"Hey, guess what?" It is the last few days of our vacation and my husband's eyes are focused on the computer screen. "Vegas is just 3 hours from our campsite. Let's go." With the sights of the Grand Canyon fresh on our brains, we pack up the next morning and head for Las Vegas. Since the rest of our family-party has already been there, they opt to take a second look at the Grand Canyon.
I guess my first hint that we were "not in Kansas anymore," or Texas either, came at the fast food restaurant we visited before we got to the famous Vegas Strip. Doc mentioned he needed to freshen up for the upcoming photo shoot. I had to ask management for the restroom keys. I may be dating myself here, but I haven't had to ask for bathroom keys since the family road trips in the 1970's and that was for outside facilities at less-than-elegant truck stops. Upon closer review, the clientele frequenting the restaurant while we ate was . . . "interesting", to say it nicely. But I hadn't seen anything yet !!!!!
|Can you see the likeness to us?|
We toured through several of the hotels including the Luxor, Ex Calibur and MGM. They were gorgeous and we made a few touristy purchases along the way. Even caught a glimpse of a lovely bride waiting with her father outside one of the chapels. Outside, the landscaping and building architecture were true works of art and we snapped a few of Doc's favorites.
|Lauryn and I pose amid the chaos.|
|Doc enjoys the view.|
The old Sesame Street song , "One of these things is not like the other--one of these things just doesn't belong. . . . ." kept running through my head. WE were that thing that didn't belong here. It didn't help that my orange UT Longhorn T-shirt seemed to stand out like a sore thumb among the bikinis and abundant cleavage. More than once I murmured quietly to myself, "If the wind blows, I sure hope that woman has on underwear beneath that short skirt."
Oh no . . . it occurs to me that I've become my own mother--in Vegas.
|Didn't know photos were forbidden in the casinos till later, but Doc had fun.|
I was relieved when we were on our way back to the campsite. Others have told me I didn't see the best side of Vegas and that I really needed to see it at night. That may be true, but if there's a next time, I'll need to go with someone who knows the ropes.
And I won't wear my UT T-shirt.
As writers we are taught that setting is hugely important to a story. But until my trip to Vegas, I don't think I understood the effect it can have on the psyche of a character. The setting has the the power to bond and unite as it did with us in the Grand Canyon, but it also has the power to intimidate and repel. Either way, we are swayed by our surroundings and act accordingly. Delve into the setting of your manuscript or WIP, and see if the setting/environment is having an effect on your character's mood and actions. It should.
How about the rest of you? Have you been to Las Vegas? If so, what was your experience like? Have you visited a location that made you feel like a "fish out of water"? I'd love to read your comments.