When we stepped out of the plane in Vegas and saw people sitting at slot machines in the terminal, we knew we had truly traveled to another world. One where travelers could disembark from a plane, set down their suitcases and begin frantically feeding quarters into the one-armed bandits. We were not those people. We were the people who gathered up our luggage and headed to the Vegas strip where we were just a trifle overwhelmed by the scope of it all. We were the people who came down from our room early on Easter Sunday and were shocked SHOCKED, I tell you, to see people in the casino gambling! and drinking! and heaven knows what else! We? We were Vegas Virgins. But not any more. Here is what we have learned while we have been here. More reports to come.
1. A hotel is not just a hotel in Vegas. It’s a casino, restaurants, shops, a small world within a world where you can easily get lost and find yourself sipping a mixed drink and playing Blackjack at 7:00 A.M. on Easter morning. It’s a virtual Paris, New York, Italy; it’s a circus, a medieval world, an Egyptian wonderland. It’s crazy. It’s mind-boggling. It’s amazing. It was deja vu all over again staying at the Paris Hotel after just visiting Paris a few months ago. It was surreal to see little French bistros and a miniature Eiffel Tower and Arch de Triomphe. Crazy. And quite, quite lovely.
2. Vegas is HUGE. I had seen Vegas on TV. I knew about Vegas. It was a strip of hotels that were brightly lighted and interesting and you could just easily stroll from one to the next, taking in the sights. Wrong. The strip alone is 7 MILES LONG. 7. Miles. It’s crazy big and crazy overwhelming and you would need days and days and days to see it all.
3. Vegas is crowded. Very, very crowded. One hotel has 7,000 rooms. 7,000. Can you imagine? And that’s just one hotel. The sidewalks are packed with people at all times of the day and night. When you cross the streets, it’s like a stampede of maddened, mindless cattle.
4. You can see anything in Vegas. Aaaannnyyything. Seriously.
5. But there is incredible beauty here as well. Like magnificent fountains with water that dips and twists and whirls like a strange lake in a fairy tale.
6. Drive a couple miles outside Vegas and there is desert and houses and towns just like a real world. It’s easy to forget all that exists when you are in the middle of the lights and razzle-dazzle.
7. Drive just a little further on a tour with Pink Jeep Tours and you can see one of the most amazing engineering marvels of all time from a raft in the Colorado River. The Hoover Dam. Breath-taking.
8. Or fly over one of the most magnificent landscapes in America with Papillon Helicopters. The Grand Canyon. Incredible.
9. Vegas has surprisingly fabulous food. From freshly-baked croissants for breakfast in a boulangerie at Paris to the best milkshakes and hamburgers in the world at a restaurant called Holsteins that has a plastic cow as part of their decor, we had wonderful and delicious meals.
10. Vegas is overwhelming, confusing, intimidating, and it will make your feet hurt like hell if you are trekking from the Apple store in the Forum Shops in Caesar’s Palace to your room at the Paris Hotel in high heeled, strappy sandals because your husband forgot the power supply for his Mac and we had to buy a new one. Not that this happened to me. Oh, of COURSE IT DID.
That’s OK. Because even though we used to be Vegas Virgins, we are not any longer. Vegas is crazy, crazy, crazy.
But we adore it.
And we will be back.
Full disclosure: The providers mentioned did provide us with free accommodations, meals and tours, but as always, I will share my honest opinion about any travel experiences I have. I’ll have more detailed posts about those experiences in the next few days.