In somewhat ancient history, my boyfriend J-F came back from Paris with me and spent a month with my family in Laguna. On the top of his list of places to see was Las Vegas. Never mind San Francisco and Santa Barbara, he wanted to go to Las Veegas and Death Valley, and he wanted the two of us to drive there in my Grandmother’s generously proportioned gold Caddy-ac, which had pristine whitewall tires, air-con, a big mushy ride and was arguably perfect for cruising the Vegas Strip. Now for me, unless I’m sitting in a poolside cabana with a big floppy hat and a frozen drink at my elbow, and I have a massage booked later in the afternoon, I’m indifferent about Vegas.
In the early 70’s, once a year my parents packed us five kids into the station wagon and we vacationed at the Vegas Hilton, which had a fantastic “kids hotel” at the time. How we loved making woven key chains and other crafts there! In any case, my Dad absolutely loves Vegas, to gamble a little, have a bourbon and water, see a show…he’s sort of a Sinatra kind of a guy. When I was planning my last trip to Paris, Dad and I also discussed Vegas. It was a quid pro quo: I go to Paris, we go to Vegas. And so this past weekend, Mom, Dad and I drove off for a medical education conference.
This was not a poolside event, non, I packed the bags, did the driving, got the food and drink and ran interference throughout the weekend. I got a wheelchair for Dad as the distance within the hotel was miles. And last time, as Paris Las Vegas was a hole in the ground, this time, it was first on my list~
In Vegas, you are not in France, even with an echo of an accordion~
Forget Pigalle, here there are wannabe showgirls on the Strip charging $1 for a photo. I was really disappointed in these girls, they were rather young and average looking and yet blocked the shot from the front. For $1, really? Never mind honey, I’ll get a pic from behind. Shameless…..
There are superheroes and all kinds of characters out on the Strip. Also for money for a photo. Seems money makes the city run.
Woody was on for a photo, with a little shout out and for free~
It’s true, Vegas has become a mix of Times Square and Disneyland. Themes, high-res billboards, perfectly clean streets and manicured hotels. Contrasted with the old gritty version of the Strip. Though even the McDonalds sign in Vegas seems to be a little more blingy than elsewhere, though the sign is missing a few teeth.
And also on the Strip, the counterpoint of a Christian activist; somehow their message was right on against the excess of the Strip, though out of place against the Eiffel Tower replica~
J-F and I stayed at the MGM Grand, which was themed at the time for the Wizard of Oz. “You know,” I told J-
F, “it’s like an American fairy tale.” “Oh yes,” he responded, “the only fairy-tale the Americans did not steal from the French…you know, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, they are all French.” This was unfortunately my great revelation…..if you can’t be happy and at least find a little beauty in my country, I can’t live forever in yours. The US may not be ideal for all, but like my Italian friends, you can at least find some goodness in it, and not be completely critical.
My Dad had a very excellent weekend, no matter that his daughter drove him around part of the time in a wheelchair. He had bragging rights with his friends, and he went to Vegas, and he had fun. It was a matter of dignity, and hope, and he is now planning “our next trip”….good for him, I say. I will be back to France before then, but I gave him a dream weekend, and so that’s what counts. I want to show you a little of Paris-Vegas though before I finish with this trip. So that’s next…