January 2nd, 2009
Anybody who has been to Las Vegas will get a taste of what a real-life fantasy world feels like. The cornerstone of the economy in the state of Nevada, Las Vegas is all about glitz, glamour and gaming, and is billed as “The Entertainment Capital of the World”. Also known as the “Sin City”, Las Vegas is a hedonistic paradise offering anything and everything that money can buy – food, fun, fashion, and even females (or males, for those who are so inclined). Built entirely from scratch out of a barren desert in Nevada, the city is a veritable Disneyland for adults, while not forgetting the kids.
Here’s a tour of what we did exploring the city. Caution – lots of photos ahead!
Thematic architecture is a key feature of the hotel resorts in Las Vegas. In the case of Excalibur, its design resembles that of a castle in medieval Europe.
Buffets offering endless trays of food and drinks hailing from around the world (this one’s Thai) could be found in each hotel.
Here’s an art gallery offering funky pop art at the Excalibur.
At the Luxor hotel, we really thought that we were in the midst of an Egyptian desert, with the Sphinx and a huge pyramid behind us. At night, the beam of light from the top of the pyramid is apparently so bright that it could be seen from outer space. Wow!
An inside view of Luxor, which has a huge obelisk surrounded by palm trees. Unfortunately, occupancy wasn’t high here as the pyramidal structure led to guests feeling “oppressed”. Of course, one should also note that pyramids were ancient burial places for pharaohs….
Our next stop was the world famous Venetian hotel, operated by Las Vegas Sands. These are the same guys who will be running Marina Bay Sands when it opens in Singapore at the end of this year.
One of the attractions there was the world famous Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.
The streets of Venice were faithfully recreated, complete with river canals and gondolas with singing oarsmen!
Internal building designs were also impressive. The ceilings were painted to resemble that of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican City. Unfortunately, not all of us were as enamored by this…
Harrah’s, another famous Las Vegas brand, offered a whimsical touch with its portrayal of clowns and jesters.
Statues like this rodeo couple add to the overall flavour of what the resort sought to achieve.
Next was the world famous MGM Grand, which had the famous roaring lion not only cast in golden splendour…
…but physically present in real life. Yes, they do have a couple of real lions in the hotel itself, complete with animal trainer!
New York New York was another hotel offering a view of the city’s skyline, nestled amidst a giant roller coaster (which unfortunately wasn’t operational in winter). “Start spreading the news….”
Our hotel Circus Circus was a slightly older and more humble affair.
What’s special though is that there are free circus acts for you to catch every 2 hours or so. Here’s a unicyclist doing his balancing act.
Circus Circus also offers lots of arcade games for kids, perfect for our five year old.
To fuel up for our walking adventure at night, we took a few sips of Fat Tuesday’s 190 Octane – a highly alcoholic cocktail perfect for the cold wintry air (about 7 deg C).
Here’s Tina posing with three hotel resorts – Bellagio on the left, Caesar’s Palace in the middle and Paris on the right.
…and when we say Paris, it really felt like it with the “Eiffel Tower” and “Notre Dame Cathedral” in the background…
Plus of course the world famous “Arc de Triomphe”.
Famous for the spectacular “O” Show (where tickets had to be booked months in advance I hear), the Bellagio provides a free musical fountain performance every night. With Tchaikovsky’s rousing piece playing in the background, it was truly awesome.
Another well known Las Vegas icon was Caesar’s Palace. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we couldn’t venture inside to explore this Roman-inspired resort.
Closer to our hotel at Circus Circus was the Riviera, where we caught the graceful Russian performers in a family-friendly show “Ice”.
Naturally, the main reason why people visit Las Vegas was the gambling (I think). Personally, I feel that all the casinos look the same. Here’s one of them…
…and here’s another. See what I mean?
Here’s a shop assistant at the Houdini Magic Shop wowing us with his tricks. In a sense, everything in Las Vegas was an illusion. Albeit a grand and imposing one.
Tags: las vegas, us vacation