Walking in Vegas

"Some do not walk at all, others walk in the high-ways; a few walk across lots."

American patriot that I am, I never cease to wonder about Las Vegas. As art-lover, real-estate and business magnate Steve Wynn, a shaker and mover in Sin City, famously said, "Las Vegas is sort of like how God would do it if he [had] money."

I was in Vegas for the first time about a decade ago, to attend (by kind invitation) the opening of a sexhibition -- sorry, exhibition -- of Impressionist paintings from the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg at the Venetian Resort/Hotel/Casino.

Then I could not help thinking, as a historian, about this nowhere-city-in-the-desert: from "Sin City" into a hub of "high culture"! Talk about American reinvention!

But today ...

It -- Frank Sinatra's town -- has become a walker's city (Did I fail to notice this 10 years ago?).

Americans are actually walking on the Las Vegas strip! And I don't mean just streetwalking!

I mean, yes, walking! Like, I mean using your legs to get around!

(For the unfortunate among you who have missed -- spared of? -- visiting 21st century Florence, the strip -- downtown Vegas's main street -- is too compact and congested to make "driving it" a viable option, except to get to places others than the strip itself).

After being imprisoned on sardine-can cheap flights (peanuts were served for lunch in my case!), or after hours as seat-belted car captives (I always say, nothing creates divorces more than couples sitting in the same automobile for more than 10 minutes), Americans of all genders arrive in Vegas.

And guess what? After registering at their hotel (waiting in line for a interminable amount of time, at least as I experienced this "welcome" at a four-star hotel), we LV visitors can, liberated from being transported at outrageous prices by the gas-guzzling, environment-destroying instruments of physical domination (car, airplanes, God bless 'em) yes we can -- yes, we freedom-loving Americans can walk! -- on the strip.

Yes We Can Walk (YWCW), thanks to Vegas! (Well, ok, we can't hike from the grungy LV airport to its downtown -- otherwise tip-demanding, aggressive cab drivers would go out of business.)

Forget the car once you've reached Vegas (limo for the rich or the Pinto for the rest of us). You can walk it!

You can even get a Vegas Walking Map!

Walking can be an encouraging option, in my modest opinion. Obscenely (by the standards of a hungry world) overweight Americans, so unused to using their legs for transportation, are engaging, by actually walking along the LV Strip, in physical exercise, although cynics would say, "to get the latest junk-food eatery or get drunk on over-priced, watered-down booze."

Well, whatever, our country-persons are -- again (?), guess what, walking (if they ever were)!

And where? All-you-desire in-a-desert, of all places!

Battleship blast, Titanic-size thighs turn-ons, awesome astronomical asses, bulbous belt-busting beer-stomachs notwithstanding -- hey, us Americans are walking!

There is a risk to all this walking: Are Vegas walkers a dangerous trend indicating that red-blooded Americans are -- God forbid -- becoming flaky Peripatetics?

Well, again, whatever. Let's just false in love (thank you Cole Porter) with Vegas, the walking-inviting mirage that never sleeps, except when sleep-walking.

P.S. My favorite sign this time around in Vegas, scribbled, in unevenly spaced words on a piece of cardboard held by a begging but jolly street person with a sense of humor:

"My wife had a sex change operation and ran off with my girlfriend."

She did even more than walked! She ran!