Travel Theme: Glass

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Las Vegas, Bellagio Hotel

The spectacular glass sculptured ceiling at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.  The horse sat in the center of the front lobby of the hotel amidst potted plants.

For more on this week’s travel theme, visit Where’s my Backpack. 

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Las Vegas – The night club experience

The adage, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas is absolutely true but there are some experiences worth sharing.

New York New York Hotel, Las Vegas

Walking along the Vegas strip, you are repeatedly accosted by entrepreneurs offering all sorts of deals and experiences. Manny stopped us outside of the New York New York Hotel with offerings of free club admissions and free shows. Well not completely free. For $5, (per person) Manny gave us free admission to a number of clubs: The Bank at the Bellagio Hotel, Revolution Lounge at the Mirage Hotel and tickets to number of comedy shows. Now it’s important to read the fine print on these passes. Apparently, the passes were to be used on specific days of the week and specific times (before midnight). Getting six women organized and ready for a night on the town takes time. At 11:45 pm M was still doing hair and makeup for the others and only three of us were dressed and ready to go. It was at this point that I happened to read the fine print and realized that we had to get to the club by midnight so as not to pay a cover charge. It would take us 15 minutes just to get from our rooms and through our hotel lobby. We were staying at the Tropicana at one end of the Strip and the Mirage and Bellagio were mid-way down the Strip.  Given that we had spent 12 hours shopping (it was important to visit every store in both outlet malls in case me missed an awesome deal)  and some of us were trying to travel on a fixed budget, our beds ultimately were the more attractive, desirable and less costly option for the night.

We did get to a dance club the next night (Sunday) – although I’m not sure if I would call what we did dancing. We grabbed a limo (after all, we were in Vegas) to the Mirage and made our way to the Revolution Lounge ready to enjoy a free drink and great dance music only to find that the club was closed. Apparently, clubs are closed some nights. Who would have that this in Sin City right?  Maybe that’s why the passes identified going on Saturday nights? No one was prepared to give up on the night so we agreed to go next door to Pure at Caesar’s Place. Now if you haven’t been to Vegas you might not know that getting from one hotel to the next on foot would qualify for at least a half marathon (at least!). Nevertheless, we agreed to walk . Although tempted, we couldn’t justify taking a cab (or another limo) to get to the hotel next door. Fifteen minutes later, Three hours later, traveling in heels, we made it to Pure where we found only a very small line up and a reduced cover charge ($10 for Sunday night). Things were looking up. We were excited. We were pumped. We were prepared to dance!

We were finally granted admission and the bouncer and staff directed us towards the music. Up beautiful white marble staircases, past billowing gossamer curtains, up, up, up, towards the music. We finally reached our destination – the rooftop of the club where there were what seemed hundreds of people mashed together overlooking the neon lights of the Strip. It was a  spectacular sight and the music was loud and pulsing – but there was no dance floor! People were dancing where they stood.  Trying to get anywhere was difficult. We found a relatively empty spot near the bar and planted ourselves there. Maybe this was the pre-party before they opened the doors to the main club (somewhere below)? …..Apparently not. Given that it was Sunday night and there were only a few hundred people instead of the larger numbers that typically attend, the party was limited to the rooftop.

Pure Night Club

Pure, Caesar’s Palace – Rooftop Night Club

We could have sat on the beautifully canopied and comfortable looking sofas cordoned off along the perimeter of the rooftop but that would have required us to pay for bottle service which none of us felt we could afford. $10 drinks at the bar already felt a bit outrageous.  So instead we stood, in our heels, in our little section (just beside the sofa pictured above) and danced (without moving our feet much) and enjoyed the revelry around us with the occasional young man grooving and grinding his bits behind one of us (apparently this is the current mode of expressing interest in a woman among the younger crowd – who knew?) and then happily headed back to our hotel room and sleep a few hours later.

Glad I had this experience but I don’t need to visit this scene again any time soon….

Travel Stories: Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

During a recent trip to Vegas, we rented a car and drove to the Red Rock Canyon Conservation area located about 13 miles from the strip in the Mojave Desert.

We arrived at around noon at the Red Rock Canyon visitor’s center.  The temperature was already around 35 C (close to 100 F) and thick waves of heat radiated from the asphalt and sweat quickly coated our bodies.   We filled our water bottles and quickly returned to the air-conditioned car to drive the 13 mile scenic loop through the canyon. Our intention was to hike some of the trails but the heat was prohibitive and we were unprepared for the exertion (limited water supply and more importantly, limited energy after the previous night on the Vegas strip).

The first two trails – Calico 1 and Calico 2, are perhaps the most beautiful spots along the loop. The rocks looked painted, as if a giant dipped a brush into red/orange paint and brushed the mountainside.  Apparently,the Keystone Thrust Fault (millions of years ago) forced the older grey rock up and over the younger red and orange rock creating the line of red.

Sandstone Quarry

Calico Hills

Despite the temperature, a warm gentle wind blew refreshingly and we were able to explore some of the trails along the higher points of canyon.  Walking amidst these rocks reminded me of how insignificant we humans are and yet we have the capacity to impact the world around us in such a profound way.

Many hikers better prepared (with camel backs) ventured further along the trails than we did and we watched brave souls rock climbing in the distance.  We were content to sit and enjoy the sun, the blue skies and the overwhelming beauty and power of the place before returning to the craziness of the Vegas strip.

Calico Hills

Rock climbers in the distance