Published: January 10th 2008January 10th 2008
Las Vegas....The Sin City...The most amazing city man made city in the world...Gambling capital of the world!Its been a dream to visit this place ever since I watched a programme on Discovery channel on Las Vegas some time back!!I love city life...the gliteretti...the buzz...& there is nothing more glittreing than Las Vegas!!
When I arrieved in US on my second visit for phase II migrations...I have made up my mind that I will visit all those places which I missed last time around.The options were Chicago, Los Angeles, Florida & Vegas.We (myself & Chirag) who share the same passion when it comes to travellng, did a thorough leg work around cost, place of interests, travel time etc...& in the end the choice was unanimous.Las Vegas!!Nothing fascinated us more than Las Vegas!There is some strange attraction to this place which attracts you towards it & we were about to experiece that.
The planning was perfect.Leave office on Friday evening...March 25..reach Vegas on same day midnight their time.Vegas is thirteen & half hours behind Mumbai, thats four hours more than Phili.This time difference made a 10 hour flight journey with halt at Atlanta look like 6 hour.We packed our bags &
carried it to office.To our surprise, our pals in DE office were equally excited abt our visit to Vegas.This shows how this city amuses people from all walks of life. Some even called us crazy when we told them abt our travel plans over the weekend.For them travelling to & from Vegas requires atleast a week!But we cared a damn abt those reactions!From office we have a booked shuttle to drop us at Phili domestics airport.When the car arrieved we thought we could never have imagined for a better car. A strech Mercidez with state of the art technology...everything in there was automated.The journey has begun in style!
At the airport, after the routine security check, we boarded the Atlanta bound Delta plane in no time.This plane was really small, with 2 seats on either side & a small passage inbetween.No storage. everyting including our hand luggage was carried in cargo.It was a smooth flight for 90 mins before we landed at Atlanta.Atlanta is considered to be the one of the biggest & busiest airport in the world and we could see why?I have never seen so many people on a US airport.They had special trains which run on
magnetic tracks to connect 2 terminals.We completely enjoyed the 2 hour halt at Atlanta..travelling btw terminals in those trains..SHopping!!The next connecting flight was directly to Vegas & a long one for five & half hours.The plane this time was Delta 700.7 seats with 2 passages. To our delight our flight was less crowdedso we could change our seats as we wished from time to time. It was fun in the plane too as we took snaps with one of the beautiful air hostesses on the plane.As we settle down, I took a small nap b'use I knew its gonna be hectic once we land in Vegas.I did my bit of rest during whatever time I had during the flight. As Chirag woke me up at the time of landing, we could see the Vegas skyline & guess what It was almost midnight..The gliteretti was simply fantastic.We couldnt wait to see it up, close & personal!
After landing, we got thru the customs formalities quickly before coming out on the street to reach for Stardust Casino & Hotel, where we have booked our stay for next 2 days.At Vegas..Gambling starts the moment you get down at the airport.There are slot
@ Stretosphere - World's Tallest Casino
Myself & Chirag took the "Big Shot"Ride on top of this 1300 feet tall casino
machines on the airport itself.In fact, as we took a few snaps on the airport, a police on duty at that time, even warned us not to spend too much time at those machines, if we dont want to miss our flightt. He told us that its so tempting that many people miss their flights b'use of those mini casinos on the aiport.Out on the streets, we confirmed that the Nevada City transport buses will take us to the Stardust. We bought our tickets & stood in the queue for the bus to arrieve.We were shivering with excitement!!We have landed at the Las Vegas!!
