Vegas Baby ...

Trip Start Jun 29, 2010
Trip End Apr 07, 2012

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Where I stayed
Sitting up on the new Green Tortoise Bus

Flag of United States  , Nevada
Friday, July 30, 2010

We woke in Zion and did the final buss toss and bag explosion. Though there were hikes a plenty the heat easily dissuaded us and instead we opted for a chilled day of organising bags, eating a nice lunch in air conditioning and swimming in the river – however what we didn't realise when we got in the river was the pedestrian bridge overhead – which made it a little difficult to give ourselves a good scrub as there was a regular audience of by-passers watching on as we washed our bits and pieces!!!

Finally when everyone was ready we jumped on the bus and began our journey to Sin City.  The bus journey was hilarious – after the wash in the river Annabelle had put on the only relatively nice outfit she bought and did her hair in the public toilet, leaving her make-up for a job to do on the bus, along with the other girls.  It took Annabelle about 5 minutes (being naturally beautiful and all), but the other girls made a real meal of it ... they were going for ages.  As the journey to Vegas was through the Desert it was inevitable that the air conditioning would struggle.  Unfortunately it struggled and eventually broke completely!  All 36 people proceeded to then gradually sweat themselves to death for the last hour of the journey, and lose all of the make-up that had been lovingly applied.  By the time we arrived, Annabelle’s hair was soaked through as was most of her clothing and Chris was rather embarrassed as he had sweated through his shorts making him look as though he had had an unfortunate accident.  Never have any people ever been so happy to get off a bus as we all were when we arrived to the undercover parking lot at the Circus Circus hotel. 

Arriving at 6.30pm you would expect the heat to have at least started to subside, but oh no, this is Vegas, where today’s low was 84 degrees and as we arrived the temp is over 100!  Once the shock had vanished and despite the heat, we were still excited, after all, this is Vegas!  We took a look in the hotel for ticket prices for a show on the return night we are in Vegas – we quite fancied David Copperfield, but selfishly he is having a week off when we come back.  We later learned that he plays twice a night to a crowd of 1500 people paying an average of $70-150 per ticket, no wonder the old stagers go to Vegas, to top up the pension!

To get into the thick of the action we grabbed a cab to Caesars Palace.  Walking around we must have looked like a couple of fish, mouths wide open!  Annabelle had her photo taken in the Coliseum with some Roman characters in period dress which looked great!  We then decided to try our arm at gambling, firstly we tried the slots and struggled to get to grips with the various games and odds.  It seems that Vegas Casinos have changed the way that the slot machines work and now when you win, instead of getting coins, you get a winners slip with a barcode on which you have to cash in, problem being that it is hard easier to put the slip back in the machine and gamble away your winnings, than it is to find a cashiers office and cash it in!  

We then headed over to a quiet roulette table to try our arm out at Roulette.  The lady croupier was very kind to us and warmed to Annabelle when she offered the use of her fan, in an attempt to combat the huge plume of cigar smoke that a rather large Mexican man was blowing in her direction (yes we were shocked that you can still smoke in all the Casino’s).  Once the croupier had made her disgust apparent to him, the Mexican man disappeared and she took our photo whilst sitting at the table, a great shot!  We also had a really nice waitress who seemed genuinely interested in London whilst bringing us free drinks (obviously hoping that we were going to spend loads of cash!). 

Meanwhile we skipped some of the games to try and get our money’s worth out of our time at the table and learn as much as possible about Roulette, unfortunately this did not work as we proceeded to lose around $40 dollars from our first few games!  We did get a couple bets on red and black correct but it only delayed the inevitable, the house always wins! Annabelle was very impressed that the lady croupier let us buy a chip from the roulette table to take away with us which then spurred us on to collect one from as many Casinos as possible before the night was over.

As we left Caesars Palace and walked outside the heat was still incredibly stifling so we headed just next door to the Bellagio.  There was another reason for heading here which we know will shock everyone, yes you got it, food! The Bellagio is regarded as having the best all you can eat buffet in the US.  We had a good look around the Casino, still amazed by the scale of the gambling floor, whilst searching for the buffet.  On arrival we were surprised that the cost per head was $36 each, but as we had heard such good reviews we joined the line and queued for a taste sensation!  We were sat in a very nice booth and had a complimentary drink brought over to us. Then we headed to the huge buffet counters which were arranged in groups; salads, desserts, meat, seafood etc etc.  To help you visualise the food we took extensive pictures, also we needed to do this to remember what we both had as there were so many choices available to us!  We managed to consume ...

