Good morning from the eternal city.
Yes, I am in Rome – part of the week-long tour through 4 European countries. I expect this trip will provide enough materials to cover my blog for at least half a year with the rate of one post per week.
But lets wait until I get home and after I have covered all my American trips. For now, lets talk about Vegas – my second most favorite city in the north american continent.
I didn’t try to enjoy Las Vegas free-off-charge, but during my visit there, I met a Japanese former teacher who did so. She had been traveling the world for more than a year, and as a result, was on a very tight budget all the time. My conversation with her inspired me to write a post about what I didn’t do but thought was a unique, off-the-trend idea.
1. Strolling down the strip
Of course, no one needs to be told this. But more than just walking and staring at a life you know is a little bit out of your reach, just consider it a motivation, to work harder, and one day, you would be there.
2. Fountains of Bellagio
Ocean’s 11 was my favorite movie for a long time, and in the last scene, they showed the fountains of Bellagio dancing to the mellow, peaceful music. I spent at least one hour every night just staring at the dancing streams.
3. Sirens of TI show
If this is still on, it’s worth your time. I mean, it’s free. The show was fun, jostling with hundreds of other people for a glimpse at the show was not, though.
4. Visit the Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas sign
Another “of course, duh” thing to do while in Las Vegas. It was mere a few steps from the southern end of the strip. Walking there was still a little scary, especially when you have to cross the highway to get to the sign.
5. Freemont Street Experience
I stayed at the north end of the strip, so it was a few steps from my hostel. You could find cheap souvenirs here, entertaining street art (magic, spray paintings, out of a few that I can remember). Every hour on the hour, there was the light show on the canopy accompanied by music. I mean, it was free.
6. Window shopping
I’m a girl. What girl doesn’t want to look at pretty, sky-rocketed priced clothes? But if you have a little money to spend, the outlets at the 2 ends of the strip offer a variety of brand names with very affordable prices and a lot are in size XS. (Petite girls, let’s give a round of applause for this. Forget about Rodeo Dr. and 5th Avenue.)
7. Talk to the people in your hostel
Las Vegas was the turning point of my personality when traveling solo. My hostel had a common room where, the first night, I went down to look for food and met the absolutely awesome hotel manager, who gave me peanut butter and crackers, and four broke French tourists who had lost all their money in the gamble games. Later, a German teacher joined us and confirmed my belief that Germans are the best people in the world now, despite what they had done in the past. And don’t forget the Japanese teacher who inspired me to write this. After going to Freemont with her, we spent the whole night eating egg salad sandwiches in the hostel dorm room and talked about places we had both been to as well as what we looked for as travelers. So after a night out in the crazy streets of sin city, I always returned to that common room and had cozy, relaxed conversations with my amazing hostel-mates.
Those were the free things I did in Las Vegas. I didn’t have to drink (I was 19 at that time), I didn’t have to gamble (again, under aged), I didn’t have to stay in one of those million dollar resorts (although, it turned out you could for about 20 bucks a night if you really spent time looking for good deals). But I did spend quite a lot money on other entertainment, and honestly, spending money is always the best feeling in the world.
I ate at a steak house at Stratophere, the meal cost me as much as the Banana Republic sweater I bought at the outlet. I went to the KA show by Cirque du Soleil at the MGM Grand. The ticket took up about 66% of my whole Vegas trip but truthfully, it was the best 2 hours of my time there.
I first knew of Cirque du Soleil in my marketing class. After standing at Half price Tix for half an hour choosing among dozens of shows, I decided to go with this circus group instead of David Copperfield because there were at least half the people there talking about how good they were. I usually do not like following the band wagon, but this time I had no regret. During the 2-hour show with a plot and aesthetic mixture of acrobats, gymnastics, and art, I truly lived in a world of joy and pleasure. Cirque du Soleil lived up to their expectations with perfection in every moves, and attention to every detail.
Before Las Vegas, I never thought I would want to visit any city for the second time, but the Sin city became the first exception. Years and years after the trip, if anyone asks me whether I will go back, my answer will always be yes, this time as an adult with a lot of money.