Wow I forget people are hungry to read about travels out there!.. sorry I havent updated recently!!
I'll try harder I promise!!
I am in San Diego making preparations to cross the border, which I will do in in the next week.
Below is an account of my time in Las Vegas..
Leave all your preconceived notions and ideas of Las Vegas behind. I was never really interested in visiting Las Vegas in the beginning, the idea of tacky hotels, gambling, excessiveness never really appealed to me and certainly didn't fit with the style of my trip so far. I imagined Las Vegas to be like a good looking prostitute with cheap perfume.
Las Vegas without doubt is a monument to capitalism, excessiveness and over indulgence, with architecture that is both shocking and beautiful, and sometimes both at the same time! Where else in the world could you recreate the Sphinx, New York City, Paris and Venice and get away with it and make no mistake these are not cheap recreations, (gaudy as some may be) but these have been executed with the opulence and grandeur with no expense spared; marble, brass, chandeliers, stone sculptures, fountains, the lot.
Las Vegas consists of The Strip and the Downtown area. The Strip is where most of the action takes place, the downtown area is a little more laid back and down to earth (relatively speaking of course). I spoke to one girl and she said the Downtown area was a little more sleazy and dirty and that's why she liked it. Go figure..(random use of American terminology).
Each hotel attempts to be more extravagant than the next, both in architecture and live shows. The Mirage puts on a show with pyrotechnics and water resembling a volcanic eruption ever hour. The Bellagio puts on a impressive water fountain display. Treasure Island puts on the Siren's Show where a bunch of hot and sexy girls dance and frolic on a large replica galleon ship and entice some equally good looking pirate dudes to their boat where they are summarily robbed and mutual frolicking occurs..
These shows are put on every hour at least and at a cost of thousands every time and this sums up the over the top, larger than life Vegas experience. The whole Vegas strip is a playground in a literal form, it is like an adults theme park or adults Disney Land, but with bad language and nudity. There are hundreds of thousands of people here and their sole purpose of being there is to party and have a good time, which makes for a great atmosphere. To enjoy the true Vegas experience you have to spend a bit of money, and I got totally sucked right into that and spent more money than I had anticipated, but I had been traveling so long by myself I felt I needed to go a bit wild!
Though you could also come here and not spend a whole lot and still really enjoy it, but you would leave feeling you had missed out a little. You see the true Vegas experience involves gambling, going to see shows and clubbing and that will set you back. But you can easily get a great cheap hotel on the strip and enjoy just checking the whole place out and soaking up the atmosphere.
Despite what you may think it is not just a playground for men, though obviously the entertainment has been geared towards men, but this place is packed with girls who come here to party also, and the women equally love the over the top glamour, the lights, the pretty dancing girls and of course they like getting dressed up too and watching men blow their money! This is definitely a place for the ladies too. .
I arrived in Las Vegas with a Claudia and Elisa, a couple of girls I met at the hostel in Venice Beach. We booked into the Imperial Palace at a cost of $48 dollars (total) for a large room with 2 Queen size beds. That night we decided to take in a show. We went to see the Blue Man Group, a funny, rythmic percussion show with banging music, lights and luminous paint. It was a little disappointing 80 % was very ordinary but 20% was great.
I headed off by myself on a tour bus to the Hoover Dam, and to check out the newly constructed by-pass bridge. Heavy traffic is now banned from the dam in case of a terrorist attack, thus the requirement for the bridge. The new bridge is pretty impressive though, and interestingly it took longer to build than the dam! The Dam tour was like an exercise in brain washing, we were ushered into a room to watch a video that told us all the negative things about the Colorado river before it was dammed up. And once the dam was built, well we were shown pictures of people casting in fishing rods, people water skiing, loads of grass and farm animals. Hardly a mention of the +100 men that died during its construction, the displacement of people, disruption to the eco system up stream and downstream of the dam. I love engineering projects and that's why I came and no doubt it is impressive, but don't insult people's intelligence with dumbed-down infomercial style "factual" documentaries! The actual truth about the Hoover Dam is far more interesting!
