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When you mention to any one here in the States that you are planning a trip to Las Vegas suddenly they become energized. If they have ever been there they are eager to tell you about the most extravagant hotels, the greatest gambling spots and the finest shows, and if they have never been there they are envious. Hearing so much from friends and family who had been there, I could not wait to see this magical land. When I peered down from the airplane as Las Vegas approached I thought I was seeing a mirage, but Las Vegas is no illusion. Entering the airport after landing I heard a peculiar clanging noise, “cha ching cha ching.”

As I rounded a corner to retrieve my luggage I saw there in the airport shiny, enticing slot machines begging for me to put my quarter in.
Having checked out just the right one, the one that was calling my name, the machine just for me and no one else, the one I was going to win on, I placed my quarter in the slot.

I reached for the handle, pulled it down, and the wheels went spinning. It stopped spinning and nothing happened, not a thing. There went my quarter, and I was off to see the city of Vegas. But do not be discouraged by my first failure, I did win some nice pocket change later. And if you are not a gambler, there is plenty more to do in Las Vegas.

To Americans Las Vegas is a place to reinvent yourself, to let your hair down and have a great time. Where else in the world can you go from New York to Paris, take a gondola ride through Italy, see Ancient Rome, sail the high seas with pirates, hit the high country with the cowboys, visit Egypt, or take a trip to Rio, all within about fifteen minutes or so?

I drove down the Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard) for an initial look at all the sights, and began to get a sore neck gazing up at all the extraordinary hotels. Each hotel has a theme, scaled down in size.

One example is the Hotel Paris, which has a reproduction Eiffel Tower built with the same engineering techniques as the Paris original. You can even take an elevator ride to an observation deck and see an amazing view of the Strip. At Luxor Hotel there is a black glass pyramid which rivals the originals in Egypt for size, and a replica of the tomb of Tutankhamen discovered in 1922. The lower part of the boulevard leads to ancient Rome in the guise of Caesars Palace. Along the colonnaded and stone paved ancient Roman streets you can buy Gucci and Louis Vuitton originals from the Forum Shops. If you want to watch the Rio de Janeiro carnival, you do not have to go to Brazil. What is Rio Suite Hotel for? Or if you want to relax on the shores of Lake Como, the Bellagio Hotel is for you. Hard Rock Hotel is, of course, popular with the younger rocker gamblers!

And if you have never been to Hollywood, but are filled with curiosity about it, then call in at MGM Grand Hotel.

I was also fascinated by the free public shows each hotel puts on at specific times of the day. As you walk down the street you can stop and watch two ships battle it out at Treasure Island Hotel and actually see one of the ships sink into the water once it has been hit. Or alternatively stroll past the Bellagio Hotel and watch a brilliant water and light show to music by Pavarotti and other favorites. In front of Mirage Hotel is a volcano which erupts every fifteen minutes after dark!

A sight you should not miss is the city centre where you can see the oldfashioned gambling casinos first established here. This is where the ordinary daily life of Las Vegas goes on, and tourists are few and far between. Also in this area is the Fremont Street Experience, built at a cost of millions of dollars in 1990. This huge shopping mall stretching for five blocks links the casinos along the way. The spectacular dome over the mall is illuminated by more than two million lightbulbs, and the light and sound shows held through the night here carry us mortals into other worlds.

The nightlife is what people really come to Las Vegas for. Every place offers excellent shows with talented impersonators, comedians, jugglers, magicians, showgirls, western dancing, and famous musicians and singers. Or enjoy an elegant dinner overlooking the city. The food in Vegas is just as appetizing as the sights. Famous restaurants include Spago, renowned for its Peking duck, Carnival World Buffet at Rio Suite Hotel, or Stratosphere Tower, known as much for its breathtaking view as for its cocktails and delicious appetisers.

And if you want to shop you have come to the right city! Do you want Armani or Prada? Or do you like bargains? You can get three t-shirts for $9.99 at just about any souvenir shop.

If you want to get away from the world of entertainment, there are numerous museums and parks in the city. In Fort State Historic Park in Old Las Vegas, you can learn about the Mormon community who came here from Utah in 1855.

Or go out of the city to ski on the peaks of Lee Canyon, take a trip to Bonnie Springs Ranch, trek through Red Rock Canyon with its colourful sandstone formations 25 kilometres west of Las Vegas, or camp at Desert National Wildlife Range. Day trips can also be made to the Hoover Dam, which miraculously created Lake Mead in the centre of the cactus spangled empty desert, and without which Las Vegas could never have developed as it has, the Grand Canyon National Park, or Valley of Fire State Park.

If, having come to Las Vegas, you are determined to gamble, then I have another suggestion, which is possibly the greatest risk you have ever made in your life: marriage. As you know, Las Vegas is the wedding capital of the world. Since some of the Nevada marriage laws do not apply here, it is possible to walk in and get married on the spot. So good luck!

