Las Vegas is the showcase of western excesses at its best! Its draw on power alone is incredulous and with all that is Vegas, it’s absolutely fabulous, if not OTT!
The primary aim here is to fleece as much money out of the visitor as possible; even down to the design, smells and other visual senses to lure one into the pleasure pits. The bottom line is that every employee inside the casino you exchange words with, you tip 10-20%, which we guess is ok if you are on a winning streak! Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, (a must for any parrot head!) has the smell of coconut oil to lure the senses!
Las Vegas has adopted and very much incorporated the notion that sex sells. Sin City it is, and anything goes. Even though alcohol consumption is encouraged, which flows through to street drinking, we were surprised to see that sobriety ruled!
The few locals that we did meet to chat to did not like living there, but there were also those who were out to entertain in a different way to make some money. There were many Mexicans lining the footpath along the central strip giving out cards (the size of a credit card) for girls. We figured they must get paid for the cards they give out, drawing your attention by the clicking sound made with their fingers on the corner of the cards. Although we found that to be the major annoyance, they were out there trying to make a living.
Peter drooled over the Ferraris through the window of the shop floor; inside was by appointment only and was not staffed. Immediate (conspicuous!) consumption if you happen to be a big winner…..speaking of which, if you were, anything up to 40-50% tax has to be paid before you received any of your winnings! Early morning in the strip was a little busy with joggers (who were not up gambling all night!) that run in and out of any building orifice they can find.
Nothing was original and travel was made easy as you could see all the sights of Europe in one day! A little odd sing the Eiffel Tower viewable from a Venetian Gondola! The Peter marvelled at the marble look-a-like concrete, appreciating the skill involved in such creations. At least time had been taken to acquire a degree of authenticity!
We met some interesting celebrities and Peter was able to have a little putt, receiving advice from those who know how to do it!
Somehow, I don't think Jenna would have been too interested in where we were off to next!
We spent a day wandering in and out of hotel lobbies; good for people watching and astounding decorations. Being in a desert, flower scenes were supposed to soothe the senses and with The Bellagio having a more moveable feast with setting the spirit for fall as well as Halloween with their giant pumpkins.
Inside MGM another rainforest café (similar to the one in San Francisco) was a good place to hang out, with Peter being very brave! Even more unusual was the $9 million lion den that housed 6 lions. Mid-morning was obviously nap time!
If nothing else, the fountains outside the Bellagio were something to behold, coming on at sunset every 15 minutes in timing of wonderful classics like Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli’s ‘Time to Say Goodbye’! There was also some great cowboy music in there as well.
Water features were popular throughout the strip, to take one’s mind off being in a desert. Nice grassed areas, on closer inspection, were artificial; a sensible approach and something that Perth should adopt!
We found the M&M shop (Didy..where are you??) and had to try the peanut butter flavour that Barns had alerted us to. Lots of cheap snacks were available to keep sugar levels up and gambling in action. Downtown in Fremont Street, the original gambling centre of Vegas, Peter opted to give his cholesterol a bit of a bash with deep fried Oreos whilst I went for the sedate (if not phallic) chocolate flavoured bananas! The malls there are under cover with various artists in residence, each with their own unique style. Individuals were commissioning art they wanted.
The Stratosphere, doubling as a revolving restaurant and a sky jump platform sat above all the hotels at 1,100 feet. People would wiz past the window whilst you were enjoying a meal. Great view during the day and perhaps even more so at night! As with many other cities in the US, any construction work came to a grinding halt with the financial crisis and Vegas was no exception with ugly concrete hotels in all states of completion. The skyline has been forever changing to make bigger, grander casino hotels with an even better theme than the last.
Whilst we have been in the US, we have heard more news than we care to. There is a lot of focus on Mexico and the Travel Warnings that have been issued by the US Homeland Security. Even though Nogales is mentioned, we have never had any border issues and are removed from any of the violence that has been reported, as are most of the Mexican people.