Rain in the desert...then Vegas baby!

Trip Start Jun 24, 2012
Trip End Sep 21, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Nevada
Wednesday, August 22, 2012

We woke up as planned at 4am this morning, in order to prepare for our Angels Landing hike, however we're not surprised to find out that the rain still had not abated from the night before, and the ground was slowly flooding.

We debated with ourselves whether to drag ourselves out of bed in the dark downpour, and considered how much we wanted to do the hike. I was quite up for it, as it is considered one of the best in the US, however it is also considered one of the most dangerous, and has a section which can only be accessed by walking across a narrow platform with 2000m high drops on either side, with only a chain to hold on to. I'm not a massive fan of heights, and Laura is terrified, and whereas before we had considered only hiking to that part and stopping, with the continuous downpour we felt it would be too treacherous and on balance decided not to go.

We went back to sleep whilst some of the others set off. When we woke up, we braved the sheet rain to find Alex, Abi, Rose and Charlie had also decided not to attempt the hike, and we had breakfast with them in the van. The ground was actually swamped, and poor Bryan arrived back to find that his tent had flooded. When the others returned at around 11am, they all told stories of how the hike had been enjoyable but at times had been scary, and some had declined to go through with the chain section; all in all, Laura and I weren't altogether upset that we hadn't done the hike, and along with the others were more than ready to leave soggy Zion for the comfort of a Las Vegas hotel.

We stopped off on the way at a McDonald's to grab some lunch and then headed onwards into the hazy grey that was Vegas. It was completely surprising...everyone expected Vegas to be as bright and sunny as everyone always says it is, but we arrived in the midst of an unseasonal drizzle. This area of Nevada only gets on average 4 inches of rain in a whole year, so we found it bizarre that on the day we arrived there were puddles on the street!

Before getting into the area around the strip, Graeme had stopped us off at a liquor store outside the city limits, so we could stock up some cheap alcohol before the zip code change meant that the prices quadrupled. He made a good choice; although the store itself was a bit dodgy, Laura and I managed to pick up 24 cans of PBR for $10.99, and a bottle of Gallo rosé for $3.49! This equates to £7.30 and £2.32 respectively....utter madness!

When we pulled into Vegas, we were astounded to see that our hotel was right on the strip, opposite the Bellagio and Caesars Palace, and next to the Flamingo. It was a bit of a weird brown divey looking place, called Bill's Gamblin' Hall and Casino, and we were nervous that we'd only been charged $45 for two nights each - especially when we waited an hour to be allowed to check into the rooms - but the rooms themselves were good, so we were very happy.

The group had organised to have a party limo take us on a tour of Vegas before going for a night out, so as everyone was getting ready, I looked up some fact about Vegas, especially for those special people reading this blog who like that sort of thing, haha. Did you know, for example that the name Las Vegas in Spanish means 'the meadows' for the land it was originally built upon? Or that the strip contains 15 of the biggest 20 hotels in the world? Well, now you do! In the course of my research, I also discovered that we'd missed out on seeing Celine Dion live in concert by a mere three days....devastated doesn't even cover it!

At 7pm on the dot, the 13 of us descended upon Graeme's room in a flurry of short dresses, hairspray and cheap wine (and that was just Laura! Lolz). He'd ordered us some Chinese food to eat before the limo picked us up at 8.30pm for a two hour tour of the city. We had a good time having a mini party in his room, singing and dancing along to the music on the tv, and before we knew it we were in the limo.

This was amazing...obviously it all passed in a blur of bright lights and loud music, facilitated by bottle after bottle of PBR, but the photographic evidence reliably informs me that we stopped off at the 'welcome to fabulous Las Vegas' sign, and I distinctly remember a cheesy rock and roll covers concert in the street, followed by some psychedelic Bon Jovi concert on the ceiling...trust me, it was awesome.

We were having an amazing time with our new friends, who were being treated to Laura's special air guitar dancing, when it was all cut short...the two of us, along with Julia and Nanette, we're unceremoniously left outside the Bellagio whilst the others got back in the limo to go to a nightclub, which Graeme had organised to get them free entry into. We weren't allowed to go in as we weren't wearing dresses and heels (with the exception of Julia, who is under the age of 21 and so wouldn't get in anyway) and the dress code was strictly enforced. In my opinion this is ridiculous, as we've never been denied entry to any of the clubs we've ever been in!

Needless to say, we were both pretty pissed off, having spent the same amount of money for half an hour less in the taxi than everyone else got, and because our fun night out was cut short in an incredibly rude way.

We walked blindly past the Bellagio going through its nightly water fountain routine and back to the hotel, where my bad mood didn't subside, and I went to bed angrier at Vegas - and Graeme, for not finding somewhere everyone could go to enjoy themselves - than I would have ever thought possible.

Deej x
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