The Grand Canal Shoppes in the Venetian hotel complex in Las Vegas includes a replica of St. Mark’s Square. I’ve never been to Venice, so I really can’t comment on the realism, but one thing did strike me. The “sky”. The colors are intense, and surprisingly realistic. It very effectively evokes the mood of a calm evening, just around sunset. Many shopping areas in Vegas use the same technique to create a sense of perpetual twilight – presumably to keep you shopping longer. No matter how often I see it, I always find myself impressed by the effect.
After a long day locked in a windowless conference room it’s nice to get outside. Unfortunately that’s easier said than done in Vegas. Everything is designed to channel you back into the shops and casinos. But eventually I found an elevated walkway to take me across to my hotel. It was near sunset, and the sky was that perfect blue. I was admiring the effect, when suddenly it hit me. I was outside. This was real. Ironically, the most surreal moment I’ve ever had in Las Vegas was the realization that I was looking at something real. Only in Vegas.
I’ll close with a picture of the lights of Las Vegas taken from the bar on the 107th floor of the Stratosphere. I can’t quite decide whether this shows the ultimate fantasy or the ultimate reality of Vegas. Let me know what you think.