A Little Bit of Paris

I must have been to Paris about four or five times in the past 10 years. During those times I had  always wanted to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower but it was always too crowded. A few weeks ago I had another opportunity, but instead of being in Paris, I was in Las Vegas. At the Paris Hotel there is exact representation of the Eiffel Tower. It is one half scale, and juts out over the casino, from the ground floor with all the gaming machines, through the roof , overlooking the entire city. What a perfect opportunity, and it only cost me 10 bucks. I paid my fee and climbed a set of stairs to an exact representation of the Pont Neuf—one of the bridges which crosses the Seine. As I walked across the bridge, I looked out over a sea of slot machines, craps tables, roulette wheels, and poker tables. Interspersed amongst all this color, blinking lights, and loud noises, were glassy-eyed patrons continuously feeding tokens into these machines. No one smiled. Not the patrons, not the dealers, not the barmaids who continuously fed the patrons drinks as they mindlessly threw money at countless tables/machines, hungry for their cash. At the end of the bridge was an elevator that would take me to the top of the “Eiffel Tower”.

The elevator operator was very pleasant and she asked me if I’d ever been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. I answered that I tried on many occasions and was never successful because of the crowds, and then I took her picture. She looked startled, and said ”Oh you took my picture.” Yes I did.” I answered,” but don’t worry, you’ll never get to see it.” She told me she did not photograph well and the fact that she never would see it only made her feel more at ease. I think I might try that line again sometimes.

We reached the top, and I got out of the elevator to look around. It was not very impressive. For one thing, it was surrounded by a very thick steel mesh link fence—more like a cage than anything else, which was obviously designed to keep people (people who had lost all their money downstairs) from jumping off the top. This was probably at the insistance of the casino’s lawyers. After all the money is supposed to flow in, not out. The view was also very unspectacular. In one direction all I could see was the Las Vegas strip, with all the stupid hotels imitating Rome, Venice, New York,—all this theme crap. I have no idea what would be next. My next guess is that they’re going to build entire representation of the Russian Gulag, with slot machines, made of cast iron, freezing rooms with fake icicles lining the walls, no TV, and restaurants where the specials were never available due to shortages and all that was left was boiled cabbage.If any casino corporation/owner likes this idea, I want my commission.

The other direction was not any better. Far off in the haze, one could see the mountains but that was it. I went back to the elevator, got inside, thanked the elevator operator again for letting me take her picture, and exited the building. It was a pleasant experience in a weird soret of way. Come to think of it, Las Vegas is a weird sort of experience. However, I think nothing would be the same as the real thing. Perhaps next time I visit Paris, I would give it another shot. I might try it at midnight in December.

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