This was a special trip. It was one to celebrate a special anniversary and some members of our family went along with us. Where could you go in July where it would be the hottest place in the country? We didn’t say, “Oh yes, let’s go to Las Vegas – it’s in the desert!” That heat part was not really a consideration, but became somewhat of a factor with our stay in Las Vegas.
We have been there before, but never in the summer. In the fall and in the spring it’s in the 70s and quite pleasant. But this was a whole different deal. It was still a great trip, but terribly hot.
While we were there, the temperatures ranged from 105 to 113 degrees during the day with low humidity, like 15 to 20 percent. You might wonder how people can exist in these extreme temperatures. I don’t know how they did it before air conditioning, because that became a huge necessity for me. In all the beautiful outdoor restaurants up and down the Strip, misters were operating. These little machines blew a light mist of water spray to cool you. I really looked forward to being close to those, however, that had all the makings of a very bad hair day.
For breakfast each day we thought we needed to eat outside. The Bellagio Hotel is a beautiful place, and we didn’t want to miss a minute of it except that at 9 a.m. when we were having breakfast, it was already 99 degrees. We were outdoors by the pool each day with a lattice cover over our head with fans in the ceiling. It became pretty unbearable the last day as temperatures increased each day we were there.
The heat was also a factor when some family members took a dune buggy ride in the desert. Their story went something like this: The male family member, who will go unnamed, veered a little bit off the desert trail and actually went over a tree stump. After that, all kinds of things went wrong and the dune buggy became stuck in the sand with the desert temperature registering 105. They did have water and sunscreen, and were rescued rather quickly by the leaders of their caravan. The dune buggy had suffered a little damage and was not drivable, but the dune buggy company assumed all responsibility.
The heat may have also come into play when the youngest member of our group, who is only eight years old, wore Bermuda shorts to dinner. I did mention it was hot, didn’t I? There was no warning ahead of time, but long pants were required at that restaurant. His weren’t shorts like the ones you would wear for sports. They were dress shorts and he was only eight years old, but a rule is a rule in this very lovely restaurant. UGH!
But, no problem, the manager of the restaurant quickly produced long black pants for our youngster and we were back in business. He was a good sport and put them on, and all was well.
Then there was a visit to the four beautiful pools at Bellagio. It was necessary for us to stay in the shade most of the time because of the extreme heat that rolled up to 109 those days. The problem was when you went to get in the pool and touched the metal handles on the stair railings, it was so hot that I believe you could burn your hands on them. Some of the pools were obviously warmed by the sun, but one of the pools was only about 60 degrees, thus called the cold pool. I don’t know how they kept it that cool when it was 109 outside. Of course walking on the concrete around the pool was extremely difficult. It had to be a short trip from where ever you were to the water to keep your feet from being burned.
I even learned that most people in the area put little socks on their dogs’ feet because they, too, can get burned so easily at these high temperatures.
We saw a show at the MGM Grand Hotel and when we exited at 9 p.m. after the show was over, the temperature was still at 110. The black surface of the driveway seemed to be like a sauna as we were standing there waiting for the cab. Also, the men working there sometimes have the soles of their shoes melt a bit if they stand too long. What a tough way to live for a few months a year.
When it’s so hot, it’s hard to imagine that this area goes down to highs in the 40s and 50s in November, December and January. What extreme ranges the desert produces, but what a beautiful place. There is also a lot of craziness, like the nearly topless women in front of our hotel promoting their show.
Much of the beauty though, comes from the extravagance inside the casinos. I remember the first time we went to Las Vegas I was amazed that the lobby was also the casino. Of course, what was I thinking? That’s the reason most people go there. For me it’s just an occasional shot at winning or losing a little money. I’m not a big gambler. I would rather buy something with my money than lose it, but I had to try one round at the craps table and another at the slot machines.
Overall, we didn’t lose much, but you know, people losing money is how they build those big casinos. We were told that casino employees are paid so well that many teachers just stay at that profession for a few years and then come on over to the casinos, where the salaries are much higher.
When you walk in the front door of Bellagio, you smell flowers from the garden courtyard about 75 yards straight ahead. Not only can you smell the flowers, but also you can look up and see the Dale Chihuly glass all over the ceiling of the lobby. Or you can immediately turn to the right and it’s the casino with hundreds of places to gamble, both tables and machines.
But the biggest problem for me was the smoke. We are not used to indoor smoke in Ohio, but that is not the law in Las Vegas. And even though I’m sure the exhaust machines are running full blast, the smell of smoke is in the air. There were also hordes of people everywhere and in every manner of dress from all over the world. So glad they came, to leave their money here with us.
Las Vegas offers many other activities and wonderful entertaining shows. I suggest, if you haven’t been there, put it on your bucket list!
(Melanie Behrens -firstname.lastname@example.org
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