Las Vegas, 8th - 13th July, 2010
What a fantastic last weekend in the USA! :)
In the 5 days we were there we stayed at the Luxor which is a giant pyramid, went to the Hoover Dam, saw the sunrise at Death Valley, went on a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, gambled on the roulette tables, saw Thunder from Down Under, shot a Glock and AK47, partied, sunbathed, nearly burnt out car number 2 and got pulled over by the Police for speeding!
So after the Dam visit, killing the 1st car and checking in we got some dinner and a couple of giant Strawberry Daiquiris. We were actually beaten by these things as they were huuuge, so when we got back to the room we tipped out the rest and filled them with Passion fruit Malibu and lemonade, and headed out to the strip. As I'm sure you can imagine this place is party central and we headed out with our giant drinks, walked up and down the strip, going into the Bellagio hotel & casino, MGM Grand and Caesar's Palace. We also stopped off to watch the Bellagio's fountains which are choreographed to music (we saw Elton John - Your song, Viva Las Vegas & Time to say goodbye - here's a link if you wanna take a peek at one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKUxVtrEQ1s). We also saw the lions in the enclosure in MGM Grand's hotel lobby. We also got talking to a guy in our casino who gave us free nightclub entry our whole stay and wrist bands for free champagne all night - oh dear, oh dear. Anyone who knows me, knows that it is wise to keep me away from champagne! ;)
The next day we chilled out by the pool and started topping up the tan. They also had a house DJ there spinning the decks so we were partying all day.
Partying in Vegas
On our second night we went to 2 nightclubs both within the Luxor called the Cat House and LAX.
We were drinking our usual tipples, along with plastic beakers full of champagne. It wasn't long before we were dancing on stage, being given beads from strippers & bouncers, requesting music (they don't take requests but they did that night) and gate crashing a VIP area. We even got put on a 5 minute 'hold' as I got impatient waiting to get into the 2nd club so moved the barrier for us to get in. The bouncer was hilarious and the 5 minute hold turned out to be 30 seconds as we started dancing in the middle of the Casino. The next guy then stamped my hand but did a poor ass job of it, so I told him he had to do it properly. He took my arm and made the most accurate stamp possible. Selena then came over as she'd been chatting to the '5 minute hold' bouncer and when he did a piss poor attempt at stamping her arm she did exactly the same. He looked at us both like we were mad, and off we went into the 2nd club. When we came out we saw a guy who had hijacked the stage with one of the strippers and we were cheering him on. About time they had some guys up dancing! We ended up dancing around the casino with him until Selena and I got the munchies and the closest place we could find was Mc D's - yuck, but it had to be done. We even randomly got chatting to some private detective who was asking really odd questions. Selena also turned into the drunk monster as we like to call it, and whilst we were walking back to our room she was coming up with all sorts of ideas as to what she could do to the people below. In the end she settled for taking massive gulps from her drink and spitting it over the side! How we were not kicked out I have no idea and we both ran the rest of the way back to our room. lmao :0
Death Valley is one of the hottest places on the planet with its highest recorded temperature of 56.7C. We got up at 1.30am on Sunday morning and drove out to Death Valley. It took 2.5 hours to get there and was a pretty scary drive. There were no road lights, no one around for hours at a time and we were literally in the middle of nowhere. We also decided to start talking about some really freaky stuff like ghost stories and the likes. Why we do it I have no idea, but we were proper freaked out, in the pitch black and in the middle of nowhere.
We arrived at Death Valley and drove around for 30 minutes before we found out which way to go. I still can't believe the lack of signposts in this country. We made our way up to a Vista Point at the top of Death Valley called Dante's View and waited for sunrise. We got there about 4.30am, and the sun finally started coming up over the mountains just before 6. We spent most of this time locked in our car as we were so freaked out. There was still no-one around, we were at the top of a mountain with sheer drops all around, and there were lots of strange sounds. It was absolutely beautiful though and as it was twilight the whole area had beautiful blue and red hues to it. Our car was also being attacked by about 20 bees and there is always the risk of Mountain Lions, so we thought best to stay in the car until sunrise. Once the sun had come up we headed down to the Death Valley Plateau called Furnace Creek.
We got down there about 6.30am, it was already 42C, and the sun hadn't even reached the plateau yet. The heat here felt stagnant and we literally only managed to get out of the car so we could see what it was like, and I quickly ran out across the plateau for Selena to take a pic of me. I still have to pinch myself that I've actually been to Death Valley. I've been fascinated by this place since I heard about it as a kid, so there was no question in my mind that I was going to run out onto the plateau to get my picture. :)
We got back to the hotel around 10.30 and went straight to bed. We had 2 hours sleep before leaving for Death Valley, and we had to get up at 1pm to go to a timeshare presentation. Obviously we know to avoid these things like the plague, but we're travelling on a budget and the guy said they'd give us $75 gift vouchers to use in the hotel, half price show tickets and free lunch and it would only take 2 - 3 hours. To say we weren't in the mood for this thing was an understatement but we went along anyway. The apartment they showed us was absolutely stunning - it looked like a penthouse suite, had a kitchen, dining room, bathroom and even a Jacuzzi in the bedroom, however the "2 - 3 hours" turned into 5 hours and we really made our dissatisfaction known. We finally left with our vouchers and Thunder from Down Under tickets, and headed straight for the steak and seafood restaurant in our hotel, where I proceeded to have the most expensive burger ever priced at $30 and could only eat half of it.
