When I think of Las Vegas, I think of many things, but the first five things that come to mind are a combination of silliness and childhood television-based fantasies. Vegas often conjures up images of the large-headed aliens from a 1996 sci-fi comedy called Mars Attacks, followed by Elizabeth Berkley in the movie Showgirls, the mafia, Brittany Spears, and quick weddings. I can easily ramble off more than 50 other random points about Las Vegas that I came to know solely based on television.
I went to Vegas from 30th December 2020 until 3rd January 2021 and was shocked, dazed, and confused by the sheer amount of people walking the strip at various times of the day and night. Yes, we can argue that it should be expected because it was the new year. – But come on, folks, it is the new year with a twist, and that twist is called COVID-19. Despite the warnings of catching and spreading the virus, many people, including incredibly young children, were enjoying Las Vegas too.
While I might have thought everyone was out in full force, I was soberly reminded by the news that many establishments have not swung back into maximum occupancy, and so that meant many workers are still furloughed. While walking through large crowds mingling among the smell of marijuana and scantily clad girl in feather outfits, there was a tinge of sadness, knowing that some were struggling. Despite the bright lights, drinks, laughter, and food, there was a subconscious melancholy hovering over the festivities.
For me, Las Vegas was not as shiny as I envisioned it as a child; the Bellagio, Flamingo, Caesars Palace, and all the other great monoliths have aged. I could tell that some endured changes while others let change pass them by. When I entered a lobby, walked down a hallway, or sat at a hotel restaurant, there was an air of decay always lingering.
As I looked on with a cynical eye, I thought that Las Vegas has been outdone by Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. While it is still a fun place to be, there was something lacking in the spirit of the place. I wasn’t 100% convinced that the coronavirus had anything to do with the underlining dismalness. While it is still a fun place, being there felt like visiting a world-famous amusement park that is slowly grinding down to the last few decades before its eventual demise. I just had a strong feeling that I was looking at the last years of Vegas. There was something very ephemeral about this place that made me wish I could go back to a time when this was the place to be. Despite this, many still want to buy into the fantasies that Vegas offers, and that’s why visiting there is often on someone’s to do list.
Let me break you out of the doom and gloom! Las Vegas isn’t all bad. While it has seen better days, people worldwide still visit if only to say they have been there and done that. I saw many foreigners from different backgrounds basking in the mirage on this particular trip. They all appeared to be having the time of their life and wasn’t letting corona and statistics about joblessness spoil their fun.
I often do not get to share my pictures without intertwining a story or description. In this blog, the only story you will get is what I have written above. Below I present my pictures of Las Vegas the way I saw it.
Las Vegas undoubtedly was and is a place that helps people survive while adding to their ideas of happiness. Whether that is making extra money selling on the side of the street, gambling, drinking with friends, eating lavishly, or simply just existing in the moment.