American diaries: I'm in Vegas Baby!!! - Part 1

I've been to America before, about two years ago, where I did my short and sweet trips to OrlandoDallas, Philadelphia and the New York city. So far I have only had positive views about the place, the people and the food. So, it is only fair that I wanted to come again. So, my next trip to states took me to the sin city itself... Ahem (*clearing throat*)... I WAS AT VEGAS BABY!

This trip was mostly work, to be more precise a conference, related excursion. Yes, you heard it right, a conference, and this has been the best excuse for a work related trip thus far... Well, remember the time I went to the Disneyland for another conference 2 years ago?? Yeah, same sassy organisers, the Society of tribology and lubrication engineering, in short STLE (absolutely love them for that XD)... Every year they organise a week long international conference catering to over 1000 delegates in one of the finest, most rousting venues at very many different cities in States that provide both educational/industrial outsourcing as well as social entertainment. This year too, they organised a very dandy symposium at one of the most coveted, most sought after, most extravagant cities of all, Las Vegas. For some, the conference itself should make for a cool holiday getaway... 

Anyway, boring details aside, Vegas has been everything I had imagined it to be... Crazy, bright, loud, colourful, perhaps too colourful, flamboyant, exuberant, ostentatious and I LOVE IT! But most of all, I was in awe for the insanely wondrous architectural ingenuity of the casinos, especially along the strip... They have managed to squeeze in the best of the wonders around the world in one single street and done it so quite eloquently. However, for this post, I will cover everything apart from the strip itself... That is a whole different story so it gets it's own special post ;)

Coming to the rest of Vegas/Nevada that we managed to see, we had two whole days to spare prior to the commencement of our conference that we needed to spend wisely exploring the city and its surroundings. 

Day 1:

So, for my first day in Nevada, we decided to make a trip to one of the largest Dams in U.S., Hoover Dam, located right at the border of Nevada and Arizona, connecting the two states, lying across the Colorado river and impounding the largest man-made reservoir, Lake Mead, in the United States by volume. Driving through the desert, it was quite a view to behold, both of the natural landscape, and of the result of what is one of history's greatest engineering endeavours... 

Desert vegetation

Desert view
Now, Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam are quite a tourist attraction. Many a movies and videos have been shot at the location, including James Bond and Superman. At such a great height, it does give a sense of daring to the action scenes I suppose... The dam connecting the borders of Nevada and Arizona, with their time zones on each clock/watch towers over the bridge, is a must visit attraction while also being a massive power plant, and also a site for water sports and activities at Lake Mead reservoir. Much of the history of the dam can be read on the wiki page of the site that would give you all the details I could never give (at least not from this trip anyway). Read all about the architecture, the design and construction plans, controversies and the full history timeline.

Lake Mead
River Colorado and the bridge over the river
Lake Mead view from the Dam
The Dam
Deep blue waters of Lake Mead
We then proceeded to explore a ghost town called Eldorado Canyon mine, about 40 minutes from the dam and about 45 minutes from the Strip in Las Vegas, not to look for gold but to see the haunting little installment itself...  Eldorado Canyon Mine Tours is based in the Eldorado Canyon at the historical Techatticup Mine. It is one of the oldest, richest and most famous gold mine in Southern Nevada. A perfect location for amazingly wild west photo shoots and movie backdrops, and even canoe/kayak rentals to go for an adventurous water sport at Colorado river. A family run business, the tourist spot is equipped with washrooms, fridges for drinks, a souvenir store, and consumables too. Not quite sure if the town is coca cola endorsed, but they do have innumerate signs advertising the company... Very american I suppose. Apparently there are several such abandoned looking little towns that are actually fake and made to look old, forsaken and vintagey, all for the sake of tourist attraction... I say, good try :)

I had a fantastic time snapping away the characteristic scenery of the place...

Bullet hole... (Not sure if company endorsed...)

Old and broken


Rustic by the mountains and the desert




More company endorsements
Beauty in everything
Vintage coach
Into the city of Eldorado, a city made of gold 
Old signs 
On our way back to Vegas we made a pit stop at one of the road-side supermarkets with diners close to the Vegas city. We ended the day trip with a hearty meal of burgers, fries, onion rings, and what could be described as the best chocolate brownies I have ever had! We also loaded ourselves with ration for the up coming week of conference. 

In the evening, we toured a bit of the Vegas strip to familiarize and witness the granduer of Vegas nightlife in a gist. I will talk about it more in the upcoming post on the Sin city itself.

Day 2:

Mount Charleston
The next day we took it up north. A lot of people are surprised to know that there is indeed more than just desert and heat in Nevada. It has a very spectacular hill station to offer, almost at the heart of the state, that comes with snow caped mountains and coniferous forest... Trust me when I say this, the sudden change in the landscape from cactii filled desert land to pine cone populated hills really is quite astounding, especially as it is almost very subtle that I actually missed it the first time...

From this...
To this in a blink of an eye...
Anyway, we had a wonderful time hiking at Mt. Charlestone, 1.4 miles up the ground, overlooking the curious face of Mt. Cathedral... I'll let the pictures give you just a tiny gist of what we experienced, that which cannot be felt but in person...

Lovely snow capped mountains and dreamy hill station...

So, that concluded our weekend around the southern region of Nevada. Nevada is an interesting state with a lot to offer than just fun and games at Vegas... It has a rich culture and history that could be explored, especially of the local habitats and their residents. And besides, I still need to make a trip through the scorching Death Valley that I have been wishing for. I still need to capture (on camera) all the desert habitants and landscape... Until then, hope you enjoyed my post and pictures. Next up, Las Vegas Strip :D

Eccentric city of lights, sound and magic!

See you soon lovelies... <3