Saturday, May 5, 2018
Viva Las Vegas
A year ago today, I had just left Las Vegas, and I've been pining for it ever since. It's just the most incredible, unreal place - so intense and hedonistic, like sensory overload. The sky is so amazingly blue, the sun shines all day, the cityscape lit up at night is like a poster, the hotels are so decadent that they knock them down every ten years and rebuild them... it's obscenely opulent. I'd never seen anything like it.
I remember that on our second day there, we took a tour bus through the city. We sat on the top deck, drinking ice cold Diet Pepsi, and the tour guide quipped that we were the 'Diet Pepsi twins' and joked, 'Say hello to the Queen for me, but tell her to change her hairstyle! She's had this one for ages.' The brilliant sun blazed down, but because Vegas is near the desert, it was a dry heat and therefore it didn't feel so hot. I sat there, taking in the scenery, and thought: this is happiness.
I'd spent all my life in London, where Victorian houses are juxtaposed with council estates, where you have a prestigious square next to graffiti, where everything is dirty and grimy and the streets are paved with chewing gum. Las Vegas was so new, so shiny and big and overblown. Their observation wheel, the High Roller, is the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, over 150 feet higher than the London Eye (which used to be the tallest). The buildings are taller too, the cars are bigger, and everything's more expensive. It's insane.
When I left, I thought "I want to live here someday". Five months later, the Vegas shooting happened, the deadliest mass shooting in US history, which took place at a hotel we'd visited and taken pictures of. I remembered that the US has a huge gun problem, and a healthcare problem, and an administration problem. And I shuddered to think that the shooting could have taken place while we were there.
But I live in hope that before the end of my lifetime, these problems will be solved. America is a great country - I think it's the greatest in the world, though I hold a US passport, so may be biased - and in a further 30 years, it could take some great leaps forward ideologically. Just look how much has changed in the world since 1988. So maybe, just maybe, I could retire there and feel that glorious sunshine on top of a tour bus once again.