Thursday, September 22, 2011

Travels in foreign lands-XXIV (Going West in America-III)

Las Vegas is a dream city for the gamblers but others also can enjoy the plenty of entertainment available day and night. Pappoo had booked a double room for us in Hotel/Casino Luxor. He got a special deal of $ 45 per night which by any standards is quite cheap. In order to attract people, Las Vegas offers special prices. Tickets from all over the world are quite cheap. Stay and food is probably the cheapest! The only thing from which the resort earns is gambling. Thousands of slot machines and all other gambling joints. Pappoo had been coming quite often here for spending a week end. However, he had a principle. Enjoy the stay, the food, and the entertainment but never gamble! So we stuck to the principle and had two enjoyable days!
The drive to Las Vegas is long and monotonous. Pappoo took his Mercedes. It was more comfortable and faster. The drive goes through some mountains and then mostly through a desert like country. In fact, some times the drive became so monotonous that Pappoo started feeling sleepy. We stopped for coffee on the way. I had an interesting incident in the roadside café. Pappoo asked me which size coffee I would like. On my asking for a medium, he wanted me to be sure? I insisted and lo and behold, I got a huge coffee. After that incident I always asked for the smallest one! Later on in another café, I asked for a small one and was handed over a good sized cup. On my ascertaining from the girl about the small coffee, she said this is the smallest they have! During the drive we saw vast stretches of dry lake beds with layers of salt. We reached Las Vegas in the afternoon and went straight to our Hotel Luxor.
It is in the form of an Egyptian Pyramid. They have huge statues outside and inside it gives feel of being in Pharaoh's land! The Hotel is so huge that there are 26 counters for check in of guests in the reception. In fact, after seeing some more hotels, I told Pappoo that these were Casino Cities instead of Casino Hotels. After getting our smart electronic key, we went straight to our room on the eighth floor. Being tired by the journey in the hot desert, we went to sleep for a couple of hours. In the evening, we had a shower and then after some tea and snacks started our exploration.
First we visited different areas of the Hotel itself. It is huge and one could get lost in it. There are dozens of slot machines everywhere. There are many eating joints and restaurants. There are also some shows going on in different parts. Most of the staff is dressed in Egyptian style of ancient days. One is literally transported in imagination to the days of Pharaohs! We had dinner in one of the good restaurants and then went out to watch a show on the roadside near another casino where pirates attack a ship. The show is dramatic with lot of fireworks going all round. Next morning we got up quite late. After breakfast we decided to visit some more casinos. There is one called Caesar's Palace. It is totally in Roman style with statues of famous Romans from the glorious days of Roman history in different parts. There is a shopping arcade with an artificial blue sky with moving clouds on the top. While walking through the arcade one gets an impression of being outside under a blue sky with some moving clouds! In a number of places there are fountains with statues around these. In one such square, we saw all of a sudden the statues come to life and start talking to each other.
These statues are of grey colour resembling polished stone. It was very eerie to see these stone statues talking and moving their arms and heads! After few minutes these again became still and were hard as stone! It is truly a marvel of modern technology. In the evening, Pappoo had obtained tickets for an evening Cabaret show in one of the casinos. It is supposed to be a very famous Cabaret. We got some good seats and enjoyed the hour long show. We had a round of some other casinos. It is impossible to see everything in Las Vegas in a matter of couple of days. It is an amazing city of entertainment. However, we stuck to our principle of good food, entertainment programmes but no gambling!
Next morning, we again got up leisurely, packed our bags, and checked out right from the room itself. There is a system where under through the room TV you can get your bill and check out without going back to the reception desk. The credit card is automatically debited with the amount which we were supposed to pay for our stay. Pappoo wanted me to see the Stratosphere tower and have lunch in the restaurant on top of it. It was then the highest spot in Las Vegas. One could have a panoramic view of the whole city. We could also see the Las Vegas airport and there were planes landing and taking off regularly. Lunch was quite tasty and in the cool of the air-conditioned restaurant sitting on top of the world, it was really enjoyable and was a grand finale to our Las Vegas trip. Journey back to Lake Havasu was monotonous except for a short coffee break on the way. Next day we took rest and made preparations for a five hour long trip to Los Angeles day after. We would be staying with Robyn's parents for two nights and I would be flying off from Los Angeles to New York for my journey back home via Gibraltar.
(To be continued…)

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