Viva Las Vegas - The Entertainment Capital of the World
Las Vegas, Nevada
Vikki: 1 day to go till it's all over, but the last 4 days have been busy ones, enjoying all that Las Vegas has to offer. It's pretty hot here still, but a dry heat, full with cigarette smoke, as everyone here is allowed to smoke anywhere including inside the casinos. Probably the thing I like least about being here!
We've strolled the strip checking out all the people, the displays and the casinos. Amazing to see many replicas of things we have seen on our trip already like Eiffel Tower, Venice gondola's, Statue of Liberty, The Colosseum and Trevi Fountain to name a few.
A day trip to the Grand Canyon was a highlight. We hired a car (a small run about) and drove out there. It's a long way, a 3 hour trip each way but worth the views when you see the canyon. Simply stunning. A stop-off at the Hoover Dam on the way home was also amazing, such a huge concrete structure.
We went to one of the shows last night called the Las Vegas Variety Show which featured a number of different individual acts - juggling, comedians, dancing - a really entertaining night. Our final treat tonight is going to the one of the Cirque Du Soleil shows - Mystere. Hopefully a fun filled night to end the trip, before we begin our long flights home.
Today on the Raj Factor: Crikey it's been a while since I have done one of these, but it has to be told. Our first trip into the strip saw us talk to a scout about show tickets. Soon before we knew it we (Raj?) had somehow got talked into attending a presentation about timeshares (oh no you all groan). Yes it sort of was as bad as you think, it wiped out the rest of the day, but we did have some wins. While the concept was not for us, we sat through 3 hours of presentation and repeated no, no, no regardless of the continued discounting to make us a good deal. The good thing was that for doing that we got a number of free tickets including a show and dinner, tickets to a shark aquarium, tickets to dolphin and tiger enclosure, and another separate free dinner. The show and dinner were great, we chose the Variety Show I mentioned above and the dinner was probably one of the best buffet's we have ever eaten (especially the deserts). Raj ensured he made the most of the meat section, and mostly ate like a carnivore for the evening. We all enjoyed the sharks (which included Halloween decorations and candy treats) and the dolphins and tigers. Thankfully the tickets made up for having to endure the presentation, not that I intend to ever have to do that again (hopefully).
Raj: Firstly I'd like to say that I was already won over on the "gifts" on offer for a mere US$80 before I knew we had to attend a timeshare presentation to collect. We were told it would be 1-2 hours" so I thought why not. However by the time we were done and back to where we started the day, almost 5 hours had passed! I apologised to Vikki throughout and afterwards. But, we did get to ride in a flash chauffeured car, had a free lunch, and got a bunch of gifts that I think have more than made up. I don't think we would have experienced what we have otherwise.
So with the first day gone, our second day was a 15 hour one. Seeing the Grand Canyon (and later Hoover Dam) were truly spectacular sights. We (I) chose to self drive and getting there (and back) was scary as we had to manage a terrible 15km stretch of unsealed road for which we were uninsured. The end was worth it. The Canyon is nothing like anything I've seen. We took a walk over Skybridge, a clear glass platform which hangs over the Canyon 4000ft below! Later we took a short climb to Guano Point which provided uninterrupted 360 degree views - wow!
The last two days have also been jam packed, cruising The Strip, home to all the major casinos and Vegas life. There's 24-7 action and it's about more than just gambling. People also come for the best selection of shows in the world (there are over 100), shopping and clubbing. With 40 million visitors a year, it's one big party town that never sleeps. The casinos are just massive. Each is unique and have to be seen. Attached to them are shopping malls and restaurants, and a major attraction or visual extravaganza, be it a light show with music at The Bellagio, a ship battle at Treasure Island (which was sadly down for maintenance), water canals and gondolas at The Venetian or a huge roller coaster at New York-New York. The place definitely rocks. We also took a venture uptown to Fremont, where the first casinos were built. Worth a look but very seedy with lots of beggars.
As for our outings thanks mostly to The Raj Factor, I have to report at the buffet dinner I had 3 puddings BUT was outdone by Vikki who somehow managed 5! The shows have been brilliant. Having just returned from Cirque Du Soleil "Mystere", it was worth one last big spend up to view a spectacle of powerful athleticism, high-energy acrobatics and inspiring imagery with costumes, colour and light, with a bit of comedy thrown in. The kids loved it too. It was a great way to end Vegas and our trip, as tomorrow we pack for one final time and head home after an unbelievable 6 months.