Viva Las Vegas

A Christmas tree is shown on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas on Dec. 12, 2017. CREDIT: Bill Hughes/Las Vegas News Bureau

In a little more than a week, Martine and I are going to Las Vegas for a few days. We have no intention of gambling, as we both feel that is tantamount to throwing money down the drain. For me, what Las Vegas stands for is a kind of Petri dish of American Culture, emphasizing what Americans find pleasurable. In fact, I see it as the American equivalent of Pleasure Island from Pinocchio, where little boys go to be turned into jackasses.

Think about it: food, gambling, sex, sports, lavish entertainment—all the things that float the boats of typical Americans. It is probably one of the best places in this country for people watching. Just take the Heart Attack Grill, for example:

The Heart Attack Grill on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas is a truly unique restaurant, where gluttony and obesity reigns supreme. Where else can you go to eat a 9,982 calorie burger, served by a buxom waitress dressed as a nurse, listen to karaoke, and wash it back with a shot of liquor served in a prescription bottle?

As the sign says, diners weighing in over 350 pounds (159 kilograms) eat for free.

I doubt that even Imperial Rome had nothing that could compare with that. I can see myself looking for an unobtrusive place to sit down and wait for things to happen so that I can photograph them.

On previous visits, Martine and I confined ourselves to the Strip on Las Vegas Boulevard. This time, we’ll be in downtown Las Vegas, near the center of the action on Fremont Street. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the trip.