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Walkway to heaven

I haven’t posted anything like as many videos from my last Las Vegas trip as I intended to, and I just realised that the very next thing I wrote on this blog would push the last remaining clip off the bottom of the page.

So it was with a degree of irrational obsession that I had to go scraping around on my hard disk for some kind of video that I could put up in a hurry.

I’m sure you’ll agree that this one minute film of an empty conveyor belt is absolutely fascinating.

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This was filmed on the moving walkway that takes you from the Strip into Caesars Palace in the slowest way possible. 

Most of the travelators in Vegas are blocked by idle tourists who just jump on and make themselves comfortable for the long haul while the next best thing to a luxury VIP shuttle carries them to their destination at speeds of up to 2mph.

But, to be fair, this one in particular is not pleasant to walk on as the outdoor, uphill stretch is ridiculously springy – it’s like treading on a bouncy castle.

In normal circumstances, I’d be diving between taxis to get out of the heat and back into the action when heading for Caesars.  But it was late and nobody was about, so I thought it was worth taking a detour to see whether I could get any good photos from up there.  (In the end, I didn’t.)

And of course, on this particular night, the only bit of the belt that was actually going round was the final (flat) stretch that you see in the video.  I had to climb Mount Sponge all the way to the summit to get there.

But it wasn’t a completely wasted climb.  What I’ve now realised is that this seemingly bland corridor can actually provide a snapshot of Las Vegas history in its own concise, Caesars-only kind of way.

See that first advert on the left for Bette Midler?  Her run of shows comes to an end in January 2010.  The last one on the left for Serendipty 3?  That only opened in April 2009.  Even just the big banner for Cher at the bottom of the escalator is enough to indicate the timeframe to within just a few years. 

The poster for Luis Miguel at the Colosseum is the real giveaway.  That concert was on September 12th.  There may not always be something so specific, but turnover of shows, restaurants and clubs in Las Vegas is so frequent that I’d wager whatever is on display on this route into the casino is always going to be enough information to date a video of the journey to at least the correct year.

It’s not quite the same as the ever-changing skyline, which means I can try to work out when a particular episode of CSI was made from whether the Stardust is still standing or whether the Luxor has been defaced by an advert for vodka when they show the aerial shots of the Strip.  It’s just low-tech adverts for Caesars Palace.

No TV screens here, just a bunch of posters that show what’s on offer at the time. 

But Caesars is not an insignificant property.  Most of what goes on there is either influential to or influenced by trends in Las Vegas and, in its own way, looking at what’s changed in this corridor is a window onto the city’s evolution.

Because I’m weird and find that interesting, I’ll be back for another look next time 

The complete list (August 2009): Bette Midler, Cypress Street Marketplace, Martorano’s (at the Rio), Beijing Noodle No. 9, Qua Spa, Pure Nightclub, Color Salon, Luis Miguel, Bradley Ogden, Serendipity 3.

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