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The slow, agonizing death of the old Sahara

Dust to dust: The Aladdin’s 1998 implosion.

A crane lowers part of the Sahara sign during the dismantling of the casino sign, Tuesday, Mar. 12, 2013.

Watching ongoing changes to the old Sahara brings to mind the game “Would You Rather?” As in, “Would you rather be blown to dust in a celebrated evening of fireworks and tearful farewells or be publicly gutted and dismantled piecemeal until you’re nothing but a wisp of your former self?”

The casino floor is shown during a tour of work on the SLS Las Vegas resort, formerly the Sahara, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. The renovated resort is expected to open in the fall of 2014.

Implosions are a monumentally quick goodbye: What is here one minute is literally gone the next. The dust settles and everyone drives home thinking about the past, present and future while ruminating on mortality à la Kansas’ “Dust in the Wind.” But with every chunk taken away from the famous desert-themed hotel to make way for the SLS comes collective lamentations over the removal of storied kitsch for an LA-themed shopping-mall design. Rather than one quick goodbye, it becomes a drawn-out breakup, a very slow peeling of the Band-Aid with pain in each deliberate tug.

The Dunes Hotel Casino is imploded Oct. 27, 1993.

The Dunes Hotel Casino is imploded Oct. 27, 1993.

As Rob Oseland, president of SLS Las Vegas, recently stated, “We’re in a three-month phase of demolition.”

It’s not like anyone was crazy about the whole NASCAR theme or roller-coaster facade, but for some reason, watching the camels get trucked away requires a tissue. Now where are we going to get a six-pound burrito?

Tags: Opinion, Culture
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Kristen Peterson

Kristen Peterson joined the Las Vegas Sun in 1998 as a general assignment reporter. In 2003, she turned her focus ...

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