Don’t go to Vegas—tales of a journalist’s first CES

It’s 10:35 PM on the second-to-last day of CES as I sit on the hotel bed nursing my blistered feet, throat aching from the desert air and smoky casino hotels. Above and beyond the excitement of new computer hardware and the repetitive bleeping of slot machines, one thing is foremost in my mind: my desire never to set foot in Las Vegas, Nevada ever again. I might have to feign illness, "forget" my passport at home, or stuff my carry-on luggage with firecrackers to get turned away at security. Whatever it takes. Just… please, no more.

I had some idea of what to expect, of course. CES is big. Vegas is big. Both the event and the city seem to gather people from all over America—the world, even—in a carousel of craziness and misery. The only difference between the show and the town, I suppose, is that a bad day at CES is less likely to leave you with shattered kneecaps and a bloody nose. But only slightly.

I was even prepared for the general insanity of trade shows, having flown to Taiwan for Computex on three separate occasions. CES and Computex share many attributes: the huge show floors, the poorly lit hotel suites packed with demo systems, and the wealth of companies and journalists present. CES is an order of magnitude more insane, however. Not just because it’s even bigger, but because of where it’s set.

I land in a massive valley in the middle of the desert. Immediately after disembarking, I encounter rows of slot machines, the focal point of a cluster of airport gates. I hop into a cab. The driver, a middle-aged man who looks like he should be standing at an intersection with a rag and a squeegee, takes me down streets populated almost exclusively with hotels, pawn shops, and billboards that advertise a creepy-looking Italian lawyer’s bankruptcy protection services. Having arrived at my hotel, I dread going back out. But I have to.

As a CES attendee, my destination is one of the huge casino hotels on the Vegas Strip. I head to the Venetian, a cyclopean maze with hallways the length of city blocks, indoor canals designed by people who only ever saw Italy in pictures, actors in costume who look even more miserable than the guests, and worst of all, an unimaginably gaudy lobby that makes it patently clear who profits from gambling. Everything at the Venetian feels like a huge, gilded middle finger raised in the face of gamblers. "Look how much money we’re taking from you. Look at how rich you’re making us," the marble floors and domed ceilings bellow.

I guess the gamblers learned to tune that out.

Getting from point A to point B in the Venetian invariably involves a trip through the casino area. Sitting at a restaurant, about to sink my teeth into a stale, $10 turkey wrap and wash it down with a $3 bottle of water, I have to go back through the casino to get to a restroom where I can wash my hands. At first, I’m amused by trips through the smoky, dimly lit casino floor. But then I see the people sitting at the slot machines. I stare at one of them, and after a few seconds, he looks back. I see the utter despair and shame on his face. His glazed-over eyes tell me, "I have a fixed income. I have no life savings. I can’t stop coming here. Help me."

I walk away perplexed, thinking maybe they’re not all the same. But they are. I see them at other casinos, cigarettes slowly turning to ash in their hands, their hopes and dreams long smoldered away. I try to convince myself that the despair stops there. But it doesn’t. I walk on and past a cocktail waitress, fake breasts compressed by a dress that’s too small and gait slowed by heels that are too high. I look down and see fat, tired middle-aged women sitting at empty blackjack tables, their faces stern and cold—slave-masters but also slaves themselves. I see tourists from Asia and Europe who blew thousands of bucks on a trip to Vegas and are visibly regretting it.

Vegas is many things, but most of all, Vegas is despair. I can see it in the casino hotels, in the taxi cabs, and in the impossibly long streets populated only by concrete, metal, neon, and dirt. I can see it in the eyes of the counter clerk in the casino hotel’s food court, a short, portly man with a lisp who smiles without really smiling. I can see it looking in the mirror at one of the Venetian’s restrooms, where water stops flowing out of the faucet every four seconds and the automatic soap dispenser squirts suggestively into my hand. The abuse, it seems, knows no limits.

When Vegas isn’t making me wish I was far, far away, it makes me shake my head with disillusionment. The grandeur and garishness of Caesar’s Palace is more than a mere show of wealth. It’s a monument—not to ideology or religion, but to sheer craziness. What are two-story-tall statues, gigantic marble columns, and opulent domed ceilings doing in a casino resort in the middle of the desert? How do people continue to fund the construction of these structures in spite of themselves, out of a selfish and misguided desire to appropriate some of the wealth that has been taken from others? As a spiral escalator carries me into the upper levels of the shopping area, I think to myself that if aliens ever did crash near Area 51, it might have been because of what they saw here in Vegas.

The city’s surreal nature isn’t crystallized in my mind until I wade past the luxury boutiques into an elevator up to one of the top floors. Peering out the window there, I see no structures with any semblance of beauty other than casinos. Beyond them are myriad single-story buildings, halted construction projects, and highways surrounded by dirt. Beyond that, the desert. In the distance are the mountains, which look on unamused as the city slowly turns people’s sweat and tears into concrete and glitter. I stare off into the distance pensively…

Then, the PR rep we came to see finishes his chat with another press team and walks over to greet us. The carousel kicks back into gear. "How’s the show been for you so far?"