I parted company with the girls earlier that day as I wanted to do my own thing so I booked my own room in the Imperial Palace two nights at $48 for the first night and $24 for the second . That night I walked around Vegas most of the night, popping in and out of places and checking them out, there was plenty to see. I also played some cards with some people, drank some beers and lost about $100! grrr
I got up and walked about the casinos which are going 24 hours, with people gambling the whole time. I wanted to learn craps. After and hour watching I was none the wiser! I didn't gamble, I had learned my lesson the previous day. Las Vegas wasn't built on winners.
That night I went to see a show called Absinthe at Ceasar's Palace. What a show, it was hilarious and impressive. I could only describe it as a dirty, sexy, funny, offensive burlesque acrobatic show. This show was $80 and worth every penny.
The Day 4
I checked out of the Imperial Palace and decided to go to a Hostel so I could meet fellow travelers, plus the room rate in IP had risen dramatically. I headed to a Hostel called Sin City, but immediately didn't like the vibe there with the manager insisting I book in for 2 nights.
I headed down town to Freemont Street. Near the top of Fremont Street is the Freemont Experience where the street has been covered in a dome shaped roof for several blocks. The entire roof surface of the roof is a giant TV screen that projects images and visual displays. There is also a zip line that runs a couple of blocks, where punters can zip above the street. There are also a couple of stages where bands play and entertain the crowds. I really liked that area, but its quite away for the main Strip.
New years eve
After the disappointing stay in the hostel and feeling a little lonely and sorry for myslef (boo hoo), (the Venice Girls had also since left) i decided there was only one thing for it.. The plastic came out and I booked a room at the Luxor and bought myself some new threads. I found a bunch of couch surfers on a Las Vegas forum and we arranged to meet at New York New York hotel on the Strip to ring in the New Year.
I checked in to my hotel put on my new clobber and hit a liquor store. No bottles or cans were allowed on the strip, so the resourceful store owner was busy funnelling spirits into plastic botttles for people and had ordered in cases of plastic beer bottles. A big celebration was planned and the largest New Years Eve fireworks display was planned from the rooftops of the 8 hotels on the Strip.
I was soon on the strip and met up with the couch surfers who were in town. We partied on the street and rang in the new year there, after that people split into groups, some night clubbing and some just soaking up the atmosphere on the strip.
The next day I chilled out in my room and relaxed a little. Then went to see a show called Zumanity by Cirque du Soleil. Its described at the sensual side of Cirque du Soleil, there is plenty of impressive acrobatics and semi nakedness. Personally I found Absinth better in both areas and more entertaining. :-)
I intended having a quite night but it's impossible to do that in Vegas. I headed for LAX nightclub in my hotel and ended up being invited to join these London guys who had paid top dollar for VIP treatment in the club, they had a host who's job it was to get drinks or whatever they wanted and a girl whose job was to get them, well, girls..
They also had a couple of bottles champagne and Jack Daniels on the table which I unselfishly volunteered to help them finish off.
They were funny lads, one of their requests in an accent not dissimilar to similar Russel Brand was " get us some girls lovely", "what kind? any preferences?' the hostess inquired.. "you know them ones with the skinny ankles, yeah some of them.. and with a nice bum too.."
[caption id="attachment_875" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The London Lads"]
At 3am the london lads went off to another night club and I tried to go home again... but I ended up gambling with some people till 5am.
All in all a good Vegas night..
The next day I picked up the pieces of my brain, peeled my haggard and tired body off my bed, packed my gear up and headed to Venice Beach to recover from a hectic few days in Vegas....
As I said at the the start, forget your preconceived notions of Las Vegas, everyone should experience Vegas once in their life, and just enjoy it for what it is..
Viva Las Vegas..
There is also a post about my night spent sleeping under "Kurt's Bridge" in Aberdeen WA, where Kurt Cobain use to hang out under and inspired some of his songs. I will post here soon also if people are interested.
Mexico soon!.... cant freaking wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!