Upon entering the lobby of almost any Vegas hotel your senses will be assaulted with a barrage of sites (and smells) that will amaze, shock and disturb you forever. Like Hunter S Thompson described in Fear and Loathing, Vegas is the climax of the American dream, the ultimate adult experience where sin is definitely still in and money does most of the talking.. so basically, it’s a really interesting place to spend a few days.
First things first, Vegas is certainly a sight. There is absolutely nothing natural about Vegas. Monuments to humanities ingenuity penetrate the heavens standing as powerful symbols to the mighty dollar and our insatiable desire to always try our luck and think we’ll come out on top.
For all its flashing lights, colours and vibrancy Vegas is about as tacky as you can get. In fact it’s a bit like being trapped in one of those 20 minute infomercials… fake boobs and fake smiles, everyone around you is trying to take your money and you’re left wondering why the hell you ever needed a knife that can cut through a shoe in the first place!
Yet it’s a must see and a fun ride along the way.
I was struck with a thought that wouldn’t leave me alone while wandering the Vegas strip: ‘When the bones of humanity today are exposed 10,000 years in the future, archaeologists are going to dig up Caesar’s Palace, a giant pyramid, Venice and a castle and be thoroughly, thoroughly confused. ‘
In short, HOW THE HELL DOES THIS PLACE EXIST!? There’s no water, no food, literally nothing at all in the middle of a desert! Yet the city thrives collecting almost 11 billion in revenue in 2012 and accounting for a sizable chunk of the state of Nevada’s wealth. (A lesson for the rest of America; if you ever need to make lots of cash fast.. just legalise gambling).
Vegas is certainly an amazing sight, and one that you’re unlikely to soon forget.
As you rub shoulders with locals, high rollers and holiday makers eager to try their luck, wander down the strip and marvel as each of the Casino’s try to outdo the next with bigger and better strip side shows, sponsored special events and their individual glittering attractions.
I’d recommend seeing the ‘Bodies’ exhibit for an amazing insight into our anatomy, and the human condition (yes it’s creepy, but also totally worth it). Cirque Du Soleil also have a permanent place in Vegas where the famous troupe are able to incorporate water and other ‘difficult’ elements into their shows, making for unique Vegas experience.
If you’re keen to check out a show, see if you can find tickets from one of the few ticket sales booths on the strip (or online) rather than buying from the box office itself, as you can save a few dollars.
Be sure to catch the famous fountains of ‘The Bellagio’ dance to the sounds of ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ or some other equally famous tune. Alternatively if you haven’t lost your life savings yet you can spend it in the many overpriced shops that dot the strip or inside the hotels (Caesar’s palace and the Venetian both have great shopping).
Prices are pretty high across the city (especially by US standards) but if you’re prepared to pay for it you can eat like a king, live like a Pharaoh and party like a rock-star. Limo’s roll across the strip and cigar smoke chokes the air, street performers mock the crowds while the homeless bag for coins from drunken tourists, the city lives and breathes to entertain an audience.
Probably my favourite part of the entire ‘Vegas experience’ had to be the people watching. It’s a veritable zoo of humanity that’s on display for anyone who’s interested. In fact I’m sometimes confused and surprised at how exactly we’re all the same species! For any David Attenborough fans out there you could make a quite viable documentary showcasing some of the ‘talent’ wandering the casino floors, necking syrupy booze out of yard glasses all before I’ve even had my first cup of coffee in the morning.
The city of sin is an eye opener that’s for sure and it’s worth a visit. The entertainment capital of the world certainly puts on a good show in all its tacky glory. For a first timer in Vegas be prepared to be amazed, annoyed, disgusted, perplexed and generally short of cash.
Vegas is Vegas and you just have to roll with it: So grab a cigar and an AK-47, mount a technicoloured stallion, scream out the bill of rights at the top of your voice and tip your hat to the American dream, it’s alive and well in Nevada.