A few weeks ago, I went on vacation to Las Vegas. Despite having lived in Nevada for eight years, this was my first visit to the city of sin and, well, I fell in love with it! It’s bright, it’s loud, it’s extremely improbable – a sprawling oasis set in the middle of the Nevada desert. A contemporary Babylon, it exists for the sole purpose of entertaining people from all the over world, and it does that well. The sheer amount of eye candy alone is enough to give one diabetes!

I love the city’s casinos and the incredible amount of effort they go to in order to attract tourists – the Egyptian-themed Luxor, or all the gigantic statues at the Caesar’s. I love all the entrepreneurs that I saw on the Strip – free market in action! And then, of course, there’s the weather. A lot of people don’t like the idea of 100-degree weather, but I couldn’t get enough of it. Constant heat and no snow whatsoever – it’s every Siberian’s dream…

And then, of course, there’s the dirt-cheap real estate. Las Vegas was a ground zero for the housing bubble, and there are thousands of unoccupied residences throughout the city. A friend of mine paid $70,000 for a condo that had been selling for $240,000 at the peak of the bubble (the prices have gone even lower since then, to $59,000!), which is a great deal for a property located right next to the Strip. And just a block away, there are small (but still nice) condos selling for just $25,000. When it comes to big purchases, my philosophy is “function over form.” I think of a house as a place to live, not necessarily an investment, and it would be really hard to beat that kind of deal.

The one thing I don’t understand is why on earth it took me eight years to visit Las Vegas. Sure, I live 450 miles away from it (Nevada is a pretty big state), but there were so many other opportunities to visit it… Better late than never, I guess. Fortunately, my company has a facility in Vegas. Transferring there would mean taking a 15% pay cut, but I think it would be better in the long run. If nothing else, I’ll never have to drive through a snow storm ever again (we get quite a few of them here in the northern Nevada). If all goes well, I’ll move there about a month from now. A Siberian living in Las Vegas – how improbable is that?