Escape from paradise |

Escape from paradise

The world looks different from behind a new pair of BluBlocker sunglasses (from Walgreens in Las Vegas). And in a city where image is everything, we came to represent.

Two ski-town girls left their small-town world at 10 p.m. Friday night. A latte, chai tea, Frappucino, two Red Bulls and 12 hours later, we arrived in the anti-Steamboat.

Las Vegas is the antagonist of clean air, healthy living and conservation efforts. So if you’re tired of sunny, mountain spring days and the serenity of your lush secluded ski town, maybe it’s time for an escape from paradise.

A four-lane highway delivered my friend and I to a world filled with as much diversity as there are disposable values. We looked up at the towering billboards and monstrous hotels with the thwarted ambition of a displaced ant colony.

It was culture shock.

We were reintroduced to traffic and having to lock our car doors. We unleashed our inner aggressive driver and tested our street smarts. Armed with lip-pumping lip gloss and BluBlockers, we hit the pavement.

For me, Vegas is not about gambling, eating at buffets and sipping poolside frozen cocktails.

I go to Vegas to dance.

I’ve been working dance floors since the early ’90s, and even when equipped with painful shoes, Vegas has the best club scene. White leather couches, breezy balconies, glass elevators and large dance floors filled with lost inhibitions can be found in most Sin City nightclubs.

You may have to pay $15 for a drink and outwit leeching men, but you can dance like nobody’s watching (to rap and hip hop music).

And from behind a pair of BluBlockers, everything looks orange.

You can see through the swarm of egos and people buying status with high credit card limits. You can see past the security guards with their fancy earpieces and interrogating stares as they guard the V.I.P. sections. And you will pay a $50 cover charge just so you don’t have to wait in another long club line.

This was my 11th trip to Las Vegas, and it was the first time I got on a guest list and in multiple V.I.P. rooms.

But while seated in the V.I.P. section of Cleopatra’s Barge Nightclub – in the back of a rocking dance ship – seasickness settled in. Kayaking no longer seemed scary, and risking life and limb in Steamboat still sounded more enticing than gambling away money in Vegas.

Barry Manilow and Wayne Newton may still be performing on the Strip, but you can’t get a free ski lesson from them. Although Las Vegas is the perfect long-weekend escape to remind you how lucky you are to live in paradise, I suggest you fly instead of driving through the night.

It doesn’t matter how many Red Bulls you drink, because you still will feel as if you need a vacation from your vacation – and it still will be 700 miles before you can sleep.

For me, the best part of leaving Steamboat is knowing that I eventually will come home to my little mountain mirage – where I always remember where I parked and where I can wear my Smith sunglasses.

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