Goal 16 achieved – Las Vegas.

Wow, what a culture shock! At lunchtime yesterday I was in the Badlands in South Dakota, utterly alone, hardly a sound except for the slight noise of the wind, and within a couple of hours I was wandering up and down The Strip in downtown Las Vegas!

I arrived in Vegas on Thursday last week, and drove along The Strip in the RV as I came through the city – that was quite an experience – it’s pretty busy! I was staying with Simon, an English guy now living in Las Vegas who had contacted me through the website and kindly offered me a spare room here.

I had had an early night on Thursday, and was up and off early on Friday, heading for the airport and my South Dakota weekend away, so had not really got to see downtown properly. So as I flew back in last night, I called Misty (more about her to follow in a later blog…), and she picked me up as she was heading for work in a restaurant in The Palazzo. I left my bags in her car, and went to wander around.

The place is quite extraordinary, pretty much as I expected it to be, but …

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…once again I was achieveing a goal on my own, and somewhere like Vegas really does need to be experienced with someone else, whether it’s with a group of mates to go and play poker or roulette, or with someone to go to a restaurant and see a show with. I wandered around, and enjoyed the sights, went in several casinos, and had a bit of a play on the slot machines, but was sort of glad when Misty finished work at 2am, and I hitched a lift back to Simon’s house.

I think perhaps I was pretty tired after a very long day, but after having seen some incredible natural (and carved) scenery over the last few days, the whole experience in Las Vegas had a bit of an air of unreality and falseness about it. I was interested to see both “Paris” and “New York New York” casinos, but having been to both cities recently and seen the real thing, I felt a bit of disappointment, or perhaps just slightly cheated. I don’t know really, but ultimately I think I felt slightly underwhelmed by the whole experience. I am glad to have seen and experienced the place though, and definitely think it would be a completely different experience with a group of friends. Maybe one day…

I couldn’t resist The Sopranos slot machine when I spotted it, and they bring you free beer while you are playing. Brilliant!

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