A friend and former housemate of mine mentioned that his favorite place in Las Vegas was the nightclub atop the Rio Hotel and Casino. When I had the chance to check it out for myself, I was a little bit dazzled. Whether you think of Las Vegas as a glittering jewel of human achievement in the desert or a transitory scrap of tinsel waiting to be buried under the sands of time, it certainly is a proper spectacle.
My time there was filled with joy and laughter (weddings are good for that), but also thoughts of the massive burden such a place saddles onto the environment. Look beyond the obvious factors like profligate consumption of electricity and water. Think of the fuel needed not only to transport and assemble the materials for hundreds of enormous buildings in the parched middle of nowhere, but the fuel consumed by millions upon millions of people flying and driving there. Imagine the resources necessary to catch, process, preserve, transport, store, and then prepare just the seafood people thoughtlessly gobble in the Nevada desert...
Vegas and its vivacious vulgarity doesn't show any signs of slowing down, so I accept it with conscious awareness as it is for the present: A glitzy, gaudy, twinkling oasis of opulence best taken a sip at a time. OK, maybe a gulp every now and then ; )
Below: Vegas' surroundings hint at what Sin City used to look like.