Journeys - download pdf or read online

By Jan Morris

Beautifully written articles approximately towns as varied as Las Vegas and Stockholm, approximately trips throughout Europe and China, and approximately "romantic re-visits" to such old websites because the Acropolis and the Taj Mahal.

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Example text

In Vegas the excitement is all contrived. Truly exciting things seldom happen here, and dawn is the time of the Vegan truth, when even the Fun flags. — 0 /0 /0 — On and on the fat white women wander, perfect Vegas-fodder, putting the money in, pulling the handle, and occasionally breaking away to dance alone beside the piano. And nobody, I soon discovered, was better material for Fun City than I was myself. Even at my snootiest I responded like Pavlov's dog to the conditioning of the place. Whatever I do 30 ' FUN CITY in Las Vegas, I told myself on my first day there, I will never be seen clutching one of those horrible little paper cups at the fruit machines: but lo, on the very next day I caught myself before the Silverbird machines with a cup in my hand as to the manner born, clutching my complimentary Fun Book.

OI oI o — The fat white woman that nobody loves is the truest familiar of Las Vegas, pulling her handle mindlessly any hour of day or night, in the roughest downtown betting parlor as in the poshest casinos of the Strip. Mention this city to travellers anywhere, and it is she they will most vividly recall—not the flashy big spenders, not the Hollywood personalities of the showrooms, not the visiting sheikhs or Japanese, certainly not the Prominent Citizen, but that tranced soul at the fruit machine, clutching her paper cup like a bowl of sacrament.

Shine and the Prominent Citizen, but who come to work each day (or each night) in the eye of the neon hurricane. They range from the electronic experts to service the fruit machines (themselves, with microprocessing, getting cleverer all the time) to the hotel landscape gardeners, the display-lighting engineers, or the professional players of Jai Alai imported specially from the Basque country for demonstration games at the MGM Grand. It is a town, for instance, of innumerable musicians. They have come here from all over the world, they make a secure and comfortable living in the cafe orchestras and showbands, and off-duty they often combine for symphonic and chamber music, or play jazz for their own amusement.

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