Most tourists take in Vegas from the interior of a casino – slot machines, blackjack tables, cocktail waitresses in impossibly tiny outfits.
If you are willing to pay the price of admission, a lift can transport you to more excess upstairs – rooftop pools and lavish suites.
But what if there were a lift that descended below the sunken lounges, past kitchens and utility closets, through layers of concrete, into the ground beneath the casinos?
Here, you would see another, very different, version of the city: the storm drains.
Matt O’Brien, a Las Vegas writer, has been exploring this underworld for several years. In 2007, he published a book, Beneath the Neon, about exploring the 300 miles of tunnels that criss-cross beneath the strip.
The evening I meet him, he is wearing heavy boots, and carrying a backpack and industrial-sized flashlight that could double as a weapon.
“I’ve been exploring these storm drains for more than five years,” he says, sloshing through muck and gravel that blanket the tunnel floor.
“I think I know these storm drains better than anyone who doesn’t actually live in them. And I know the storm drain system probably – and this is nothing to brag about – better than anyone else.”