Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The stranger side of Vegas

Alright, alright. Las Vegas is kind of a strange place any way you look at it.

At least I'm not aware of any other city where you can order a drink in one building and carry the glass with you outside and into the mall across the street and no one cares about the missing glass or the public drunkenness. And come to think of it, where else are you better off keeping your eyes off the sidewalk, which is littered with frighteningly large, star-nippled boobs (pictures of them, that is).

Despite all that, I will now showcase a few of the strangest things we encountered in this interesting city when we visited during Thanksgiving week--things you won't see on any tourist website.

The first is easily my favorite, and I am deeply grateful that Wiyaka had her camera along on our exciting trip to Albertson's, because there is no way I could possibly describe this contraption to you:

Imagine with me, if you will. You pull out a cart from the row outside the building. You push the cart through the sliding-door entrance and come face to face with this chrome barricade. No helpful explanatory signage can be found, but it is clear that the only way to enter the store is to send your cart through the squarish opening with protective top bars and swinging metal gates while you enter through the separate turnstiles to retrieve it from the other side.

What the what?

Go back. At first glance it would seem that this is an elaborate contrivance designed to foil would-be cart-stealers.  But remember, you got that cart from outside in the parking lot, and there is no similar apparatus keeping you from leaving the store after paying.

And this, my friends, is the moment in which I suddenly comprehend its purpose.  "After paying."  The cart can come in that gate but not out of it, and there is a horizontal bar at diaphragm height over what would be the turnstile exit.  Shoplifting prevention, of course. The only way out is through the checkout lines and back to that same door, on the other side of the gate. Ah. Still weird though, don't you think?

What might make it more strange is that when we asked the grocery bagging lady about it, she said, "In all the years I've worked here, I've never figured out what that's for."  Shouldn't somebody explain it to her?  Of course, once I put my mind to it, I figured it out, so maybe they just assume it's obvious.

Now that I understand the purpose of that peculiar device, it might not be my favorite anymore.  On to the fancy-pants Japanese tourist!

I had to engage in a serious stealth operation to nonchalantly take this picture. But really, wearing pants like that is only asking to be photographed by strangers, so the guy probably would have posed if I'd asked him.  And I'd wager a Jackson he'd flash the peace sign for my camera too.

I can't believe we settled for our hotel pool when we could have done this:

A healthy respect for personal property has kept me from ever conceiving of the idea that a person could jump right into the Bellagio fountain if he/she were wont to (read: drunk enough).  Now that I've seen it with my own eyes, I realize it wouldn't be far-fetched to wonder if this large pool falls victim to unruly punks on a semi-regular basis. A quick search on youtube confirms that this man and his Heineken aren't the first to have braved the waters.  Except I didn't find any videos of brave swimmers getting showered--they all took less-risky dips when the waters were calm.

I would think, in this situation, there would be a crowd of Crazy Guy's friends cheering him on and laughing in disbelief from the bridge.  But there was no one.  Who would do this but to answer a dare or impress his peers? When the song was over and Hotel Security had yet to make their appearance to escort him out, this dude floated around awkwardly for a minute, then stood up and wandered pathetically toward dry land.

This daring feat could have been the crown jewel of any man's Vegas experience.  Instead, it was kind of sad.

So yes, Las Vegas is strange.  But I do think it is pretty impressive that I can travel a mere 1,000 miles from home and see the Statue of Liberty, a Great Pyramid, the canals of Venice, the Eiffel Tower, and a medieval castle within walking distance of one another.  Forget traveling overseas, just go to Vegas!

1 comment:

Anita said...

In all my years, I've never seen that particular shopping cart contraption, pants that look like a billboard collage, or a lone person wading in a fountain pool.
I've never been to Vegas either!


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