Vol. 38: Recollections of Now Defunct Neon Signs in Las Vegas

On my first visit to the United States some seventeen years ago, I was surprised by the signal lights in the streets of Los Angeles. Although I could only see them at a distance from my tourist coach, the gWalkh and gDonft Walkh letters seemed to be formed from neon tubes. I wondered why on earth neon was being used for this purpose, but since I was on a busy package tour, I was unable to check for myself from close up.

On my second visit ten years ago, there was no longer any trace of these neon signals in Los Angeles. But I did come across them unexpectedly in downtown Las Vegas and felt very much as if I had come across a long-lost friend. Right in the middle of the casino area amidst the barrage of garish neon signs and illuminations, these neon signals seemed to be stressing their own importance, saying that gWe are more important than you lot!h The curves of unaligned tubes conveyed a sense of human fallibility and warmed onefs heart.

I searched for these gold friendsh in Las Vegas on my third visit to the United States, but they had been entirely replaced by internally illuminated signal lights. Old friends are destined to pass away with the elapse of time. Hand-made neon signs did indeed seem out of place in the United States, the land of mass consumption and mechanical civilization, but I had hoped that there would be sufficient leeway to retain the legacy of the good old days. Whenever I recall the brilliant neon signs of Las Vegas, the memory of my old friends comes back to haunt me.

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