Viva Las Vegas: Erica and I spent last weekend in Vegas, city of dry heat, clanging slots and bright lights. My brother Bob's wedding was the occasion; he married his girlfriend of three years, the former Dori Burns. Hearing that they were going to be married in Nevada made us a bit apprehensive, given the reputation of the state. Bob and I went to high school in Reno, and are therefore disabused of the wilder myths about the silver state, but not having ever been to a casino chapel wedding, I still didn't know what to expect. But Erica and I needn't have worried -- the chapel at Caesar's Palace is quite lovely, away from the noise of the casino floor, the justice of the peace quite polished, the ceremony very tasteful. This should have been expected, given Bob and Dori's understated natures -- no rhinestones and Elvis impersonators for them. Here is wishing the best to the new Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. MacDonald.
Vegas cabbies are very cynical about marriage. When told why we were visiting, one asked if it was a second or third marriage (first for both, thank you very much), another expressed surprise when Erica said it would last forever. So I guess the reputation of Nevada is partly true -- many unwise marriages must be started there. Or it could be that cab drivers see more of the seamy side of life.
Toy monorail: While in Las Vegas, I took time to ride their monorail for comparison to Seattle's. The ETC folks make a big thing of the Vegas monorail, touting it as an example of using a monorail for true mass transit in an American city. I have a few observations. Let's start with the plusses:
Reaction: I spoke on Monday to one of the ETC board members about my Las Vegas concerns. He said about his own ride on the system: "it was a real eye-opener, in a bad way," and complained about the little compartments. I mentioned the rocking -- he had noticed too, but said he didn't mind it -- and let him know my family didn't like it. He expressed a generally negative opinion of Bombardier, who made the Las Vegas train.