When you mention to any one here in the States that you are planning a trip to Las Vegas suddenly they become energized. If they have ever been there they are eager to tell you about the most extravagant hotels, the greatest gambling spots and the finest shows, and if they have never been there they are envious. Hearing so much from friends and family who had been there, I could not wait to see this magical land. When I peered down from the airplane as Las Vegas approached I thought I was seeing a mirage, but Las Vegas is no illusion. Entering the airport after landing I heard a peculiar clanging noise, “cha ching cha ching.”

As I rounded a corner to retrieve my luggage I saw there in the airport shiny, enticing slot machines begging for me to put my quarter in.
Having checked out just the right one, the one that was calling my name, the machine just for me and no one else, the one I was going to win on, I placed my quarter in the slot.

I reached for the handle, pulled it down, and the wheels went spinning. It stopped spinning and nothing happened, not a thing. There went my quarter, and I was off to see the city of Vegas. But do not be discouraged by my first failure, I did win some nice pocket change later. And if you are not a gambler, there is plenty more to do in Las Vegas.

To Americans Las Vegas is a place to reinvent yourself, to let your hair down and have a great time. Where else in the world can you go from New York to Paris, take a gondola ride through Italy, see Ancient Rome, sail the high seas with pirates, hit the high country with the cowboys, visit Egypt, or take a trip to Rio, all within about fifteen minutes or so?

I drove down the Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard) for an initial look at all the sights, and began to get a sore neck gazing up at all the extraordinary hotels. Each hotel has a theme, scaled down in size.

One example is the Hotel Paris, which has a reproduction Eiffel Tower built with the same engineering techniques as the Paris original. You can even take an elevator ride to an observation deck and see an amazing view of the Strip. At Luxor Hotel there is a black glass pyramid which rivals the originals in Egypt for size, and a replica of the tomb of Tutankhamen discovered in 1922. The lower part of the boulevard leads to ancient Rome in the guise of Caesars Palace. Along the colonnaded and stone paved ancient Roman streets you can buy Gucci and Louis Vuitton originals from the Forum Shops. If you want to watch the Rio de Janeiro carnival, you do not have to go to Brazil. What is Rio Suite Hotel for? Or if you want to relax on the shores of Lake Como, the Bellagio Hotel is for you. Hard Rock Hotel is, of course, popular with the younger rocker gamblers!

And if you have never been to Hollywood, but are filled with curiosity about it, then call in at MGM Grand Hotel.

I was also fascinated by the free public shows each hotel puts on at specific times of the day. As you walk down the street you can stop and watch two ships battle it out at Treasure Island Hotel and actually see one of the ships sink into the water once it has been hit. Or alternatively stroll past the Bellagio Hotel and watch a brilliant water and light show to music by Pavarotti and other favorites. In front of Mirage Hotel is a volcano which erupts every fifteen minutes after dark!

A sight you should not miss is the city centre where you can see the oldfashioned gambling casinos first established here. This is where the ordinary daily life of Las Vegas goes on, and tourists are few and far between. Also in this area is the Fremont Street Experience, built at a cost of millions of dollars in 1990. This huge shopping mall stretching for five blocks links the casinos along the way. The spectacular dome over the mall is illuminated by more than two million lightbulbs, and the light and sound shows held through the night here carry us mortals into other worlds.

The nightlife is what people really come to Las Vegas for. Every place offers excellent shows with talented impersonators, comedians, jugglers, magicians, showgirls, western dancing, and famous musicians and singers. Or enjoy an elegant dinner overlooking the city. The food in Vegas is just as appetizing as the sights. Famous restaurants include Spago, renowned for its Peking duck, Carnival World Buffet at Rio Suite Hotel, or Stratosphere Tower, known as much for its breathtaking view as for its cocktails and delicious appetisers.

And if you want to shop you have come to the right city! Do you want Armani or Prada? Or do you like bargains? You can get three t-shirts for $9.99 at just about any souvenir shop.

If you want to get away from the world of entertainment, there are numerous museums and parks in the city. In Fort State Historic Park in Old Las Vegas, you can learn about the Mormon community who came here from Utah in 1855.

Or go out of the city to ski on the peaks of Lee Canyon, take a trip to Bonnie Springs Ranch, trek through Red Rock Canyon with its colourful sandstone formations 25 kilometres west of Las Vegas, or camp at Desert National Wildlife Range. Day trips can also be made to the Hoover Dam, which miraculously created Lake Mead in the centre of the cactus spangled empty desert, and without which Las Vegas could never have developed as it has, the Grand Canyon National Park, or Valley of Fire State Park.

If, having come to Las Vegas, you are determined to gamble, then I have another suggestion, which is possibly the greatest risk you have ever made in your life: marriage. As you know, Las Vegas is the wedding capital of the world. Since some of the Nevada marriage laws do not apply here, it is possible to walk in and get married on the spot. So good luck!

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