Comments closed
    • krazyboi
    • 9 years ago

    I’ve been to Vegas a few times and finally went to CES this year. Your description of Vegas was well written but a little too harsh. I feel that you have to take Vegas as it is-a quick party town. I don’t know how the CES ended up being there but I can see some of the reasons why. I’ve been during other ‘peak’ times and I didn’t see that much of a difference from CES weekend. Yes it was busy but I could still go to the shows I wanted, plenty of places to eat, and still stuff to do outside of the strip. The thing I like about Vegas is that you don’t have to gamble, don’t have to eat buffets, etc to have a good time.

    You want to see despair & dread, check out casino areas in the South/East. I’ve been to the ones in OK and LA (they are in driving distance) and can’t stand being there a couple of hours. The crowd is totally different, nothing to eat, poor selection of shows, and the casinos are not near as decorative.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    Your description of vegas pretty much describes every description I’ve ever heard of strip clubs. No matter how much someone makes it soundlike a good time all I hear is, “a building filled with pathetic dissatisfied with my life blah blah blah, superficial baloney…BLAH!”

    From a purely rational stand point paying for blue balls makes no sense and neither does paying someone to rob you.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 9 years ago

    Written like someone who has read the excellent “Fools Die” by Mario Puzo. And/or watched some halfway decent film noir.

    Having never been to Vegas, I only guessed it was like your narrative, Cyril. Guess I was correct.

    • AGerbilWithAFootInTheGrav
    • 9 years ago

    brave text… I am actually suprised there are only a few flames in the response to it.

    I guess TR crowd is not Las Vegas target market, but I bet if this was posted on some other sites, this would be seen as an insult to US, the American dream and humanity as a whole 🙂

    btw – I agree with the part, well written at that.

    • c1arity
    • 9 years ago

    As someone who grew up in Phoenix, AZ as well as having visted Vegas a number of times for various reasons, I’d have to agree with the author. To me Las Vegas is a sad, miserable place with absolutely no natural beauty in the surrounding area to speak of.

    • Code:[M]ayhem
    • 9 years ago

    All you need to do is travel a few miles off the strip to realize what a total dump Vegas really is….

    • AlphaEdge
    • 9 years ago

    I always tell myself, I never want to go to Vegas. Give me some fine European city, or rather visit Asia over that place.

    You don’t have to go to Vegas to see the misery, I’ve been to the Casinos here in Vancouver, and I’ve seen the faces of the gamblers. Left feeling slightly depressed for those still inside wallowing there lives away.

    Thanks Cyril, for giving the proper perspective on the place.

    Las Vegas: if not the highest, some of the highest suicide rate, divorce rate, drop-out rate, teen pregnancy rate, number of gun deaths rate, and number of smokers. It’s one miserable place, all funded by the gambling industry.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 9 years ago

      I’ve never been to Las Vegas, but I have been to several Asian cities. If you really consider the conditions a large portion of the population in the Asian cities lives in, and the vast difference in wealth between the upper and lower classes, it’s way more depressing than Las Vegas could ever be. Unless the Shakespearean tragedy of people unable to overcome their own flaws depresses you more than a whole class of people being kept down by corrupt leaders and foreign economic imperialism.

    • marraco
    • 9 years ago

    There is a song named ‘Un poco de amor frances’, which says “Luxe is vulgarity”.
    Can be heard on youtube.

    • Rikki-Tikki-Tavi
    • 9 years ago

    “It’s a monument—not to ideology or religion, but to sheer craziness.”

    Ideology, religion, craziness, to-ma-to, to-mah-to. Where’s the difference?

    • paulWTAMU
    • 9 years ago

    Damn man. Did you catch any shows, try any non-crappy restaurants or anything?
    I’ve never seen the appeal of Vegas myself but ther ehas to be more to it than tacky buildings…right? Right?

    • Cannyone
    • 9 years ago

    “Look how much money we’re taking from you. Look at how rich you’re making us,”

    Most of the times I drove through Nevada I never stopped long enough to gamble. Then one time a friend of mine needed me to drive him to Las Vegas for a family wedding, and I wanted to visit the Grand Canyon on the way. I planned on spending $40 on gambling while I was there, not a cent more. But the first casino we walked into was Caesar’s Palace. And instantly, all desire I ever had to gamble vanished. They already had enough money, and I figured they didn’t need Any of mine…

    • DrDillyBar
    • 9 years ago

    I’ve always wondered why people are so anxious to go to Vegas. You’ve summed up what I’d be thinking the whole time quite nicely Cyril.

    • burntham77
    • 9 years ago

    I live in Las Vegas, and this article is accurate. The only time I even go to a Casino is to see movies.

    • mcnabney
    • 9 years ago

    Cyril ~

    What you observed is fairly typical of any destination city. New York (Manhattan), LA (Hollywood), Orlando (Disney), and Branson(Country/Religious) all share the same desparate facets of appeal. NY and LA can mask it better because the destination attraction is pretty small compared to the much larger city that surrounds them.