Looking around at all the glimmering lights, we never realised when the bus arrieved.Taking halts at big hotelcasino, we finally reached Stardust in half an hour.2 day-2 nights stay at Stardust was going to cost us around $125 for a single room.That comes to approx.$ 30 per head as we were 4 of us.Myself,Chirag, Lawrence & Khima.The check in was swift & the stay that night only for getting freshen up. We dumped our bags in the room..All of us got refreshed. As the other 2 unwind their stuff, myself & Chirag were busy finalising the plans for that nite.After due deliberations, we freezed on 3 spots, the Mirage, The Venetian & The Treasure Islands.It was around 1.30 am when We stepped out on our first outing.Vegas is 24 hour city.There were people in lots even at that time.The famous strip is a long strech with casinos on both sides of the strip & good wide shoulders to walk on. If you have to feel the glitter in true sense, you should visit Vegas at nite. Absolutely fantastic display of lights. Each casino has their own attractions.Our first halt at the Mirage, has a volcano outside which erupts every 30 mins .It also boasts of a Dolphin ring, where you can see dolphins doing some aerobics for your entertainment.Fees # $ 20 for a 30 mins show.The treasure Islands is constrcuted on the theme of ships of the imfamous pirates.On one of the decks of that ship,they have parties going on 24 * 7 & 365 days of the year.At the Venetian, its a truly Venice experience with Gondola rides both inside & outside the hotel.It houses the famous Madam Tussads Museum in there.Walk in its long passages has been eased out by some well placed eletronic walkways.Inside at the centre, it has a beautiful mural on the ceiling.A copy of the original one from Venice palace,that beautiful image is almost as wide as a tennis court. Going up & down these casinos plus the flight, our body was now tired.This apart, we have covered all 3 casinos on our list for that nite.So by 5.30 am we decided to go back to our hotel room.
After a good tight sleep in our room, we got up by noon next day.The moment we got back to our senses, it was a catch 22 situation again. In fact we both made it like that b'use we knew that the time we have may not prove to be enough if we sleep too long.After getting bath, it was again upto me & Chirag to chalk out the plans for Saturday.We decided to extend our reach till Mandalay Bay at the southern end of the strip.What we have on the card. Look at thse.
- Gondola Ride inside the Venetian
- Bellagio Fountains
- Top of Eifel Tower at Paris
& The Blue Man Show at the Luxor Theatre.
We were hungry, but we didnt care.We decided not to stop to eat.Instead,we quickly moved towards The Venetian to book our tickets for the Gondola Ride.We got a 4 pm slot.We have good couple of hours till our turn.After some shopping at the Venetian,it was time to visit the Casinos nearby in that time.The one which were in immediate vicinity were Harrahs & Casino Royale, Paris & the wonderful Bella Gio.As we walk around, we noticed many people carring a long plastic bottle with some drinks inside.Soon we discovered it was available at Harrahs.Some exoric Cockmail/MOcktails to choose from. We went a Pina Colada for $ 10.Guess what we did with that??We drank it in next 4 hours & it was so stomuchfull that we didnt feel hungry till late evenings.After having a sneak peek at these casions, we reached the Venetian just on time for our Gondola Rides. Gondola rides are available at only 2 places in the world.One is Veince & the other at venetian in Vegas.Its a ride to remember as the rider takes you through the mini Venice built inside with shops all around & a artificial sky over your head.As the rider sings in spanish,you cant help but remember Amitabh Bacchan in Great Gambler singing a famous hindi song number.It trully was a wonderful ride!
From Ventian, our next turn was Bellagio.Lookwise..I find Bella Gio to be the Grandest on the Strip, with a nice curvy architecture & a musical fountain in front.The fountains sway on a new song every 15 mins.Its a absolute joy to watch!!Paris is bang opposite Bellagio, with Eiffel tower exactly half the size of original in Paris. I wanted to go on top of Eiffel Tower, but as nobody other showed any interest I decided to go alone & meet them at the Bella Gio in 45 mins.Inside Paris, its like any other casino, with rollate tables & slot machines all around.I soon found out the ticket window & bought 1 ticket for $ 8.75.From entrance till the elevator, its a wonderful bridge that offers you a view of the casino from the 2nd level.A guard welcomes you at the elevator & shares with visitors all the interesting facts about Paris & Eifel Tower. There he told us that the replica we were climbing is same in every minute details with the original except the fact thats its exactly half the size of the original at Paris.On top, its simply fabulous!!With the Strip on the both the sides, you can see till the Mandalay Bay on one end & Stretos phere at the other end.If there is one place from which can offer best view of Bella Gio, its from top of Eifel Tower!Once down, i decided to pick up some souvenier of this amazing experience...a Mini Pouch from Paris..for my love..Namita!I wish she could have been with me there!!
