Friday, September 5, 2008

Walking the Vegas Strip

With my husband and children and my parents. Blazing 100 degree heat, despite sundown. Acres of neon signs. The crowds- quite unbelievably Disney-like in their demographics despite the more generous-than-average show of skin among the ladies (at least, to a frumpy Pittsburgh hausfrau such as me). Construction dust from new buildings rising where old ones were flattened. Occasional pimps hawking their wares with enticing cards strewn all over the sidewalk.
We ventured out to see the night sights of Vegas after attending the Lance Burton magic show for which we had earned discount tickets the hard way. Plus we anticipated having a good dinner at the only Indian restaurant on the Strip. We walked past the Paris casino, almost charmed by the night lighting that turned it into a Paris facsimile after dark.

At the restaurant, we barely beat a sudden influx of hungry diners by 5 minutes, and got our orders placed in time for a quick dinner.We stepped out again into the warm night. Vegas in August is no joke, with no night breezes to render it more bearable until much later, when the desert surrounding it drops temperatures to the 60s for the night.

We dodged the crowds towards the famed Fountains at the Bellagio, walking past a flashing fire truck, which picked the inopportune moment just as we crossed in front to let out a deafening siren, as it entered the busy traffic on the Strip. We nearly suffered a collective heart-attack and a bout of temporary deafness, as we continued our walk on the bridge towards the fountains. On the bridge,we paused to watch from the side a stirring rendition of a Sousa march, fountains rising in synchrony with the music.

Fifteen minutes later, we were in a better viewing position to the side. Just as we started to enjoy the next round of the fountains dancing, my mother pulled away form my right with a sniff of disgust and moved sharply away to the rest of our group, whispering to me, "Keep away from that drunken guy." I was left standing next to the 'drunken guy' and his cohorts. He started mouthing obscenities loudly even as his friend apologized to us for his inebriation. I moved as far to the left as the crowd would permit, ignoring the glassful of beer being waved under my nose, determined not to let this spoil my enjoyment of the next fountain dance, an artful chorus-line song choreographed with crossing sprays of water rather than showgirl's legs.

(The video above is from my camera- I could manage only a short clip before the memory got filled out.)

That's the Strip for you, with many reminders of the hard-core partying and gambling that hides behind the family-friendly veneer that Las Vegas tries to project.

I was able to convert about 1/2 of my husband's better video to .avi format. Here it is for a better feel of how it was like to watch the fountain in action.


Lekhni said...

I envy you - I've been to Vegas twice and couldn't see the Bellagio fountains either time :( One of those times, I was staying bang opposite (at the Venetian) but there was a fire alarm in the Bellagio and they had to vacate the hotel - result, no fountains. Can you believe my luck :(

Lekhni said...

So thanks :) I've finally seen the fountains (outside of that bit on Ocean's eleven)!

Sujatha said...

I only wish I had been able to upload my husband's mini-video. He was able to get the whole dance in, but Blogger refused to upload the .mov format. Maybe I'll try to see if I can convert and then upload it.

Anonymous said...

That strikes a chord - I am now trying to figure out how to convert .mts videos into .mpeg. Why all these different formats, I wonder :(

Lekhni said...

That last comment was me - blogger refused to publish my name :(

Sujatha said...

I think this software will help with your conversion issues, if you haven't found a suitable solution yet. You could always download the trial version which may even be adequate for your needs (I used some shareware that restricts the amount of video conversion to half the length of the video, but it wasn't crucial when all I wanted to show was a small clip anyway.)