Las Vegas - The strip by day and by night

Trip Start Mar 28, 2012
Trip End May 24, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Nevada
Monday, May 7, 2012

We allowed ourselves the rare luxury of a lie-in and breakfasted late (10:30) utilising the complimentary breakfast vouchers we had been given. We purchased 24hr bus passes for $5 a head and headed south to the bottom end of The Strip. The bus journey took over an hour due to the traffic and numbers of people trying to cram onto the British made double-decker bus.

Las Vegas is like no other city in the US. It has no business district. Its business is gambling and so the only high-rise buildings are Casino-hotels that populate 'The Strip'. They look distinct from outside but it is possible to move form one to the other indoors which offers a a seamless opportunity to gamble and shop. They are all spectacular and like nothing else on the planet that I've seen. The range of top designer labels from the best European fashion houses is unbelievable.

My favourite had to be the Venetian. I have blogged before about simulacra and simulation but these Casinos demonstrate it so perfectly. Americans no longer need to travel to Europe to see Paris or Venice - they are recreated here in Las Vegas in stunning detail and authenticity. The Eiffel Tower, L'Arc de Triomphe and Montgolfier Brother's balloon are recreated for all to enjoy. The Venetian has a re-ordered version of Piazza San Marco outside where the Doges Palace is linked to the Campanile by the Rialto Bridge! Inside Venice is recreated complete with canals and Gondolas. Check out the photos and jerky (apologies) video.

It is at night that The Strip comes alive. Crowds throng the sidewalks and it is hard just to move. Different attractions vie for attention with extravagant son-et-lumière presentations with lights, fireworks and water displays that are truly mesmerising.

For me the Fremont Experience which happens in Downtown was completely spectacular. I had what can only be described as a deeply spiritual experience there. This will sound odd. The 'Experience' is billed as the world's largest digital video display. It is an arched roof covering a pedestrian walkway that stretches for at least two blocks. On it is projected a whole variety of images and on the hour there is a special presentation when all the other lights are dimmed.

Last night they played Don McLean singing Bye Bye Miss American Pie. The thousands of people thronging the area all stood still, gazed upward and sang along. It was mesmerising and the hairs on the back of my neck are standing up as I write about it. It was a 'liturgical', cultic experience where thousands of people appreciated a truly great song and the motifs it communicated. Awesome. Very Special - it left me with tears running down my cheeks. Check out some of the video footage.

It was another late night as we hit the bar after our Strip experience and I discovered the epicurean delights of B&B - Benedictine and Brandy, so you see it was a truly spiritual experience in more ways than one!
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