Death Valley - Las Vegas (and the 'Rock Bus')
Jul 6, 2010
|Death Valley - the name says it all - it is a desolate, barren place, and it's also the US' hottest - the mercury peaked at 56 degrees back in 1913, and it hasn't dropped much since. Today it was a balmy 51 degrees! On the few occasions we disembarked our air conditioned van, we only survived about 10 minutes before fighting to get back in our little bubble comfort, I kid you not.
It is a Land of Extremes - not only the hottest but the driest and lowest (292 feet below sea level).
A superlative desert of streaming sand dunes, snow-capped mountains, multicolored rock layers, we explored the historic mining sites, shadowy canyons and sun-drenched salt flats. Although seemingly barren of all life we discovered hidden desert wildlife and ephemeral fields of wildflowers during our walk around such places as Furnace Creek, Devils Golf Course and Bad Water Basin. The names supporting mine and every passerby's opinion of the place.
This surreal landscape was as impressive as it was oppressive, had I been able to hack spending more time there am sure I would have been able to find it's appeal to those who have actually chosen to live there. As for me I was eager to head to Sin City and my hotel.
We arrived in Vegas about 4pm. It was 41 degrees, by then the air conditioner had packed up and we dying for a cold drink, a shower and a nanna nap. Gee the heat takes it out of you. I was lucky enough to have scored a private room with a lounge and almost cried with happiest after having camped the last fews weeks. I immediately proceed to drink a litre of water, shower and bounce on the bed in glee. I was starting to feel normal again! I managed to also sneak in a quick dip in the pool before getting ready for our night out.
There were 5 Tour Groups converging tonight so the tour leaders had put the creative minds together to plan a surprise. all we were told was that we'd be out from 7pm to 12am, it would cost $35 and that we should dress up. How exciting!
The guides drove us to a fancy hotel by the name of Mandalay, and up to the top floor. At the ed of the hallway the doors opened to our very swanky suite. There were Floor to ceiling windows with electric blinds that when opened revealed an amazing view down the strip. We scouted every room before being presented with pizzas and alcohol to get the night started. It was great to converse with the 40 odd people there, enjoying each others company in a party like atmosphere for a few hours.
Alas though the time came when we were off on our next adventure. At the lobby we were greeted by three 'Rock Bus' Hummer limos, big enough to stand up in and dance whilst being driven to some of the hotspots in town! It had a leopard print interior's, fibre optic lighting, strobe neon and disco lighting, two brass poles to dance on, laser light shows, a 42"Flat Screen Plasma TV, smoke machine and wet bar. CRAZY.
We stopped at Strip, the nickname applied to several miles of the southern part of Las Vegas Boulevard. This is the location of the biggest, most modern and most spectacular Casinos in Las Vegas. The scenery along this stretch of the boulevard is unbelievable. It looks like you have been transported into some gigantic fantasy world. At night, it sports an amazing display of colored lights, more thrilling when you see it with your own eyes.
Next was Freemont Street, in downtown Vegas, which has been converted into a pedestrian mall with a 30m canopy where Musicians and street entertainers provide free entertainment. After dark, 2.million lights in the canopy are used to create a wonderful display of animated color images known as the Freemont Street Experience. We were entertained by a show about KISS. Now we were off to the famous water and light show at the Bellagio. The Fountains of Bellagio romanced our senses. The show of water, music and light has been thoughtfully interwoven to mesmerize its onlookers. It is the most ambitious, choreographically complex water feature I could have ever conceived which amazed all against the beautiful backdrop of Las Vegas' lavender sky. The dynamic performance was unique in its expression and interpretation. And, with much respect I thoroughly enjoyed the stunning nature of this aquatic accomplishment while relishing the clever tango with the accompanying Broadway tunes.
This was the end of our 'surprise' night out courtesy of our guides, but not the end of the night by any reach for my new friends and I. We made our way to an open bar and danced the night away in Vegas Style.