The state of Nevada
A new state, Nevada, begins beyond Death Valley. The state is named after the Sierra Nevada mountains. “Nevada” translates from Spanish as “snowy.”
According to American tradition, the capital of a state rarely coincides with its largest city. The capital of Nevada is the small town of Carson City, with a population of 55,000, rather than the giant city of Las Vegas.
Nevada is one of the most sparsely populated states in the USA. A significant portion of the state is occupied by deserts, and its population density is among the lowest in America.
In principle, Nevada has several remarkable places. Along the border with Arizona stands the massive Hoover Dam. Adjacent to the dam are several beautiful lakes. There is also Red Rock National Park and Valley of Fire with Native American petroglyphs.
Somewhere in the Nevada desert is also located the secretive Area 51 and the primary nuclear testing site in the United States.
America wouldn’t be America if they didn’t make a show out of anything. In what other country is it possible to sell tickets to an atomic explosion?
When tests were conducted in the desert, atomic mushrooms were visible from the hotel windows in Las Vegas. Prices for rooms with the best view of the nuclear “mushroom” skyrocketed each testing season.
On the way to Las Vegas, we stop by Indian Springs Village in search of food.
The only major street in the village is Highway 91, which is labeled “Veterans Memorial Highway” on the map. The village is home to just 991 people. There is a Czech military base nearby, and in the town itself, we found exactly one local eatery with a sign above the entrance that read, “We are proud of our troops.”
Behind the bar counter, several Americans sat neatly arranged in traditional rural attire: worn-out jeans, plaid shirts, and cowboy hats.
Most likely, on that weekend day, the entire drinking electorate of Indian Springs Village gathered in that saloon. That’s why the neat row of cowboys simultaneously turned towards us with an expression on their faces that seemed to say, “Who the heck got blown in here when everyone’s already here?”
A momentary confusion. The bartender, a busty rural American woman, was the first to regain composure and asked, “What’s going on, guys?” “Well, we need some food,” I tried my best to portray an American redneck with all my might.
The saloon turned out to be a provincial café reminiscent of Russia: plastic paneling on the walls, folding chairs, red checkered tablecloths, and numerous paintings and photographs hanging on the walls.
The other part of the saloon was occupied by a couple of billiard tables, and nearby, not far from the bar counter, there was an empty space, perhaps intended for an evening dance floor or drunken brawl. The dining tables were separated from the rest of the restaurant by an iron grid.
In the red corner, opposite our table, hung a Confederate flag saying, “We remember and honor all those who died in the war.”
Oh, God. Bless America.
The first impression of Las Vegas is the only one. When you enter this city, your head is instantly blown away by the dazzling lights everywhere.
This impression is fleeting and deceptive. After a few hours of walking around the city, you realize that you’ve entered a massive shopping center the size of an entire city.
Las Vegas topped my list of the most meaningless megacities in the world. I have never encountered anything more artificial, plastic, counterfeit, and dull in my life. Except perhaps Riyadh.
The main street of Las Vegas is called The Strip.
You know, streets in Russian cities are often called that too. For example, every regional city has its own “Broadway.” The meaning behind the name “The Strip” is somewhat similar — it’s like a rural Broadway, the only lively street that runs through the entire city.
Now imagine some provincial architectural plastic diarrhea along this rural “Broadway”. Let’s say, like in Ryazan, but 10 times more expensive. That’s gonna be Las Vegas.
Along the Strip, a stream of cars moves like an endless line of lights.
Las Vegas is constantly stuck in traffic.
In general, there is nothing to do outside the Strip and its adjacent streets in Las Vegas. The Strip itself is approximately 6 kilometers long. Thus, you can explore the entire Las Vegas in one evening. That’s what we’ll do.
At the very beginning of the Strip is the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino, from the windows of which a recent shooting took place.
Hotels in Las Vegas may appear insanely expensive, but in reality, the prices here are ordinary. All the profit comes from the casinos, so the hotel’s task is to offer affordable stay, allowing the tourist to spend more money on roulette.
A night in a double room at Mandalay Bay starts from 100 dollars. This is quite inexpensive for America.
Mandalay Bay is one of the few decent buildings in Las Vegas. Remember it because further on, the level of architectural chaos will reach its peak.
Here it begins. An Egyptian pyramid and a life-size Sphinx. A searchlight beam shoots into the sky from the pyramid. This is the Luxor hotel and casino.
It’s amusing that the pyramid is the most primitive structure in the world, which even the ancient Egyptians managed to build using mud and sticks. In Las Vegas, construction standards are more modern: they have learned to mix glass into the concrete mixture.
When the hotel was constructed, it turned out that the sun was directly hitting the rooms — the windows were all at a 45-degree angle. The windows had to be tinted. However, the sun continued to scorch. The windows were tinted even darker. The sun stopped shining through, but now no light comes out from the rooms either. As a result, the pyramid turned black, resembling a pile of garbage at night.
View of Luxor and Mandalay.
Immediately behind the pyramid, the development begins to expand.
And here is where Las Vegas blossoms in full force. A fairy-tale castle with colorful roofs emerges from the parking lots and high-rise buildings.
At first, you might think it’s a Disney park. But no! In reality, it’s the Excalibur hotel and casino.
Excalibur is such a legendary sword. The brochure claims that the hotel is designed in the style of ancient England, inspired by the tales of King Arthur. However, the architecture more closely resembles an Armenian version of Arthur.
