As I stood in the Venetian Hotel's St. Mark's Square, it occurred to me that whenever I made it to the real one, I was in for some disquiet. Because after my initial gawp, I'm going to subconsciously and involuntarily compare the two. I like the real one's chances, if only because the Doges weren't notoriously anti-union Gingrich lickers. But the fact of the comparison will cause me some disquiet nevertheless.
The rest of Vegas presented no such problem. Paris was a bit of a disappointment, but I've got a massive, massive city crush on that town; I watch Amelie as much for the backdrop as anything else. At New York New York, I tried to work out which part of the hotel and casino complex should correspond to where I live. (Note: NOT the Gaming on the Green High Limit Gaming and Slots Room, to be sure).
The incident at the Venetian made me realize that I have to avoid ersatz great cities of the world until I've actually experienced the real thing. Which is too bad, because next time I'm in Hong Kong, I've really got to make a border run to Shenzhen so I can see this (via wikipedia):
The Window of the World (Chinese: 世界之窗 (alternatively 小人国); Pinyin: Shìjiè zhī Chuāng) is a theme park located in the western part of the city of Shenzhen in the People's Republic of China. It has about 130 reproductions of some of the most famous tourist attractions in the world squeezed into 480,000 square metres. The 108 meter (354 ft) tall Eiffel Tower dominates the skyline and the sight of the Pyramids and the Taj Mahal all in proximity to each other are all part of the slightly kitsch appeal of this theme park.
Also, there's this:
In the evening, one can enjoy "Fervorous Paris Nights" at "Caesar's Palace". Spectacles include young bikini-clad women prancing on stage to the music of Tom Jones' "Sex Bomb".
I think it's safe to say that Shenzhen sounds like our kind of town. I imagine on Saturday nights, the sidewalks are choked with slices of cake dangling from rooftops. I think I'll develop an unrequited city crush on it until I get to experience the fervor myself.