What a perfect end to the travels..…..it was my birthday, Han gave me my awesome presents (shirt and a James Patterson stand alone thriller) and card that she bought in LA, we were on our way to Las Vegas for a week where we could spend all our money on alcohol and gambling, there was the Grand Canyon, we were meeting up with Han's mate Jess from Uni and we were staying in the luxury time share apartment thanks to Ian kindly donating us his holiday points! Cheers Ian! As it happened we weren't allowed to meet up with Jess because I was dressed too scruffy to get in the swanky club she was in but o well, the rest was good! Here is how our week went:
- Our apartment - After our 6 hour coach trip to Vegas, we were met with a 110ْFahrenheit heat wall which was rather unpleasant to carry our mahusive bags in! The heat almost caused our frustrations to bubble over as we watched about 5 of our shuttle busses drive past, completely packed to the rafters with people so we couldn't fit on! In the end we decided enough was enough and power stomped to the nearest hotel taxi rank where we got a cab. We stayed in the Planet Hollywood Westgate Tower which is a fairly new hotel attached to the Planet Hollywood Mall. In the mall next door was a re-enactment of a rain storm that kicked off every hour…..bit random! Our room was so cool because it looked sweet as and it had a massive window with a remote controlled shutter and an amazing view of the MGM Grand! We spent many an hour chilling in our apartment watching Teen Wolf when it was too hot outside……..don't knock it until you've tried it, very addictive!! We'd get pizza delivery fliers through our door every day so on one of the last nights we ordered a take away and munched it in our room whilst we no doubt watched some more Teen Wolf……sad but we loved it!
- Birthday Meal - That evening we put on some glad rags and went for a walk around the top end of the strip. We visited the MGM, Excalibur and Luxor which were all pretty cool, then we headed back down the strip (to Han's empty tummy's disappointment) because I had my heart set on eating at the Outback Steakhouse! This turned out to be a good call because we got some massive portions of steak and by the time we left I think we both put on a stone each!! After my 20 ounce porterhouse and the chicken wings starter I was feeling quite full, then Han kindly ordered me a birthday cake! I had mixed emotions as I saw the cake arrive because on the one hand it was a lovely gesture from H but on the other hand I could feel myself going into cardiac arrest from over feeding! After the meal, we set out to find Jess at the Palms hotel (which turned out to be miles away) but unfortunately when we arrived I was too scruffy to get in the club! Instead, we learned how to play the gambling machines at the bars and how to get free drinks and as a result drank way too much!!
- Getting conned on the strip - We were a pair of suckers one day when we stupidly decided to pay a con man on the strip $30 each to go to a club where Bruno Mars was playing! We were really daft, firstly because Bruno Mars wasn't even in Las Vegas let alone that club and secondly, the tickets he gave us were free wrist bands that you could get for free! And we didn't even go to the club in the end because we both were ill that night! O well all part of the experience I suppose. Other regular sightings on the strip are the people snapping strip club fliers together, trying to convince you to have one! I grabbed a handful to Hannah's disapproval!
- The Blue Man Group - This is one of the more popular shows that you can watch in Vegas which is basically some guys in blue body paint that play the drums well. We watched it in the Venetian, which is a posh hotel, so posh it has its own gondola river out the front! Before the show began we bought the most expensive cokes of all time and gave into the temptation of seeing chocolate, getting ourselves 2 bars of kitkat and yet again having our pants pulled down with the price!! The show was really bizarre! There were some cool drumming scenes with neon coloured paint bouncing up from the drums as the guys hit them and they banged on drain pipes which sounded like beat boxing! Then there was the strange side to the show which involved getting people from the crowd to do things which were so awkward at times that you couldn't help but laugh! One poor woman was made to eat this minging looking food and another dude from the audience was blindfolded, covered in paint and splatted against a wall. Then at the end the whole audience were covered in toilet paper……crazy show!
- The Grand Canyon - We went on a bus tour to see one of the natural wonders of the world…the Grand Canyon! The tour consisted of a free breakfast (a cereal bar and a cup of tea) at 7 in the morning in the lobby of our hotel. We then had a marathon 6 hour drive across the desert with some nice views of sand, sand and more sand! We stopped off for about 100 toilet breaks (some of the guys on the trip must have bladder issues) and at 12 o clock we had a nice buffet lunch at an old ranch looking place. After the lunch and receiving a few complementary GC and Hoover Dam post cards, we finished off the trip and arrived at the roasting hot Canyon. We got off the bus at the start of a walkway and for the next hour and a half, walked around the path of the Southern Rim. We took a lot of photos but it was pretty spectacular and worth all the stops! Han arranged us in the piggy back position at one point when we were stood tittering over the edge and asked a lady to take a photo which sums up her madness! There was also the pic of Han sitting with her legs dangling over the edge which I took very quickly to get her back onto land again, and I had a funny pic pretending I was the guy out of 127 hours with my arm trapped in the cliff face……pretty sick! At the end of the trail we went in the gift shop and bought a few things, then sat and watched a Red Indian playing a pan pipe which was awesome considering a lot of the native Indians still live around the Canyon! On the 6 hour marathon drive back to our hotel, the bus driver slowed down and showed us the Hoover Dam under night lights which looked great to be fair, but on the flier it said we were allowed to get out and take pics so I complained the next day and got us $50 back……..result!
- Gambling - We had some good and some bad times gambling. Most of the time we just sat at the bar pawning off the free drinks, but sometimes we got involved with the tables. We had a good night at the Bally hotel where we won big! We gambled at the bar so we had about 5 free drinks each and in the end I was up $0.50 and Han was up $3 thanks to her unbelievable straight flush…..we are hardcore gamblers! We had a good session at the MGM where we were up about $15 each from playing our favourite computerised roulette! We were bad at gambling in our own hotel (because there were no computerised roulette) and lost every time. At one point Han took out her winnings of $0.15 which was hilarious! On our last evening in Vegas we went big or went home by firstly wasting $30on the 'FIXED' roulette table in the Flamingo Hotel where we had about 15 black numbers in a row! Han didn't lose as much but enjoyed watching me lose badly! Then we finished up in Paris Hotel where I proceeded to lose another $40 and Han about $30, probably due to the fact that we were very drunk by this point! Note: Sambuca and soda is a disgusting combo!
- Strip entertainment - As we wandered down the strip there were loads of things to see for free. For example every 10 mins there is a giant fountain display outside the Bellagio Hotel which is awesome and one evening we went to the Mirage Hotel, where there was a re-enactment of a volcano with flames and all!
- Our final meal at Lavo restaurant - On our final night we treated ourselves (a bit) to a nice meal out to celebrate an awesome, unforgettable 7 months! The restaurant was very posh so we ordered the cheapest things on the menu! Our waiter kept offering us all these swanky over priced starters, which we deliberated over but decided to save the money for a good night out instead! We were sat outside on the balcony overlooking the Mirage fake volcano and the rest of the strip. Lovely meal!!
On our final day we were really hungover from the mad drinking session the night before which made packing our things up very interesting at 8 in the morning! It was almost a good thing that we did feel like crap actually because it made us look forward to going home a bit more, in a weird kind of way, but also a bit nervous about holding it all in on the plane!
What can I say?? Vegas treated us very well and certainly lived up to expectations. It almost felt good as well to have lost $70 on gambling just because it was lost in Vegas! It was so sad having to leave for home after all the travelling we had done and we had no idea where all the time had gone! Han had been awesome company all the way round and it will be sad not to see each other all the time……cheers Han! The whole of travelling will be missed very dearly but there is always a next time ……… :)