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Las Vegas

One of the fastest-growing city in the US, Las Vegas is billed as the "entertainment capital of the world" and the city of gaming. Interestingly, "las vegas" means meadow in Spanish. And that was actually what the Spanish saw in the late 1820s when they first arrived. In the next century or so, Las Vegas was known for not much more than a rest stop on the Old Spanish Trail (from New Mexico to California) and later an easy place to get a divorce, until 1931. In that year, the construction of the Hoover Dam and the legalization of gambling by the state of Nevada would forever changed the city. Along with the two innovative events came jobs, money, population, and lavish casinos and hotels.

I'm not much of a gambler, in fact I didn't spend a penny in the casinos, but it's not easy to feel bored in such a dazzling place (with the exception of waiting in a long buffet line). A walk along the Strip, where most of the big casinos are, took me a whole night. Some said Las Vegas has the brightest nightlight in the world. I thought it's probably true. This is a city that's listless at day, but wakes up and looks its best at night. The hotel/casinos, each feature a different theme, are the attractions for tourist.

Bellagio is best known for its magnificent music fountains played in the quarter-mile-long lake in front of the hotel. Water jets from 1,200 nozzles, brighten by 4,500 lights, beautifully choreographed with music, can spurt all the way up to 240 feet.

All kinds of eye-catching items and scenes inside the Bellagio hotel/casino. The ceiling of the Lobby is made of over 2,000 of hand blown colored glass flowers. What a piece of artwork!

Venetian. Has a canal that surround the hotel, with nicely crafted gondola roving around. Those gondoliers do sing in Italian, and they seem to be pretty good at it.

Caesar's Palace. The Roman was know for their lavishness. Mr. Caesar should feel right at home here in Vegas.

The Mirage has a volcano show.


Hoover Dam

About 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, in the Black Canyon of Colorado River. The construction of the Hoover Dam was dated back to the Depression. A total of 21,000 workers spent five years, using 5 millions barrels of concretes, to finish this 6,600,000 ton giant, which is considered one of the modern engineering wonder of America. It measures 726 feet from the top to the foundation rock - a bit scary to look down.


Reno. A small city in northwest Nevada, near Lake Tahoe. Billed itself as the "the biggest little city in the world," but feel like a Las Vegas-want-to-be. Outside of Reno, we we accompany by this nice rainbow along the mountains on highway 80.



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