By the way, it is one of the largest hotels in the world, accommodating 4,000 rooms. If I’m not mistaken, you can also stay in the tower. It’s probably nice to puke from there in the morning.
In general, reporting from Las Vegas is like writing a story about a trip to a shopping mall.
In shopping malls, they also often place statues of liberty and Eiffel Towers. However, in shopping malls, the statue is usually small, while in Las Vegas, it is one-third the size of the real one.
This is the New York hotel and casino. The facades, signs, molding, and building designs are all exact replicas of New York, except they look like they’re made of plastic.
There is also a replica of the Brooklyn Bridge here. They gave up on building it at a 1:1 scale.
Kitsch rules in Las Vegas. The more vomit-inducing a hotel looks, the better. They don’t spend much money on construction but instead create deliberately fucked-up structures fueled by sick imagination.
Las Vegas is a light show intentionally made as absurd and senseless as possible. All this craziness is built here solely to attract as many tourists as possible, who come to experience an exaggerated stupidity and spend a ton of money in the fucking Nevada desert.
As soon as another casino, built in the shape of someone’s ass, stops generating revenue, they don’t even bother dismantling it. They simply fucking blow it up with dynamite. And, of course, they sell tickets to witness the explosion because why not.
Except for the explosions, you can see the same things at the Vegas shopping mall in Moscow. I recently went there, the differences are minimal, and the atmosphere of the real Vegas is captured perfectly. It’s no wonder Trump visited there.
The sidewalk in Las Vegas is a concrete river between the road and the casinos.
The pedestrian infrastructure sucks. For example, right across the road is one of the biggest cafes in the Hard Rock chain.
To cross this road, you have to take a detour of half a kilometer and go up an escalator. There are no proper crossings in downtown Vegas. Just look at how people are flowing through this pedestrian bridge.
Advancing towards the city center.
Gradually, the main exhibit of Las Vegas emerges from behind the trees — a replica of the Eiffel Tower.
The Eiffel Tower is the epicenter of the entire Las Vegas cacophony. The tower is actually enormous. The exact replica is only half the size of the original.
There are many similarities between the replica and the original. The Eiffel Tower in Paris was constructed as an entrance arch for an exhibition. The Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas serves as the entrance arch to the Paris hotel and casino.
The Chinese, who are known for their love for copying European cities, would be envious to the point of shooting themselves if they visited Las Vegas. Even they couldn’t afford such a parade of plastic mess.
Flamingo Hotel and Casino.
One of the most enjoyable casinos in Las Vegas. The signage is a prime example of 1970s neon illumination.
In the city center, the sensory overload from the light and noise becomes overwhelming for the eyes and ears.
Crowds of people mixed with beggars and drug dealers flood the sidewalks. Homeless individuals, drunkards, and pregnant women with protruding bellies beg on the streets only to immediately spend all their money in the casinos.
People take photos with overweight characters from Star Wars, get absorbed in street performances. A giant billboard hangs on the tall emerald building of the MGM hotel that says “David Copperfield. The Best Illusionist of the 21st Century. Tonight.”
Amidst all this revelry, a few religious activists stand with banners, fervently preaching “Jesus forgives you all sins.” It’s surprising that no one is punching each other in the face.
Well, Jesus may forgive sins, but will never forgive Copperfield.
The reader should have noticed that I constantly write “hotel and casino.” The reason is that virtually all hotels in Las Vegas are combined with casinos. No building can be just a hotel or just a casino.
Las Vegas is not a resort, but an endless gambling zone. People come here with one purpose: to spend a few hundred dollars. For that, they need somewhere to sleep and eat.
That’s why there is a hotel attached to every casino. Not vice versa! Casinos are primary in Las Vegas. Therefore, it’s not casinos being built near hotels, but hotels being built around casinos. So, the first thing you see when entering any hotel is the enormous gaming halls.
So, here it is, the casinos are the main disappointment of Las Vegas.
I naively thought that people come to Vegas to truly experience the thrill and excitement of losing a million bucks. I imagined roulette, the Wheel of Fortune, massive prize displays, and mustached gentlemen from Monopoly.
It turned out that 95% of all casinos are filled with some childish crap with cherries, which they call “One-Armed Bandit.”
The entire gameplay process boils down to simply pressing the “Spin” button. That’s it. Nothing fucking else happens!
So, millions of people sit at these kiddie machines and waste their money, simply pressing the button every 2 seconds to make the reels spin. What a flight of thought! This is the American dream, huh?!
The only difference in slot machines is the design and theme. Some are decorated with treasure chests, while others feature cartoon characters or vehicles. There are hundreds or even thousands of different themes. Each casino has its own design. It’s hard to choose which one to play!
The Wheel of Fortune, poker tables, roulette — everything looks the same. It all resembles children’s toys in a shopping center.
In the gaming halls of Las Vegas, life never stops for a second. I entered here at 11 PM and at 7 AM — there were enough people in the halls at any time of the day.
Everything is allowed in all casinos: there is always a bar nearby, food is available, and smoking is unrestricted — you can’t even smell the smoke within a meter of a smoker. The ventilation works perfectly. The life support system for gamblers is running at full power.
There are no windows in the gaming halls, so that the sunrise is not visible.
I must admit that I understand gamblers who play poker very well. But I’m completely shocked by the kind of crap they spend money on in Las Vegas.