A Uniquely Borrowed Culture
Las Vegas Travel Blog› entry 1 of 3 › view all entries
My first trip to Las Vegas was an experience I will never forget. Amid the numerous lights, casinos, ads for hookers, drunks, and gamblers, I found myself damn near overwhelmed at the surface of it all. Vegas is a city built on an idea with a flashy facade. Its numerous hotels that mimic architecture and culture from the furthest reaches of our planet create a certain substance to the lie. No, Paris is not really Paris. New York New York is not like going to New York. And no, the Luxor is nothing like Giza (at least I hope not. Although to the architect's credit, if Khufu could have made a light visible from space on top of his tomb, he would have.) But whether you're into Castles, Circuses, Gardens, or Canals, Vegas has whatever you want.
The very first thing I did was explore the hotels on the strip. Ceasar's Palace, the Venetian, etc. My girlfriend and I hauled ourselves down and back this gigantic road bedecked with 5-star hotels. We passed the fountain show at the Belagio and wandered our way to the Luxor. (A piece of advice for ladies: I know you want to look good in Vegas, BUT take into account that you may be walking a good few miles. Maybe stilletos aren't the way to go. And gentlemen, if your lady decides not to bring sensible shoes, bring some for her; you'll only be stopping at the foot-flop aisle at the nearest convenience store anyway.)
Fortunately, this quest was not without stop-overs to a cadre of bars. Not being a gambling man, I didn't spend much time in the casinos themselves, but I drank to their success.
Vegas is very flashy at night, but during the day, it's a normal place on the outside. Granted, inside the casinos, time is a matter of relativity (no windows and no clocks). In order to pass the boring daytime hours, Melanie and I drive the hour or so to the Hoover Dam. There were some great opportunities for pictures: the views were fantastic. As far as the innards of this concrete megalith, I couldn't be bothered to get a tour. Of course, for those of you hydroelectric buffs out there, there are frequent tours of the inside.
Other sources of fun in Vegas include a buffet at the Red Rock, and gambling. Like I said, not much going on during the day. For the next night in town, Mel and I ventured to Fremont Street, which is the most famous area of Las Vegas. All of the old movies of Vegas have the cowboy and the lady kicking her legs; well, Fremont Street is where it is.
There is a lot to see in Vegas. The major attraction: gambling, isn't what I went for. I looked for a culture underneath the neon exterior, and it was hard to find. Most people out there are just visitors looking for a good time. The locals, meanwhile, suffer through stringent water-regulations and enjoy the "dry heat" year-round, while most others are only visiting. Still, Vegas is worth a look. The tacky lights, the querky architecture, and the experience are enough to make a trip out there.