Viva Las Vegas!!! Well I managed to do Vegas and not gamble everything (well just about anyways). I left San Fran in good time to get to the airport, or so I thought, but ended up trying to check in 2 mins too late as the subway was delayed - absolutely gutted. I had the choice to go on standby or pay $75 to reserve a seat, I wanted to just get to Vegas so I paid the extra money. The flight to Vegas was easy enough and pretty short, you can really feel the change in heat when you step off the plane as its jumped from about 80 degrees up to just over 100. Also as soon as you step off the plane there are slot machines you can play literally as you step off the plane - welcome to Vegas. I jumped on a shuttle bus to take me to the hostel. It was a fair bit off the strip down in the old town of Vegas, the driver spent most of the journey telling me how much of a bad area I was staying (I've slowly learnt to ignore this as generally everywhere is dodgy and you've just got be careful wherever you go). The hostel was pretty cool it was quite big and had a decent sized pool there, the guys in my dorm seemed cool enough and told me about the night out the hostel was planning tonight a party bus down to the Wynn Casino and into the nightclub there - despite the fact I was pretty tired/hangover from San Fran this was Vegas and there was a big crows of us all going out. We got some beers in and chilled out by the pool, while the guys at the hostel cooked us some Fajitas - they did also tell me that I wouldn't get in without shoes which would be a bit of a problem as my shoes got ruined in New York, the hostel did have some shoes I could borrow which luckily enough were the right size even if they did look a bit trampy. We headed to a bar up the road to get some drinks in, me and this Kiwi guy Will were drinking as it was two for $5 we got talking to all the people at the hostel - everyone was really cool all different ages, countries backgrounds and everything. The best thing about people who come to Vegas? Everyone was here to party! The party bus came to pick us up about 11 and that was really cool and big bus with leather seats a couple of poles and really loud music all the way down to the Wynn. The Wynn was pretty spectacular, it is after all the most expensive hotel on the strip, and the club was the same. We got in for 'free' we paid the hostel some money for the club and the party bus, but it meant we didn't have to queue. The club was pretty cool as it wasn't that big that you can get lost really easily and everyone from the hostel was there. We stayed for a couple of hours until me and Will decided that we wanted to go and gamble (it was my first night in Vegas - it would have been rude not to) so we headed down to Circus Circus with a few others for a bit of gambling. I ended up about $50 up which went down a treat, after only about 7 hours in Vegas I had already fallen in love with it! We headed back to the hostel after that crashed out - I was pretty shattered and unsurpsingly pretty damn drunk.
The next day we were all up pretty late and all felt like absolute dog s***, quality night though. Today the hostel were organising a trip to the Hard Rock Café Pool Party which is pretty famous around Vegas as its not only a free bar but they also have a couple of bands down there as well, none of us really felt up for it though. We headed down to Freemont area which is where the first Casino's where built to grab a bite to eat, a little gamble and try and get ourselves up for the afternoon/evening. We grabbed a massive Maccy D's and then went into a Casino for a quick gamble. The Casino was pretty cool, we got a free photo with a million dollars in cash which was pretty cool and then went for a little gamble - didn't fair as well this time round but only lost 30 dollars. We headed back to the hostel and it was far too hot and it really wasn't helping our hangover…. We weren't exactly the height of excitement ready to go out but we mustered up the energy to get some beers and wait for the limo to turn up (oh yeah forgot to mention they got us a limo to go down there). Once we'd had a beer we had kinda woken up a bit and were a bit more sociable, the two aussie guys in my room Marc and Ryan and the Brit Lee called everyone Dave and so we set 'Dave' nicknames for everyone like 'Kiwi Dave' 'Redneck Dave' 'Pink Shirt Dave', funnily enough I was Australian Dave seems that nickname follow me around wherever I go! The Limo ride was cool and we got down to the pool party early enough that we where at the front of the queue, we had to wait around an hour and half to get in as they set up but we spent the whole time cheering and jeering people as they walked past (the queue was in the main part of the hotel just past the casino so a lot of people walking through) it was well funny although we did get into a bit of a mob mentality by the end and were a bit rude - didn't matter this was Vegas! We got into the pool party and we were the first ones there so got ourselves straight to the bar (it was an open bar on a selected spirit for that day, today was Rum - not impressed but free rum is better than paying for beer!) The pool itself was really nice with a big pool/sandy area with all different booths and beds which you can rent out for around $300 - $1000 (it was a bit of a wealthy hangout). There was shed load of women in there as well and we all got pretty drunk chilling out by the water trying to drink as much rum as we could. The first band came on which was Los Bamos (or something like that they sung that song from the 90's Ba Rumba and that's about it) they weren't too bad and it was good background music while we all had some pretty random drunken conversations and meeting some really random people. A few of the guys were swimming but the water was absolutely freezing. I met some Vegas locals while watching the second band and got chatting to them, I got on really well with one of the girls, Jessica, and spent the rest of the night chatting with her and her friends while the band was on. By the time the second band finished it was about 12 and it was coming up to kick out time, we'd been drinking since about 4 and I was pretty smashed. I headed back to the hostel stayed up chatting to the guys there around the pool before going to bed and passing out - absolutely quality day/night though!!
