Last week I traveled to Sin City for the first time. I didn’t have a lot of money to spend, which was definitely limiting in a place like Vegas, but I still had a great time. I was with 3 Singaporeans I have become good friends with here in the Canyon. Normen works with me in the Bright Angel Gift Shop, while his friend Cheng works in the Gift Shop in the lodge right behind my cabin. Normen’s brother, Jastine, works in the restaurant at the Bright Angel Lodge. They were officially done with their jobs here and were about to embark on a month long trip around the U.S. Their flight left out of Vegas and I was happy to oblige as their chauffeur. We packed the Dew Mobile to the max, poor Normen had to sit with one of his suitcases on his lap, and took off.
It was quite a drive to say the least. I was pulled over less than an hour in due to one of my headlights being out. The cop issued me a warning and stated, “We’re really strict about those things here.” I was grateful for just the warning and hoped that would be the end of it. It wasn’t. Twenty minutes later and the blue and red lights were again flashing behind me. The first time the guys, like me, had all been a bit nervous. This time, we were more annoyed. A second cop car pulled behind the first and they both came up to the window. One of the cops was the same guy from before. “I told you we don’t mess around with that here, kid.” This second time definitely seemed like it was more of a joke than anything, the cops must have had a really boring night. Not wanting to take any chances though, we did pull into the next gas station we found and fixed the light. With two good headlights, we cruised onward, stopping around midnight at The Hacienda, within sight of the bright lights of Vegas.
The next morning we visited the Hoover Dam, hiking up to the new bridge that bypasses it. It made for some great pictures of the massive structure. We didn’t end up doing the actual tour of the dam because it was ridiculously expensive, but we did get a good feel for the power source of Vegas. The Hoover dam was the first of its kind and is still quite the engineering feat. The dam took 5 years to complete and used an incredible 3,250,000 cubic yards of concrete! To put this into perspective, you could use that amount to pave a two lane highway from San Francisco to New York! The massive dam is much needed, as it does hold back the largest reservoir in the country: Lake Mead. We didn’t come for the dam though, we came for the bright lights that it powers.
Seeing as we were tourists in every sense of the word, we headed to the most touristy place in the city- The Vegas Sign. We took a few requisite photographs, bypassing the line of people by taking our pictures off to the side. Then we checked into our hotel, The Rio, and hit the strip. Though it may be a little over hyped, the Las Vegas Strip is one heck of a cool place. With casinos, shops, clubs, and shows galore, you don’t have to look very hard to find something to do. We wandered about, sipping on margaritas, window shopping, and laughing at all the ridiculous things you see only in Vegas. We ate dinner at an awesome place called Ellis Island and then hit up the Rio’s rooftop club.
Check out the incredible from the Rio’s Rooftop:
Our clubbing experience was definitely a bit of a let down. Every club had a pretty hefty cover charge, and we weren’t really up for paying them.
The next day we visited the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, backdrop for the popular reality show Pawn Stars. I’ve seen the show numerous times and it was exciting to be there in person. None of the cast was actually there and all the guys operating the counter I had never seen either. Apparently the guys on the show only come out when they have something to film. Oh well… still a neat experience. We spent another day out on the strip before having a farewell dinner. Unfortunately, I had to get back to the Canyon for a full day of work the next morning.
It was a great time in Sin City with some really cool guys. I wish them the best and maybe we will all meet up again someday!