Thursday, February 21, 2008

Up High, Down Low, Too Slow

Las Vegas is the sort of town where fun doesn't just happen at street level. Way down The Strip, past the biggest gift store in the world (where a ridgey-didge uniformed sheriff patrols the entrance), you reach The Stratosphere Hotel and Casino.

The place is home to three death-defying attractions - "X-Scream", "Big Shot" and "Insanity". Check out the website to see what they're all about, and trust me when I tell you that you could never, ever hope to persuade me to even go on one of those crazy rides. Call me a nana, but simply taking the elevator 866 feet to the top viewing platform was all the white-knuckle excitement I needed for one evening! The view from up there IS gorgeous though, especially at night when all the lights are twinkling beautifully (I wonder if you can see the Vegas lights from space?).

Having left the lofty heights of Vegas and the stunning panorama behind, we took 'The Deuce' past a bunch of sleazy motels and drive-thru wedding chapels (no kidding!) to Fremont Street, to get an appreciation for old Vegas in its heyday, when the Rat Pack (and the Mob) really did own the town.

The blessed internet tells me that the
Fremont Street Experience, as it is officially known in the guidebooks, boasts a $70 million light canopy, which is basically a pedestrian promenade covered over by a domed canopy that has a 550,000-watt LCD light and sound system built in. Every thirty minutes or so from 11pm each night, the lights come on and screen a short display of colour and sound designed to stimulate your senses (or hypnotise you to spend more money, I am not sure which).

Either way, Fremont Street is an assault on your senses. It's non-stop action just like The Strip, but it's also chock-full of street vendors like The Chippendales, who tried to get me to pose for a photo with them but I modestly declined! I am not averse to having very well-built men drape themselves over me, but in full view of tourists? And I have to pay them at the end? No thanks hehe.

So me and JK wandered up and down Fremont Street, and went into The Golden Nugget, one of the most famous original casinos in Vegas. The decor was kinda 1960's (think oranges and browns everywhere). It's old school, and not as flashy as the newer places on The Strip. But neverthless, the Golden Nugget (and other places just like it on Fremont Street) was stiill making a lot of money out of people that night - the tables and machines were pretty much full.

I'm not even sure you can stay at the casinos on Fremont Street anymore and even if you could, I'm not sure you'd want to. It's a decent Deuce ride from the Strip, but it also seems to be just another place you have to check off your list when you come to Vegas, a must-see attraction to get an idea of how things used to be in Sin City - and I really am glad I got to see it.

1 comment:

glamah16 said...

Now see, I never knew about the older part of Vegas.I just got a travel lesson.