The walls of Las Vegas

We hadn't driven around Vegas too much, but from what we've seen, people seem to like living behind walls and gated communities around here.

Today we decided to try Dishes, the buffet over at Treasure Island. Smaller than the other buffets, but for breakfast/lunch it was pretty tasty and fairly reasonably priced at $12/person.

After breakfast, we made a road trip out to check out the civil engineering wonder that is Hoover Dam. It's only about 40 miles south of Vegas, so it was a pretty easy trip down a nice scenic route. Aside from some road construction traffic we encountered in Boulder City, the trip was pretty uneventful. Part of the route takes you through this residential area, which seemed kind of odd. Then as you round a corner at the top of a hill all of a sudden you see an expansive valley that looks down onto Lake Mead. The fortunate residents of this area have a very impressive view.

Then it was mostly downhill until you reach the Hoover Dam visitor center. There's a security checkpoint just before you get there, but they just seemed to be waving people through without doing any inspecting. The drive over the dam was pretty neat and presented some pretty nice views of Lake Mead and the river valley downstream of the dam. Plenty of parking areas off the road allow people to get out and take pictures or walk around a bit.

Hoover Dam is a pretty impressive sight in person. There's a tour you can take that starts off with a short film that talks about the history of the dam, then a descent 500 ft down to the complex where the generators are. It's pretty impressive to see the size of these generators. Then it's back up to the surface for some more tour stops and pre-recorded presentations. The winged sculpture and floor were an interesting display. Laid into the ground beneath the winged statues are stars and constellations as they appeared in the sky at the time the dam was dedicated. We were going to walk across the dam, but it was starting to get a little late so we decided to head back.

After a bit of a nap, we headed out to another buffet for dinner (it was seafood night next door at the South Coast resort) and then to check out Caesar's Palace. It's definitely a spectacle from the outside and inside. We even saw some people dressed up in Roman costumes walking around. The Forum shops at Caesar's were pretty cool. Lots of high end stores to spend your winnings on (or anything you might have left over). The ceiling is painted sky blue with a smattering of white puffy clouds and is illuminated to give you the illusion of being in an outdoor market. It's an illusion that actually works quite well too. The lighting also changes from being daylight to dusk and finally turns dim to simulate night. All the ceiling needs are some pinholes to stimulate the stars when the nighttime illumination kicks in.

There's a cool sound and light show over at the Atlantis fountain that happens every hour. We happened to catch the end of it. Around the fountain is a large saltwater aquarium with lots of colourful reef fish.

For car buffs, the collection of cars at Exotic Cars is definitely worth checking out. You can see the insides of Lambhorghini's, Ferarri's and even a Maybach 62 (a sweet, sweet ultra-luxury car). If you've got $20 000 burning a hole in your pocket, you can even buy a race car simulator that'll beat the pants off any Xbox 360, or you can just try it out ($20 for 5 minutes).