Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Lost Vegas

Las Vegas has me confused. Part of me loves the extravegance while part of me is repulsed by it. Having just returned after a three year absence the place amazes me with its growth and change. This expansion seems to be distancing itself from the common human. The newest hotels/casinos are opulent palaces catering to the weathly; The Hotel at Mandalay Bay, The Wynn, Encore, The Palazzo and while I was the there the new Mandarian Oriental opened up. All of them exude money and exclusivity. Walking though I am struck by how much money I am surrounded by; the art, the decor, the stores.

Nothing is cheap in Vegas anymore. You can visit a Chanel or Dior store just about anywhere. Need a new Rolex? It is here and over there. What does the common person or family do? I don't think they go to downtown or old Vegas, they want the 'Vegas experience' and head to the strip and they likely have to save or go in debt doing it.

Unless you are a big money maker or work for a company paying for you to attend a convention don't plan on a cheap Vegas vacation. You won't find a buffet for under $15. Tickets for shows can't be found for less than $60, although you can find 2-for-1 day of deals. I feel for a family of four.

All of this excess while so much of the world struggles. Take a quarter of what is spent in Vegas and I bet it could support a few countries. Heck, a buffet could probably feed a a few hundred starving villages.

Now at the same time this is America. This is what it is all about. Go big or go home. Live large or don't live it all. But can't there be a balance? I want to see a new hotel/casino go up that does not charge over $150 per night. I want to see a new casino where the majority of minimum bids are $2 to $5. I want see a place where I can buy a $5 sandwich instead of $15. I want to see a new casino that has class, art and atmosphere while allowing me and the common human to escape and live the Vegas experience. And I want it on The Strip. Enough of my rant. I am heading back to Vegas at the end of January. Viva Las Vegas!

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