Once in a lifetime - once in a lifetime treat yourself to the special, the extravagant?
Voila - in Las Vegas you are in the middle of the American center of opportunity. Here show-fantasies and reality mingle 24 hours a day. If not here, when else does you have the chance to become part of the glittering world?
And so the jet-set dream took its course early in the morning.
Right in front of the hotel awaited us the black stretch limousine, of course, with the stylish driver in a black suit, who diligently opened the doors with a slight bow and a smile. Everything exactly the right mix of submission and respectful attention.
Right now we had managed not to get lost in the more than five-meter-long sedan somehow, we had already arrived at the helicopter airport. Las Vegas is probably the largest oasis in the world because of the surrounding desert and a real American city, but on the other hand almost a village again. Everything is next to everything. All hotels are located on the famous Strip, the glamorous mile that runs through the center. And the international airport is directly adjacent to the city. Almost every hotel is 10 minutes from the airport and vice versa. Every visitor should be able to reach as quickly as possible the countless show theaters and, above all, the nationwide casinos. This is the only way to ensure that the fun begins immediately, but that the dollar machinery is kept running around the clock.
"This is the event of your lifetime," our chauffeur Jim told us as we headed for the chic helicopter carrier terminal.
The event started quite fast. Red helicopter in very good condition, four other passengers except us. In addition, cloudless, bright blue sky, seats in the front part (which were impressively consistently changed by the organizers during the day) next to the pilot with his reassuring four stripes on the epaulets. Best conditions. If there had not been this deep-seated skepticism about the lightweight construction of this aircraft called a helicopter ... But all right. Buckle up, headphones on, take another deep breath and suddenly the ground was already 50 meters below us. With a spectacular right turn, the pilot set course for the Grand Canyon.
45 minutes of "Ohs" and "Ahs" and "Look", but the noise forced more pantomime communication in about 45 minutes It was no coincidence that each song was somehow about flying, and the Steve Miller band was not missing with "Fly like an eagle." At the same time, a breathtaking landscape passed underneath us, followed by explanations of the sights in the depths promptly from the headphones.
The Hoover Dam, a dam of superlatives created in 1938 with its more than 200 meters high dam, which dammed the Colorado River behind to Lake Mead. The 3.2 million cubic meters of concrete installed in the Hoover Dam would be enough to build a two-lane highway from San Francisco to New York. The dam not only guarantees the survival of the energy juggernaut Las Vegas, but is also a water and electricity supplier to Nevada, Arizona and California.
The Mojave Desert, located in the states of Nevada, Utah, Arizona and California, spans over 35,000 square kilometers. The changing position of the sun conjured a variety of colors on the desert surface. Sometimes red, sometimes blue-green, sometimes yellow, a color palette of nature. And as hard as the desert appears from afar, it still hosts a wealth of plants and animal species.
The deep blue of Lake Mead, 170 km long and 150 m deep, was almost surreal in contrast to the desert and sandstone colors, but did not let go of our admired gaze. Countless small boats made their tracks far below us on the water surface.
Next, the heli followed the riverbed of the Colorado. This river, which has a length of more than 2,300 km and has managed for more than 6 million years to dig the most famous of all river beds in the sandstone - the Grand Canyon. Not for nothing one of the seven natural wonders of the world, 450 km long, between 6 and 30 km wide and up to 1,800 m high. The canyon became deeper and deeper, and at times the rotors of salvation seemed to almost touch the walls of the canyon.
And finally, the helicopter started up on the riverbank, we held our breath. But only briefly, because then it went on by boat. We were on the Colorado! Although it did not show its most beautiful side with its yellow-brown water (blue-green is probably only a short time in the winter months), but the importance of the moment alone was indescribable. But there was also this other side: the river carries less and less water from year to year. Explanation of the guide to this ecological problem of incredible dimensions: none. "But we hope that everything will get better again. Who wants to take a picture?“
A short time later, we were back in this elevator called helicopter, which took us within minutes of the shore to the edge of the canyon - a venture that would have taken almost a day on foot.
The shuttle bus took to points of interest of which value could be shared: the Eagle Point with its ultra-modern skywalk, allowing one to move 240 meters above the canyon in a human procession. But only if you were willing to solve a $ 25 entry ticket, hand in your own cameras and smartphones under strict control, and pay another $ 25 for the official photo of the Skywalk operator. The Guano Point and the Hualapai Ranch, both of which point to the historic settlement by the Hualapai tribe, but are only the cheap copy of a Western movie set in combination with souvenir shops. The most impressive are only the places where information boards honor the history of this Indian tribe. The occasional people involved in the event visibly of Indian origin seemed rather lost and compassionate. A part of the day that can simply be called dispensable.
With a great deal of thoughtfulness we climbed back into the helicopter.
It was already late and the sun was setting on the horizon when we flew back to Las Vegas. To be honest, this desert town is pretty ugly by day. But as the sun gets weaker, it develops its own beauty. Everything flashes and flashes, neon signs in the craziest colors, advertising screens that cover the entire front of a hotel complex and do not let this city rest day and night.
Flying over this spectacle with the helicopter is an unrivaled admiration and makes clear why this city is as it is and why it attracts around 40 million people from all over the world every year.
Landing. Breathe. Allow to react. Stylishly back to the hotel with the Lincoln stretch limousine. An event that impresses the most, but also inspires thoughts. Like so much in life. And not just once in a lifetime.
A very good supplier of helicopter excursions to the Grand Canyon with different program is e.g. Sundance Helicopter in Las Vegas. The 200-strong team is professional and extremely competent. Brenda and her boss Eric are very friendly and patient about every request and also about special arrangements.
© Image Licenses: Ellen Kuhn & Joachim Materna, Sundance Helicopters
© Text: www.travel-edition.net