Sin and Scenery

In search for some cool air and waters during summer July, the sapphire shimmer of Lake Tahoe, one of the largest and deepest alpine lake in the hub of the Sierra Nevada, is one great escape. Interstate hwy-80 leads to Reno,Nevada while Interstate hwy-50 leads to Lake Tahoe, which is divided by the California(CA)-Nevada(NV) state line.

Vacation accomodations in Lake Tahoe are not cheap, costing ~USD140-180 per night. Comparatively, accomodations in Reno are more affordable. For the period 1 July 2006, Saturday - 4 July, Tuesday(also Independence Day holiday), Peppermill Reno offered us a Saturday rate @USD119.99 and subsequent nights @USD59.99. On average, the rates were reasonable for a near downtown location. Themed as the "biggest little city in the world", Reno does not sleep. Reno, birthplace of the gaming corporation Harrah's Entertainment, used to be the gambling capital of the world till Las Vegas' rapid rise. But Reno has not lose its little city charm, with no excessive glitz and glamour.

So much neon!

ba.'fei...yes, buffets. This form of "all you can eat" is found often in restaurants, especially in hotels and virtually every casino in North America includes one, with some being very elaborate. We are definitely not first-timers to buffets. The better ones we have tried in Singapore include Oscars's at Conrad Singapore. But for a fine quality spread of sensational steak and seafood, even desserts, I bet it is an uncommon "SGD40 per pax buffet" in Singapore. Here (we say for Reno), even on popular Saturdays, the buffets in most of the hotel/casino resorts are ~USD24.99-29.99 per adult (excluding taxes). That converts to about SGD40-50 and the spread includes freshly tossed specialty salads; prime rib of beef and roast leg of lamb at the carving station; oysters on the half shell, Jonah crab claws, Alaskan snow crab in the raw bar....and MORE...and MORE...and MORE...

Feasting on snow crabs @ Toucan Charlies, Atlantis Casino Resort, Reno. Spot those oysters rockefeller (baked oysters) & stuffed crab cake

More crab claws @ Pacifica Seafood Buffet, Harveys, Tahoe

Before this trip, we have promised ourselves at least a-buffet-a-day. Since we have been feasting in the past few nights, we decided to have breakfast buffet for a change .

Made-to-order omelet, part of buffet breakfast @ The Lodge, Hilton,Reno

Casino-hopping...Peppermill, Atlantis, Hilton,Silver Legacy, Circus Circus...just for the fun of it but just No Luck. It is said to be the game with the worst odds, but we were ignorant about the rules of the other games eg Keno, Blackjack, Poker etc. So we could only depend on luck. What will be the Marina Integrated Resort in Singapore (Las Vegas Sands)? Sinful buffet? Sinful gambling? We will only know in 5 years time.

Of course, we also enjoyed great scenery in Lake Tahoe. From Reno, we first headed towards North Lake Tahoe, then to the southern end via Zephyr cove to Heavenly, which brings us right up almost 9000ft for a panoramic view of Lake Tahoe.

Lake Tahoe

The clarity of water in Lake Tahoe

View of Emerald Bay

What a winter ski trail look like in summer

I would love to visit Lake Tahoe in fall or near-winter. It will be an entirely different landscape, but still as beautiful, I believe. Yearning for mild-winter sports, or just merely playing snowballs in the ice-fields.

Trip date: 1-4 July 2006
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