    Anyway, all you observed is people being people. Huge concentrations of people with nothing important to do. Of course they are desparate and pathetic. Idle people are always desparate and pathetic. Destinations sell an idea and generally amplify the characteristics of the destination to the limits of human tolerance. Vegas gets a bad rap because they essentially sell Vice. Now that gambling and strip clubs are found coast to coast they have just amped it up to ludicrous levels.

    As to the employees, I am pretty sure the behavior you saw on the gaming floor is pretty much spot-on with what you will find in a typical cube-farm, factory, or call-center.

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 9 years ago

      I beg to differ, the issue with vegas is there is no other economy to speak of. Do you hear about great industry in vegas, the stripper and gambling industry is all you get. You got the lowliest of white and blue collar work available.

        • travbrad
        • 9 years ago

        Indeed. He had to specify very small parts of those other cities (Manhattan, Hollywood, Disney), whereas with Vegas that is the whole economy. If you go to all the obvious tourist spots sure you are going to see a lot of that, but even Orlando (which is sort of the “stereotypical” tourist spot) has a lot of white collar jobs, many tech related. It’s not like citizens of Orlando go to Disney World every day.

          • mcnabney
          • 9 years ago

          I also mentioned Orlando (Tourism!!!) and Branson. Those two markets have essentially no other industry. If the tourists stopped coming, the population would drop to just the retirees.

          I know you guys are all too superior to gamble. It must be tough going through life being better than everyone else. My entire point was that what Cyril saw in Vegas is hardly some unique phenomenon. I’ve been to Vegas and I don’t gamble. My perception of the city was that it was little different than other tourist-trap destinations. Focusing on Vice just allows the companies to be more upfront about the arrangement. And it works!

          People go to Vegas expecting to lose money, but have a good time doing it. In the back of their head they are hoping that maybe this time they will get lucky. For me, I have gone for the shows. And the experience isn’t that different from going to NYC to see some museums and musicals. The underlying poverty and societal stratification is even more evident in Branson – despite the religious overtones.

          I’m sorry Cyril found the outrageous displays of wealth offensive, but it is hardly a novelty in the ‘States. He might want to avoid going on a cruise in the future since it is just like Vegas, except everyone is packed in together.

      • herothezero
      • 9 years ago

      The only thing Manhattan has in common with Vegas is they’re both in the continental United States.

    • MikeChin
    • 9 years ago

    Good piece. 🙂

    I’m totally in agreement, have been for years. Avoided CES and Vegas for nearly 7 years, after OD’ding on both in the late 90s and early 2000s. Went this time only because someone paid for my stay at the Venetian. But it didn’t take long for me to remember why I stayed away all those years. Such an artifical, creepy place. It may be another 7 years before I go back. lol!

    • ecalmosthuman
    • 9 years ago

    I have always felt this way about Vegas. Thanks for a refreshing and truthful article, Cyril!

    • oldDummy
    • 9 years ago

    Good Stuff in a Mad Max sorta way.

    Did ya see Tina?

    Never been to LV, no desire.

    Good Mood writting.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    I have never been, never wanted to be, and hopefully now I never will be in Vegas. I’m not a excessive person, and nothing about that city appeals to me. Its a concentration of all the worst parts of every other city all in one place.

    • WaltC
    • 9 years ago

    Cyril, this is quite possibly the best thing that you have ever written–at least, that I’ve read…;) You’ve managed to beautifully articulate why I’ve never been to LV. Some people crave the gaudy, specious, and utterly superficial aspects of life, and for them I should imagine LV might be heaven on earth. We have a natural immunity to LV, as do most of the posters in this thread–but what I find most fascinating is the people who go and go and go and swear up and down how much they love it! As obsessed with the superficial as Steve Jobs has always been, it isn’t difficult for me to imagine he’s a fan of the place–but who knows? I think LV is definitely the place to be for people who favor style over substance and the superficial over the fundamental.

      • muyuubyou
      • 9 years ago

      That was probably the least expected dig at Steve Jobs I’ve ever seen.

      Congrats 😀

        • ImSpartacus
        • 9 years ago

        I’m with you on that one.

        Steve Jobs is a Buddhist, I’m thinking he’s not much of a gambler.

          • KoolAidMan
          • 9 years ago

          That and the last thing you can call anything Apple related, whether it is their devices or their stores, is tacky or ostentatious. It is as spartan and minimalist as things gets, especially in the consumer electronics world.

    • herothezero
    • 9 years ago

    Only thing good about Vegas are the strip clubs, Spearmint Rhino and Olympic Gardens in particular. Say hi to Gwen at SR. 😉

    Everything else in Vegas is gaudy, garrish and gauche.

      • 5150
      • 9 years ago

      Ahhhh, Olympic Gardens. Good times.

    • esterhasz
    • 9 years ago

    Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Gaul anymore!

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    I went to Vegas a few years ago for the first time, and I couldn’t help but feel the exact same way. From the first interaction with a person (airport shuttle to hotel) I ALWAYS felt like someone was trying to rip me off. There wasn’t a financial transaction that didn’t have some scent of “scam” behind it.

    The city should definitely be visited as an example of Empires crass peak. The Vegas you see now is the “best” you’ll ever see it. Asian casinos are taking oevr, they have money to burn, we don’t.

