Thursday 21 March 2013

Desert Boomtown

It was at this time of year that Rob and I visited Las Vegas back in 1996.  The sun was shining, the air was fresh, the temperature was warm, but the humidity was low.  It was perfect!  While neither of us is a gambler, we did enjoy the scenery surrounding the city.  We enjoyed three road trips through the desert:  there was something so peaceful about miles and miles of sand spotted with cacti.  Our first trip, which we rented a car for, was to Hoover Dam, about an hour outside Las Vegas.  I remember how blue the water was and how blue the sky was.  We wore shorts that day.  It was neat walking across the state line into Arizona.  Our second trip was to Laughlin, another gambling town south of Las Vegas.  We saw hundreds of stucco homes with red roofs.  Suburbia was taking over the desert as the bus driver told us that 1000 new people were arriving in the area everyday.  On the way back from Laughlin the bus driver had everyone sing Happy Birthday to me.  Our final road trip was to the California state line.  Once again, the highlight was the ride through the desert rather than the destination.  Rob remembers eating at a breakfast buffet which filled him up so much he didn't have to eat for the rest of the day.  

Photo courtesy

Here are ten things you may not know about Las Vegas:

1.  Gambling was illegal from 1910 to 1931.

2.  Howard Hughes stayed at the Desert Inn for two years.  Because of his quirky ways, he was finally asked to leave. He bought the hotel so he could stay.

3.  The city has at least 500,000 inhabitants.

4.  Elvis performed 837 consecutive sold out performances there.

5.  The Flamingo Hotel was named after gangster Bugsy Siegel's girlfriend's long legs.

6.  An acre of land on the Las Vegas strip sells for 30 million dollars.

7.  Three hundred and fifteen weddings per day are performed at Vegas chapels.

8.  Its casinos have 200,000 slot machines.

9.  The original leader of the Rat Pack was Humphrey Bogart.  Supposedly his wife commented like he and his friends looked like a Rat Pack when they came home from Vegas one night.  Bogart passed away in 1957 and the new Rat Pack of the 1960's comprised.Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford).

10.  Las Vegas served as a stopover for pioneers in the early 1900's as well as a railroad town.

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