We didn't make our fortune in Vegas, but we had a wicked time for the next 2 days doing our bit to keep the casinos going
. There was some serious gambling going on around us, and it was good watching the Japanese tourists putting down hundreds on the roulette tables and seeing their reactions when their numbers didn't come up - usually putting another few hundred on the next round. One big casino is Treasure Island, and 4 times a night they put on a show out the front on the street, with 2 pirate ships (one with bikini clad babes and one with shirtless hunks) doing battle with canons and fireballs and fireworks, until one ship sinks into the water. All of the different hotels / casinos have a different theme, including Luxor (complete with giant pyramid), Paris (complete with Eiffel Tower), New York New York (complete with Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Skyline) and The Venetian (complete with canals and gondolas). Also amazing was the water and light show at the Bellagio fountains, which happens every 15 minutes to a different soundtrack.
The city is organised so that you hardly ever need to cross the street. Conveniently / cleverly there are outside escalators and walkways that take you from one giant complex to the next, without an exit sign in sight, meaning that weary gamblers and drunken tourists like us are forced to part with even more cash on the quest to get out. The general consensus with Vegas is that you either love it or you hate it. The last review we had of it from one of the cops in Newcastle compared Vegas to his ex-wife and went somewhere along the lines of "a complete money grabbing whore of a place'
. We agreed that we both loved it - completely over the top, glitzy, random, verging on ridiculous metropolis in the middle of the desert and didn't really want to leave, especially as we were paying less for a spotless hotel room than we'd payed for some grubby over-priced campgrounds.
Time is starting to go really quickly now though and we found out whilst in Vegas that the guy we bought the car from in Seattle is keen to buy it back off us for a good price. This meant re-working our route, and instead of the original plan to drive south from San Francisco to Los Angeles and spend a week or so trying to sell the car down there, we'd now be heading north up the coast all the way through California, Oregon and Washington and then make our way back to LA by plane or train...a better plan as we get to keep the car longer, see more of America, and have a guaranteed and legal sale of the car instead of keeping our fingers crossed for a half decent and last minute sale in LA.
As we drove down from the mountains and into the Nevada Desert, the heat hit us like a brick wall, and even a 69 cent ice cream from good old McDonald's only helped a little bit. We arrived in Vegas around 2pm to over 35'c heat and were delighted to find out that the Hotel Sahara (booked from the budget section of lonely planet of course and only $30 a night, so a little apprehensive about what it would be like) was a super nice hotel / casino right at the end of the strip, with a swimming pool, shops, cafes, bars and restaurants all under one roof. Our room also had air con...a luxury that the Windstar doesn't quite stretch too (made worse by the fact that everyone who drives past you smugly has their windows done up and knows how much you are suffering. All your remaining effort after concentrating on not sweltering to death is dedicated to looking as if you're not that hot and not bothered by the heat anyway, you actually want your windows open. Whatever.)