American road trip 2011 D7 Death Valley Las Vegas

Just a quick explanation: in the summer of 2011, my parents decided to take all six of us (four children between 22 and 16 and two parents) on a roadtrip through -mostly- the West Coast of the USA. This was written as a diary at the time, so keep in mind that this was written by a 22-year-old who was blogging to keep family and friends updated on our whereabouts. Enjoy! – Camille

Vegas baby! Larger than life, bigger than big, more people around than know what is good for them and above all: so much money to lose. That’s about what I had in mind when we were driving into Nevada, on our way to the Strip, Vegas’s most famous street and the place to be. Strangely, my prejudices weren’t all correct…

When we first saw the Strip, it was with a bit of bewilderment. We weren’t there yet, but we could see it from afar. Strangely, it seemed much smaller than we had thought. By the time we got there, it was much bigger. Hurray!

We stayed in Paris Las Vegas, this big hotel where everything is faux-French and which is easily recognisable by the big tour d’Eiffle in front of it (there must have been a sale, because the Arc de Triomphe was right next to it). The moment we entered the ground floor, we arrived at Paris. It was amazing: the streets with fake cobbles, small shops (one called ‘Shoooz’), a gorgeous blue sky topped with small white clouds… Very nice.

After getting ourselves installed, we went outside to get a look at all the other hotels. Now, outside was very hot. Close to 43 degrees, I think. And every time we entered a shop or hotel, we were blasted by airconditioning. Suffice to say that by the end of the day my lenses were completely dried-out, my vision was severely lacking in focus, I’d had the feeling of having a fever for an entire day (hot-cold-hot-cold-hot-cold…) and my headache was as large as the tower in front of the hotel. But: what fun.

Larger than life? In a way. Where else can you find Paris, New York, Medieval England, Hollywood, Rome, Venetia, pirates and so much more on one street of about two kilometres? But we were a bit disappointed. Our favourite hotels were our own and Caesar’s Palace, because they were the best worked out of the lot. The others were fun, but a bit disappointing. I blame the films.

Bigger than big? Absolutely. The hotels were huge. So many rooms, so many casino-parts, so many people and shops, so many restaurants; it was very easy to get lost. But most of the replicas were smaller than the real deal (which is a good thing, as otherwise the hotels would have been even bigger and the Strip would have to be expanded), and the restaurants were sometimes a bit disappointing (if ever in need of a good -Italian- meal, go to Rao’s in Caesar’s Palace: the food is wonderful, it’s not all expensive and the service couldn’t be better). Also a small disappointment: the canals in the Venetian were dry…

Lots of people? Excuse me, but hell yeah. I have no idea how many people were there (general estimates are around 100.000 a day), but they were everywhere: older people, toddlers, new-borns, teenagers, … It was nuts. But fun, because you could do lots of people-watching.

Lots of people losing/winning money? I guess so, but I never really got a chance to watch. I’m not a big gambler so wasn’t very interested, plus it would be a bit stalkerish to just walk in and look at how people are playing. But it was funny to see how people were when gambling: you had the ‘I’m not really interested in this and am just doing this on automatic pilot’ group, there was the ‘I swear I’m going to win this time!’ group and you also had the ‘I’m just pretending I’m relaxed but deep inside I’m so freaked out because I might just win‘ group. Like I said: lots of people-watching-fun.

Did I like Vegas? For me, it had a bit of a disappointing ending (what with the headache and all), but I understand the hype. It’s fun-filled, and who doesn’t like that?

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