Vegas. Mecca for crowd of Americans looking for something extraordinary. To me a curiosity worth experiencing and catch in a bunch of pictures with a bit of notes on top. Find my first impressions on April 2013 visit to the US capitol of kitsch.
Vast space and even bigger hotels strike first. Actually casino at the airport did that really but then “oohs” of disbelief started to happen more frequently. Venetian and Palazzo most famous hotels are connected by net of air conditioned corridors saving guests from outdoor walking (important if you consider sun bumping up temperatures up to 50*C last weeks). Hotel space cleverly mixed with casinos and shops any direction from your hotel room. A little unnoticeable but hotel guests appreciate extra oxygen injected to airflow in the hotel keeping them vigorous; hotel owners appreciate it as well as they do it to keep people gambling instead falling down to bed tired.
Even more astonishing is the scale of conference rooms; corridors that allow easily walk 20 people shoulder to shoulder, halls capable to host thousands of people and myriads of smaller ones. The IBM Impact conference with 8500+ attendees was just a flash-mob comparing to 150000 attendees at Consumer Electronics Show.
Downtown is well known mix of symbols from around the world, with Eiffel tower and Egyptian pyramids amongst others. Nearly 30*C hot and humid aura combined with overcrowd sidewalks did not stop me from sightseeing on wheels. Neither the fact that skating is banned, actually I had hope police will fine me to have some extra adventure, no luck though. A pro-mile of alcohol in my blood built up during the evening party has shorten my journey just to 12km, half of it slowly flowing squeezed in stream of human mass.
No gambling inclinations and lack of funds to have inclinations to crazy night life (ok, you got me red handed, well… you should remember that “whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”) all that pushed me to go out of Vegas. My buddy refused to go to stereotypical tourist target, the Grand Canyon, and he was actually right as that place requires as least couple days in a row dedicated for it. We picked up opposite direction to give a try to Mojave Air & Space Port that is huge airplane parking and graveyard of old ones. Unfortunately since last year there is no longer entrance for tourists and we only spot hundreds of planes from the distance. On the other hand hitting the road in unusual direction showed us a bit of Nevada and California, which is apparently desert up to the horizon.
Among countless diversity of rock hills, desert flora and clumsy households we spot astonishing renewable energy farms. Close to the Mojave Airport there are endless fields of hundreds of giant windmills placed from South to North. On our way back near the Nevada-California border I saw shiny tower in the distance. It appeared to be a BrightSource (Ivanpah) project, the solar thermal station equipped with myriad of mirrors focusing a beam on boiler on top of tower in the middle. A project I have seen on Discovery channel not much earlier.
At the end of week I wished I had had more time to visit Grand Canyon. I got a nice gift from fate on way back home. Flying from Vegas to connection point in Houston I could have a bird’s-eye marvelous view on these vast rocky structure. Good enough to postpone hiking till the next visit.