Las Vegas isn’t the ideal family vacation spot. However, my parents decided it’d be a nice getaway two years ago, ignoring the fact that my brother and I were not old enough to gamble. But once we landed and arrived at our hotel, we looked at some brochures and found out there were many more interesting things to do besides gamble. There were theme parks, hot air balloon rides, and even helicopter trips to the Grand Canyon. But my mother didn’t care about any of that. All she wanted to do was visit all of the hotels along Las Vegas Boulevard.
My parents immigrated to America from India about thirty years ago. Like many immigrants, they were looking to become successful and start new in America, the “promised land,” They worked and studied so hard at home in order for us, their children, to have amazing lives compared to theirs. Every summer, we always take a family vacation for two reasons: first, so that my parents can see places they never would have if they hadn’t come to America, and second, so that they can share these experiences with their children.
However, every one of our family vacations must be no longer than five days. My parents own their own business and work seven days a week, which makes it impossible for them to leave for a long period of time. Therefore, we’ve never been to a foreign country, besides India.
But Las Vegas offered all the countries and luxuries in the world to my mother. Several hotels are modeled after landmarks from numerous countries around the world. We stayed at the MGM Grand, which was almost in the center of all the interesting places on “the strip.” One of the most amazing sights was the Luxor Hotel, modeled after Egypt. As we gazed at the pyramids in front of the hotel, I felt as though the sand of the Sahara was brushing lightly against my face.
At the Paris Hotel, our family ventured inside to dine and taste fine French cuisine. Standing atop the replicated Eiffel Tower, I thought I could see the whole world. Even though you’d have to fly from Paris to Rome, in Vegas, Caesar’s Palace and the Venetian make you feel as though Italy is just a stroll away from France. The Venetian had gorgeous paintings across the ceiling, surrounding you with the aura of the Sistine Chapel. Sometimes I thought I was standing in the shadow of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but it might’ve just been the Eiffel Tower a few blocks away. A few minutes away from Italy was the Bellagio, where the dancing water show let us forget all of our problems. We watched the waters dance around and got lost in the sultry music. I saw the glimmer in my mother’s eye as she enjoyed the beautiful spectacle.
If you got tired of the landmarks and luxuries of today’s world, the Excalibur hotel let you travel in time, back to the Middle Ages. The knights rode by on their horses and the feudal flags flapped in the wind. Inside, you heard the clashing of swords and the jousting matches. It was nice to know someone was still fighting for chivalry.
While I was there, I took all these amazing places for granted. I knew they weren’t the real thing, just very well-built replications. But my mother, she knew every hotel we visited was probably the closest she’d get to the real thing. Even if she did travel in the future, she knew all of these places were special, because in her home country, there was absolutely nothing that resembled the Eiffel Tower or the Pyramids at Giza. She knew not to take that trip for granted, nor does she take any vacation for granted. She hates walking, but she strolled up and down the boulevard each day because she wanted to soak up the sights. Every place we went, she loved and appreciated because she knew it was special to be on a vacation. She thought of her family back home that couldn’t share these sights with her. Then, she thought of how this vacation symbolized how hard she worked and she was pleased to be rewarded.
The only hotel we didn’t visit was the New York, because we experience that everyday. But here at home, we have a few souvenirs representing every country, but they were all bought in one place — Las Vegas.
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