I manage to meet my colleagues at the Bella Gio. The musical fountains are so wonderful that you dont feel like moving, but then we have to b'use we have a Blue Man show to catch up at Luxor at 7.30 pm.Luxor is almost a kilometer ahead of Bella Gio so we really have to walk fast.But in this gadbad, we 4 lost touch.As I was taking snaps at the Monte Carlo & its Forum Shops, Chirag & Lawrence moved ahead, we were left behind.The trouble was tickets for all were with Chirag,worth $ 75.We walked past Excaliber,MGM Grand,New York New York to reach Luxor just in time.Now the big task was to find Chirag.Fortunately he was standing the main entrance for the auditorium & we met him there.The Blue Man is arguably the only show in thw world, which has booked Full House for every show since its first one some years back.Its performed only in New York Broadway & Vegas at Luxor with some occassional world tours.In short its a privilage to see this world famous show.Auditorium is centrally located in the Luxor, which is famous for its Beam coming right out of its peak & reaches almost a few miles in the sky.This beam is something that we see from every plane leaving & arriving at the Vegas Airport.The Blue Man was most disciplined show of acrobatics with some fantastic co ordination & amazing display of lights.It was a power packed performance for 2 hours!Outside once the show was over, we took some snaps with Blue Man artists before moving towards the Gambling tables. I & Lawrence picked up slot machines while the other two Roullate. I strongly recommend that we start gambling with a pre defined limit.Its so tempting to play on expecially when you are winning. During those 2 days, I played at Stardust, Ceasers Palace apart from Luxor.From Luxor we move towards Mandalay Bay..the last one of southern end of the strip.Mandalay Bay is the most expensive Hotel & Casoni on the strip & is famous for its Sharp Reef among other things.Unfotunately when we went for it, we were lost inside the hotel.Its so huge & complex that after roamind around for almost 30 mins still we had no signs of the entrance of the reef.AT last we gave up!We were very tired now & were looking to rest for a while.We were wondering if we shud catch a cab, when we came across a mini train that will take us from one casino to other over the main streets.We were astonished & happy at the same time. This means that we can travel right upto Ex Caliber from Mandalay Bay in this train which connects one hotel to another & that too absolutely free!!A Timely discovery indeed!!
It was almost 10 pm now & so we decided to review our targets for the day.After a sneak view at Newyork Newyork,Ex caliber & MOnte Carlo, we went inside the Ceasers Palace.It gives an idea as to the earstwhile Roman Empire inside.Fabulous art effects & statues.Forum Shops & Monte carlo seems just like an extention of Ceasers Palace.Inside Forum Shops, we have some of the most exclusive shops in thw world with some of world's best brands on display.Now we were hungry & it was time for quick dinner.Our stop Mac opposite Monte Carlo.As I finish early I did some small shopping at the souveniers shops nearby.Sudeenly one of us realised that next fountain show was due in some time.With Bellagio a few blocks away, we decided not to miss it.We ran on a full stomach for 2 blocks across the street to make it in time to witness the most breathtaking display of music,lights & water in my life.There is nothing more enchanting than the Bellgio Fountains!We comfortably sat there on one of the railings to get the best view of the scene.After treating our eyes with this feast, we decided to move on towards our hotel. Enjoying the view of either side of the road & sharing our experiences with each other, we never realised as to when reached Stardust.After exploring the area nearby, we jumped into our beds...dont remember when!
Next day was our last day in Vegas..since we have captured all the places of mutual interest, we decided to go our individual way.After a quick bath, we first of all checked out & kept our bags at the Hotel reception for pick up in the evening.After checking out we had our brunch at the Mac in next boulevard opposite Tropicana.Today was the turn to go northbound.Stretosphere, the tallest casino in the world, at 1400 feet tall, its located at the northmost tip of the strip.More than anything what was attarcting us towards Stretosphere is the ride called "Out of thw world".Its located on top of the stretosphere tower & takes you still higher by 60 feet, when your seat is ejected at the speed of 100 kmhour towards the sky & back to the ground at same speed for multiple times.None of us dared to go for this except me & Chirag.They play very loud music to make you go for it.The atmosphere was eletryfying with our pulse racing as we stand in the dilemma of whether to go for it or no.Finally we step forward.At the price of $ 15 we get a ride on this scary seat plus a photo studded in a keychain as a souvenier of our adventure.We sat on the ride & our seat belts are fastened.As I prepare myself for the ride, in split second came the jolt & in no time, we were racing up at tremendous speed. We try to hold our breath, & immediately we were thrown down at same speed..then again up..This happened 4 - 5 times as I try to hold my grip firmly.This ride is definitely not for the weak hearted!!