    On the return trip from the hotel to the airport, the cab driver never showed up at the appointed time. That was all I needed to know that I never wanted to return.

    • entropy13
    • 9 years ago

    Caesar’s Palace…You mean the Legion won? WTF happened to the 2-headed bear?

      • Thrashdog
      • 9 years ago

      Vegas… Vegas never changes.

      • paulWTAMU
      • 9 years ago

      Well, of all the places for a platinum chip, CES makes sense 😉

    • Decibel
    • 9 years ago

    Vegas was alright when I was dating a girl whose parents live there. Just stay the hell off the strip unless there is something quick and specific you’re doing.

    Head in for a dinner and a show, then flee.

    • ludi
    • 9 years ago

    So you visited Lost Wages. Suggest also avoiding its neighbor to the north, Keno, other than the inevitable drive through town if you ever need to commute between Salt Lake City and Sacramento.

    Fantasy never lives up to reality, particularly where vice is involved.

    • cygnus1
    • 9 years ago

    I would say go back for DEFCON. As far as conventions go, it’s a way better experience than what you’re describing. And you tend to learn interesting things and see cool demonstrations.

    • jabro
    • 9 years ago

    I totally agree with Cyril’s observation about how the ridiculous opulence of casinos seems to mock patrons with a garish display of the money they have taken from poor shmucks over the years. You would think that this would be an effective warning to would be gamblers, yet people still “ooh” and “ahh” and reach for their wallets. Admittedly, I’m not a gambler and I can’t make myself forget that the odds are stacked in the casinos’ favor, but Las Vegas is inexplicably filled with people who don’t seem to care in the slightest about this fact. There’s just something about gambling and risk taking that fundamentally appeals to certain personalities, I guess. Gamblers are drawn to the the pursuit, no matter how futile, not the elusive win.

    When I was young, single, and visiting with friends, I could stomach Las Vegas for 48 hours, but you’d have to pay me to go now.

    • crose
    • 9 years ago

    Oh come on! You just wrote all that because you want to write ‘serious’ stuff.. and not Tech-Report. Hm, made me think twice about going to Vegas…

    • eitje
    • 9 years ago

    …and this is the guy that drank SNAKE BLOOD.

    • dashbarron
    • 9 years ago

    I enjoyed your post Cyril and while I haven’t been to Vegas, I know exactly how you feel. Stepping into cities like that you wonder how people can think it is normal, or enjoy it, and why they would. You feel pity for the people stuck in dead-end jobs of at all places, a casino food court or something of the like.

    When visiting a place like that, the iceing on the cake truly is paying 2-3 times for horrid food then washing it down with a bottle of water (because tap water isn’t available and you’re afraid to drink it) at $3, $4, or $5 a whack.

    Thanks Cyril.

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 9 years ago

      New York City tap water is of better quality than most bottled water.

        • dpaus
        • 9 years ago

        At the valve on it’s way out of the water treatment plant, yes. After travelling several miles through 200 year-old iron pipes, ummmm, not so much.

          • Flatland_Spider
          • 9 years ago

          New York City water doesn’t go through a treatment plant.

          • razputin
          • 9 years ago

          Which is why I never drink tap water.

            • travbrad
            • 9 years ago

            There was a study which showed 1/4th of bottled water is actually tap water, so you probably do. 😉

            [url<]http://money.cnn.com/2007/07/27/news/companies/pepsi_coke/[/url<] [url<]http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Health/story?id=728070&page=1[/url<] (Specific to NYC)

    • 5150
    • 9 years ago

    Vegas is a blast for a few days, but then it gets old and you just want to go home. I’d gladly go back for another short trip anytime though.

    CES on the other hand is absolutely terrible. I went last year and it was nothing swarms of rude jackasses. One continent was particularly bad in the way it presented itself. You can’t get a good look at anything because there are hundreds of people pushing you in the back wanting to look at the same thing.

    Oh yeah, and your feet hurt like hell. Taking my shoes off at the end of the day was probably the best part.

    • flip-mode
    • 9 years ago

    Sounds like you had some bad acid.

    Vegas is what it is – a place to waste both time and money, and a natural convention venue. It wouldn’t exist without the middle class.

      • travbrad
      • 9 years ago

      It sort of reminded me of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas actually. 🙂 Only in a more serious way.

    • My Johnson
    • 9 years ago

    The only good thing about Vegas is it’s proximity to Southern Utah. When I last visited Southern Utah I completely bypassed Vegas. The spouse was a little disappointed, but all she hears are the lies passed down from her acquaintances.

      • Kent_dieGo
      • 9 years ago

      You should stop to fill the car with cheap gas.

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    Prior to my first trip to Vegas (also for a CES, but years ago), my exposure to casinos was limited to countless James Bond movies. I was looking forward to seeing the opulent rooms full of stunningly gorgeous women, each of them looking for the arm of a stunningly gorgeous gentleman to hold on to, as he walks them to his Aston Martin, casually flipping the debonaire casino boss a handful of chips as a thanks for yet another awesome evening.

