So we'd arrive into Vegas, comfortable in our air conditioned car and found our hotel, the Monte Carlo easily. We checked in, finding out that whilst we may have pre-paid for our room online when we made the booking, we were now required to pay a ‘resort fee’ (plus tax) of $15 per night, which covered use of the hotels internet cable (not wireless!) in our hotel room and a daily newspaper. Unexpected and pricey but we rolled with the punch.
Our room is massive with a King bed again, a touch of luxury before South America was a great idea. We overlook the four pools of the hotel and it doesn’t take long before we head down for a swim, late in the afternoon. There’s a wave pool, private cabana, another pool and a river current pool. This latter one is lined by boozy American’s, drinking buckets of Bud’s.
After a swim we laze about in our room, sprawled in our massive bed watching Forrest Gump until what would normally be bed time. But we’re in Vegas so we head downstairs for some late dinner and a flutter on the slot machines! Ryan comes up trumps with a win of $17. We pop our heads out of the casino to see what the night-time temperature is like. Much the same as the day really, minus a degree or two from forty plus. It’s too much for me!
Our backpacks for South America don’t contain many nice ‘going out’ clothes for a place like Vegas, but no matter, because the people frequenting the casino, pools and restaurants of Monte Carlo are dressed in every spectrum and are from all walks of life. There’s the guy in the grey pin-stripe suit with bowler hat and red silk handkerchief in his suit breast pocket. There are families, wandering past the roulette tables, fresh from the pool, in togs and t-shirts. And then there’s everything in between. We fit right in.
The following day begins much as I mean to go on, slowly, lazily, not rising from bed until just before midday, enjoying my latest read (The Time Traveller’s Wife). Eventually Ryan heads out solo to see some of the strip and I stay within the confines of the air conditioned hotel!
Ryan sees the Bellagio, Venetian and Eiffel Tower and Mirage and then succumbs to the 40 degree heat, returning to the hotel and pool. We dined on Mexican beers and food for dinner and gambled once more, but this time I came away with the spoils.
Once the sunlight has dipped below the horizon (shame the temperature didn’t dip with it!) we headed off to see the Bellagio’s fountain show – a magical display of water fountains to Metallica’s No Leaf Clover – awesome! The Bellagio was much plusher than our Monte Carlo digs; there was a section of roof covered by glass flowers of all different colours and sizes, and an oversized garden inside the casino. Oh and a chocolate water fountain.
The following day we hit M&M World, where Ryan has to drag me away from all the candy (not empty handed though!) and then we head off to see the Hoover Dam. On the way out of Vegas we stop for the obligatory piccie in front of the iconic ‘Welcome to Vegas’ sign.
After a second stop to shop in a giant Walmart where we gaze in wonder at 50cm wide pizzas and gallon bottles of juice and milk, we head off into the desert to see the Hoover Dam. It is feckin hot when we get there, and I manage to last in the heat, oh, all of 15 minutes, long enough to walk out onto the Dam and peer down to the Colorado River below. Ryan hacks it a bit longer and walks across the entire dam and back. Back in Vegas we find out that it was 47 degrees out at the dam. That is just plain ridiculous! I am not cut out for 47 degrees.
Our remaining days in Vegas are much the same as the first, lazing about, reading, swimming, sunbathing. What a tough life. We gamble down at the Bellagio and the MGM Grand, but sadly don’t make our fortunes!
After seeing the real things last summer, this summer we see a mini Eiffel Tower, Venice’s San Marco Piazza, gondola’s plying mini water ways, the Trevi Fountain and Egypt’s pyramids. After seeing the real thing in New York last week, we see the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and more. Vegas, there’s no place like it, but it’s like everywhere.