Monday, March 29, 2010

Las Vegas During Earth Hour 2010

On Saturday night, my family and I drove down to the Venetian. We wanted to get a look at the Strip during Earth Hour, and we thought we'd do some wandering around while we were there. Wandering around any of the Strip hotels provides heaps of free entertainment--especially on Saturday night.

The first thing I noticed was that the "darkened" Strip was still very bright. You could see the hotels clearly, and several of them had their names illuminated. The overall effect was interesting: a subdued Las Vegas that looked very much like any other city full of big buildings. I was surprised to see how much light was present even with the hotels' big lights off.

At 9:30, when the Strip's exterior lights came on, it was a gradual change. "That was pretty anti-climactic," complained my husband and son. But when you compare the picture taken during Earth Hour to the one taken a few minutes after it ended (and notice the Flamingo isn't yet re-lit), you see a marked difference.

After I was done taking pictures, we left the roof of the Venetian's parking garage and wandered around the Grand Canal Shoppes. When my son paused in front of the gelato stand in St. Mark's square, we convinced him that a stop at the grocery store on the way home would net him more ice cream in the long run. We stopped in the Peter Lik gallery and marveled over the incredible photographs. As we wandered past the Grand Canal's expensive storefronts, my husband and I watched the drunks stagger by. (A word of advice: Pace yourselves, people--10:00 p.m. is far too early to be drunk in Las Vegas on a Saturday night.) The women out for the night were stuffed into dresses so short, tight, and tiny that they barely covered the essentials.

We decided to go across the street to watch the Mirage's volcano, but I hadn't considered the Spring Break crowd outside Tao. Throngs of people dressed to the nines were crowded from the bottom of the casino's escalator to the upstairs entryway outside Tao, then outside, where it looked like some kind of elaborate red-velevet-rope system was underway. We backtracked and found another way out to the Strip, but when we checked the time and realized it would be another half an hour before the volcano erupted, we decided to head for home (with an ice cream stop on the way) rather than hang around any longer.

As we were driving home, we got a good look at the fully lit Strip, all the hotels covered in lights. I thought the Strip looked fine without all her pizzazz, but Las Vegas minus her lights is like a showgirl without eyelashes and sequins.
My pictures of the Strip

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