Copyright © 2009 by Ralph Couey
As the plane banked into it's final turn, the wing dipped and revealed below a glittering carpet of lights. Unlike the airborne views of other cities, these lights didn't merely glow; they danced, making the cityscape come alive. A few minutes later, the wheels galumphed onto the runway and the overhead speakers announced: "Welcome to Las Vegas!"
Variously called "Sin City" or "America's Playground," Las Vegas has always seemed to exist in its own continuum. Regardless of events occurring in other places, boom or bust, war or peace, this oasis of neon in the middle of a very dark desert glittered without pause. I suspect that other-worldly quality is one of the reasons Vegas remains today a favored tourist destination. Yet even Vegas has felt the pinch, although you have to look hard to find the signs. Unemployment has soared to over 13%, due mainly to the suspension of the construction of several large developments. Even the entertainment industry has seen jobs dribble away. And yet, even when facing these difficult times, Vegas still manages to flash it's trademark diamond-studded smile.