The Las Vegas Strip: Excess Realized
Hey, why have your picture taken before a fountain, when you can have it taken in front of a fountain, a replica of Venice’s Doges Palace, the campanile and column from St. Mark’s Square, a leftover Christmas tree, a massive multi-media sign and the room towers of The Palazzo beyond?
Welcome to the land of excess! (If you'll just wait a few minutes, we'll call over SpongeBob, Buzz Lightyear and Woody, the Angels in lingerie, the Zombie, and the Bronze Cowboy to pose along with you!)
Still not impressed? Why, then, simply traverse this replica of Venice’s grand Rialto Bridge! By riding the hump-backed speedwalk that will glide you up and over the canal below, on your way to the gambling floor within. (After all, we don’t want you to over-exert yourself by actually having to WALK there! That might leave you a bit less disposed to part with your cash at the tables!)
Okay. So the lush frescoed and gilded Italian interiors didn’t particularly bowl you over. And, while you were mildly entertained by the gondola ride down the interior canal among the shops, you are seeking still further excitement. Well, how about an elevator ride up to the top of the Eiffel Tower? I’m sure it can be arranged (after a modest exchange of currency). Or perhaps you’d rather simply stroll inside for a freshly made crepe? Why not try the entire buffet? All you can eat, from more than a half-dozen serving stations? Go ahead, spend a few hours indulging!
Time for another walkabout? Why not visit Manhattan, in all its single-block glory? No ferry ride necessary to check out Lady Liberty! You can stroll the streets of the East Village (or at least a carefully confected simulacrum) while trying out your Brooklyn-ese. If that should prove tedious after a spell, perhaps you’d care to ride the Coney-Island-style coaster that penetrates and perambulates the casino. (For you and your footsore friends, we can also offer any of a number of trams, monorails, limos and cabs.
Punctuate your evening on the Strip with a true spectacle. Stop anywhere along the perimeter of Bellagio’s 9-acre Lake-Como-styled lagoon to enjoy the Dancing Waters, with scores of water jets rocketing water more than 400 feet in the air, choreographed to music. If this display strikes you as too placid, stroll a bit farther north along the Strip in time for the volcanic eruption in the forecourt of The Mirage.
If contemporary design is more to your taste, you should amble south to the Aria Casino and Hotel within the recent City Center development. There you’ll find this futuristic space-ship-y metallic canopy soaring high overhead, and reflecting the lights and waterflows playing about the roundabout’s fountains. Within the Aria you’ll also find more striking and exotic finishes on surfaces underfoot, overhead, and everywhere in between.
Once more out on the Strip, get your bearings by sighting on the colorful balloon sign/sculpture of the Paris Hotel and Casino. In this glorious Strip of Excess, it’s quite refreshing to see a famous pioneering hot-air balloon of Pre-Revolutionary France rendered as an eleven-story-tall electronic message center capable of displaying 280 trillion colors. (And, then, once one patronizes the cafés and bars inside Paris, to see it rendered yet again as a ceramic drink tureen one can purchase to take home as a souvenir.)
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