It was a very hot day in May.
I remembered I was in the desert.
People were strolling down the street.
Everyone was people watching, yet trying to appear like the locals.
I could not see one person who wanted to be a rubber necked tourist.
I thought I was in Las Vegas, then it happened!
I remember distinctly, I stopped dead in my tracks. All I could think to say was “You got to be kidding”.
Walking down the strip in Las Vegas I had just looked up and I saw that beacon of freedom….the Statue of Liberty. It was perched on the side of the street like it had paid the crazy parking lot fees. OMG, really, the Statue of Liberty had been moved to Las Vegas. Little did I know, but my Las Vegas education was just starting. Suffice to say, when it came to knowledge about Las Vegas, I was the proverbial virgin. I was about to get pregnant and bear a child.
A few minutes later I was walking across this archway sort of bridge, when I looked out one of the arches. Believe it or not, there was blue water and a fleet of gondolas hitched up to those poles in the water that are always slanting. Come on James, get real. I could not remember going to Venice. To make my reality, Grimm fairytale even crazier, there were men in the gondolas with poles, black pants and those big, brim hats with striped shirts. Holy Hell, that was the Rialto Bridge in Venice and I was in some kind of dreamscape.
This Venetian Hotel complex in Las Vegas is surely not for the casual dreamer. This is a full-scale assault on the senses, This whole project must have come out of the mind of a man fitting to be Walt Disney’s teacher. Come on now, get real; a 36 story hi-rise hotel complex with 4,049 rooms and 3,068 suites. And, to ensure that we do not forget, it has a 120,000 square foot casino to pay the bills. Initially built or should we say created in 1999 at a cost of a paltry 1.5 billion dollars, it is drop-dead lavish.
Did I say it was Italian themed with multiple frescoes, canals, of course, gondolas that are manned by men using oars? Did I say that they sing Italian operatic pieces as they glide through the canals? It gets better, of course. People pay to sit and listen to the tenors sing as they glide through the waterways. Yes of course, I stood on the bridge, mouth wide open like every other country bumpkin. I took photographs of people I did not even know. Quite frankly, as I recall, the cash registers were the background music sounds.
Lest I forget; I must make the point that there is, of course, lots of pasta to be eaten.
The Grand Canal area is full of retail establishments in case one wants to spend money on something besides pasta and casinos. Perhaps new shoes after walking on the authentic cobblestones?
No kidding, they went over and transplanted stuff, on that big space ship. The Palazzo Ducale and the Plaza San Marco are there and kept close to the Piazzetta di San Marco. Toss in the Lion of Venice and you have all the culture you need in Las Vegas. Oops, did I forget to record that the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum moved there in 2001?
ok, lets get our feet back on the ground. All foolishness aside, this was the one thing that impressed me the most, in Las Vegas. This was dreaming on a scale worthy of the Gods. The walking minstrels, the singers and the ceiling that was painted to look like late afternoon skies. Come on now!
I sat beside some singers and admired, next to me, a pure white statue of some God for some fifteen minutes, then was scared half out of my wits, when the statue moved, and the fellow took his break.
So close, yet so far from Venice…but a tribute to some man’s imagination. I smiled and then flew home to our fishing boats……..Thankfully!