Starter (1st Plate):

- Sushi

- Japanese noodles

- Swordfish

- Huge prawns

- Paella

- Macaroni Cheese

- Pumpkin

- Muscles

- Crab   

- Steak Tartar

Main (2nd Plate):

- Herb crusted Rib Eye Steak

- Beef Wellington

- Ostrich Steak

- Duck Breast

- Roasted Quail

- Lobster Ravioli with shrimp  cream sauce

- Mushroom Ravioli with truffle sauce

- Roasted asparagus

Main (3rd Plate–Chris managed this, while Annabelle disappointedly rubbed her rather full stomach):

- New England Clam Chowder

- Cannelloni

Dessert (ssss, yes that’s right there were a lot more than 1!!):

- Apricot mousse

- Key Lime Tart

- Fresh Berry Tart

- Chocolate Brownie Slice

- Chocolate & Peanut Butter Bomb

- Coconut Macaroon

- Crème Brule

- Tiramisu

Following this amazing dining experience we headed through the casino to the main lobby where they had a garden exhibition, where everything was made with blown glass.  It was incredible – there were flowers that were about 20ft tall.  Only in Vegas!  We then made our way outside to see the water fountain show which is held every 15 minutes.  It was very spectacular and we tried to take as many pictures as possible whilst agreeing that we when return to Vegas we will watch it again.  We had made plans to head down the strip to meet Eamonn and Carmel at MGM grand for drink later in the night so we headed down the strip to take pictures of the outside of the New York New York Casino which has an authentic New York facade, complete with its own Irish Bar.  The heat at that time of the night was amazing but as it seemed to be the coolest part of the day and people were flooding out onto the streets.  For anyone who has never been to Vegas it takes an amazing amount of time to get from one block to the next, taxi’s are extremely busy and walking takes an age! 

The heat was starting to take its toll so we ran into the MGM Grand and headed straight to the lion enclosure.  Unfortunately no-one told them Vegas is a 24 hour city as they had gone to bed at 7pm ... maybe next time!

We finally met up with Eamonn and Carmel and we discussed getting a limo down the strip, however, we soon re-assessed this as the traffic down the strip was horrendous and so decided we would probably only get about 100 metres before our fare was up!  Instead we grabbed a quick pint before heading back to Circus Circus for our deadline of 1am.  As we tried to move back up the strip we soon realised that we were not going to make it and had only got as far as the Paris Casino!  We joined a huge queue for a taxi but were not really moving and it got to 12.45am before we were offered a rather large, as we called it, Pimp Mobile to take us back to Circus Circus and our home for the night.  We all jumped in as the tunes were pumping out of the stereo and looked on in amazement through the blacked out windows as we travelled via a number of back streets and passages behind the casinos totally bypassing the main strip.

Luckily we arrived back at the bus for bang on 1am ready and raring to go.  We had all boarded and the engine had been running for a few minutes when  one of the guys at the back of the bus smelled smoke, we all turned to see smoke billowing out of the back of the bus and fear set in.  After an initial inspection the drivers realised that the air con had died, fortunately in a bizarre twist of fate the Green Tortoise owner was in Las Vegas and had just been to buy a brand new bus for his extending fleet, the drivers told us that there would be at least a 45 minute wait and that we would hopefully leave around 2.30-3am.  Annabelle was about to go in a real heat stricken strop when we struck gold!  One of the ladies from the trip, Susan, had booked a room in the hotel and asked us if we would like to shower before we set off in the new bus, such a very welcome gesture, we owe her one!  We headed up to the air-conditioned room had a rest, chat and a nice shower before heading back down to see what the situation was with the new bus. We arrived back in the parking lot to find the new bus already parked up and transferring luggage over.  The new bus did not have the bed conversions put into it as yet but the air con was working really, really well so we sat in our seats, put them on full recline and chatted about the evening whilst heading out of Vegas past the incredible skyline, we left Vegas at 3am and managed to fall asleep as we headed toward San Francisco, what an experience Vegas had given us!!!
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