Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Las Vegas

The Vegas trip was a very nice and looked forward to break. Since it was my first trip to Vegas I didn't fully know what to expect. Everybody's seen the Strip on TV, everybody's aware of its reputation, but that is always different then your own experience.

The trip was three weeks ago and I must say I kinda like the town. Yes, it's full of glitter and glamour, dazzeling displays of neon and other lights, rows and rows of Casinos and advertisements for whatever you can think of. Pure capatalism. Is that a bad thing? Not always. It seems to work pretty good for Vegas. Of course there are the run-down areas of the town, but overall it has a pretty low crime-rate (for a city of nearly two million people). It is also one of the fastest growing cities in the States.

But what everyone knows best about Vegas is still the Strip (and maybe downtown Vegas - Fremont Street). That was the part of Vegas we visited. We arrived at the airport only a few minutes late. We got a cab - number 10, which number will make an appearance a little later on in the blog - to the Luxor Hotel and Casino. Most hotels in Vegas have a theme, the Luxor of course being an Egyptian theme. The main building is shaped as a pyramid with a big Sphinx in front of it. After check-in we hit the casino floor and one of my co-workers after losing a bit in black-jack decided to play some roulette. He played one hand, a bet of $10 and placed it on ... number 10. Guess what... it came back as number 10!! A nice $175 pay-out. Thanks to the cabbie.

For the rest of the trip we mostly played at the Flamingo opposite Caesars Palace. I didn't gamble, but took a nice number of photos along the way. They are posted on the album site.

What impressed me most about Vegas? I guess it was the overwhelming display of lights on the Strip. I liked the themes of the buildings. Pretty diverse, but of course pretty fake as well. I've never seen crystal clear azure blue watet flowing in the canals of Venice...;-) We also went to see a Cirque du Soleil-show in New York, New York; Zumanity. A combo of a normal Cirque-show with a cabarat-theme. It was an 18+ show, but it was very nicely done. Most impressive was the water-sequence with two female acrobats in a half-bowl. Unbelievable how flexible they are... That can't be good for their bodies in the long run, but it does make for one pretty amazing act. However, you might be better off paying a little more and go see the show 'O' in the Mirage. It seems to be the better show overall. I very much liked the way they kept the downtown area. Vegas is not really known for preserving anything for the sake of its history, so it's nice to see that they 'upgraded' the Fremont-street area and covered it with a big LED-covered (for lack of a better word)'cover'. Every hour they will have a free audio and visual display on the roof of the street. Very much worth the cab-ride from the Strip.

Also the decadence.... It's amazing. Everything is over-the-top. From the buildings, both outside as insid to the use of water and electricity, it is just staggering. Being in the middle of a drought period you could clearly see the low water levels in Lake Powell and the other basins. I'm curious as to how they are going to solve the short-supply of resources in the near future. Being in the middle of the desert does mean that you have to somehow transport the resources to Vegas. With the demand for both water and electricty rising and the supply dwindeling that might be the biggest challenge Vegas will encouter in the next two decades. However, since numerous challenges have been overcome in the past to even create Vegas, I'm sure they will think of a way to keep it where it is and as it is.

Viva Las Vegas!!