Las Vegas: Fantasy and Reality - Part 4 of 10

Shortly after our day-trip to Santa Monica, our hosts took us on a two-day excursion to self-proclaimed Sin City: Las Vegas.
Leaving LA through the mountains
...and through the mountains
Travel to this famous, or infamous (depending on your viewpoint) desert resort just over the California state border into Nevada, involved a 4 hour drive across the Mojave desert to arrive at a strange mix of fantasies stuck down in the middle of nowhere, which seemed to have at its heart the notions of making the impossible possible; making dreams a reality and making your bank balance a thing of the past.
...and down into the desert
...until we reach Nevada. Whiskey Pete's is the first casino across the state line - about 100 yards across it!
More desert
In fact, parting you from your cash in as quick a time as possible and without you realising it, is something in which Las Vegas excels. It is all done so effortlessly and in the worst possible taste, because nothing excels like excess. At least that is the working premise here - demonstrated in the excessive style of every premises from Caesar's Palace to Planet Hollywood.
Paris and Caesar's Palace
We were booked in at Caesar's Palace, where the reception clerk made us feel special by offering us and our hosts an upgrade - available to only a few (hundred) - of adjoining rooms at only $65 extra per room. Wow! Rarely have I felt so singled out for special treatment ...and at only an additional $65! OK, my deep-rooted sarcasm is starting to kick in now, so I must be careful. We were treated exceptionally well, even if I was finding it difficult to remember that the practice of tipping is not optional in America; it is mandatory. This means that some 'tipees' will tell you that you are not tipping enough, even to the point of stating the minimum gratuity they will accept. (This happened to us at an establishment in Los Angeles International Airport, where the service was frankly, very poor).
As near as I can work out the arrowhead marks the location of our suite 
One of the entrances
Very understated don't you think? I mean for Las Vegas.
A collage of views from our window
The view from our room was of another accommodation tower within the Caesar's Palace Complex. Indeed, our bedroom window was pretty much the only window from which we could see the outside world. The entire complex looked inward on itself - focussing your attention on the sales areas; the gambling tables and machines; the bars, restaurants and shops. Caesar's Palace is very 'Roman' in feel, but I doubt that any ancient Roman citizen would recognise it as such. Or maybe they would recognise the decadence and the conspicuous wealth lavished on every detail and human comfort. That aspect at least made me think of the last days of Rome and the empire.

Our first evening in Las Vegas was spent at the Trump Tower Hotel, celebrating a 40th birthday. A fine meal - and again we were treated royally - the staff outnumbered the restaurant and bar guests by some way. Here was where it was brought home to me that the American's really do not walk ...anywhere!
Part of the lobby at the Trump Tower Hotel
When we left the Trump Tower, we were going to take a scenic walk back to Caesar's Palace by way of some of the other attractions. However, inspired by the icy wind whipping around the hotel entrance - and insistently encouraged by the doormen (who no doubt received 'a percentage' of the fare - we opted for a cab. 2 minutes and half a mile later we alighted at The Venetian, a rendering in concrete of the spirit of La Serenissima, complete with Rialto Bridge, St Mark's Campanile, masked courtesans in authentic costume, as well as a pop combo adorning a genuine Venetian platform, all the while belting out an inaudible current 'hit' into their Venetian microphones.

Another cab - this time steered by a magic-trick-playing New Yorker - returned us to Caesar's Palace, where we were soon sinking into wild and exuberant sleep, populated with bright and sparkly thoughts and technicolor dreams.

Las Vegas Day 2 to follow soon... 


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