I am just back from a few days with Martin in Las Vegas. My friend Patrick called me when I was there, and after talking for a few minutes, he asked hesitantly: “You’re not eloping, are you?” And no, we weren’t. We were there for a wedding though, as the sister of Martin’s childhood friend got married. It was a small but very nice wedding, with the wedding couple’s immediate family and a few friends. Or as small as it gets when the bride and the groom are Irish. Anyway, we had 3 lovely days during which we ate well and saw most of the casinos, while not gambling a single penny. (For some reason, neither of us were at all tempted and though I thought I’d spend a few coins on the machines at least, there was so much to do that I kind of forgot about it.) I had actually already been to Las Vegas, almost exactly 15 years ago, but whereas I then thought it tacky and didn’t see the charm with it at all, I found it kind of fascinating this time. First of all, the Strip is just so immensely bizarre, with copies of famous monuments from all over the world. Who comes up with the idea of making replicas of pyramids, sphinxes, Parisian buildings, and an entire block in Venice?? The crowd there also seems to be much more representative of the U.S. population than those that live and work in DC, so I spent a lot of time just people watching. I guess the audience has changed a bit too over the past years because it seemed to be mainly families with children and retirees there. Some of the shows have not really kept up with this fact, and one of our most surreal experiences were our first evening when we were in an audience full of excited children in front of a pirate ship outside the Treasure Island Hotel, and the ship fills up with 15 half naked female dancers that try to seduce a male pirate.
While in Vegas, we also managed to see the exhibition Bodies, hich has been on tour here in the U.S. for a while. It explains the functions of the body by displaying body parts from what I think was Chinese prisoners, sometimes as upstanding bodies. It was very interesting and I learned quite a bit (surprisingly enough after having watched ER for about ten seasons), but after having seen 100s of body parts from dead persons, I have to admit that I felt a bit uncomfortable and nauseous.
Paris and New York, Las Vegas
Ancient Rome and Fontana di Trevi, Las Vegas
Venice, Las Vegas
The pirate ship outside the Treasure Island Hotel (before the dancing started)
Dolphin and white baby tiger at the Mirage Zoo