Sunday, March 30, 2008


Desert hearts

OK, here’s a question[1]: Which of these belongs in the southwestern United States desert — the one on the left, or the one on the right?:

Sedona, ArizonaLas Vegas, Nevada

Those two spots are around 200 miles apart, as the crow flies, but are worlds apart, as the universe flies. Why we need replicas of the Statue of Liberty, the Chrysler Building, and the Eiffel Tower in the middle of the Nevada desert, I’ll never understand.

[1] It’s a rhetorical question.


Jim Fenton said...

I love answering rhetorical questions. It's for the same reason that you have the London Bridge in the Arizona desert.

Lisa said...

This reminds me of my plan* for the emptying out of the plains as people move to the cities. Turn a vast section of some prairie state -- perhaps all of North Dakota -- into DakotaLand. Fence the whole area in aggressively, and start returning the land to pre-rancher conditions with plentiful buffalo. Charge people for camping trips or for stays in 'real' Indian villages. Charge even more for guided trips in 'real' homesteader Conestogo wagons or voyageur canoes. For the really gung-ho, teach primitive archery and set them loose on wild hares or prairie dogs. Teach horse-back riding and simulate Pony Express missions.

In a sub-section, the operators would build a 1850s era railway and Wild West town. This area is particularly for tourists who prefer luxury to roughing it even in their historical re-enactment (hotels have hot running bathwater in tubs that look like big copper pots). Near the 'historical' Wild West town is of course a theme park, specializing in shooting games and other cowboy, Indian and explorer-themed games. Also nearby is a steamboat containing, naturally, the casino.

Dakotaland would of course attract American tourists and boy scout troops, but even more it would attract German and Japanese tourists. Sell Indian, cowboy, pioneer and saloon "ladies" re-enactment costumes along with all kinds of souvenirs. This is a level above the now-current photo booths where somebody puts on a fancy dress for a photo: future tourists want to spend at least an evening at a bar in replica costume, meeting other people also in replica costume, the experience enhanced by staged performances (like bar fights, shootouts or sheriff riding in to form a posse) with actors employed by Dakotaland.

Use the proceeds to buy the former residents nice retirement homes in warmer states.

* Not a serious plan.