What happens in Vegas…

Yesterday I arrived in Las Vegas with my colleague Willem (@wmeints on Twitter). We’re attending MIX 2011, a hip and happenin’ Microsoft conference about front end/UX design and development, mainly for web and mobile platforms. Since the conference starts on Monday, we have some extra time to explore the city. Yesterday evening and this morning we walked up and down The Strip, which was a great experience. Before we left, I did some homework watching movies like The Hangover, Leaving Las Vegas and Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. A very nice warmup, and it was great seeing all these film locations in real life.

After a full day in Vegas, a bunch of things stand out for me… There is an enormous amount of one armed bandit machines in this city, the hotels are complete cities by themselves, you can buy yourself a girl for one night on just about every corner of the street, Vegas is completely over-the-top in every way, it doesn’t matter what time it is, there is always someone gambling in the casinos (at 6.00 in the morning!) and there seems to be some sort of competition for wearing the shortest dress possible amongst women here in Vegas.

Vegas is very photogenic. I made a bunch of pictures using Instagram on my iPhone. I can’t tell how much I love that app. It makes instant works of art from just any photo. Of course, having a nice subject helps a lot Glimlach

After we arrived at the airport, the first thing we walked onto were… one armed bandits. It’s an amazing sight to walk into a casino and see all these machines lined up, all the lights, shiny red Corvettes on display that you can win, and yes, also the sad people pushing the button all day hoping for a chance to win some of their cash back.

When you walk the Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard), you’ll see all sorts of hotels, imitating complete cities, or Disney fairytale castles, pirate islands, or a complete Roman city. I’m amazed at how big and complex these hotels and resorts are. They’re complete cities on their own, with luxurious shopping malls, restaurants, casinos and, oh yeah, hotel rooms. Some hotel extravaganza a la Vegas:

Fairytale castle

Fairy tale casle… Looks like Disneyland, doesn’t it?

Hotel Paris has a complete scaled down Eiffel Tower!!

New York New York… why, let’s just rebuild Manhattan in Vegas. Complete with Lady Liberty, Empire State Building, Chrysler building and, yes, a roller coaster.

On every street corner, a bunch of guys are trying to put cards in your hands with naked women on them. They rustle their cards to get your attention, and try to get you to order a girl for one night. You don’t have to guess what to do with such a girl. You’ll also find some kiosks alongside the streets. But they don’t contain newspapers, but…

Girls girls girls!

Of course, Vegas is known for its wedding chapels, where you can get married quickly. You rent a bridal dress and tuxedo and move over to the chapel next door to get your marriage certificate. Easy as that.

The Venetian is a must see. As you walk in the Venetian Shoppes, you’re inside a small replica of Venice itself. The ceiling is painted blue with clouds and is illuminated, to get a sense of real sky. Amazing. The Venetian is huge, large enough to get lost inside if you don’t follow the directions.

Yes, this picture was taken inside the hotel!

How about the Luxor. A huge pyramid houses the Luxor hotel, which is guarded by a large Sphinx.

All the extravaganza aside, there’s also a lot of fantastic architecture in Vegas. The Wynn hotel, Bellagio, and most noteworthy, the CityCenter are some great examples. The Crystals building, part of CityCenter, is a fashion paradise with a mind boggling architecture.

And inside:

Even the Mandalay Bay Resort, where we’re staying this week, is huge and luxurious. In the sun, the building looks like it’s made of pure gold, haha.

This is also where the MIX conference will take place, so we’re right on the money Glimlach

In about an hour, we’re off to eat at restaurant Mix (yes, coincidentally), one of the restaurants owned by chef patron Alain Ducasse. Really looking forward to that! Then afterwards, a look at the Strip at night, with all the lights, and the amazing dancing fountains of the Bellagio hotel.

20110410-000630.jpg

Oh yeah, and we saw at least four fake Elvis’s. Or… is he still alive?

Viva Las Vegas!

Tomorrow, we’re trying to go to the Grand Canyon. Today wasn’t working out since there was snow (!). On Sunday, the weather forecast is more optimistic.

Willem also wrote a blog post using a bunch of my Instagram pictures, including some of the mind boggling Caesars Palace. It’s huge, it’s over the top, it’s amazing. Have a look here.

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