He currently works as a project manager for a small local architecture firm, is trying to break into real estate, and wishes he was a photographer. You can see Dan’s photographs on flickr and his tumblr page, jonnyoptimo.tumblr.com. He also likes to keep his trigger finger loose on instagram.
check out my post from Las Vegas for The American Guide.