Las Vegas, The Sin City

lijoe's picture
My trip to US in 2005, culminated with a very wonderful tour of Las Vegas, the sin city.

My friend, John Valavi who came to do his MS in US was graduating In August and got placed at Intel. He just had a window of two weeks to join his job. I guess it was perfect timing. He decided to have his perfect graduation party celebrating it with me.

He flew down to Phoenix with the idea of travelling to Las Vegas, the dream city of US. Like he said, "If you havent seen vegas, you havent seen US fully ! "

He booked our accomodation at a hotel called Howard Johnson Inn. Its just a small motel with a small kitchen to supply food. He flew down and we booked a chrysler car called the PT Cruiser (I called it Preethi Cruiser !), a royal blue colored one and we decided to drive down the 6 hour, 350 Miles to Las Vegas. Luckily the rental agency accepts Indian driving license and I too could drive.

Just as we were about to start, we finally convinced Amar and Sangeetha to come with us. The driving was nice. As usual in US you get miles and miles of straight roads. So the toughest thing you have to do while driving a automatic car is to ensure that you are driving in your lane and not through the center of the road :). Speed limits are strictly followed in the sense that if the maximum speed a highway says is 65mph, you can exceed it by say 9mph without the police booking you. So keeping that in mind, we drove with care and I did have a little tough time trying to always remember that right is left and left is right or whatever; usual problems that drivers from India face when they reach there.

We reached Las Vegas, and the whole atmosphere just changed. A thing about US is, its a country of immigrants. That is all this land and natural resources were already available before the people came in. Today it has about 300 million people and since Britian could not get  a stranglehold as good as it did on India, they still have a lot of resources left. Secondly the low population means , all their cities are planned and a city like Las Vegas grew out in the desert of Nevada because of the ideas of a few entreprenurs who wanted to create a sin city where people could gamble and as the saying goes " Whatever happens in Vegas remains in Vegas!" .

Phoenix is called the sun city and Las Vegas the sin city. So the transition from sun city to sin city was much anticipated by bachelors like me and John. Its when you reach there you get dazzled by the glitz and architecture.

Its most wonderous few things  I felt is:

a) Its one of the most architecturally spectacular city. Its like your going back through history book. Casinos made with the themes of New York City, Roman architecture for Caesar's casino, Treasure Island Casino with the theme from the novel Treasure Island, MGM, Paris with a mini Eiffel tower, Pyramid shaped Casinos and a lot more other such historical era based casinos.

b) Hundreds of people have employment in the form of waiters, dealers on tables. You should respect those entrepreneurs and business men who decided not to simply build buildings, but allowed the architects to spend millions more to get replicas of historical marvels. The city never sleeps. The city is at its maximum glamor and glitz at night when gamblers come out in a vengeance to throw money and gamble with gusto or go to night clubs, parties or shows.

c) You have to understand, this is a complete concept city in the middle of the desert. So its like a real shock when from the horizon of the miles of desert you suddenly see standing out a city so magnificent.

d) Though its all the ruse to make a gambler compulsive and lose all his money here, I find that its the only place in US where being who you are as long as you are dressed decently, you can walk in and out of all these grandeur without one penny being spent :). So its a kinda dream world for anyone.

A thing for the guys to keep in mind is that prostitution is illegal in US except in the state of Nevada. This is where Las Vegas is! So when we were going there, most of my friends in US , wished me all the best. But in US nothing is free except maybe AIDS, so i decided not to gamble with my life and stick to machine slots and gamble some money away.

"I am sure the grapes are sour" --- Aesop, The Fox and the Grapes

We reached there walked through the slots. We had a very relcutant amar and sangeetha who just would not gamble. Me and my friend decided to part ways for them so that we can admire the beauty of the place with privacy. Beauty, ahem, yeah it can be seen in the architecture and the women. Well watching beautiful babes walking is the only hobby you can do safely here. You have the following choices, high deal gambles of 500 dollars and above , black jack and poker where you risk good amounts (People sometime
lose in the tunes of 1000 dollars a day doing this!!) or else there is the 1 dollar, 50 cents, 25 cents, 5 cents, 2 cents and 1 cent slots machines to gamble.  We poor Indians, John and I decided to start our money drain by the one cent machines. That first day we lost about 35 dollars inside 5 hours. Thats about 1500 rupees odd between us. I dint feel guilty. The only reason was knowing that if you come to Las Vegas you lose a lot of money. More than money, I realise its a livelihood for a million people who work there, so I decided to put my pilgrimage too. We then were window shopping different Casinos. We just went casino after casino seeing the place, seeing the general mood of the crowd and then went to sleep when the sun rose at 5 am.

The second day, we slept all morning and at 6 pm got out , collected Amar and Sangeetha and went to a casino at the end of the strip called the Sahara. (The strip is a collection of casinos all interconnected. Sahara is a older casino towards the end of the strip. Once upon a time it was the big shot, then much more glamorous one came and these look mediocre). Anyway we went there because everyone said so much about its good priced buffet dinner. We had our stomach's full and finally John convinced Sangeetha to part with one dollar worth of gambling to the working people of Las vegas. But I guess Sangeetha is born with the spirit to win more than lose. She made it 2 dollars!! Now we knew luck was on our side and this casino was where our fortunes would change.
(All Gamblers think like that !!)

We went to the 1 cent slot machines and made a real attempt to do something great. End of the day, I lost 20 dollars more. John lost 60 dollars and won a bumper of 125 dollars. Amar and Sangeetha spent between them 15 dollars and won 45 dollars odd. Now look how the roles turned. I realised I am not good at gambling. I always in life prefer the secure path and lost when I gambled, this was just one reminder of how I am bad at it. We ended our casino visits at around 6 am, had breakfast, slept for 4 hours. It was time for us to get back to work, so we could not complete the rest of the casinos.We drove back on Sunday morning 10 am from there and reached here at 6 pm, got slightly lost on the way (i accept I am not so good at understanding road directions and my co-passengers were deep asleep so I  could not ask directions). John just made it for his 7 pm flight.  I returned the car and our wonderful trip came to an end.

I would love to visit the Sin City again and some day I hope to. You need to see all things in life. There is a right time, right age to do those things!

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Vegas Dance

The experience you and Valavi had while dancing is worth mentioning.... :-)

It was a very memorable trip for me and Cookie as well. Thanks to you and Valavi we gambled and won ...