“We are somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert“. We drive hundreds of miles through savannah and desertland from Los Angeles and head to Las Vegas. The air conditioning is at the highest load and when you leave the car you suddenly feel the brachial force of the desert… the air is full of heat and sand. You better don’t leave the car.
We are cruising straight forward on the freeway towards a hill at the horizon. Behind the hill we go straight on to the next hill. And out of the nothing this oasis is appearing surrounded by a big halo in the night skies.
After a few miles on the Interstate 15 it becomes bright as it was daytime and the small desert freeway turned into a 10 lane collossus with heavy traffic. The facades of the nightly illuminated hotels of the strip appear. Finally we can leave the freeway to arrive at our hotel.
Actually we don’t need a hotel. We are doing a road trip with an RV and so we have everything we need onboard. But we decided not to stay at a campground in Las Vegas, which would look like a parking lot with an attached small swimming pool. In this city it is important to have a silent and cool room where you can relax and recover from all the excessive party, noise and heat out on the streets.
It’s no fun to drive a 22 feet long RV at night up and down the busy Strip to find a parking lot for this vehicle. Although the manager of our hotel said that there was some oversized parking space for us, there is none because of the constructions taking place at the hotel. Well, finally we find a free parking lot at the Wild Wild West Casino next to the freeway entrance. It is non guarded and seems a little bit dubious.
So it is at night after a long journey from Los Angeles and we were happy that we found this little place. We were not sure that this was a safe place. But we should have good luck.
Hotels in Vegas are not as expensive, when you compare the prices to other American cities. The ressorts benefit from the fact that the guests stay in the hotels for gambling and so they spend a lot of money there. On the other hand those cheap hotels don’t offer that much service you are used to from other hotels. Those who want to have a luxurious stay and a good service have to pay a few dollars more.
If you walk down the strip and look at the big hotel resorts with their abundant parks and attractions you will soon come to this typical Las Vegas feeling: you lose your feeling about time. Is it day or night? It really doesn’t matter.
Everything you want to do in this city you can do 24 hours a day. Casinos, restaurants, shops are open all the time and everywhere you see people drinking, smoking, gambling, partying.
Remarkably you don’t find those dudes we call “Schnapsleichen” (i.e. people who are too drunk and sleep on the street) or aggressive guys. Everything seems to be very easy and safe.
Approximately a 15 minutes taxi ride takes you to Fremont Street. That amusement part of the city is a wild one. It is located in downtown Las Vegas and there is an exhibition of old neon signs which is really worth viewing.
At nighttime here you see loads of people drinking much more alcohol, people partying hard, even nude people on the streets – which is quite unusual for American cities. There is a big roof over Fremont street, which also is a big video screen. At nightime you see concerts and shows there and loudspeakers from everywhere generate an atmosphere of permanent noise. Below the screen you see a zip-line and every 10 minutes tourists are “flying over” the crowd enjoying this attraction while yelling. Weird absurdities are everywhere in this city, although it is worth seeing it. :-)
There is one quote about a former attraction of the city I really love. It is about the Bazooko’s Circus (now it’s called Circus Circus):
“Bazooko’s Circus is what the whole hep world would be doing every Saturday night if the Nazis had won the war. This was the Sixth Reich.”
Hunter S. Thompson: Fear and Loathin in Las Vegas
This describes exactly what you feel at some attractions ;-) Anyway, I like and dislike that city at the same time.