After a slight detour, we arrive at The Plaza Hotel. I tagged along with my friends who are attending Punk Rock Bowling, a three day long punk rock music festival that starts tonight. This meant downtown Las Vegas was dominated by chains, band t-shirts, tattoos, black leather everything and mohawks. I recommend we set our bags down after check in and have lunch at the Hash House A Go Go. In the dozen or so times I’ve been to Las Vegas, I’ve never skipped on the Hash House. It never gets old; that distinct sound of gasping laughter mixed with fear and carnal gluttony at the sight of the mountain of food towering before customers.
Another successful Hash House mountain conquered. It’s time we head up as my friends need to get ready for the concert. “What are you going to do while we’re at the show?” asked of me as we all walk back into the room. “I’m going to take a nice and rejuvenating nap. Especially after the drive and all that food. Too bad you guys have to go to the concert and jump around for a few hours, you look tired.” “Haha you didn’t even drive and we are tired you bastard.” Willy says in a downhearted but playful tone. “Well have fun.” I say stretching and yawning at the foot of the bed.
The door shuts and I’m left sitting there clasping my hands and looking down at my feet. Taking a deep breath I slowly turn my head towards the window thinking that there are over 62,000 hotel rooms in Las Vegas and I’m all alone in one of them. In silence I make a slow walk to the window and enjoy the view from the complimentary upgraded room. Something I’ve only experienced once before but that’s a different story.
Either way, besieged by the ever omnipresent vice, sin, perpetual hyper-stimulation, extravagance, lavishness and luxury, I find escape in the complete opposite of what Las Vegas embodies. Whether here in a small hotel room or strolling down grand hallways between vibrant yet lifeless casinos, it’s the quiet moments alone where I expect the mirror to distort my reflection. Moments that burn away the broken bits of life and experiences that construct them anew. Moments that connect me to all the places I’ve been and will ever go. No matter where I am in the world, no matter how far from home, no matter the unknown, doubt and fear collapse into dust.
Slipping my headphones on, Simple Man by Lynard Skynard begins to play and I see my friends walking across the street disappearing into the crowd of The Fremont Street Experience. Vegas virgins among a sea of those devoutly ascribed to the religion of Sin City. It’s time to settle in and as I have in many countries and on many occasions I watch window life until my eyes begin to fall.
A thin man in a black shirt walks across the street towards the hotel holding and enjoying the ubiquitously Las Vegas, yard long, neon novelty daiquiri. He smiles and looks around like it’s his first trip to Vegas. The look upon his face is that of someone grateful and happy enough to find joy in the simplicity of drink and leisure. A flock of fake platinum blondes smash their spray tanned faces together to take a mobile phone group shot of themselves. I can’t exactly figure out if they’re interesting enough to ponder about but there’s nothing interesting about being indistinguishable from one another so, no. A younger man stumbles from the crowd appearing two sips of anything away from losing his liquor and it’s only six in the evening. And the hundreds of people I see below as straying stories of a repressed population amid condoned immorality. Las Vegas definitely has to be one of the best places in the world to people watch.
The pre-dusk darkness has arrived and the lights from Fremont Street begin to crawl a faint violet upon the walls. My mind and body are pulling me to the thought of rest. Just a little longer, let the night to get a little darker allowing the lights to shine just a little brighter. I think it’s that time though and take the curtains in my left hand and yank them shut in the turn I take to walk to the bed. We’ll see how the world looks when I open my eyes to part three and the conclusion of the prologue. Where my skin glows blue and purple inside song and dark. Revisiting tales of a life bygone under lights burning bright upon enkindled memory.