A city that never sleeps. Even from 1000 feet above the ground, the city of Las Vegas glinted like a grain of salt in the utter darkness of the night. The plane had begun its descent, the teeth of the petite old lady next to me rattled, and her frail frame shuddered as we landed.

Outside the airport, the sweet, sticky summer air smelled of desperate gamblers and opportunity, the air so wet, one could taste it. The constant sound of taxi horns had grown louder until finally, a sleek, silver sedan found its resting place by the exit. I willingly sat in; the silent hum of the engine was in choir with rattling items inside. The humble car drove into a labyrinth of flashing lights and large colonial buildings. The streets of Las Vegas were a kaleidoscope of colors, shifting with every turn the car made, from the dog collars to the bold, fluorescent lights of the casinos.

Overwhelmed by the beauty, I got off half-way and walked the rest of the way to the heart of the city, where my hotel resided. The streets put up a grand-show, clowns wore glistening, tomato red noses; musicians played mellifluous tunes, on shining brass instruments, which floated through the air. A canvas of color was breathed onto the walk-way.

My hotel made itself visible as I paced my way to it. Fitting its name, Caesar’s palace stood as a marvel of architectural beauty. So detailed with paintings and sculptures that it could be mistaken for something straight out of Rome, minus the killing of course. The ceiling had breathed life into it by Michelangelo himself.The first floor was dedicated to casinos, a wave of card tables and flashing machines was all that was visible. Old pot-bellied men and women in shiny silk dresses swam around like a school of fish. Persian carpets swept across the floor, guarded by mahogany railings, and led to the V.I.P section.

On the fifteenth floor, I entered my room. It was quite large and plush considering one would hardly stay in it and rather gamble their fortune away in the casinos. A loud bang drew my attention to the large, arched windows, which flashed various colors from the fireworks that were taking place outside; a particularly large rocket exploded, lighting up the sky in its gradient of red. Perhaps I was witnessing the birth of a phoenix! Tiny people looked up in confusion of what spectacle to enjoy as I looked at my soft, velvet blanket eager to rejuvenate myself for the mesmerizing shows of the coming days.

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Viraat Arora

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