    Instead, like Cyril, I found a dingy room that was supposed to look opulent, but you couldn’t see the details of the far corners because of the blue haze of smoke. Surly men were running the tables, snapping at the players to pony up while nasty-looking women in cheap, sleazy outfits offered them watered-down drinks.

    And the patrons. Oh, my dear Lord, the patrons. Gorgeous women and Playboy-esque men? No, they were virtually all senior citizens, many with walkers, too many with oxygen tanks. They were all dressed in shabby Sally Ann clothes, frequently with far-too-visible stains of I-don’t-want-to-know-what. Nobody was of ‘average’ size; they were all either grossly overweight or mere skeletons. I’d agree with Cyril that their eyes were glassy except that it seemed many of them simply didn’t have eyes anymore – just black holes that stared vacantly at the slot machine in front of them. They were all smoking, most of them with an inch-long stick of ash that you couldn’t help but watch as it slowly grew, defying gravity. It was terrifying to see; by comparison, the worst zombie movie of all time looks like a romantic comedy.

    I haven’t seen ‘Casino Royale’ yet. I can’t.

    • JustAnEngineer
    • 9 years ago

    Did you take the tour of Hoover Dam?

    • yogibbear
    • 9 years ago

    You should have taken Veronica as a companion, then you wouldn’t be drawn towards the evil technology.

    • Spurenleser
    • 9 years ago

    Very well written piece! I felt like I was there.

    • Meadows
    • 9 years ago

    And here I thought the place might be entertaining to behold. I mean, at least once.

    Fancy blog post, the only way you could make it fancier is by replacing “second-to-last” with “penultimate”. The picture would then be complete.

    • Cuhulin
    • 9 years ago

    I like Las Vegas and go several times a year. However, I fully understand Cyril’s comments:

    The Venetian is a pretty but not very enjoyable hotel in a lot of ways.

    I don’t gamble almost at all — I have a $10 budget for it when I go there, and I often do not spend that much — but I have seen the same look of desperation.

    Of course, it’s worse when going to CES — the lines for transportation, the huge convention floor and the general disorganization are a pita. It’s difficult to like a place when you’re in pain.

    Yet, the dry air is great, the fantasy surrounding the hotels provides a good opportunity for a little rest, and the variety of places and great restaurants allows a different trip whenever I want one.

    • KoolAidMan
    • 9 years ago

    Well said. I hate Vegas and I abhor gambling, I don’t go there unless I absolutely have to.

    That said, CES + Vegas made it even worse. At least Vegas has some amazing food and some decent entertainment. The last meal I had at Nobu was spectacular. Throw the rigor of CES in there (I’m nursing a blister on my foot as well) and less time to enjoy a nice meal, and I really don’t see much of a point to it all.

    Oh yeah, and CES sucks. 🙂 I can count the number of good things I saw on one hand, the majority of what was there was garbage.

    • Flying Fox
    • 9 years ago

    Like CharlieD, may be you should include the AEE as part of the CES trip. That may cheer you up lol? 😛

    • Johnny5
    • 9 years ago

    I never understood why people would enjoy playing a game of chance where you are statistically expected to have a net loss. Then again a lot of things people do don’t make any sense to me.

      • travbrad
      • 9 years ago

      I don’t understand it either but like you said a lot of stuff doesn’t make sense. State lotteries work on the same principle (although at least their profits might go towards something good, instead a new marble fountain or summer home).

      I can sort of understand actual poker (hold’em, omaha, etc) though, because with skill and knowledge you CAN come out ahead overall. However, most people playing poker don’t have that skill…and they get chewed up by the ones that do.

      Even then I’m not sure why you’d want to go to Vegas to play poker though.

    • PixelArmy
    • 9 years ago

    The suicide capital of the US… A pit boss once told us about a particularly good weekend for the house, last Chinese New Year, $78 million…

    Personally I like Vegas, especially the Venetian (non-union waitresses > other casino’s waitresses).

    You should catch a show or two. They are really extravagant.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 9 years ago

    What about [i<]New[/i<] Vegas? Is that place safe to go?

    • ClickClick5
    • 9 years ago

    I went to vegas for my first time last year. I spent a day there and was ready to go.

    I feel ya man. Not a big fan.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 9 years ago

    Wow, reading this makes me think about running in the opposite direction. Up north, on a ski hill, surrounded by fresh snow, skiing through the woods where nobody else is, freezing your butt off in -30C weather….ahhh, the very polar opposite of Vegas.

    And gee, guess who just moved right beside some of the best mountains in North America?

    • danny e.
    • 9 years ago

    I appreciated this blog post. Nice to get a different glimpse at things.

    • thesmileman
    • 9 years ago

    I got a similar feeling when I went to Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii. It is basically an expensive mall on the beach that has found utter collapse. So much homeless. Million dollar house after 5 million dollar house that haven’t had even the most basic upkeep.

    That island is such a beautiful place and it has completely been destroyed. You have to go to one of the other islands before it is even remotely different. It was really really sad.

      • humannn
      • 9 years ago

      There are many homeless in Oahu because other cities send their homeless to Hawaii via a one-way airline ticket. That’s why nearly all of them are white, when whites make up less than 20% of the local population at large. Go to the neighbor islands, and any homeless you see there are locals.

