Let's hit the Strip
Next stop Vegas and party time! It is only approximately 30 miles from Boulder City so should take us less than an hour to get there. The road is long and straight, through the desert and the temperature begins to rise. We have travelled about 10 miles when we notice a strip of tall buildings on the horizon. Surely this can't be Las Vegas, it's not for another 20 miles. It just appears out of the desert and as we get closer gets bigger and bigger. The traffic builds and we hit the suburbs.
Suddenly there is greenery, plants and trees. It looks lush like an oasis in the Mohave. The Sat-nav is a godsend and directs us right to our hotel on Las Vegas Boulevard (the Strip). Once parked up we go down to the Casino and have $20 on the slots. Well Mark and Marcus do. I don't like gambling so I am not an ideal guest.
We walk out onto the Strip to explore. Vegas is everything you expect and more. It is big, brash, loud and bling but it also has a beauty which really surprises me. Everything is over the top but really well done. The hotels are huge complexes with not only rooms and restaurants, but casinos, shopping boulevards and entertainment including theatres, clubs and cinemas.
Our hotel is the Treasure Island which has two replica sailing ships out front on water with mock islands. The whole theme of the hotel is pirates and treasure. Next door is the Mirage which boasts waterfalls and fountains along the whole of it's frontage. All of our senses are blasted with colour, movement, texture and noise. Marcus love's the whole experience and Mark is in his element.
As we walk along the strip we enter Ceasers Palace. The whole place is done out like a mock Rome with statues and fountains and painted dome ceilings. It's all fibre glass and concrete I suppose but very cleverly done (no amount of money spared). Both Mark and I are given a makeover which is supposed to take years off us, it doesn't work! The shopping mall carries on the theme with a Trevi Fountain in the middle. The whole place is really quite surreal. Its all a fantasy land where money is no object and of course it won't hurt if and when (inevitably) you lose in the casinos, which you have to walk through to get out. Mark comments that this is the same ploy used by museums who have gift shops on the way out.
Back on the street we cross to look for somewhere to have a drink. We are accosted by a young Portuguese man who entices us into the Fuel bar for 2-4-1 drinks. What a blast. The atmosphere is buzzing and we really enjoy the next hour. There is a challenge where for $5 you can have 5 goes at trying to get a ball into a plastic cup hung behind the bar. A number of people have a go and it appears to be impossible. Then an athletic looking black youth with dreadlocks does it twice. The bar erupts as this is the signal for shots for everyone in the bar. What fun with cheering and laughter all round.
We leave and go into the Hotel Paris, boasting an Eiffel tower. Inside feels like a Paris street with Art Nouveau iron work and posters. Mark has time on the slots while I wander round looking at all the restaurant choices - very Parisian. We pass the Venetian on our way back to book into our rooms .
Once booked in we change and go down to the pool for a swim. Although the weather is hot at this time of year the sun goes down early and it is pitch dark before 7 p.m. I start to feel cold and go up to get ready for the evening leaving the two boys having a drink and playing on the slots.
Once dressed we walk out onto the Strip and I have to go back for a jacket; there is a real chill in the air. Where shall we eat? There are so many places to choose from. We give Marcus the choice and decide on Planet Hollywood for burgers.
Back on the strip it is party time. We have Margaritas and beers and watch the action as it passes by. Everyone seems to be having a great time but I'm sure under the surface there is a seedy side as advertised by the vans covered in phone numbers for escorts and the amount of money people are putting on bets and in machines. We walk back to the hotel and spend some time watching the gondolas on the canal outside the Venetian.
We head to the Casino which is full of people on slots and at the tables. The lights and sights are quite hypnotic and draw you in. I don't really understand how the games work but it's interesting to watch the games and the reactions of people. Every now and again we hear cheering as someone wins. After some time watching I make my way to bed and leave Mark and Marcus to enjoy themselves.