We did a helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. I was super excited as it was the first time I'd ever been in a helicopter. Selena and I got to sit up front with the Pilot which was wicked as it was definitely the best seats in the house.
We flew over lake mead and then onto Hoover Dam. We were all amazed at how much the water level in the lake had dropped and the pilot said if it carried on the lake would be empty in 10 years. We saw a dormant volcano, the Colorado River, flew in, out and around the Grand Canyon, the basin of fire and he showed us some of the fault lines on the way back.
It was so hot up there that the thermometer read 65C outside, and with no AC we had to open the windows! I was really surprised how slow the helicopter flew, and also how shaky it was but I loved it never-the-less. Don't think the guy sitting behind Selena did though as he was throwing up for most of the flight.
Thunder from Down Under
There's not much to say on this other than they are a group of 8 super fit Australian Strippers and girls if you ever get the chance to go see them - do it. They are hilarious. We had an absolutely excellent night, especially when one of them pulled a granny up on stage who stated "I've been married for 57 years, and never even touched another man" That was the worst thing she could have said to him. Her hands ended up down his trousers, he was proper touching her up and even landed her a smacker on the lips! Good times.
OMG I cannot tell you how much fun this was!
We decided to go to the Gun Club on our last day, and as we spent so much time in the Post Office that morning sending everything back we had to make the decision of sacking it off, or going for it but booting it all the way to the airport. We chose the latter. When we got in there we first of all signed our lives away and then they started running us through all of the packages. I think due to the blank look on both our faces when they were running through all the specs of the guns, they then suggested the girls packaged to. We got 20 rounds with a Glock (handgun), 10 rounds with a Pink AK47 and a t-shirt at the end of it. :) I picked Osama Bin Laden as my targets and I went first. I was so nervous, I mean I'm bad enough with sharp objects let alone a gun! He showed us how to line up the dot things (yes that is a technical term don't you know), fire the gun without breaking our thumbs, clear the magazine and load the new one. I was convinced this thing was going to put me on my ass and almost made the first shot with my eyes closed. Well once I'd made the first shot there was no stopping me. I absolutely luuuuurved it. Once I'd finished the first magazine and the slide snapped back I cleared the magazine and loaded the next. The guy was trying to remind me how to do it, but I was well away. Once I'd done the 20 rounds in the Glock, it was Selena's turn. We then moved onto the pink AK47 - it even had a Hello Kitty sticker on it. :) For this one you have to lean the magazine on the side and rest the shoulder stock into your shoulder. I was convinced I was about to receive another dislocated shoulder, but fired away as instructed. I managed to get all body shots with this one (although I was actually aiming for Osama's head). The AK47 was very cool, look the nuts when you're firing it, but in my book the Glock wins hands down. I just absolutely love it and am completely addicted. Do you reckon I could get one for Christmas?! lol
Drive back to LAX
We left Vegas and hour and a half late due to the gun club and having to go to the Post Office, so we had to proper boot it back to LA to catch our flight. Mix setting off late, with the complete lack of sign posts, maps that don't show all the motorways and another service warning light on the new car and it made a very interesting drive.
Selena was navigating and although we knew what motorways we needed they literally only sign post them from 50 - 200 feet from the actual turnoff. Because of this we had to make quite a few last minute dashes. The worst 2 were across 5 lanes and we ended up in the criss crosses between the turn off and motorway, whilst also trying to avoid all of the rubber tyres left on the motorways from blow outs. The piece de resistance was just before LAX where we had to make a diagonal crossing across 8 lanes of traffic and ended up in the car pool lane. The sign posts are so bad that they don't even sign post the airport until you are 3 miles from it. We were also averaging 100mph, and whilst we were on a 6 lane motorway with no other vehicles other than trucks in the truck lane Selena spotted 2 Police Cars waiting for the unrulys that would be speeding - yep that would be us. We had the music blaring and she just looked ahead and calmly said 'cop car'. I thought she was singing along to the music, and by the time I realised she wasn't we were on top of them. I slowed down a bit but didn't want to slam on the brakes and make it really obvious, but the police car pulled out and followed us for about a mile. He then turned on his lights for us to pull over. Seriously - of all the times we could have been stopped for speeding it is when we are 2 hours away from trying to leave the country. Now where the hell do you pull over on a motorway with a hard shoulder about half the width of a car?! After a while we realised he was talking to us through the tannoy system they have on the Police cars out here, although we still had our music blaring so couldn't hear him. We eventually pulled over into a petrol station and he came up to the car and asked for our "licence, registration and insurance please". We gave him the rental receipt, my UK driving licence and told him we were on our way to the airport. He replied "ah, tourists". We could not stop laughing and Selena kept saying we had to stop as he could see us and would think we were taking the piss. However we had become hysterical and we just couldn't stop laughing. He came back to the car and said it was our lucky day as there had just been a crash which he had to attend, but I needed to watch my speed as even after I had slowed down I was still doing 89 in a 70! Whoops. I personally think he couldn't be bothered to give us a ticket as it wasn't our car, we live abroad and were on our way to the airport to leave the country. I of course ignored his advice and booted it even more to make up the time from being stopped! :)
We finally made it to the car hire place, dumped the car, ran after the transfer coach who stopped and let us on and legged it into the terminal. The queues were out the door but for some reason there were only 3 people in our queue - result! We checked in (Selena has managed to accrue an extra 5kg since we left London and I have an extra 3). Fiji here we come!!! :)