The other weekend marked my first venture out to the great American Southwest, desert climate, to Las Vegas. The trip was purely business, naturally, and though initially I was in quite a fever of anticipation, that sentiment quickly chilled to the realization that I would be seeing little more than the walled confines of my hotel. This proved mostly true, as did my assumption that the nervous and almost malevolent micromanaging client would shave years from both my life and my complexion, wrinkles inevitable; however, I did manage to escape a little, with my colleague and friend, and partner in business crime, Nicole. Though stressful, our trip was also successful, and was a welcome respite to the bog-like landscape of the northeast: the beauty of the terrain and climate out west fascinates me.
Upon our arrival, following waiting in a tremendous taxi line, Nicole and I were greeted by the imminent professionalism and hospitality of the Hard Rock Hotel, our home for the next number of long and arduous hours. As we checked into our rooms at the front desk, in the afternoon, a kindly female patron swung her Coors Lite bottle above her head, repeatedly informing the receptionist in a slurred yet soothing voice how pretty she was; the receptionist received this compliment graciously and with a knowing smile. Then, in come an army of young girls, seeking excitement and probably husbands for the evening, maneuvering an arsenal of luggage; one, in a tight and short white dress, was so kind and bold as to put her thong on display with her choice of garment.
Probably needless to say, we were most likely the first professional organization to attempt to conduct a serious business meeting here. Ever.
Unlike when I traveled to Providence for the first time last spring, this photograph was actually covert and illegal; thankfully, people were too busy drinking and losing money to notice. Important landmark in the lower right hand corner: Kitty Glitter, my favorite computerized automated slot machine game, fueled by endless money, with surprisingly little excreted.
The bathroom of my Hard Rock room was a black stomach cavern, evocative of something Ozzy Osbourne would have designed, if he still had the neural capacity to develop cohesive thoughts.
This was the first physical manifestation of the hotel's inability to create a suitable professional environment, aside from their tolerance of public drunkenness and scantily clad party-girls: there was no fold. Trite, but cue pathetic jokes about Dorothy, Toto, and Kansas.
My room had copious amounts of black and dark chocolate brown leather, which, along with the black cocoon bathroom, also easily could have sprung from the creative bowels of a Black Sabbath member.
In Las Vegas, and especially in the Hard Rock Hotel, there is no vodka left behind. Unfortunately, all photographs I had attempted to capture from my fifteenth floor hotel room of the infamous and syphilis-inducing pool party, Rehab, featured each weekend at the Hard Rock, faltered, as they were understandably out of focus.
As we arrived, we garnered much needed sustenance from this genuine, authentic Bavarian beer hall, a mere two block New York walk, West Coast drive from the hotel. Never before have I felt so in tune with my ancestors; the polyester lederhosen worn by our waitress truly complement her heavy black eyeliner and cartilage piercing.
This bratwurst tasted fine at that point when I was ravenous and nearing exhaustion collapse, however, was completely regrettable a few hours later.
Following the first day of our meeting, it poured onto the cracked lands of the desert; it appears that Nicole and I brought some rain and gray clouds with us. The fact that a rain shower, attempting to wash the indescribable and myriad layers of filth from this sidewalk, was a notable event on my trip, worthy of photographic documentation, should be an indication as to the level of utter fun and frivolity that was enjoyed by all.
What it lacked in aesthetic choices, my hotel room made up for in view; the mountains were particularly breathtaking, though difficult to artfully and accurately capture.
On the first night of our arrival, Nicole and I had the opportunity to explore the town a bit; she is a Las Vegas veteran, having attended university in California and fallen victim to attending a collection of bachelorette parties. Thankfully, we chose not to don feather boas, or tiaras, or matching outfits. We also remained relatively sober, compared to the other roving throngs of mouth-breathing, cigarette smoking, domestic beer guzzlers, which was an easy feat.
The Bellagio appears to be on fire with electric lights; we did not hang around for the fountain show.
The wondrous and ancient plaster treasures of the Luxor Hotel.
I can now cross Paris from my travel bucket list; who needs to travel across the ocean when a shorter flight across country can give one the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, in an almost exact kitsch replica.
I have never felt more American than I did eating a blood red hamburger and drinking a beer from the Harley Davidson diner; indeed, that is a large American flag made of painted chains, featuring various Harley Davidson motorcycles suspended from a steel track, slowly, in luminous and effervescent glory.