I do not fear Las Vegas. Nor do I loathe it. However, after having just lost US$50 dollars on the roulette table and already feeling a little worse for wear, I am beginning to wonder whether Vegas really is the best place for someone like me to experience three days of living the American dream. After all, Hunter S. Thompson did say that for a loser, Vegas is the meanest town on earth.
You don’t really arrive in this city – you’re suddenly there. One minute you’re driving along Route 15 from LA and then the next, you’re in LV; awash in thirsty coin cups and and even thirstier neon signs.
Las Vegas is a city in the middle of nowhere, but at the centre of everything; or at least it is for the approximately 37 million tourists who arrive here each year. It is a land for the brave; for the Americans and out-of-towners who have at their disposal a seemingly endless supply of greenback.
It is not just a city for those with deep pockets however. There is much more to this place than scantily clad waitresses, oversized cocktails and purple poker tables. Simply put, visitors to ‘Sin City’ are transported to a place where even the most reluctant of partiers cannot avoid having fun. Complimentary shows, dirt cheap (or even free) beer, dollar hot dogs, deep-fried anything, bright lights that turn night into day, and a walking tour that takes you past replicas of some of the world’s most famous landmarks are all on the cards (pardon the pun) when you land in this desert oasis.
If you’re lucky enough, you’ll score a ticket to David Copperfield, Cher or (gasp …) Barry Manilow. Otherwise, you’ll have to make do with the partygoers on the sidewalks, who at 2am are doing their best (or worst – I can’t tell) impressions of whomever they see fit deserving of such punishment.
Fast moving bulldozers disguised as cars, rush up and down the main thoroughfare known as ‘the Strip’, these days the focal point of the city. Here, gigantic casinos like Caesar’s Palace, MGM Grand, The Mirage and the Palazzo strut their stuff in an attempt to entice your patronage. Although for many the most rewarding experience remains the pedestrian mall of Fremont Street, whose old ‘carpet joints’ offer the sounds and sights of frontier Vegas.
According to forbes.com, Las Vegas is America’s fastest growing metropolis. Driven by a thriving local economy, it has seen a nearly 30% population increase since 2000. It’s not all good news however, with many suggesting that Las Vegas is growing too quickly for its water supply, which comes primarily from Lake Mead (courtesy of the Colorado River); money may come easily to this city, but water unfortunately won’t grow on trees. A US$3 billion pipeline to bring aquifer water from a remote part of Nevada has been proposed and will hopefully go some way in solving the city’s water concerns.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. If you haven’t been before, that’s exactly why you need to go now.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H