In Vegas it became swiftly apparent that those who solely pursue material goals in life are doomed to be perennially unsatisfied. As a shrine to all tangible bodily thrills, it’s faux-fun facade dripped with cynicism. With each further roll of a die it is easy to forget that the casino always wins and will always win; therein lies the trap that conceals itself in plain site with bright lights and colour. Everything glittered in Vegas but the most inspiring site was the mountain range beyond the Vegas city limits that beckoned silently to me for adventure and exploration. The mountains were my favourite site on my recent trip to Vegas, however there were other less soulful highlights.
Travelling with an old friend, we explored and indulged in a handful of the more tasteful pleasures that Vegas has on offer. The weather was beautiful during our stay and we were intoxicated throughout on ‘Fat Tuesday’ alcoholic slushies. These adult refreshments kept our serotonin levels entirely unnaturally, but pleasantly, raised as we wandered wistfully around the city that never sleeps.
At this point I must admit that the ‘Fat Tuesday’ alco-slushies are deviously delicious, in a way that can only be attributed to something you ingest that you particularly enjoy for simply knowing it is bad for you. With unknown vodka infused orange flavoured slush seeping though our systems we explored the boulevard and ducked our heads into a few casinos.
At this point I must also admit that I made a loss in Vegas. I spent $9 and left with two rebate tickets that I didn’t cash. With one for 15cents and the other for 24, I could have left with 3.89% of the money I walked in with, but in any case left with 0%, all thanks to an alluring Britney Spears – Hit me baby one more time slot machine. My friend lost $15. We are clearly high rollers, or at least it was nice to pretend.
We stayed at Caesers Palace. As I slipped into the jacuzzi bath in my bedroom I couldn’t help but resent that I was being made to feel as if I was richer beyond my means. We weren’t in an expensive room, by any stretch, and one could argue that Caesers Palace just know how to treat their guests. The more astute may conclude that they know how to flatter their victims all the way onto their floor of shiny machines and smiling blackjack dealers.
On the last day we woke up early to leave. I recognised a man who was sitting at the very same machine he was at as I had returned the night before, all of 7 hours earlier. He actually won as I watched, not a huge amount, but what was sad was he didn’t even pause to think before pressing play almost robotically. A puppet burning the midnight oil. That sort of says it all.
I left with a smile on my face as we sped away in our hired Chevvy and the mountains loomed ever closer.
(Photo: Eli Woodbine 2015)