|The 24 hour desert city in southern
Nevada, ‘Las Vegas’, (Spanish for “the meadows”), is one of the fastest
growing cities in the US. Renowned for its extravagant hotels and casinos,
the "Entertainment Capital of the World" hosts 30 million guests per year.
Love it or hate it, Las Vegas is one of the most dynamic cities in the
Las Vegas started as a stopover on the pioneer trails to the west and became
a popular railroad town in the early 1900s. It was a staging point for all
the mines in the surrounding area, especially those around the town of
Bullfrog, which shipped their goods out to the rest of the country. With the
growth of the railroads, Las Vegas became less important, but the completion
of the nearby Hoover Dam resulted in a substantial growth in tourism, which,
along with the legalization of gambling, led to the advent of the
casino-hotels for which Las Vegas is famous.
||Once infamous for its organized crime connections, Las Vegas has reinvented
itself since the 1980s era when Frank Sinatra and “the Rat Pack” singers
were top of the bill, and the city now claims to cater for a more
family-oriented market. So what else is there to do apart from gamble?
There’s shopping, either on The Strip, the traditional city main street, or
in one of several Malls, such as Caesar’s Palace or The Grand Canal Shoppes
at The Venetian (yes, you can also take a gondola ride on the Grand Canal
there). You can get tattooed or married just about anywhere, and lots of
people do. At the start of The Strip you can pause in a specially provided
car park to take a photo of the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign;
and at the Bellagio Fountains you can watch a music and light fountain show
every 15 minutes.
|Outside the city there’s the Hoover Dam, with its visitor center and guided
tours, holding back the huge Lake Mead since 1935. At the lake resort itself
you can swim, fish, boat or just hike along the shore. Just an hour’s drive
away is the beautiful ‘Valley of Fire’ State Park, where unusual rock
formations and colours provide interesting photo opportunities; for example
the Elephant rock, which is best photographed on its left side in morning
Back in Las Vegas itself, if its nightlife you are after, there is
everything imaginable on offer – and more, for excess is the city’s main
characteristic. There are nightclubs ranging from hot to relaxed to chic,
where you can dance, be seen, or just chill out. There are strip clubs,
topless bars and burlesque shows for men and women. Many tourists just play
slot machines in the hotels, ignoring all the shows on offer such as variety
and circus shows, comedy shows, or concerts by world famous popular singers
or their tribute acts.
Of course there should be time to do both: in this 24
hour world the shows don’t start till late. Even if you are a beginner,
casinos, many of which are in the hotels, will welcome your money, and the
dealers will teach you the game of your choice. There’s not even a need to
travel to Las Vegas to gamble there, as many of the casinos have on-line
But then you wouldn’t be able to photograph the endlessly
surprising, or even weird sights of this unique fun city...