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Bright light city gonna set my soul, gonna set my soul on fire

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Photos by MinJee Kim<br><strong> GPS on Dec. 22 set on a course for Sin City</strong>

Photos by MinJee Kim
GPS on Dec. 22 set on a course for Sin City

Andrea Ciccolini

[Ed. note— The following piece, written by Signal Tribune intern Andrea Ciccolini, was only lightly edited in an effort to preserve his “voice” and writing style, as he makes his transition into learning English.]

Jumping in 2013 I did not start thinking about the future. My mind went immediately to the last important place I visited in 2012. Las Vegas.
Impossible for me to go back to Italy without spending at least two nights in Sin City. A place that is more a legend than a city. Maybe the most dangerous place for adults on the Earth. Some don’t like Las Vegas, others fall in love with the Strip, but, for sure, it is impossible to be indifferent to the opulence of Sin City.
I went there with three friends. I went there with some expectation. Novels, movies and stories have built in my mind an idea about Las Vegas. My idea was of a crazy, gorgeous and fake city. The reality is really much more than my expectation.
Las Vegas is everything and nothing. Las Vegas is something different for everyone who goes there.
Las Vegas can be the gorgeous shows, luxury hotels, good restaurants, wonderful night clubs. Las Vegas can be a place to visit with the family just to say: “When I went to the U.S. we visited Las Vegas.” It can also be the place where to escape from the family.
Las Vegas can be the location for a wedding. It can be crazy shopping. It can be Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. Las Vegas can be easy girls. Las Vegas can be strip clubs, the brightness of the Strip and Downtown. Las Vegas can be criminal organizations’ money factory. It can be the dream…or the failure. Las Vegas can be Paris, Roman Empire, a treasure island, an Egypt Pyramid, a tropical bay, New York, a Medieval castle, Venice. And, of course, Las Vegas can be gambling: poker, Blackjack, dice, roulette, Baccarat and slot machines.
Las Vegas is a place where gambling is so important that everything is orientated to push you to gamble. Free parking in every casino. Free smoking in every casino. And, most important, free drinking in every casino.

<strong>The writer, second from left, playing poker in Vegas over the holidays</strong>

The writer, second from left, playing poker in Vegas over the holidays

Las Vegas is just Las Vegas, unique and exaggerated. If you decide to join it, it is at your own risk and danger.
I went there especially to play poker. For more than six years I played No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em in Rome and watched in television the tournaments located mostly in Vegas. To play in a casino of Las Vegas was a sort of dream that me and my friends talked about for a long time. This is why, when I sat down on my chair at the poker table for a tournament in Binion’s (the historic place where poker become famous), I was so excited. Fortunately, when the dealer started to give the cards, my emotions left the space to concentration.
For two days I also joined other poker rooms in different casinos. In Italy I saved some money only to play poker in Vegas. I’m not so interested in other casino gambling games. For me, like for a lot of Italian people, poker is the favorite gambling game, and Las Vegas is the world capital of poker. This is why, walking to get the exit of the casino, I felt a strange magnetic power which tried to put my butt back on the chair of a poker table.
I will not bother you with the detailed report of my two days of playing. It is sufficient to say, without hiding a trace of pride, that I won some money. I have also decided to not tell about other Las Vegas adventures that I lived with my friends during the time I didn’t spend in the poker rooms. I have the right to keep some secrets, because there is the holy law of this crazy city: “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”
After three nights in Vegas I realized that it was enough. In that city everything is too much and almost everything I saw was fake. After some days the feeling I had was that everything was filling… like too much cream inside a cake that’s already too sweet.
In my opinion Sin City is a perfect place to go, spend money, time and energy in a parallel, amusing, crazy, unreal universe. After that, forget everything and go back home. The heart of Las Vegas can be just a short break from reality. Not the place to live.
Playing in the casino, walking on the Strip and watching the city view from the top of the Las Vegas tower, I felt on my skin the strange power of this city. Who says that Las Vegas is the amusement park for adults is completely right. And the problem is that there is no closing hour, and there is not Mom or Dad who force you to go back home if you are crying because you want to stay more and more.
“Viva Las Vegas” anyway.

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Bright light city gonna set my soul, gonna set my soul on fire