Get­ting there

Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - ROAD TRIP LAS VEGAS -

set­ting, ig­nit­ing the cliffs vi­brant red, dark mul­berry and even­tu­ally deep pur­ple be­fore fi­nally fad­ing to black.

It’s eerie out here at night, and your mind wan­ders to the un­lucky souls who met a grisly end in this desert – some ac­ci­den­tal, most not.

The desert solved a lot of prob­lems for the early Ve­gas mob.

And then it ap­pears, in the dis­tance at first, shim­mer­ing like the lights on shore from a pass­ing boat.

But they grow brighter as you ap­proach, even­tu­ally ex­plod­ing out of the desert dark­ness.

It feels alien in the nat­u­ral black, like a thick blan­ket has been thrown over the world, but the sun’s shin­ing out of one hole over Ve­gas.

And then you’re there, shiv­er­ing from the cul­ture shock of empty-road dark­ness to peak-hour grid­lock (it’s al­ways peak-hour on Las Ve­gas Boule­vard). Imag­ine a world plunged into ab­so­lute dark­ness be­cause ev­ery sin­gle light on Earth had been stolen and lit-up in a sin­gle, 352sq km city.

Ve­gas emits flu­o­res­cence in the same way that a Chi­nese city emits smog.

It’s im­pos­si­ble to de­ter­mine where it be­gins and ends. It’s just there – end­less and all-en­com­pass­ing.

You’ll soon re­alise Ve­gas is noth­ing like it ap­pears in the movies.

In fact, it’s com­pletely dif­fer­ent (you didn’t see quite so many 300kg Amer­i­cans fight­ing over jumbo cock­tails in Oceans 13), but not in a dis­ap­point­ing way. Qan­tas flies to Los An­ge­les from Syd­ney and Mel­bourne, with con­nec­tion from Ade­laide. See qan­

Driv­ing there

Hire-car com­pa­nies abound at LAX. See dol­

Stay­ing there

The Cos­mopoli­tan Ho­tel is in the mid­dle of the famed ‘‘strip’’. See cos­mopoli­tan­lasve­

Eat­ing there

Try ven­tur­ing off the strip to some­where a lit­tle more lo­cal. Fire­fly Ta­pas is not far from the strip; See fire­

More: See vis­it­lasve­

It’s a grand, gaudy, won­der­fully of­fen­sive city com­pletely at home with what it’s be­come.

Even­tu­ally, though, you’ll find your way to your ho­tel – in our case, it was the Cos­mopoli­tan, the new­est ho­tel on the famed Strip com­plete with moviestar suites that over­look the Bel­la­gio Foun­tains – and step out of your car.

At this stage, a fresh wave of tourists will also ar­rive, step­ping out of their post-air­port taxis look­ing tired and unin­spired, but grate­ful their hol­i­day can fi­nally be­gin.

But you’ll know bet­ter. Yours be­gan sev­eral hun­dred kilo­me­tres ago.

Three rules. Fol­low them. The writer was a guest of the Cos­mopoli­tan Ho­tel.

CASINO CITY: The glit­ter­ing view of Las Ve­gas from the Cos­mopoli­tan Ho­tel.

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