Vegas – Without gambling

Vegas! What is there to say about Vegas that has not been said before?

We were offered a weekend in Vegas by generous friends to watch the Vegas 7’s Rugby.  What a fantastic tournament that I will blog about in a separate blog.

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My opinion of Vegas is probably very different to most not being gambling fans and the fact that we are Christians as are the family we visited.

Firstly the popular belief that the entire city of Vegas is a vile pool of sin is drastically incorrect.

We stayed for the first two nights at the Luxor hotel situated on the Las Vegas Boulevard or more commonly known as The Vegas Strip. It is a comfortable hotel, very large and had very pleasant staff. I highly recommend that this hotel and every hotel for that matter, hand out maps of their lobby areas for all first-time guests. Getting lost is so easy, and even though the casino is the centre point of the hotels, they are so big that different lifts go to different levels and sections of the floors. Take the wrong lift and you have a hard time finding your way to the main entrances of the hotel. It is very entertaining though especially when you bump into other guests looking and feeling as confused as we were.

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We spent the most of the Friday walking the Vegas Strip and checking out the popular places such as Hershey’s, M&M’s, Coca-Cola stores and the popular Hotels – Ceasar’s Palace, Planet Hollywood and my favourite The Bellagio ( a bit more on this hotel later). There are so many people walking up and down this Strip non-stop, I can’t remember seeing the same person twice. A fascinating observation was that people are allowed to walk the Strip with their alcohol, drinking it at the same time. Smoking is only allowed in certain sections of the casinos. The Strip has designated walkways in certain areas that take you over the highway, in and out of hotels and then down onto the main sidewalks along the highway. It is cleverly designed to take you to all the main attractions. People are standing on the sidewalks or in kiosks selling tickets for shows so there is no excuse for anyone to miss a show if you have the time.

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There is more than an abundance of entertaining shows to go to, from stand-up comedians, Cirque-du-Soleil, Britney Spears, David Copperfield, Criss Angel, musicals and just so much more. Besides this there is enough to satisfy the sports enthusiast – on the weekend, we were there, events such as the Vegas 7’s rugby, NASCAR, and UFC tournament to attend. You can even go Shark cage diving – oh yes you can! In the middle of the dessert the Aquarium offers Shark cage diving, now that is something! For the children theme parks are many. Something for everyone all day and night long.

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The Bellagio Hotel, where the film Ocean’s Eleven got filmed is beautiful and elegant, it still has an aura of the old fashioned style hotels. They had an exhibition of Chinese flowers, celebrating the Chinese New year, that got excellently displayed. We were completely in awe of the amount of people checking in; it looked more like a que in a bank at month end. We were lucky enough to see the fountains in the huge Lake Bellagio dancing to its music, what a spectacular sight.

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Vegas is very clean, you will find little if any litter in the streets, the people are very kind and friendly and there are “beggars” but they stay on the edge of the sidewalks and do not harass the pedestrians.

Yes, there are those that go to Vegas with the intention of getting totally drunk for an entire visit and get up to as much nonsense they can get away with but this does not have to be true for everyone.

Once you are off the Vegas Strip, it is a city like any other with shopping malls, residential areas, schools and churches. You can easily spend a few weeks in Vegas without succumbing to the grasps of gambling and the “smut” that Vegas gets labelled with.

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One thing that you cannot not notice is the expensive luxury cars that every second person owns. Our friend collected us from the airport in his very cute Mercedes convertible; the top was down, and I felt like a movie star for the short drive to the hotel. However big SUV’s by Mercedes and BMW that would cost a fortune in almost any other country are affordable here.

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If you get the chance to visit this interesting city, don’t hesitate you will not be sorry.

Next blogs – Vegas 7’s and South African Supporters.

Please visit our Facebook page to view all our photos from Vegas at https://www.facebook.com/AliandAileenMissions/

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