What happens in Vegas

After a day spent mostly on the beach (and also stocking up on camping supplies at REI – greatest outdoor shop ever, by the way), we left LA behind and headed inland – we wanted to drive all the way to the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, but that is precisely 1000 km (well actually precisely 1032, according to google maps), and even though we’re both pretty tireless when it comes to road tripping, we thought it might be wiser to make a few stops on the way :-).  Neither of us was particularly bothered about Vegas, but we thought it’d be worth checking out since we were passing by – so we hopped on the interstate 15 for Nevada and didn’t stop until a little bit past Barstow, for a burger and a soda (felt very american) at Peggy Sue’s 50’s diner in Yermo, CA:

peggy_sue_entrance

peggy_sue_booths

peggy_sue_counter

I had the Buddy Holly bacon cheeseburger (not all that great) and thought of this song. Also, our waitress had the most nasal voice EVER (think: The Nanny!) (it’s not the girl in the picture, by the way :-) ).

It was already dark by the time we got to Vegas – so we stopped by our hotel in downtown Vegas, only a short drive away from the strip:

main_street_station_hotel

Every single hotel in Vegas seems to have some sort of theme, and the Main street station hotel is all about trains – there’s even a carriage in the lounge (to my endless amusement):

all_aboard

The hotel is clean, comfortable and there’s a relatively low amount of bling (considering we’re in Vegas, of course) – also, it’s really affordable (we paid something like $35  for a double room!).  We just wanted to drop off our bags, get some rest and head into town – but that little rest lasted about three hours, so it was almost past midnight when we got into town.

welcome_to_vegas

All the light and fountain shows were over, but we wandered around the strip, in and out of the casinos and hotels till about four in the morning, just trying to take in the strangeness of what we were seeing…

belagio2_vegas

venice_vegas

paris_vegas
new_york_vegas

mirage_vegas

ceasars_palace_vegas

castle_vegas

flamingo

It was quite surreal, walking around in the middle of the night, lights blazing around us, accompanied everywhere by the constant chaotic song of the casino floors and surrounded by half-hypnotised gamblers playing the slots as if in a trance, all alone at 3 in the morning.

inside_vegas

Despite all the lights and the bling, Vegas felt somehow very, very far from glamorous – the whole city is a giant, noisy arcade and the people seem to walk around like zombies. Vegas never sleeps (but, like literally never), and anyone can do and buy pretty much anything, anytime, anywhere.  From souvenirs at the world’s biggest gift shop (though i haven’t bothered to verify that claim),

bonaza

…to “hot babes, direct to you” (according to the vans driving everywhere around town) (i kept wondering if the girls were actually inside the vans, waiting to be delivered somewhere).

vegas_at_your_service

 And of course you can get married – you can even get married without leaving your car, if you’re in a hurry…

little_white_chapel_vegas

Drive through weddings! How about that. All the romance, none of the hassle. In case you were interested, Joan Collins and Michael Jordan got married here (though presumably not to each other).  This picture, taken on the way out the following morning, pretty much sums up all that Vegas is about:

all_about_vegas

Motels, strippers, and tattoo parlors. Only thing that’s missing from the picture is another Vegas staple, the bail bond business (seems to be quite a growth industry in these parts).

We drove around almost all night (thank you, jet lag :-) ), dazed and mesmerized by the lights,

vegas_baby!

and ended our only night in Vegas on out hotel rooftop, trying to grasp the immensity of that strange city.

rooftop_vegas

vegas_city

For the record, let me state that nothing in particular happened in Vegas that would actually need to stay in Vegas :-P (blame the jet lag – though it may have had more to do with a certain sordidness in the air). I think neither of us was particularly disappointed to leave the place and head into the mountains :-)

Tell us what you think!

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