Vegas, of course, has surrounded itself with warmth and riches. The temperature was a persistent 35 oC, dropping to 31 oC at night. As for the wealth, well it speaks for itself. Indeed, much like LA, so powerful is the city's self-publicity engine that there is little more to say about it, except that in the big V, if you can't buy it, spend it, consume it, shoot it, or have sex with it, it can't be worth having.
The bail bonds businesses, pawnshops, wedding chapels and discount stores that litter the areas off the Strip are easily overshadowed by the six block television of Freemont Street in Downtown, and by the Strip itself. They are part of Vegas too of course, but are easily forgotten, like Elvis, who seems to be drifting quietly into the city's past, along with my hopes of winning back my money.
I did not marry the Elviss (Elvii?) that I did find, nor did I impersonate a stripper or tuck one dollar bills into anyone's underpants, but I did meet two semi-professional poker players, a country singer whose name I have totally forgotten and watch the Bellagio fountains next to an old chinese man. Most certainly it is hard to engage with Vegas properly on any kind of limited budget, the city wills you to be irresponsible and you feel that you are letting yourself, and everybody else, down by not spending. But you can get some cheap food, a succession of drinks and take it all in without pawning your shoes, or feeling too dirty. You're never alone for long in Vegas, even if the buxom blackjack dealer in cowboy boots and a corset is taking your money throughout the conversation.
Of course, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, as the sign at the airport proudly reminds you. So, I will remain tight-lipped about the whole experience. Is it worth going if you only have a few hundred to blow? Coming out of a bar at six, to greet the Nevada sunrise with a headache and a smile, you will tell yourself that it is. It all makes sense in Vegas. All of it except the fortune cookies.