    • BoBzeBuilder
    • 9 years ago

    Well Cyril, I see what you see when it comes to places like Vegas. I was at the Fallsview Niagara Casino Resort just last week, and aside from the lack of smoke, its as you described. I don’t necessarily hate casinos, its the idea, its what they represent that I despise.

    • jrr
    • 9 years ago

    I’m planning to go my whole life without setting foot in that city.

    • Voldenuit
    • 9 years ago

    I wholly see Cyril’s point of view. Ostentatious displays of wealth as a symptom of excessive greed and covetousness. It really is a dystopian view of what could go wrong with the world if left unchecked – not necessarily the physical edifices, but the architecture of human society gone wrong.

      • vipw
      • 9 years ago

      Does anyone feel the same way when they visit European cathedrals?

        • RealPjotr
        • 9 years ago

        There is no place in Europe where they have built 30+ cathedrals on the same street… no, you simply cannot feel the same, nothing in Europe is this crazy.

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 9 years ago

        No.

        • AlphaEdge
        • 9 years ago

        I spent two weeks in Rome by myself, a city that has 300 churches, and the best two weeks of my life. Got blisters on my feet from walking so many miles each day from one Church to another.

      • RickyTick
      • 9 years ago

      Somewhat similar to insurance office buildings.

      • muyuubyou
      • 9 years ago

      As a euro, many places in the US feel like this. The extreme reliance on gas being reasonably priced, huge infrastructures in the middle of nowhere, in naturally inhospitable places either very cold or very dry. When I visited post-Katrina NOLA I left with this thought in the back of my head, that many cities would look like that or even worse if only gas spiked to $10 a gallon. This would mean poverty in many places worldwide, but starvation and destitution in others.

      Nowhere else have I ever seen such huge chunks of land of basically specialised economies. In Europe, Asia, Africa you have farms and fresh water within a few miles of any town, small or large. If not walking distance, a horse ride away. Population has historically adapted to that. Then you see cities like Las Vegas where basic means of survival have to be shipped daily from hundreds or thousands miles away. But it’s not only LV really. And the thing is… how do you gracefully move away from that model? it has grown completely out of control.

      Sorry for the boring diatribe.

        • Voldenuit
        • 9 years ago

        I completely agree. The utter reliance of Americans on cheap, available power and transport is something that is deeply ingrained into their infrastructure and society, and is going to be very onerous on them as resources become scarcer.

        The wife and I just bought a house in the midwest. When I asked, ‘how do we isolate rooms from the heating grid?’ I was met with a blank stare. Seems the heating system is all or nothing. So we have to heat an entire 3 storey house for 2 people, 1 of which is usually at work at any given time (the wife does shift work). It boggles the mind. And the heating bill.

          • bthylafh
          • 9 years ago

          The normal way to isolate rooms from heating and AC here is to close the vent on the floor, at least with forced-air systems, which is the only type I’ve ever had.

          • ludi
          • 9 years ago

          You bought a 3-story house in the midwest, for two people?

            • Voldenuit
            • 9 years ago

            Well, we’ll be starting a family at some point, and it’s only 3 bedrooms. Considering current property prices and interest rates, we decided we were better off buying a house for our future rather than having to upgrade to a bigger property later as the family grew.

            Plus we intend to keep big dogs so need a place with a decent sized backyard.

            • ludi
            • 9 years ago

            Fair reasons, although it’s worth noting that US houses — especially newer ones built in extreme climates like the midwest offers — tend to be very well insulated on all of the exterior walls. Once the interior thermal mass has stabilized, it may not actually be more expensive to heat the whole house than to heat just the rooms you’re using.

            I haven’t been to Japan like yourself, only talked with some who have, but my understanding is that many Japanese houses are not well insulated. The reliance on closing off unused rooms, and using portable space heaters only in occupied rooms, has much to do with that.

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 9 years ago

        I lived in Fairbanks Alaska for a while. Its a perfectly fine place in my opinion, but you should have seen the train of oil tanks rolling in every day to feed it.

        It gets to -40 for weeks at a time, its not really possible to grow food there. Solar would be pointless, wind power cannot operate due to ice build up. It started as a mining town, got a university along the way, and benefited from oil infrastructure construction. I don’t know if it has a future. It would be interesting to go back some day (in my life time) and see it mostly abandoned. I wonder if I will have the chance, or will society keep it going?

        That said, seems like any economic pain that closes it down will also be felt in Europe.

          • muyuubyou
          • 9 years ago

          It would be a good exercise of computer simulation to try to calculate just how much would every economic block be affected by a huge spike in the price of energy. Looks like Europe is a lot better planned for a world without cheap transportation, because it was basically planned when transportation was prohibitive.

          Anyway, since that happened we have all overgrown and developed a dependency that will most probably prove very costly later on. Some countries are already taking measures and have a decent share of their energy generated by renewable means.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 9 years ago

        New Orleans is situated at the mouth of a river, there would be a city there no matter what gas cost.

          • muyuubyou
          • 9 years ago

          That’s right. I said they would look like NOLA after Katrina, not that NOLA would be so affected by oil prices. Obviously Katrina is a different kind of disaster.