I woke up pretty early as I had to check out of the hostel and check in to my bit of luxury - the Stratosphere! I couldn't check in till 3pm so I chilled out around the pool and watched everyone slowly but surely emerge from their rooms, all hung-over as I was. I got myself checked in to the Stratosphere and the room was really nice (compliments of Christopher J Watters, thanks bro) and got myself straight in a hot bath - the first one I've had in around 2 months! I got myself a bite to eat at the Roxy Diner which was a 50's themed restaurant with live music and was pretty cool and had a little gamble in the casino, I won about $300 but ended up putting most of it back in (getting free drinks along the way of course!). I was meeting up with Jessica that night for a drink and we headed up to the top of the Stratosphere and saw the view from there and also the insane rollercoaster rides at the top!! We moved on down the strip and had a few cocktails in Encore, we got on really well and she was good fun to be around and knew all the cool places to go on the strip.
It was good sleeping in a decent bed and I crashed out right through till about 1pm, my poor little body couldn't handle the constant Vegas partying!! I decided to stay there one more night as I realised that in all the excitement and partying I hadn't organised going to the Grand Canyon yet so I booked that for the following day and booked another night. It did mean sacrificing a day/night in LA but from speaking to Lee, the Brit from the hostel, he said that there is not that much to do in Vegas apart from Hollywood which can be done easily in a day. I definitely did not want to miss the grand canyon whilst I was here. I spent the rest of the day doing washing and did end up gambling a little bit of cash whilst I was waiting and lost…. On the bright side I had accrued enough reward points to get a free ticket to the American Superstars tribute show at the Stratosphere which was pretty cool. I managed to squeeze a ticket in for that night, the show was about an hour and a half long and was really good. They had an Elvis impersonator who was really good, a Britney Spears impersonator who didn't really sing just danced well so I suppose she was a good impersonator! Tim McGraw and some country girl who won pop idol and a Michael Jackson impersonator. The MJ impersonator was really good and people were going really crazy for him, it was a bit surreal but he was good. I hadn't really seen the strip yet (well soberly) so I caught a bus to the bottom of the strip and walked back seeing all the sights, it really is unbelievable! I managed to catch the Bellagio fountain show which was very impressive and got some good photos of the casinos. It was a shame that I had to be up early the next day for the grand canyon so I couldn't spend that much time on the strip but it was cool to see it all at night.
I had yto be up really early the next day to catch the tour bus to the Grand Canyon, we got breakfast and lunch included which was good . We stopped at the Hoover Dam but we only got a view of the back end of it which was a bit rubbish as you want to see the fron of the dam but the security there was insance, they have apparently had a few bomb threats recently. We headed down to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon which too about 5 hours in total. It was well worth the drive - it was a VERY grand canyon!!! It was very spectacular place and really is just huge!! It was a shame that I couldn't do a bit of a proper hike and camp down in the canyon but it will be on my to do list for the future. We had about 3 hours at the canyon so we did a 2 mile trail along the rim of te canyon. It really doesn't look like anywhere on earth, you can see why it is one of the 7 wonders of the world! We left about 4pm and headed back to Vegas, it was a long old trip back and I was absolutely shattered wo went to bed when we got back about half 10. Unfortunately I have to leave Vegas to head to LA for two nights before flying to Hawaii. I absolutely loved Vegas though its like Disneyland on crack… will probably be coming back to Vegas in the very near future!! LA here we come. Hope your all well, take care and I'll speak to you all soon.