Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada

Saturday, March 31, 2012S.V. CAMBRIA

Las Vegas Bay, Lake Mead: the water used to reach the foreground of the photo 
where the bush (lower right) now lives.

“Fabulous” is how the neon sign welcoming millions of visitors each year describes LasVegas but with an unemployment rate near thirteen percent and the dubious honour of leading the nation in foreclosures for the past five years, it’s not a word that immediately comes to mind.  At least not mine.  Nor David’s. 

It’s a town built on excess – Disneyland for adults – and motivated by greed.  Everybody wants their piece of the pie and during the economic “boom” developers came in and began to build, build, build.  There are housing developments, started years ago, that have yet to be completed.  The signs advertising new homes that once read “starting in the mid-300s” now read “starting in the low-100s” in a desperate attempt to fill them.  New strip malls continue to search for occupants while they waste away in the intense desert sun.  Businesses have gone bankrupt along with so many individuals – both financially and morally.  This is the Vegas we know, and the one we see when we come to visit.

The lake isn’t much different from the city: years of excess have taken a toll on her as well, making her unrecognizable to us now.  The water level at Lake Mead is lower than it’s been in over forty years with more water going out each year since 1998 to quench the needs of Nevada, Arizona, California and Mexico than comes in from the winter melts.  Chris used to come here, to Las Vegas Bay, to fish and camp and was surprised at how much things had changed.  What now is a deep canyon with an “urban river” (runoff from the valley) used to be part of the lake.  He swam off the banks, now cliffs, just feet away from our campsite and said you could hear the water from your tent.  But that’s gone now.  Along with the marina and boat ramp.

For those of us who knewit in better times, Las Vegas is a sad and depressing place to be.  So although we miss Chris and the girls, we’re never sorry to leave.  And today is no exception.   It’s been a long month and home is calling, so we broke down camp early this morning, loaded the truck and hit the road.

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