The LasVegas strip encompasses almost everything I hate, materialism, gluttony, laziness, boisterous people and large crowds. Fortunately, since we were there in early March, it didn’t gift me with the other thing I can’t stand: sweltering heat.
One word continuously came to mind while we were there: opulence. When I stepped foot off of the shuttle, I was mesmerized, overwhelmed by the glitzy, glittering signs. My first instinct at this sensory overload was to shoot everything, but as the night went on and the crowds thickened, growing more intoxicated, I was over it. We stayed on that pavement for well over five hours and barely made it a fourth of the way down. Still, it felt as if we had seen it all.
The Strip is designed to keep you there and to keep you happy. They pump the casinos full of oxygen and, so long as you keep playing the slots, keep bringing you free drinks. The indoors is made to feel like a bright sunny day in July, leaving one to question their actual reality. Malls were connected to casinos which were connected to hotels and restaurants, bowling alleys and theaters. All of the advertisements were overly sexualized and call cards littered the street beside ketchup packets and soy sauce. The ground was disgusting, but, with any amount of buzz, you would be to dazzled to notice. The Strip prides itself in distraction. A fact that became evident in the crowds of lifeless zombies, eyes glued to neon screens.
Sin City is a place where adults (and, sadly, an unexpected amount of children) go to give into their animalistic desires without fear of consequence. It is a designated dot on our map intended for people to engage in activities they otherwise would not/could not. Is it visually beautiful? Yes, but unnecessarily so. The Hoover Dam was built to feed this place, a desert town filled with gaudy fountains and a giant lake that hosts a waterworks show every ten minutes. When I was there, the water danced to a Beatles song I have since forgotten. Vegas is an oasis: dry heat and palm trees without fear of draught.
Going to the strip is not something that I regret, although I am incredibly glad that it came before the red rocks and most defiantly before my Colorado wanderings (blog posts to come). It was important for me to have experienced Vegas, if only to reinforce my values. Additionally, I walked away from that Saturday evening with some aesthetically pleasing, mildly unsettling, photographs off of the few rolls I shot before I decided it was all too much.