"Las Vegas"

USA Road Trip 2012 (7): What happens here, stays here – Las Vegas


Las Vegas suddenly emerges from the emptiness of the Mojave Desert like a mirage of an oasis. One minute all you see is rocky and barren landscape, the next the silhouette of Sin City – with its multitude of high-rise buildings – appears in the distance. It feels slightly surreal.

My first thoughts were: this city is built in the middle of the desert, where does the water required for the tourist infrastructure, the fountains, the parks, come from? And: what a waste!
I then found the answer: 90% of the water is supplied by Lake Mead, created by the Hoover Dam, about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas. And also, surprisingly, Las Vegas is considered ahead of the curve in cultivating an ethic of water conservation.

"Hoover Dam" "Lake Mead"
Hoover Dam

I must admit that I was quite negative about Las Vegas before visiting, then I fell for it. And yes, “it’s all fake” here but that’s also what appeals about this city.
Everything is excessive, hyperbolic, grand!
Walk down the Las Vegas Strip and you will be surrounded by huge Egyptian pyramids, Roman Empire monuments, Venetian historic buildings and canals, Medioeval castles, Arab night dreams, Tour Eiffel, Statue of Liberty, lush gardens, majestic fountains, you name it. And then you have the people: Elvis impersonators, the Disney characters, street performers.
Anything seems possible. Anything is possible. “What happens here, stays here” though.

Everything in Las Vegas revolves around gambling and entertainment, and every hotel has its own casino. Inside it all goes timeless: no windows, no clocks, artificial lights and aircon 24/7. Is it day or is it night?! You could spend your whole holiday just trying your luck at the money-machines (we spent a handful of dollars between us and then decided that was it). And what doesn’t leave your pocket by gambling will probably leave it by drinking in one of the countless bars and clubs in town.
Because Vegas never sleeps.

Las Vegas is completely crazy and so different from my usual choice of travel destinations, but I loved it and I left wishing I had spent more time there!

And in case you wonder: no, I didn’t get hitched in Vegas ;-)

Next: USA Road Trip 2012 (8): Grand Canyon

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