What Happened TO Vegas?

August 26-27, 2016, 

Las Vegas

We are traveling with the family and are on the bus tour that just doesn’t get the whole Vegas nights things, but even if I take those externalities out – what happened to Vegas?

The streets are less loud and the crowds are thinner; the drunk groups of young adults staggering around with oversized drinks have been replaced by families and hand holding couples. Is Vegas getting gentrified? Or is it just a reflection of how the economy is doing?

I vividly remember my first time here. It was electrifying. The strip was buzzing and bursting – jazzy lights, dancing fountains, fake monuments! Colorful characters jostled about, laughing and chattering loudly. It was like stepping into a decadent fantasy fiction.

The glamour seems to be wearing off. What happened?

Grand Canyon and Death Valley Road Trip Plan

*Alert* – This grand plan was stolen off the internet with a few minor additions. If it belongs to you, please let me know, I would like to give credit and thank you.

Day 1: Leave San Diego on I-8, moderately scenic until you hit Imperial Valley. When you cross the state line into Arizona at exit 2 take US95 towards Quartzsite. I-10 and US60 will bring you to the old ‘dude’ town of Wickenburg, and overnight here. Make sure you eat at the Horse Shoe Cafe. Has to be one of the best diners in the Southwest. Try www.arizonaguide.com for help with lodgings.

Day 2: North on US93, then take AZ89 towards Prescott. Beyond Prescott turn off onto scenic AZ89A and have break at Jerome , and lunch at the oldest restaurant in Arizona, the English Kitchen. Continue on scenic AZ89A through the stunning Red Rocks of Sedona and along beautiful Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff. Head north on US89 to Cameron and overnight at the lodge at the trading post . Good shopping, excellent restaurant. If you have time you can do a scenic loop, off US89, to Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki Nat Mon’s.

Day 3: Take scenic AZ64 to enter Grand Canyon Nat Park, stopping at the Watchtower at Desert View for your initial “WOW”. Continue towards Grand Canyon Village, enjoying the many overlooks, then take AZ64 and I-40 to Kingman and overnight here.

Day 4:  Check out the sunrise over the Canyons. Continue on I-40, then at exit 44 turn off onto Historic Route 66, over scenic Sitgreaves Pass to the ‘ghost town’ of Oatman. CoRd153, AZ95, NV163 and US95 will then bring you to Las Vegas. Plenty of places to stay here. Enjoy an evening on the Strip. Go for Phantom of the Opera if playing and if possible. If not, go for a stand-up comedy.

Day 5: Head south from Las Vegas on I-15, then take NV160 to Pahrump. NV372, which becomes CA178 will bring you to insane Death Valley Nat Park. Drive through the park, then CA180 and CA178 will bring you to Ridgecrest and overnight here. If possible camp in the desert. Stargaze.

Day 6: Wake up to a spectacular sunrise. Head back to San Diego/Vegas

Vegas Baby

September 2013

this picture just doesn't do justice

this picture just doesn’t do justice

We celebrated the Husband’s birthday in Vegas this year.We both been to Vegas before, but this was our first trip together. Raga opted out, so that it Ashok (B-I-L), me and the Husband in Ashok’s awesome batman-type car. As we drove down from San-Diego to Vegas, we ran into a few showers. We could see great grey storm clouds rolling in the distance, and caught glimpses of what lies beyond as lighting ripped open the fabric of the skies. Best of all, we drove through the most amazing sunset ever, stopping just long enough to take pictures.

IMG_0482We checked into our hotel and headed out almost immediately. The plan was party all night long. We started with getting some glue for my broken heel and then the Mix. The Mix is a covered rooftop nightclub with a great view of the city. I entered a cubicle in the Ladies’ Room to fix my broken heel, and wooaahh.. the exterior was made of glass. You get a spy on the city as you..ahem.. go about your business, without worrying about the city getting a sneak peek at you. The elevation and angle ensures there’s no direct visibility unless someone’s flying by in a copter.

We started off with a really expensive dinner at the celebrity chef’s restaurant attached to the Mix. Delicately flavoured tiny portions with the ability to blow a crater in your pockets. After partying to our hearts content we moved to the tables. I had tried playing craps before at Atlantic City, but had no idea how it was played. This night, we figured it out. Kind of, atleast. I have long since forgotten, but that night we played. It was almost like in the movies. Once we exhausted our budget, we  decided to call it a night.

We started the next day with brunch at the Bellagio. What an awesome spread they had. Stuffed till we could eat no more, we practically rolled ourselves out. We headed out to Hoover Dam. At the time of its construction/completion, Hoover Dam was the tallest dam in the world. It used to be the largest producer of hydroelectric power in the world until 1948. Today, it is no longer the tallest, the largest by volume or the largest hydroelectric power producer, but remains among the biggest and best-known dams in the world.

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We headed back to Vegas for our next big event – a Cirque du Soleil. After much debating on which show to catch –  the new Micheal Jackson show or the well known “O”, we had locked on “O”. We settled into our seats prepared to be amazed, but what happened in the next 90 minutes was waaaaaaaay beyond amazing. Our minds were well and truely blown.The jaw dropping acrobatic performances, the superb synchronization, the sheer  dare devilry, left us astounded. The costumes, sets, choreography and the way they are used to convey emotion and carry the wafer thin plot ahead was absolutely extraordinary. This performance gets a double thumbs up from me, it was 90 minutes of  pure spectacular.

IMG_0479Over dinner I introduced the Husband and the B-I-L to sake bombs. After a few initial minutes of disbelief, and some consultation with Google, they agreed to watch as I thumped the table to drop the sake into the beer. Post dinner we went back to the craps table, where I threw very lousily, or should I say crappily. Two double 6s in a row!! Damn!! where is this luck when I’m playing ludo??

Las Vegas Airport

Las Vegas Airport

The next day, after a rather average lunch at a small Indian buffet, we headed to the airport while Ashok drove back to SD.

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On the way

On the way

On the way to Vegas, we drove through a small storm. Who would have ever thought it would create such a spectacular skyscape?
The setting sun was behind us. The storm was brewing to a side. The wind was blowing so hard, that little droplets of rain were running UP the windshields.The fabric of the sky would occasionally rip to reveal a flash lighting.