Driving into Las Vegas, you immediately begin to realise that all the stereotypes and assumptions about this city exist for a reason. It is hot and ugly and sprawling and loud. And not really a place you want to visit at the end of your round the world backpacking trip when you are tired, run-down and almost completely flat broke.
But somehow, in spite of all those legitimate reasons why I should have hated this place, I actually kind of liked it. It is a city that is absolutely, one hundred percent, unashamedly, horrifically brash and proud if it. And it doesn’t take much for that pride to rub off on all its visitors.
During the day, the heat is almost unbearable (hence why we spent pretty much the entirety of our first day there hiding away in our air conditioned hotel room), and to be honest, it’s not that much better at night. But once the sun goes down the strip comes alive with lights and music and all manner of whacky appeals, trying to lure you in with their cheap drinks, slot machines and endless possibilities.
Unfortunately, Rosa and I somehow managed to catch a cold pretty much as soon as we arrived, the sort of cold that puts a hazy ball between your eyes and a very *sexy* frog in your throat. So our first night in the city that never sleeps was an absolute washout, as we sat in our hotel room, eating takeaway pizza and watching rubbish on tv. Best travellers ever or what?!
But the next day we decided to take the advice of some of our very lovely friends on Facebook and ‘man up’. So off we went to the north end of the strip to explore and see what all the fuss was about. We were quickly sucked into the hype and, with newly purchased tickets to see Cirque Du Soleil’s ‘Mystere’ in hand, we wandered down Las Vegas Boulevard, looking in awe at the huge casinos, roller-coasters and replica models of the Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower. We stopped to marvel at the incredible water fountain production in front of the Bellagio and then it was off to Treasure Island hotel for dinner and a show…how very grown up of us (okay okay, we did have a bit of a play on the slot machines first…but don’t worry mum, we only bet a dollar at a time).
With the loss of $4 (between us) weighing heavy in our hearts, it was time for what turned out to be one of the most spectacular things I’ve ever seen. Cirque Du Soleil really lived up to expectations, with mystique and comedy throughout, and some astounding, almost in-human acrobatics, we left the theatre with smiles on our faces, and intentions to become the best gymnasts in the world within the next 10 minutes (well we can always dream, right?).
Our time in Vegas drawing to a close, we wandered back up the strip to see the night-time showing of the Bellagio fountains, before picking up our bags from our hotel and heading to the airport for our 1am flight to Chicago, the penultimate stop on this United States trip before we head back to Camp Sloane for the summer.
So long Vegas, it’s been, um, strange.