Once out..it took us some time to come out that excitement...trauma, whatever you may call it!We then picked up our key chains, did some small shopping at the shops located on level 1 & 2.From top, one can see the entire strip from end to end.I love tall structures.Have been on top of tallest structures in 4 cities so far ..Empire State in NYC,Washington Monument in DC,Prudential Tower in Boston & London Eye in London & now STretosphere in Vegas.I just love this feeling!!Satisfying...trully satisfying!!
Out of Strtosphere, we decided to go our way..my target was MGM Grand - The biggest hotel & resort in the world & New York New York ride.We decided to meet up at Stardust Reception by 5.30pm.This means that I have around two & half hours to cover this.Lawrence & Chirag decided to go together..their stop The Bellagio.I had to litelarry run b'use MGM & New york though located opposite to each other were on the other end of the strip & I started out at The other extreme end.To save the energy, we decided to take the city bus.We all boarded the same bus.Chirag got out first at Bellagio & I got down at MGM.
I always wanted to go to a theme park while in US.Since that wish is still unfulfilled, I decided to take a feel of the ride in New York New York.A 3oo feet drop & then multiple swivels before we arrieve back at the paltform.Simply fantabulous!!After the ride, I went inside the casino to take a sneak peek at how it is designed.New York New York gives you falvour of New York city.They have all NYC monuments replicas in & outside casino..All the skyscrapers, Liberty & Broklyn Bridge..inside they have created streets similer to those in original city & those roadside cafes!!Very Very good!From New York New York I crossed the street & went inside MGM.Like Empire State, it was cherished wish to visit MGM Grand ever since I saw it on Discovery channel last year.They have a lion habitat inside . Unfortunately trainers were feeding the lions when I got there.I just got a glimpse of how grnd the lions & their habitat is!But it was grand ..really grand.Another small wish fulfilled!!Admiring the interiors of MGM I never realised that its barely 15 mins for 5.30 when we have to meet each other.From MGM to Stardust, its a 15 mins car ride...guess what I ran at the fastest in my life that day to make it to Stardust that evening..same time I took to meet CHirag & co at the casino.My heart skipped a bit withg a thought that these guys might make a move towards the airport if I dont reach in time.BUt finally I made it.From the reception, we picked up our bags,the Taxi was ready for taking us to the airport.I remembered all those exciting moments as we move towards the airport.At the airport, there were slight problems.CHirag has given me a lighter to carry in my hand luggage, which was picked up by Airport security. They made me open my bags & only after completely satisfying themselves, decided to let me carry on.Luggage kisk aur taklif kisko.At the terminal, a tiny train took us to the gate, where we boarded for our first connecting flight for Cincenetti.In the plane I remember, the pilot took a 90 degree turn no longer we are in the air..I was occupying a window seat. At one moment, I was terribly frightened that our plane is going to crash in the round since it took the pilot a good 15-20 mins to complete the turn.Then I was dead tired & slept very well & directly got up minutes before landind at Cincinetti airport.
There was comedy of errors at Cincinetti.We all misinterpreted our next connesting flight timings & thought that its just minutes from departure as we came out the plane.We ran like anything with CHirag holding the other end of my bag from terminal 1 to terminal 4, only to realise that still there is atleast 4 hours before flight departs for Salt Lake City.It waS almost midnight & all domestic airport shops were closed.Luckily we got 1 Wendy's outlet open, where I had my usual meal.From Cincinetti to Salt Lake City & from Salt Lake city to Phili, it took us good 14 hours before we reached Phili at 10 am on Monday monring of March 29.Our pick up in same Merc was waiting for us at the airport, who took us swiftly at the office at 11 am.At office,we changed into our professional gear,in the washroom & were back at our desk for the BAU.
Last 4 days have been nothing short of a dream.Entire visit to & from Vegas was so meticulously planned that we hardly missed anytthing on each of our itineraries.MGM,New York New York Ride,Gondola rides at the ventian, the Blue Man show,Top of Eifel Tower at Paris,Bellagio Fountains,the scary Stretosphere ride,sneak peek at all the major casinos on the strip..we covered it all...& that too in style!They say, what comes stays in Vegas...But I have got something very valubale back with me...some unforgettable moments & memories of my first visit to The Sin city...Las Vegas!