So Las Vegas it is. Like some sort of weird oasis it appears out in the desert from far away drawing you to it. Gold high rise hotels, neon and the promise of good times. I choose my hotel, Circus Circus, for two reasons – One because its cheap, and the other because of its connection to Hunter s. Thompson – The guy who brought us ‘Fear and loathing in Las Vegas, one of my all time favourite books (and movies, Johnny Depp is awesome as the Doctor, though Circus Circus wouldn’t let them film inside)
This hotel is huge, and so much going on in every corner – gambling, drinking, eating, circus stuff, games, all sorts – though this is nothing to the casinos further down the strip!! Hunter S. Thompson had this to say about it –
“The Circus-Circus is what the whole hep world would be doing on Saturday night if the Nazis has won the war. This is the Sixth Reich”. – Though it’s really wholesome family fun these days.
Anyway,eventually I negotiate my way through the chaos to the outside world and the Las Vegas strip.I walk down the top of the strip dominated by the golden Wynn and Encore hotels, stopping to eat beef head tacos at the amazingly named ‘Tacos El Gordo’, before making it to the centre of the strip. Here I check out the amazing Venetian hotel – with its replica canals and fresco ceilings. The sheer extravagance of the place just blows me away. Feeling out of place I find some cheap bars to hang out in. In fact cheap isn’t the word. I’m paying as little as $1 a beer in some places – and for $2 you get a hot dog as well.
But this place isn’t cheap, the money just seems to drain from your pockets – a couple of dollars for the machines turns into 10, and with poker machines at every bar stool its hard not to resist. They really know how to squeeze every last cent from you.
I’m happy when I meet a guy called TJ from Chicago and have a couple of drinks. He’s travelling to Los Angeles to make it as a writer – Oh yes, straight out of a movie. We drink, meeting all sots of crazy characters and end up in downtown Las Vegas, where the beer is even cheaper and the bars more dingy. At one place we eat a prawn cocktail for $2 – bit of a weird thing to be drinking at 2am in Vegas, but hey, stranger things have happened. After this we crash – heading back to Circus Circus for some sleep.
The next day i wake up glad i didn’t get food poisoning from the prawn cocktail and head to the pool for a swim before getting out into the mid day sun to check out some more hotels. I pass through treasure island with its tropical getaway vibe and xxxx with its endless Beatles advertising, then on to Caesar’s Palace – this place is enormous, with huge Greco-roman statues and endless shopping and restaurants. Across the road is the Bellagio and Paris, both well thought out, beautiful hotels. The replica Eiffel tower is so impressive.
By this time I’m all hotel’d out. i find a local microbrew place that sell great new york style pizza and load up. After this its a case of drinking my way back down to my hotel via any cheap dive bar I can find. I get back to the hotel and crash out straight away.
The next morning I contemplate staying, but decide not to and hit the road north again through Nevada and into the Eastern Sierra Nevada
Next part 3 – Up the back and over the top