Tourists from all around the world have been travelling to Las Vegas, Nevada since the 1950s. Like moths, people have gathered around the flashing lights and glowing signs of the strip and have been drawn to the city’s radiance. Las Vegas has long been revered as a city of excitement and adventure, and thousands of people venture to Las Vegas every year in an attempt to escape the routine and conformity of their every day lives.
Visitors optomistically hope that the city can fufill all of its promises of excitement, adventure, and instant weatlh. In April, I learned that my family would be vacationing in Las Vegas, and I quickly became one of these optomistic tourists. I believed that the city would be a fountain of excitement and could quench my thirst for adventure.
Everytime that you see Las Vegas in the movies, or read about it in a travel magazines, the city is presented as a place like no other that can lift tourists away from their mundane lifestyles and throw them into a world of risk and excitement. The only experience that I had with Las Vegas was through these sources, and I could not wait to experience the city first hand. When it finally came time to embark on the voyage to Las Vegas in May, I was excited for the flight to Nevada.
However, the trip was not the exciting adventure that I had envisioned it as, but instead was an arduous flight that was cramped, filled with too many passengers and stale, stuffy air. When the plane finally approached Las Vegas, I could see the lights of the strip from my plane window, and instead of seeming luminous and outsanding as I would have guessed them to be, they seemed too bright compared to the vacant darnkess that engulfed the strip.
Since my family’s trip was planned at the last minute, we were not able to stay right on the strip, and instead lodged in a Hilton that was minutes outside of the famous street. The hotel was decorated nicely, and the rooms were comfortable enough, but the view from the window was not of the gleaming lights of the strip like I had hoped, but of the vacant desert that seemed to continue on forever, stopped only by the overbearing and impassable Rocky Mountains. Our location outside of the strip forced us to drive on the outskirts of the famous street, and what was present just minutes away from the luxurious hotels and dazzling tourist attractions was inconceivable.
Tarnished stucco houses were situated atop vacant lawns of sand, pebbles, and the occasional cactus. Rusted bikes leaned against decrepit fenced. There were no gleaming lights in this section of Las Vegas. There were no glitzy casinos, pristine swimming pools, or over-priced restaurants. There were only dilapidated houses, bleak sand-filled yards, and the blazing heat of the desert sun.
As the afternoon was approaching, we drove further and were bombarded with unsightly images. Provactive bilboards of scantily-clad women polluted the streets, liter was strewn everywhere, and homeless men stumbled out into the bright glearing sun as police sirens wailed in the distance.
When we finally reached the strip, the attractions did not seem so appealing, and the city’s promise of wonder seemed to have disappeared. It suddenly seemed as if all of the attractions that I had gawked at in travel brochures were a mere cover-up for the poverty and corruption lurking minutes outside of the city. It was as if all of the bright lights were there in an attempt to blind all the tourists and prevent them from seeing the corruption that was present in the city.
When I returned home from Las Vegas, I did not leave with the sense of wonder as I thought I would have. The city was no longer fantastic or exciting to me, but it was a representation of the vices and tragedies that can fall upon human life. I once viewed Las Vegas a fountain of excitement, but now I realized that the city was just as dry and vacant as its setting in the desert would suggest.
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