          NOLA is much better place than your average American City, except it would be a better idea to be outside of a flood area. Baton Rouge is where NOLA should be.

          NOLA was founded by the French, they don’t usually pick places at random (but they didn’t quite know the local climate).

    • willyolio
    • 9 years ago

    to be honest, this is almost exactly what i felt when i went on vacation to vegas when i was 12 or so.

    too young to go into any of the casinos or see half the shows there, and the rest of it was really just a lot of shopping and crazy hotels. meh. then again, growing up in Vancouver, I always enjoyed the outdoors more.

    • tbone8ty
    • 9 years ago

    I agree that if you’ve spent to long in vegas and a long time in vegas is more than 4 days, you want to get on that red eye flight and get the heck out of there….. but if you’ve never been to vegas you must experience it once in your life time.

      • djgandy
      • 9 years ago

      Agree. The place is over the top, but it is a must see once at least. Just don’t spend a week there!

      Also if you are not on the strip YMMV.

    • sschaem
    • 9 years ago

    What a waste of a trip to Vegas…. next time, dont go alone or depressed ?

    This make me think of how a lonely ’emo’ would write about his trip to disneyworld after his girlfriend dumped him. “Happiest place on earth , yea right!.. let me tell you about this place”

    Seriously. The hotel room are beautiful, the view is out of this world.. and you have some of the best chef on earth working in this town. The shows can be good too.
    Its not cheap, but its better then walking in dog poops in the dirty street of paris where everybody look angry and sad.

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 9 years ago

      Truly, there are some fantastic restaurants in Las Vegas. I highly recommend the Mesa Grill (a Bobby Flay enterprise) in Caesar’s Palace.

      • Cyril
      • 9 years ago

      I wasn’t alone, actually, and I was pretty excited to be there. I generally try to have a positive outlook on things… Vegas just didn’t lend itself to that this time, I suppose.

        • miken
        • 9 years ago

        A lot of what you said seems to be a matter of personal attitude / interpretation. Obviously millions of people feel differently than you, and I don’t think it is because you (or the majority opinion in this thread) are intellectually or morally superior to them. You’re seeing LV through your own colored glasses, speaking as someone who was in the same place this year (even stayed at the Venetian) for a few days with some friends and family. I had a great time, and even though I saw the same people and places you did, it didn’t fill me with dread, despair, guilt, condescension, etc. I can confirm all the facts you report in your article are accurate, and yet none of the gray negative emotions you experienced ring true for me. I see this article as more about the mind of one Cyril K than about a geographic place.

        BTW I live in the Pacific Northwest and am surrounded by natural beauty, and have lived in California and New England as well. I love the outdoors. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy going to LV — it is an entertaining shock (for a few days) of the opposite of my normal life. It’s no different than any of the other artificial experiences we entertain ourselves / escape with all the time, and I see no reason to put one form of entertainment on a different moral level than another (are TV or video games or novels somehow holier?).

        If I may put forth a theory, many of the criticisms leveled here (not just by you) seem to be originating from a leftist ideological perspective. In that grim worldview, money, America, oil / gasoline / cars, capitalism, imperialism, distribution of wealth, selfishness / self-indulgence etc. are on the short list of bogeymen — or shall I say prominent members in the pantheon of demons? Have you noticed that every element of this list (which should be familiar from countless other unrelated contexts) has been referenced in this thread? Looking at the world through leftist glasses, it is possible — nay, inevitable — to interpret almost any situation or subject as somehow symbolic: reflective of the inferiority of the world as it is, compared to the way it purportedly should be (more European / socialist / green / altruistic / egalitarian etc.). (I mean really, when a blog post about visiting Vegas for a few days turns into predictions / pining about the Fall of the American Empire, you know you’re not in Kansas anymore but are lost deep in Leftland.)

        The most striking thing I see in this thread is the parallels between leftism and religion. The irony is that leftism has always been sold as the antidote or opposite of religion, being based on (supposedly) reason, being a popular choice for atheists and vice versa. Leftism is post-religion, post-morality, post-good-and-evil.

        Yet, rereading this thread, with a little search-and-replace you would be hard pressed to distinguish it from a travel report on Las Vegas written by a busload of religious zealots. You can practically enumerate the original Seven Deadly Sins among the criticisms of not just the place, but the business owners, the tourists and the residents. Leftism can hardly claim distinction from religion when ideas like guilt, moral superiority/inferiority, “indulgence”, etc. peppers the discussion. (BTW I’m not in any way defending or championing religion.)

        My point is there are many millions of people that do not endorse this worldview, and for them they will see Las Vegas — and much else in life — very, very differently than Cyril K and many posters to this thread. And, that they don’t agree with them doesn’t make them stupid, ignorant, corrupt, naive, or any other slur. Indeed, if you entertain the possibility that their worldviews may overlap with some part of the truth about reality, then maybe the fact that you had a crappy time / “will never go to Vegas” / etc. is more of a personal problem than you might have realized.

