Thursday 3 April 2014

From ghastly reality to glorious imagination

After the journey from hell, involving an incorrect itinerary, a missed international flight, two hours sweating on standby with a programme of events hanging in the balance, food poisoning, queues, more waiting and rather a lot of expense, I finally arrived in Las Vegas. Even woozy after 24 hours of travel, frazzled and with a dodgy tummy, it's impossible not to be diverted from all that and amused by the city's ridiculousness and the determination of everyone here to have a good time. 

It's many years since I was last here, and Vegas is continuously reinventing itself, but I did remember the Bellagio fountain - I think. Or is that just from having seen it so often on the screen? Or even from having been to Macau, which is a mini-Vegas? Doesn't matter. I was there last night to see Cirque du Soleil's O, a play on 'eau' because it's a water spectacular. And 'spectacular' is right: it's the usual - astonishing - Cirque stuff with clowns, recurring images and themes and clearly a story of some sort, though I couldn't explain it to save my life, and people doing such incredible things that really it's hard to accept they are just regular people under the makeup and costumes. Acrobatics, strength, contortion, trapezes, balancing, humour, music... and it all involves water, falling and fountaining but mainly as a constantly changing stage. The mechanics of that were in their way as marvellous as the girl high on her trapeze balancing on the bar, on her head. There was a standing ovation at the end, natch. 

And walking back to Mandalay Bay afterwards was an entertainment, too, with the lights and colour and fantasies - castle next door to Brooklyn Bridge next to pyramid next to Eiffel Tower - and all the people. Girls tottering, and not just because of their heels, bemused Baby Boomers, amazed children, bored men in beanies handing out business cards for hookers, tourists like me constantly swivelling taking phone photos, getting in the way of shrieking hen parties and other groups cheerfully gathering up stray individuals as they swept along the walkways, chattering in English, French, Spanish. Great energy. It kept me going till, whoa, ten o'clock!

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