forests and fountains in the desert

17. flowing fountains, thick greenery, and the plastic trees of the Mojave

Vegas had the most trees I'd seen since the Missouri Dilla country. Many were of steel and plastic, but more had rolled in on trucks, fully crowned, and had been injected into the earth, plugged into the lake mead irrigation system.

At least one hotel / casino had an indoor forest. The Wynn, Encore hotel had a outdoor forest --> (You can see it at the end of this ridiculous video).

A few fountains were empty "due to water conservancy," but concrete lakes and fountains bloomed in and out of nearly every establishment. There were green lawns of watered grasses and green lawns of astro turf. The McDonald's roof held a massive t.v screen picturing juiced burgers. The McD's lawn was a dirty brown stained turf.

We drove in and checked in the Golden Nugget. Could be the nicest room of my life: $35. Water fell from above the hotel's circular pool. The center of the pool held a tank of swimming sharks and a clear tube slide slid through the shark tank and into the falling water. Girls in tiny red swimsuits manned the blackjack tables outside and the drinks came around on platters.

The old strip followed Freemont. It carried the old charm signage of Vegas i've noticed in the movies. The Golden nugget sat in the middle.

The new strip flowed Las Vegas Blvd. Linked to the Sands convention center and the Palazzo, the Venetian is part of the largest hotel complex on the planet (over 8,000 rooms). It's innards mimic the outdoor plazas of Venice and Gondola rides follow canals that travel in and out of the complex.

Madame Touseau's wax museum is part of the complex.

We walked the strips twice from old to new, new to old.
The vacant lot in front the golden Trump Tower held an number of fully grown potted trees plugged to a pvc and hose water system with support wires taught to the dry ground.

In the night, we toured the casinos slowly playing quarter slots for free drinks, but the drinks didn't come often enough to cover our spent quarters. Eventually Corey landed a $70 lot and I a $40, so we purchased bar drinks and walked around. The old women in dingy mechanized wheel chairs smoking long cigarettes and rotting at the slots alone at 3 am was difficult and depressing. We drank a good amount, walked and walked, laughed, and amazed at the fellow humans around us.

In the morning, I dropped Hagel at the Las Vegas Airport, wrote the Missouri blog entry, swam with the sharks and drank Starbucks in the sun until checkout. The afternoon would be dedicated to the multitudes of Las Vegas cell tower trees.