Tuesday 10th November. Car delivered back to Alamo (with a complimentary covering of dust both inside and out), we catch the free shuttle back to the airport and jump another shuttle to our hotel, Plant Hollywood Resort. This time we have a room on the 27th floor, pretty much identical to our previous room, except for the absolutely fabulous view of the Bellagio Dancing Fountains and the Eiffel Tower of the Paris Hotel next door. The room itself is great, a massive kingsize bed with pure cotton sheets, a huge flat screen TV and the most decadent bathroom. The Planet Hollywood resort is vast and even includes it's own shopping mall, Miracle Mile. The Miracle Mile has theatres, restaurants and fountains all under a ceiling painted to look like the sky - it is really quite convincing - in fact there are thunderstorms every half hour including rain! This is quite apart from all the theatres, nightclubs and restaurants in the casino itself! Planet Hollywood is pretty central and is currently one of the trendiest places to stay in Vegas. I know what you're thinking.....I'm not sure why they let Tony in either!
We decided that on our first night in Vegas (ignoring our stop over before heading out into the Canyonlands) we'd take in a show. Donny and Marie are in town performing at the Flamingo and Bette Midler at Caesars Palace. These are headline acts, as is Matt Goss unbelievably! Yes - that Is Matt Goss of Bros! He is huge over here - go figure! None of these tickle Tony's fancy and the $200 price tag doesn't send me into raptures so we give these a miss. I really want to see a vintage Vegas show so Jubilee is top of my list - top of Tony's list is Peepshow, Sin City and Bite....could he be more predictable. After conferring with the Concierge, Peepshow is recommended as a "classy striptease show with excellent choreography and big production numbers". She is fairly dismissive of Jubilee and classifies Tony's other choices as "bump and grind shows" - at which point I give Tony my best "over my dead body" look. We eventually decide on Peepshow which conveniently is a Planet Hollywood production so if we start flagging after our long drive earlier, we can simply ride the elevator up to our room.
After picking up the tickets, we head up to our room. Tony changes and heads down to the casino to play Blackjack at the bar. Two minutes later he's back saying that they won't serve him a beer at the bar without ID to prove he's over 25. Just great - he'll only be mentioning that every day now until the end of the holiday! I would have thought the severely receding forehead and gray whiskers would have been sufficient ID but clearly not everyone is alert to these damning signs old age - especially those hoping for a large tip from unsuspecting punters with vanity issues. It takes me 20 minutes of wandering aimlessly around the bar before I am able to locate the bar - every time I've been in the casino I've gotten lost - and drag him off to the show.
Peepshow turns out to be quite entertaining if you are happy to watch topless and otherwise, scantily clad gorgeous girls dancing and singing for one and half hours. There is a celebrity (presumably a playboy bunny) starring in the show who is excruciatingly bad but fortunately she isn't expected to do much and for the most part keeps her surgically enhanced boobs covered up. After the show we spend a little time in the casino before I make my way up to bed and leave Tony to win back his original stake before following me up.
The next day, we walk up the strip to take a peek inside some of the other hotel resorts. Every single one is mind bogglingly huge and everyone has something special to separate it from the others. We wander through MGM Grand which has a lion habitat, spend ages trying to figure out how to exit the resort and after achieving this we head across the road to New York New York. Tony is keen to go on the rollercoaster which wraps around the building - it doesn't look that scary so I decide to give it a go too. It's very traditional looking so how bad can it be......right? Well............it can be really really really bad. There was no wait whatsoever and as soon as our car left the building we were confronted with a very steep climb and I immediately knew what I had to do..........I closed my eyes and kept them that way. I'm sure that Tony was just as scared but faked it better. I decided at that point that I would not, under any circumstances, be riding the coasters hanging off the top of the Stratosphere.
We've decided to see another show this evening and as Peepshow was Tony's choice last night, I selected America's Got Talent. Coincidently this is another Planet Hollywood show and stars the finalists of the last America's Got Talent final and is presented by Jerry Springer. I have no idea what to expect but I hope that there are no ventriloquists, magicians, puppeteers nor mimes. Again, the show turns out to be very good and even Tony is impressed.
Afterward we head up the strip and catch the free "sirens" show at Treasure Island performed on the pirate ships outside the hotel. Tony loves it of course. Back to Planet Hollywood, we head to the Casino for some more slot play. I am $40 up but am forced to retire for the night when I fall asleep and jerk awake at my machine for the third time. This time Tony decides to come up with me because we have to be up in just a few hours.
