So, how about that ride in? Guess that’s why they call it Sin City. You guys might not know this, but I consider myself a bit of a loner. I tend to think of myself as a one-man wolf pack. But now with my bus of fellow trekkers, I know I’ve added twelve more to my pack.
Twelve of us wolves, running around the desert together, in Las Vegas, looking for strippers and cocaine.**
That’s right, it was time to ditch the camping and slumming it in the gorgeous state forests, eating wraps for lunch and group-made meals for dinner and feast our eyes instead on the bright lights of Sin City itself, Las Vegas! So let’s get started and remember, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Except herpes, that sh*t comes back with you.**
So, here we are. This part of the Great American Trek finds me and my plucky band of merry companions towards the end of our coast-to-coast journey across the USA, landing in Las Vegas. And suffice to say, after a few rain soaked nights in tents (with just a bit of flooding) and fighting off wild boars and gators, we were just a tad excited to be sleeping in a lab of luxury.
After heading through the desert that surrounds Vegas, we eventually saw the landscape change from dry, cracked earth to glimmering, towering buildings reflecting the sun’s burning rays. Vegas is, quite literally, nestled into a pit in the dehydrated desert of Nevada. It was almost like Vegas was purposefully moved far away from other civilisation to encapsulate the heathens in their own world of depravity and sinfulness by religious asceticism way back in the day. Today, millions of people flock to Vegas to release their inner demons or desire for high-calibre entertainment.
As you enter Vegas, you’re immediately hit by the showmanship that is on display by the high-flying corporate big-shots who own a majority of the wealth in Vegas through casinos and hotels. One such building, that in my opinion is clearly compensating for something, stands towering in the skyline, reflecting gold colour into the stratosphere with a massive “Trump” logo plastered across its obnoxious centre.
The main visual draw of Vegas is essentially its main strip -no pun intended. On the main street of Vegas, after you pass the “Welcome to Vegas” sign, you are greeted to building after building of extravagantly themed paradises. From the medieval, to Paris, New York, Ancient Rome, to the more modern Bellagio – yes, the one that was robbed in Ocean’s 11.
Our two night stay in Vegas was at one of the oldest hotel/casino’s in the city, the Golden Nugget. Situated towards the end of the strip, the Golden Nugget featured one of the most luxurious swimming pools I’ve ever witnessed. Complete with blackjack tables and even a shark tank built right into the middle of the pool, it was the best way to nurse a hangover.
Amongst its array of Casinos, Vegas has a lot more to offer than just throwing your money away at craps or poker. On the strip, Vegas has some of the most high profile restaurants and shopping centres on the west coast of America. You’ll recognise the 24hr Golden Pawn Shop from the popular Pawn Stars, Gordon Ramsay’s Hells Kitchen, label names such as Gucci and D&G, and enough souvenir shops to rival the countless casinos.
The next two nights we explored Vegas in style. The first night included a ride on a party bus hitting some of the best nightlife scenery that Vegas had to offer. Cramming roughly thirty people into the bus, blasting a range of music to amp even the most cynical of partygoers, we stopped at the Vegas sign, Bellagio fountains and then ended in line to watch Galantis play in one of the many nightclubs in Sin City.
For the Vegas sign, be prepared to be overloaded with tourists who all push their way towards the front, hoping to get the best picture or group selfie. As for the Bellagio fountains, well, they’re a must see! Synced to music, the fountains spit, spiral and flicker in spectacular fashion, drawing a huge crowd with it.
Now for a word of warning for all you underage tourists, in America the drinking age and entrance for clubs is 21. Okay, so the leniency on this wavers in some states in the US but the one place it most definitely does not move an inch, is Vegas. They have some of the strictest and thorough security searches possible, the only comparison I could make is the security of an airport! On our second night, we had VIP entry into a pool party (best pool party I’ve been to by the way) and the security just to get in included bag searches, wand waves and even pat downs. They take this seriously in Vegas, so if you’re an underage tourist and feel like testing the boundaries in an attempt to get into a high profile club, just don’t.
There are plenty of bottle shops floating around and if you’re staying at a hotel casino, it’s more than likely you’ll be able to enjoy a drink or two there, not that I’m endorsing underage drinking of course.
As well as the casinos, which run 24hours, there are things to do outside of the main strip, such as amusement rides and of course the most American thing of all, Shooting Ranges. Now I have a lot of opinions on America and its gun laws, but I was still curious to see what it was like to actually shoot a gun. So me and a few of the guys partook in stretching our “masculinity” and can I just say, there is something exhilarating in shooting at a gun range. I’m not saying I’m gonna go out and start tackling large animals, but firing just a simple .48 in a contained shooting range was good fun. Just be prepared, if you are going to tackle one of the bigger weapons, get ready for that kick back.
In short, if you’re looking to let your inhibitions go, splash some cash on yourself, want to see some high quality nightlife or go into the sleazier side of life, then Vegas is the place to go. Just remember, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, which is the exact reason I’ve chosen to omit a few of the more inebriated stories of me and my travelling companions and leave that up to the imagination.
**For those uneducated in pop culture, these were all quotes from the 2009 smash-hit The Hangover. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favour and rectify this immediately.