Las Vegas aka ‘Sin City’, ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’, ‘City Of Lights’, ‘The Strip’- some of the few ubiquitous nicknames conferred upon this city that has transcended the very meaning of entertainment. A city that many have not visited yet, have heard a lot about- a paradise for all the fun-loving. Las Vegas- located in the Mojave Desert, is a sanctum for the sinners (loads of laughter), an oasis with 24-hour casinos and countless entertainment alternatives. The prime focus of Las Vegas is The Strip, about 5 miles long along which you will find hotels with different themes such as the pyramid-shaped Luxor and the Venetian which features classical tributes to Rialto Bridge, Palazzo Ducale and a few others; and resorts like the famous Bellagio, located behind the flawless dancing fountains.
A trip to Las Vegas figures on every human’s bucket list- to be visited at least once in a lifetime (if not many). This is a personal account of my road trip to the vibrant oasis of Nevada where I spent close to 72 hrs (three days sounds a little less dramatic). It may not have been the most craziest of holidays but definitely the most cherished and the most legendary- something that I never imagined. Nothing short of a dream- people who had the pleasure of visiting Vegas time and time again might feel that I am exaggerating (sort of like- Ya! been there-done that!); but only the people who haven’t, know the feeling of growing pale out of jealousy- seeing friends who have H1’s (H1 visas or any valid US visa for that matter) post selfies, videos (on Facebook) of their visit to this party capital. I, for one could not imagine it was happening until I saw the lustrous skyline of a city in the desert- from about 20 miles. Driving 8-9 hrs from Sunnyvale, California- watching the freeway signs count down, waiting to see a board that says 100 miles to Vegas, up until the time you actually see it is an experience in itself, some thing I treasure.
Just so you know, we rented an SUV from Enterprise care rental services which was located outside San Jose Airport.
Don’t mind the music or my boring commentary, I tried adding music to cover up all the chitter-chatter but no music track is 12 minutes long!!
We decided to visit over a weekend- plans had been ongoing to book our accommodation in advance (frankly, it can get darn-expensive). There are numerous websites that you can visit and get good deals at but, since we were going for a road trip with our good friends Kunal and Khushboo, who had already visited Vegas a couple of months earlier- Kunal booked our accommodation on Expedia.
My only advice is to look for a hotel on The Strip– this is where all the action unfolds! The incredible night walks along the strip, surrounded by tall edifices with flashy and vibrant colours that light up the night; lots of folks performing on the street- some dance, some pose, some do a few tricks here and there… long story short- Get a hotel on the strip!
We booked our accommodation at Treasure Island which is across the road to The Palazzo and linked to the famous Fashion Show Mall via a foot over bridge. I am not sure if Kunal knew which part of the building he was booking a double-bedroom but when we walked into our room, the windows spanned from the floor to the ceiling and had a stunning view (I am sure now he would like to admit that he did). Just like most of the hotels at The Strip, TI (Treasure Island) hosts wild pool parties too.
After checking-in to our hotel room, we decided to catch up on some sleep- sort of tired after the 8-9 hour drive. We woke up around 3.30 pm and headed out across the street for a quick bite at Chipotle and Panda Express then to Fat Tuesday for some amazing daiquiris (that’s what they all are happily holding, like it was some trophy).
By the time the daiquiri started to kick-in we had walked about a mile and arrived at the iconic dancing fountains of The Bellagio.
It was an extraordinary sight- something I have never witnessed before. There are some things in this world that can be described by words and some that cannot- this one is among the latter. Let the video speak for itself (see above). It took us a few minutes to absorb what had transpired before us, after which we visited The Bellagio’s conservatory & botanical garden. We were again awed by the 14,000 sq-ft floral plot- all set up by the Bellagio conservatory team- a team of enormously talented horticulturists and designers. It appears every year there is a different theme (mostly a specific region’s horticulture during the four seasons of spring, summer, fall and winter) and this year around it was the Japanese Cherry Festival (see below).
Here is a video for a recorded account of our experience.
We spent a good 30-45 mins checking out the botanical garden and of course clicking loads of selfies- selfies, that didn’t come out good for obvious reasons- the daiquiri was doing its job and affecting our basic motor skills. Before the daiquiri could make things more chaotic, we decided to find our way back to the hotel- which we did. We were all hungry but at the same time- tipsy and tired; Kunal and Khushboo decided to hit the sack, but myself and Herwin were not willing to sleep on an empty stomach. Fortunately, Yelp helped us home in on an Australian steak joint called Outback– this was right next to the Chipotle we visited earlier. After a sumptuous meal we called it a day ourselves and crashed at about 1 am.
