I have been in the city of Las Vegas for almost three weeks now and without having ever ventured out into the surrounding countryside, I have learned quite a lot about the place. First of all Las Vegas is much bigger than the infamous strip that attracts the majority of out of town visitors. The city stretches far away to the edge of the mountains and it is estimated that nearly 2 million people live here in one of the largest metropolitan areas of the American West. Still, for most who dwell in the urban mecca, the desert and its easily visible mountains are a distinct disconnect from the day-to-day effort of making a living. Unemployment hovers near 12 % here and finding a job is not so easy. Nonetheless, local residents enjoy the modern luxuries of indoor plumbing, temperature-controlled living spaces and a first-rate transportation system.
What Would Edward Abbey Think
Basically, Las Vegas occupies one of the driest counties in one of the driest states in the U.S. In short it is a very dry place. I think Edward Abbey would have been fascinated by the extremely dry land that surrounded the city, plus he would have had a field day with the strange megatropolis that exists here in the desert. Abbey’s swan song, (Desert Solitaire) takes place in nearby Utah, where he worked for a while as a park ranger. But the man lived in nearby Tucson, so Las Vegas was not too far off his radar. Judging from a brief book review of Fear and Loathing, Abbey thoroughly enjoyed in Hunter Thompson and reveled in his irreverent attitude towards the popular place. Who knows maybe Abbey would have checked out the night life after a day of wandering through the nearby outback.