        Sometimes people that are happier than you or enjoy something more than you do are so not because they are naive etc. They might even be better than you. Are they seeing the world through rose-colored glasses? Or are you seeing the world through grey glasses? Personally I see the world in a generally positive light, and that leads to a generally positive attitude, and general enjoyment of life. I honestly feel bad for those that seem to think the world itself is biased towards the evil side (echoes of Christianity and original sin), and let that affect their emotional states (I can sympathize, as a recovering Catholic). Reminds me of a cartoon character that is constantly under their own personal rain cloud.

        That’s why reading these impressions of LV seemed so alien. I’ve been there, and I can guarantee that that is not the only way to experience the place. (LV, btw, is not hardly as interesting or important as the larger issue here, of how the human mind can perceive the world, and why.)

        After reading this thread, Las Vegas seems none the worse than I remember it, yet I am somewhat in a pall of despair anyway — for the sad sacks that can’t enjoy life to the fullest, that are endowed with the ability to analyze and condemn the joy out of almost any situation and do so too often. And also just because bad attitudes are infections and it is impossible not to catch a little of it by contagion.

        Lucky for me I’m going to shake off this foul mood, and in a few years I’ll probably be in Vegas for a few days again, and I’ll have a great time. But that’s just me.

          • Cyril
          • 9 years ago

          If you’re accusing me of writing about my personal feelings and impressions rather than producing a purely factual exposé about Las Vegas, then I plead guilty as charged.

          If you’d like to debate religion and politics, it’s [url=https://techreport.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=8<]right this way[/url<]. 😉

            • dashbarron
            • 9 years ago

            Hmmm…not able to view this even logged in. What is behind this door!?

            • Cyril
            • 9 years ago

            Ah, you’ll need to [url=https://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=53033<]sign up[/url<] first.

          • FireGryphon
          • 9 years ago

          [quote<]...many of the criticisms leveled here (not just by you) seem to be originating from a leftist ideological perspective. In that grim worldview, money, America, oil / gasoline / cars, capitalism, imperialism, distribution of wealth, selfishness / self-indulgence etc. are on the short list of bogeymen...[/quote<] Las Vegas is a bad thing to defend on the grounds of American capitalism and democracy. Las Vegas represents the worst of human nature: a small group of people preying on others' weaknesses and then publicly displaying their bounty. There are definitely "anti-American" criticisms leveled baselessly at this or that, but you give us all a bad name when you defend Las Vegas as being the pinnacle of American political, economic, and social culture.

          • pot
          • 9 years ago

          Wow, just wow.

          • travbrad
          • 9 years ago

          [url<]http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/blog[/url<]

          • Cuhulin
          • 9 years ago

          Can’t anyone express an opinion these days without someone trying to turn it into right v left politics?

            • travbrad
            • 9 years ago

            Yeah it’s strange because the ‘right’ and ‘left’ actually have so much in common (whether they realize it or not). The politicians try desperately to appear to be different from each other, but once they hold office and actually start legislating they seem remarkably similar (and not in a good way :p)

            It’s all relative too. Our Democrats would be considered conservative in some countries, and in other countries our Republicans would be imprisoned/oppressed for being too liberal.

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 9 years ago

            Democrats and Republicans are similar when in power because their actions are constrained by reality. On the campaign trail, reality is best avoided.

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 9 years ago

          [quote<]Looking at the world through leftist glasses, it is possible -- nay, inevitable -- to interpret almost any situation or subject as somehow symbolic: reflective of the inferiority of the world as it is, compared to the way it purportedly should be[/quote<] Yes in this way serious "leftists" and devout holy-book-ists are quite similar. No problem there. [quote<]The most striking thing I see in this thread is the parallels between leftism and religion.[/quote<] Parallels such as the concept of good and bad should not surprise you. [quote<]The irony is that leftism has always been sold as the antidote or opposite of religion, being based on (supposedly) reason, being a popular choice for atheists and vice versa.[/quote<] Yep the main difference is that good and bad are directed by reason, not a book. [quote<]Leftism is post-religion, post-morality, post-good-and-evil.[/quote<] That's just wrong and ignorant to suggest "leftism" is post morality. Society does not work without morality.

          • muyuubyou
          • 9 years ago

          If you’re talking about my diatribe, just so you know I’m a libertarian. Pretty much share Ron Paul’s view of politics. And I actually like competition gambling (not rip-off machines or scams like roulette).

          The reality is that it really doesn’t look like a good idea to have such a big city in such a naturally resourceless place… There seem to be some nice shows though, for now.

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 9 years ago

    My gosh, man, you poor soul. Run! Get out of there!

    Well, at least, thanks for suffering it for us.

    • FireGryphon
    • 9 years ago

    I’ve got to hear the podcast discussion about this 😮

    From what I read CES is a big disappointment this year, and not just because of the location. Supposedly it’s a big, crowded venue where the product spectrum is so broad it’s difficult to focus on the important stuff. Is there any truth to that?

      • Damage
      • 9 years ago

      That is the deepest truth about CES.

    • Crayon Shin Chan
    • 9 years ago

    You just reminded me of Back to the Future Part 2.

      • 5150
      • 9 years ago

      The shark still looks fake.

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