Next day, we all woke up with a heavy head- what was in that daiquiri? I mean, I can take a considerable amount of alcohol, so if I had to get a headache- either I’m getting old or something had to be special about those daiquiris! Anyway, at the moment that was the last thing I was worried about- needed some food- some amazing delightful breakfast! That was when the idea of visiting an IHOP outlet popped into our heads (it would be my first time)- a US-based pancake house and fast food restaurant chain that specializes in amazing breakfast foods. Kunal used Yelp to locate an IHOP outlet close to the famous Stratosphere Hotel; the outlet close to the Stratosphere was convenient because we had to visit the latter to pick up tickets for the famous adult show- one that has been awarded time and time again- Pin Up (more on this in a bit). For my review on IHOP, click here.
After picking up the tickets for Pin-Up and a sumptuous breakfast, we headed back to our hotel to chill out by the pool side and enjoy possibly one of the best pool parties of our lives. A lion’s share of the hotels located at the strip are famous for their insane pool parties which begins at around 2-3 pm in the evening and goes on till, like 7-8 pm or if there is a prominent DJ, till midnight. The mood was electric- everyone was getting drunk, scores of youngsters showing-off their dance moves in a dance-off against one another, some of them getting cosy with their girlfriends/boyfriends (some even looked like they were meeting for the some time) hoping to get laid (Ahem! Ahem!), some girls grinding in a seductive way which was attracting a few muscular, well-built Alpha males (lol)– it was all happening. I would have loved to capture a video of what was transpiring in front of me but, people were having soo much fun and I wouldn’t want them to feel noticed (maybe they wouldn’t have felt that way either); after all, I wouldn’t want anyone to shoot a video of me during my private time either. To sum it up- DO NOT MISS the pool parties at Las Vegas.
The pool party got us all tired (read drunk) and we decided to take a power nap; this would be our final night in Las Vegas and the last thing we would want is to feel sleepy and miss out on anything. We woke up at about 8 pm and headed to Stratosphere for the Pin-Up show.
“Oh! I wish if there was a feature on this editor where I could limit the audience for the next para; in other words
restrict my wife from seeing this!! Alas! There isn’t…. So, here goes… Save me!”
Pin-Up is a show inspired by the famous classic pin-up calendars of the 50’s and the 60’s- this show features a live band, some really talented singers-cum-incredible dancers and last but far from the least- Playboy’s 2011 Playmate of the Year Claire Sinclair. Playboy does not need any introduction and if a girl is named the Playboy Playmate of the Year- then she is bound to be incredibly beautiful, voluptuous, sexy and out-of-this-world (now this is a word in my dictionary). For further details please scroll down.
Here again, if you were expecting a video, I will have to disappoint- I don’t want to spend 6 months in jail neither, am in a position to pay $50,ooo in fine just to see a smirk on your faces. You want to see her, go to Las Vegas, pay for the ticket (like a decent guy) and enjoy. Trust me, you will never regret it!
I am sure after reading the last few lines, everything that I type heron will be insignificant and some of you may still be busy trying to download the last image and frankly I am not going to waste my time trying to copyright it. So, after the show we headed to Downtown, Las Vegas. Downtown Las Vegas was the original town-site and the gambling hub before the Strip overtook it; yet there are some interesting activities (SlotZilla Zip line) you can indulge in and above all do not miss the famous Viva Vision light show at Fremont Street (see the video below).
The VIVA Vision light show pretty much summed up for our Downtown Vegas experience and after that we went back to our hotel rooms. The next day, we had only one more item on our wishlist and that was to visit the Fabulous Las Vegas sign– click a picture; that was the last thing we did prior to heading back to our hotel room, packing our bags for the 8-9 hour journey back to Cupertino, California.
If you ask me if I was satisfied with my trip to Las Vegas? Obviously Yes! But the tendency to want more is the only thing that can overshadow that opinion. I also know that many of my friends and acquaintances have visited Las Vegas and had even crazier, insane nights. But that is something I may have to wait a couple of years for or maybe another lifetime- either ways the experience I had is something I will hold dear to my heart- I was there! I Had Been To Las Vegas!