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Day 13 – Las Vegas – By Annalise Schulman

It’s so Dam Hot!

The bus ride to the city of sin took a little over two hours. The soil outside shifted from reddish clay to dry beige sand. It was hard to believe that anything as spectacular as Las Vegas resided in those never ending sands. Yet reside it did, as was proven by the large spires and interchanging signs for fast food and adult superstores. Vegas looked spectacular, but nothing like it had in pictures and movies. Later, while walking the strip after dark, we realized that Vegas was a nocturnal city.

When our bus pulled up to The Orleans hotel, none of us could believe it. This wasn’t any Comfort Inn or Holiday Express. This was like Disneyland, with a bowling alley, arcade, and cinema too boot! we dragged our suitcases across a lobby full of flashing casino machines and disappointed looking people, past the security guard, and up to the thirteenth floor. After stashing our bags, we headed back to the bus and headed out to the Hoover Dam.

After we arrived, we were quickly herded off the bus. The heat hit us like a slap to the face. 104 degrees. Nice and toasty. It felt like the rays of sunlight were piercing right through my thin layer of sunscreen and spreading across my skin. It was a relief when we were ushered inside the cool, air-conditioned center for a security and quick movie about the history of the Hoover Dam, and why it was a marvel of modern engineering. The movie personified the Dam, describing in detail its “course gray skin” along with many other giggle-worthy descriptions. We went down into some of the rooms in the dam for a short tour, making no shortage of dam puns along the way. Afterwards, we went to the dam overlook and saw how magnificent this thing really was.

However, the dam reflected the heat and it got dam hot, so we went back to the bus and to The Orleans hotel where we got some free time. Dinner was yummy, with many various ribs and pastas. We got a bit more free time after that, and then we headed off to the Vegas strip as a group.

And here was the Vegas we had heard about and loved. The people were fun, the lights were crazy, and the heat was bearable. We got to see the volcano explode from the front of the Venetian hotel, tour Caesar’s Palace, and watch the Bellagio Fountains show. We laughed, talked, and absorbed the sights and sounds. It was a wonderful night, and as I crashed into bed, I wondered what fantastic experiences tomorrow might bring.