The journey was made simple by the fact that Highway 15 went all the way from San Diego to Las Vegas, and we only had one minor traffic jam to contend with. The scenery was lacking in interest for most of the time, a couple of hundred miles of Mojave Desert was not the most exciting prospect.
After we crossed the Nevada border, we started the long drop down to Las Vegas. We were driving down to a dry flat expanse that resembled Death Valley, and could see a cloudburst falling onto this desert. It resembled a fuzzy gray column, perhaps half a mile in diameter, and was quite opaque. Passing alongside it, a strong wind had been whipped up that was trying to throw the van sideways across the highway. Ahead of us was a strange phenomenon, clouds appearing to rise from the desert and drift across the highway. At first I though it might be a dust storm similar to the one I had seen when I first approached Monument Valley, but when we passed through it I concluded it was banks of steam rising from the desert floor after the cloudburst had passed over it.
We reached our destination, and I was pleased that it had only taken us five and a half hours overall. The hotel we were staying in, Treasure Island, was easy to find, and we made a quick plan of action for the evening. Dan had pre-booked for us to see a show, Cirque du Soleil, in the MGM Grand Hotel, at 7pm. We hadn't eaten since 06:30, so we decided to have a light snack and walk to the show. We ordered a couple of soups at a quick food establishment within our hotel. Quick was not quite the expression to use. We waited, and time was pressing on, then we noticed other customers who came in after us were having their food delivered. Eventually I collared a waiter and explained to him that we were in a hurry. He went off to inquire, and came back asking if it was hamburgers we had ordered. I explained carefully that we had ordered soups, and now time had run out and we would have to go to our show. He said he would have to get the manager over if I wanted a refund, but that would take some time. I was fuming by this time, and dragged Dan off. I would discuss with the manager at a later time, as a matter of principle.
We had wasted so much time that we had to take a cab to the MGM. We made it in time, collected out tickets, and entered the theatre. The theatre was colossal, and pretty well packed out. I shan't go into depths about the actual show and the legend behind the storey. The spoken word was irrelevant, just the intonation. What was really on display was a superb demonstration of gymnastics combined with choreography. The stunts were unbelievable. The props were of huge dimensions, with stages able to tilt in all directions. Indeed quite a lot of the pieces were carried out on steeply tilted stages, and a couple of pieces were performed on vertical stages (the dancers were attached by cables to points in the roof). The prop area seemed as big again as the theatre. It was a brilliant, stunning show; Dan and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and would recommend it to all.
After the show, we walked a short distance to the Paris Hotel, recognisable by the Eiffel Tower poking out of the top of it, and its Arc de Triumph standing adjacent. Inside, the whole ground floor was constructed to resemble the streets of a Parisian suburb, with three story shops and restaurants. The ground was cobbled, and the astounding part was the ceiling, it was a painted evening sky. The sky, coupled with the ambient lighting in the mock upper stories of the buildings, and the street lamps gave the strong, powerful illusion of evening. I thought it had been very cleverly thought out and implemented. What spoiled the illusion was some of the 'town squares' had slot machines in them. We liked the setting, and had our evening meal there.
After our meal, we headed further down the Strip. This 4 mile long thoroughfare, actually a section of Las Vegas Boulevard, was the entertainment capital of the world and home to many of the largest hotels and casinos on the planet. The extravaganza of both its adult entertainment and family favourites made Las Vegas a city of superlatives. The glitz and glitter, with twinkling, flashing and pulsating lights, seemed to stretch forever. The pavements were packed with holiday makers, and there was a lively buzz to the place. Did it ever cease? We called in at Caesars Palace to see what that had to offer. Its theme, as expected, was lots of statues and fountains, with murals on the walls. However, it appeared to be more casino oriented. Dan and I watched a few card games, craps and roulette, trying to decipher what was going on, with no luck.
It was now past midnight, and knowing we had to be up at 6am, we walked back to our hotel and retired for the day, still feeling the buzz of the city.