Unequivocally Ambiguous

Humorous Stories on Parenting, Culture and Life

Vegas Growing on me Like a Disease

by | Feb 16, 2024 | Travel | 0 comments

Leisurely Strolling and Taking in Sin City (12/40)

Harry Reid International Airport, Las Vegas, NV. Photo by author. 

I am not a boomer, but I like taking the easy way out when getting out of airports. I grab the first cab I see and go. But my coworkers have mocked me for not using Uber or Lyft — which I use frequently, just not at airports.

At the beginning of 2024, I landed in Las Vegas and decided to push myself out of my comfort zone. I walked to the ridesharing pick-up area, which is conveniently placed really fucking far — convenient for the taxi companies, that is.

As I wait for my friendly driver, I look at the picture on the concrete barrier in front of me. It was the advertisement for a pool party in some replaceable resort, and I thought, “Ufff, that’s a lot of herpes in one pool!!”

Going to Vegas is dangerous enough; why jump in a pool brimming with venereal diseases?

Pools in Vegas should be 100% chlorine instead of water, but then again, who are we trying to save?

There is a lot about Las Vegas I don’t get, like the excessive drinking and smoking and gambling. Maybe the word debauchery didn’t start here, but now they have culturally appropriate it.

Or maybe I get it and know it’s not for me.

Or at least not anymore.

Despite all my feelings about Las Vegas, over the times I have spent there, I can’t help but feel ambivalent about it because there is a side of Vegas I truly love, funded by all the things I don’t.

And that side is the experiences — the art, the food, the shows.

A short walk through the halls of the Cosmopolitan Hotel while you soak in the paintings and photographs on the walls as you leisurely stroll to Zuma will give you a sense of what I’m referring to.

Every time I’m there, I try to do something different, and going to Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart has been on my list for the longest time.

Meow Wolf is a collective of artists who create immersive art experiences wrapped into stories you follow along in the more than 70 rooms each museum has. The experiences always have strong critiques in the subtext of the shows.

Meow Wolf created Omega Mart in Vegas, which mocks our excessive consumerism. Going through it felt like reading Baudrillard, taking a molly, spinning until dizzy, and then walking around.

Omega Mart, Meow Wolf, Las Vegas, NV. Photo by author.
Omega Mart, Meow Wolf, Las Vegas, NV. Photo by author.

After Omega Mart, we met a client for dinner at Zuma.

People think sales is just a bunch of fun and games and steak and whisky and travel and golf.

And it is.

They don’t know that eating delicious food and shooting the breeze can be hard work. What are we going to do? Someone’s got do it. I guess I’ll step up with a small contribution to this beautiful country of ours.

Honestly, go back and read how I describe what I do. If you are an introvert, that job sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it?

Even though the food was all life-altering, I can’t remember the name of one thing. That’s the problem with being truly in the moment; you don’t jot things down.

I do remember one thing: we had a lot of Patagonian toothfish. I remember because we talked about how this fish didn’t become popular until it was renamed “Chilean Sea Bass.”

After dinner, we walked in and out of the Bellagio, the Venetian, and Ceasar’s Palace. We looked at all the art installations celebrating Chinese New Year as all hotels are trying to attract Chinese nationals.

Along with the installations celebrating the Chinese New Year, hotels also honor the long-held Asian tradition of fearing the number four or at least the sound it makes in English. This is called Tetraphobia, and it is the fear of the number four because it sounds like death in many Asian languages like Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese. So, now, hotels in Vegas have jumped from 39 to 50 because of it.

Don’t judge.

Or have you not noticed how hotels also don’t have the number 13th? Because Americans are afraid freaky things will happen if they stay on that floor. Those floors are still there; they are just labeled something else. So, I guess that makes them disappear in some parallel universe?

The human race has harnessed the power of water, wind, sun, coal, and atoms, and we are also afraid of numbers.

The next day, on a walk to the convention center, I stopped by the recently opened Fontainebleau. This hotel was beautiful in a Gatsbyesque, understated sort of way. Also, because it is brand new, it is free from the typical Vegas smells like secondhand smoke, cheap colognes, and desperation.

Fontainebleau Hotel, Las Vegas, NV. Photo by author.

Before leaving the hotel, I saw a giant, and I mean giant, mural of a woman with a hard-boiled egg for a face.

Sometimes, art feels accessible, like something you could also do.

Like this.

Ceasar’s Palace, Las Vegas, NV. Photo by author.

No, not that. This.

Ceasar’s Palace, Las Vegas, NV. Photo by author.

Someone put a rubber duckie in between these majestic statues. I could’ve done that.

Sometimes, it just feels like something only gods could imagine.

Like, who is the genius who thought the proteins of the egg white and the creaminess of the yolk belong in the face of a woman?


Do you understand what I am saying?


Forget the Mona Lisa! Being in the presence of this mural will make your life sunny side up.

And feeling sunny side up with all these experiences is what makes me feel so ambivalent about being in Vegas, its dirty pools, its drunken pedestrians, and its very high VD per capita.

Fontainebleau Hotel, Las Vegas, NV. Photo by author.


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