Las Vegas, also known as “Sin City”, is one of the most popular tourist spots in the world. It is the fastest growing city in the United States with a population of over a million people. Six thousand people move to Vegas every month and only one thousand people leave, giving it a net growth of approximately five thousand people a month. If you visit Las Vegas once a year, you will see huge changes in with the city to accommodate their phenomenal growth.
I flew into Las Vegas for Spring Break of 2005. My Uncle and his family live there so it makes for a fun and relaxing get-away. It had been four years since my last visit to Vegas and there were enormous changes in that amount of time.
Flying into Las Vegas offers a spectacular view of the area. Mountains surround the vast city and you can see a breathtaking view of Lake Mead. Right before the plane touches down on the runway, the sights of the city are more visible as the airport is relatively close to the famous Las Vegas Strip. Colorful, bright lights and huge glamorous buildings line the famous Strip, all of them presenting a different theme or culture.
Arriving in the busy Las Vegas airport you are immediately greeted with the sights and sounds of slot machines. The lure of gambling is one of the first sights the city offers. The airport is full of hustling people of all walks of life and from many different countries. It is quite common to hear people talking in their native language as you make your way to the luggage claim. But, despite all the congestion of people heading in all directions, it is very easy to find your way through the airport.
As one leaves the airport and merges into the heavy traffic, it becomes apparent that you are not in North Dakota anymore. There are plenty of shuttle buses, both big and small, to shuffle people around to their various destinations. Limousines are a common sight and they come in every imaginable shape and size. The most common form of transportation for those visiting Vegas is the taxicab and they are everywhere. Stretch Hummers and Escalades have become very popular with the gambling and casino scene. They are huge, shiny, and clean. Many have chrome wheels which makes them look very high class. The residents in Las Vegas drive the similar types of vehicles as we drive in North Dakota, with the exception that most have tinted windows. Older vehicles in Vegas are easily spotted because the exterior paint, as well as the vehicle’s interior, is faded - true signs of the high intense heat of the desert sun.
Gazing out the vehicle’s window at beautiful palm trees and lush green grass, it is hard to believe that Las Vegas is actually built in the middle of a desert. When you enter the residential areas of Vegas, it seems that most of the houses look similar, they all have tile roofs, stucco siding, and are painted light, earth-tone colors. I believe it is done this way to deal with the extreme heat of the summers, but...