At 6.40am the next morning we are waiting for our pick up as we've booked ourselves on a tour to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon where the Skywalk is located. After being collected, we are driven to Henderson Executive Airport. We are flying to the West Rim on a Beechcroft 1900D which carries a maximum of 16 passengers plus the pilot and first officer. Only 8 of us are taking the tour but we still have to be weighed whilst holding any bags we will be taking with us. We are walked out to our plane by our pilot and we are soon in the air. The flight is pretty turbulent as the winds have picked up significantly this morning. The view from the plane is incredible as we fly over first the desert and then the Grand Canyon itself. The runway runs parallel to and only a short distance from the canyon rim itself. There is very little here on West Rim other than the Skywalk and the airport (discounting the incredible views of course) but improvements are being made and there are construction crews working on a restaurant which will overlook the Skywalk and canyon. The area is owned and operated by the Hualapai (pronounced Walla-pie) Indians. They run coaches from the airport to the 3 significant view points in a loop.
First stop is the Skywalk at Eagle Point (named because the rockface looks like an eagle with wings spread wide). We've heard tales that this is really scary but it really really isn't. Shoe covers need to be worn and you are not allowed to carry anything out on to the walkway with you, not even a camera. Fortunately, there are photographers strategically placed around the horseshoe walkway so our bravery can be captured for posterity!
The next stop is Guano Point offering a 360 degree view if you are sure-footed enough to scale the rock. However, it turns out that we can't access it because there is a film crew shooting some scenes for new film, Due Date, starring Robert Downey Jr and Zach thingamabob (the bride's brother in The Hangover). Another tourist points out the stars of the film to us who are busy walking through a scene. We start snapping pictures before I comment to Tony that I'd thought Robert Downey Jr was supposed to be pretty buff, according to the celeb mags, and this guy looks slightly odd shaped. They get ready to shoot the scene and to our surprise Robert Downey Jr walks right over to us and sits not two feet away. Did I mention that we had infiltrated the film set and the crew had said we could stay and watch as long as we were quiet? After secretly trying to pap Rob (to his friends) with each of us in the foreground, we both twig at the same time that we have been wasting our efforts on Robert Downey Jr's body double. What complete idiots we must have looked!Anyway the real Robert Downey Jr appears and I manage to get a picture before filming starts. All in all making a movie seems to be a pretty tedious business to watch so when the scene is finished we walk through the set to Guano Point. Just when we reach the point where the stars and director are chatting, I trip over my own feet, only just managing to stop myself from sprawling face down in the dirt. I've managed to draw all eyes by yelping in surprise so I do the only thing I can do in the circumstances, walk even faster to get out of sight! We return from Guano point and are held up as another scene is being shot. After we cross the set, without incident this time, we miss the coach and are slightly late returning to the airport. The return flight is just as turbulent but we land safely and are delivered back to our hotel by lunchtime.
The afternoon we are planning to go to the Stratosphere.Tony wants to ride the coasters and I want to take in the view from the Observation Tower. We know it is quite some distance North so we decide to take the Monorail. This turns out to be less than straightforward as we end up walking several miles through Bally's Hotel Resort before finally arriving at the monorail. The Monorail ends at The Sahara so we still have about a mile to walk taking into consideration the usual difficulty finding our way out of the hotel resort. This end of the strip is not as nice and is more than a little run down. It also seems to be where the wedding chapels are located which is probably why we start spotting a few Vegas brides! At Stratosphere we ride the elevator 109 floors to the observation tower. Tony doesn't want to hang about though for fear that he might chicken out if he watches the extreme rides in action. Tony gets straight onto X-Scream and he's shot rocket style over the side of the observation tower. Next it's onto Insanity (on which he's the only rider) which hangs him over the edge and spins around at speed.
For our evening meal, we decide on the award winning Spice Market Buffet (its really not all that) and whilst waiting to be seated, Amir Khan, walks in. I point him out to Tony who finally able to get his photograph taken with a celebrity.
It's our last evening in Vegas and tonight we have decided on Sin City Comedy Show. It is stand up comedy with a burlesque dancer strutting her stuff in between acts - a bit pointless but who cares....it's Vegas! The comedians were absolutely hilarious. We were both crying with laughter - a great end to what has been a great time in Vegas.