By Rupali Dean
Food and travel writer Rupali Dean has just come back from Las Vegas; on Sunday, October 1, to be precise just a day before the dismal day when a shooting left 58 dead and left several others injured. She went as part of a media group flown there by the tourism representative office of Las Vegas in India.
In a post on FB she wrote: To all my concerned friends. I am back from Vegas and safe at home! #PrayforVegas. Naturally it drew in the “Thank God!”messages from friends and well wishers.
“I thought of you immediately, but then I saw that you were back!”someone commented. “That’s a relief to hear! But it’s so sad …. what is happening around us almost on daily basis!” another one lamented. Then there was her friend
Samson Gill who commented: “I remember thinking the strip was devoid of police presence…sadly I thought this place would be an ideal target…I am not surprised!” Wow, that was some thought.
So what’s Rupali herself thinking? Oh, with over 15 years of travel experience, this Little Marco Polo, won’t be deterred. And this is what she says:
“No one country is more unsafe than another. It is more down to areas within countries, usually big cities, and even areas within those cities, and the sort of crime varies. In one country night travel is not recommended, in another it is fine. You usually get good advice from other travellers you meet along the way. Also, a bit of research on individual countries helps. So go on…take reasonable precautions, but don’t get paranoid. I was lucky to absolutely enjoy Vibrant Vegas ….but fret not I am sure things will come around soon and you would be as lucky as me!!”
After all, she says, Las Vegas is one of the most exciting and pulsating cities for fun in the world. So Ocider reached out to her and asked her write to write what she experienced there. You see, we look at the happier side of the coin, guns and bombs notwithstanding. And the following is what she writes:
My arrival at the Sin City promised so much; I decided to start with some of the more vanilla attractions. This was my first voyage to Vegas and I identified my desire to stay on the Strip, though of course, I figured really soon that it was brimming with so much more to do.
TOO MUCH FUN
I could not help marvelling at the measure of the grand casinos, cheerful neon lights, extravagant hotels, spas, shopping malls, Broadway shows and specialty restaurants. For world class entertainment…it’s got to be Vegas. Be ready to gorge as Vegas is a foodie’s ‘died and gone to heaven’ dream come true. I am not really a club person, but that’s fine, there are adequate places to take in nightlife besides a nightclub. That said, I did go to one and with one of the hottest DJs pumping the beat on the regular, my Vegas nightclub experience was probably the beginning of a night I can’t really remember but I will be talking about for years.
Oh, and you don’t really know how to gamble? That’s perfectly ok. The casinos will tell you how to play most of their games for free. Of course, reality strikes when you know you have paid up by losing some moolah. The pressure of playing cards and roulette was a wee bit much for me to handle, so I spent a small part of my evening at a slot machine. Not only did I get free drinks, but I ended up making a few dollars!
The day began by discovering the antiquity of Vegas at the boneyard of antique Vegas signs. From idiosyncratic to iconic neon signs, there was so much to take in here, emblems from long-standing casinos and other trades exhibited alfresco on over six acres at the Neon Museum. There is so much I could see just walking around downtown. Next up was the Mob Museum before I headed back to stroll the streets to feast on some indigenous art.
What caught my fancy was the Big Rig Jig which looked quite like a human centipede but with trucks. The Fremont Street truly comes alive late evening and there’s always something new to look out for – be it the live music, the Viva Vision Light Show, the boulevard entertainers, and even just the throng of people! It is really a very diverse air and ambiance from The Strip. My favourite part here was to see people enjoying, being simply so happy.
However, if you are feeling energetic and up for a challenge, why not go to Speed Vegas, a hundred acre motorsports complex, where tourists like me can drive some of the most sought-after racing cars. As I drove my Ferrari after a bit of a training session on the Formula One 1.5 mile racetrack including 12 sweeping turns, 20-degree mounded turns, and a half mile straightaway I was in another world. Admittedly, I was so nervous to even try this, but this is most definitely one of the utmost exhilarating things you can do in Vegas.
THE BIRD’S EYE VIEW
While it’s absolutely expensive, it’s worth it and no better way to get an unparalleled bird’s-eye view of the Grand Canyon than by a helicopter. It’s a unique experience too many people overlook but if you skip one expensive meal at a fancy restaurant on the strip, your ticket can be taken care of and trust me this is one thing on your bucket list you would never forget in a hurry.
HIGH ROLLER FOR THE EVENING
This isn’t any Ferris wheel, but the largest in the world at an astounding height of 550 ft and presently holds the Guinness World Record for biggest observation wheel on the globe. With panoramic views of the Strip, the valley and the mountains, there’s something to see from every angle. I couldn’t help but sing, I am on the top of the world as I have never seen so many stars, and lights. It looks as if there is a labyrinth of paths made of stars and lights that lead straight to heaven. The world seemed like a better place already, and I didn’t even need to revolt.
So guys, like I said, go ahead make the most of Vegas. Don’t cancel your plans. Tomorrow is another night.