Vegas: The magic and the tragic

13 Dec

You know when you’ve walked into a Las Vegas casino because your nose begins to prickle and fills with the highly scented air pumping out of the ventilation ducts. Of course, if you are not first assaulted by the smell, you are by the sight of the rows upon rows of machines trying to seduce you with their constant winking lights and promises of lucrative jackpots.

The casinos are vast, cavernous halls of hundreds of slot machines, which lead you into more spaces of craps and black jack tables and all the while some catchy pop song is being piped around the building to keep you pumped up and a waitress with more flesh on show than a butcher’s shop is teetering around with a tray of ‘complimentary’ drinks and a glass stuffed full of notes.

For many, Vegas has the marmite factor. You love it or hate it. James fell very much into the latter category, whereas I, as with marmite, could take take it or leave it. I wasn’t repelled but I would not rush back. I appreciated the experience and it is one you won’t forget in a  hurry. It certainly leaves an impression, whether it be from the overwhelming size of some of the most opulent hotel lobbies imaginable to the memory of a solitary figure at the slot machine at 10am with a can of beer already opened and the glazed appearance of one overcome by the machine’s hypnotic lights and sounds.

The hotels are like miniature towns in themselves, servicing every need from food and drink to hair dressing, clothes shopping and of course; banking. You can never run out of money; if you allow yourself to succumb, you might never leave. If you do manage to escape the hotel clutches, a trip down the strip is certainly a feast for the eyes. One giant road flanked by numerous sky-scraping hotels of unfathomable proportions. The Vegas lights are a sight to behold.

Some of the most impressive in terms of sheer size include Aria, The Bellagio, Caesar’s Palace and the one we called home for a couple of nights, The MGM Grand – all 30 floors of it with at least 500 rooms per floor. If you are not put off by the ‘tackiness’ of some of the faux scenery or replica facades, then you cannot help but be impressed by the attention to detail, the luxury, the ostentation.

At night, the Bellagio fountains are beautiful, the lights of Paris’ Eiffel Tower, magical, the New York New York skyline, remarkable and the showgirls in their feather headdresses, resplendent. By day, the glitz fades and you notice the street magician telling every passerby that his “amazing” show is about to start in thirty seconds, you see three tired and overweight Elvises giving a half-hearted “uh huh” to see if that can tempt you to give a tip and  a freezing Vegas showgirl stands like a half plucked chicken coaxing you to have a photo with her. You are accosted by ticket touts every few metres, offering “great discounts” on the latest name in lights and a bleached-blonde, walking down the street in tight jeans and cheap heels gets told, “you’re gonna make a lotta money in Vegas, baby.”

The Bellagio Fountain

The Bellagio Fountain

We went to Vegas and never once sat at a slot machine, although that was more to do with the fact we were there for a bitcoin conference. That, alone was an interesting experience and with the app now available in the app store, we were ready to promote it, show it off and meet some of the people we have been in touch with over the past few months.

My ‘media’ head returned and I was not shy in grabbing a potential interview or making a connection. We learned a lot, made a lot of valuable contacts, put business cards in a few of the right hands and were delighted at the response our app received from those who downloaded it or got to see it in action.

Talking to Bobby Lee, BTC China

Talking to Bobby Lee, BTC China

We shall see what the next month or so brings with regards BitScan but there is potentially exciting news on the horizon with some partnerships and affiliations.

We left Vegas in the dark with the city’s lights looking quite beautiful as we looked down from several thousand feet. It is a magical place but if you look closely, you also see what they hide when all the gloss and sparkle fade away.

(Pictures to follow when we have more reliable wifi!)

 

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