Sin City

Trip Start Sep 07, 2009
Trip End Nov 17, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Nevada
Thursday, October 29, 2009

26/10/2009  - The journey from the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas took us about 5 hours, along some of Historic Route 66. The scenery was pretty much desert the whole way. although we did go over the Hoover Dam, which was probably the highlight (if you can call it that) of the drive. A lot of people stop off here and there is a tour you can take, but we sailed straight through, eager to get to the bright lights of Vegas.

We pulled up at the Signature Towers, where we were staying, which is part of the MGM Grand complex on the main 'Strip'. The hotel has free valet parking (tipping is optional, so needless to say we never did), which was brilliant for us. We walked into the huge lobby and were immediately sucked in by the slick service and sumptuous surroundings. The room didn't disappoint either and we were so glad to have a bit of luxury for a few days. As well as a two person hot-tub in the room, we also had a kitchenette, which was both a money-saver and a lifesaver, as we were becoming so sick of fast food and desperate to have some simple home-cooked grub.

On our first night (after a long soak in the hot tub), Jim went out to get some food supplies. He got a bit lost driving down The Strip and ended up doing u-turn in the forecourt of the famous Bellagio Hotel, but he made it back eventually. Jim cooked some pasta for dinner and it was divine. We then got changed and headed out to the MGM's casino.

The hotel is so big that the walk from our tower to the casino took about 15 minutes, although moving walkways helped to speed it up. Walking into the casino for the first time was wicked and just how we imagined. Constant music and flashing lights form the slot machines, cheers coming from the poker, blackjack and craps tables, the vibe was brilliant. We had a couple of turns on the slot machines and then Jim introduced me to roulette for the first time...I was instantly hooked! The odds are wicked and we left the casino 'up' on our first night.

The MGM Grand is not just a casino. It has a massive spa, fitness centre, shopping and restaurant arcade, outdoor pool complex, and, of course, an indoor lion enclosure - unbelievable.

We decided to leave the delights of the rest of The Strip until tomorrow, and returned back to our room buzzing with excitement.

27/10/2009 - In the morning we set off to the laundromat to do some washing. This was no ordinary laundromat however; it had flat screen TVs, arcade machines and massage chairs - only in Las Vegas. We returned back to the hotel for a snack and then headed out to check out The Strip for the first time. Unfortunately, for the first time during our trip, the weather and turned against us and, despite being in the middle of the desert, it was absolutely freezing with very strong winds. This wasn't too much of a problem though, as most of the hotels are joined together by covered walkways, moving travelators and escalators, so we spent as little time as possible outside.

We visited as many hotels and casinos as we could including The Bellagio, Caesar's Palace, Flamingo, Mirage, Paris (complete with Eiffel Tower), New York (complete with full scale roller-coaster out front) and The Venetian (complete with flowing river and gondolas). To be honest, inside the casinos are pretty much all the same, although they all smell differently - they somehow pump out a distinct perfume linked to their theme e.g. The Flamingo, with a tropical theme, smells of coconuts and Pina Colada. Caesar's Palace and The Bellagio both have impressive shopping arcades and attractions. We just managed to catch the end of the famous Bellagio fountain display, but it was far too cold to hang around for the next showing!

Walking back to our hotel at night along The Strip, was a bit dodgy. There is a lot of construction going on and the walkways have a lot of dark corners with people wearing t-shirts saying 'Hot girls to your room in 20 minutes' waving hooker cards and prostitute brochures at you, but then what did we expect - this was Las Vegas after all.

28/10/2009 and 29/10/2009 - Over the next couple of days we indulged ourselves in the delights of the hotel facilities. I had an amazing massage in the hotel spa and we also treated ourselves to a meal at Joel Robouchon's Michelin starred restaurant, L'Atelier. We had a lot of jacuzzi baths (we topped 3 in one day) and we gambled a bit more in the casinos, but stuck mostly to roulette. By the end of our stay, we left with $100 more in our wallet than we had started the week with...can't be a bad thing. Trick is to stop when your winning and not to get too greedy (easier said than done)...

Vegas is basically like a huge, surreal playground. We had great fun, but something about the place left me feeling a little uneasy or guilty even. It is so extravagant and over the top that after a few days you realise how garish it all is. The hotels are actually monstrosities, all trying to out do each other to be the biggest and the best. Most of the people in the casinos were fat Americans in wheelchairs, that just sat at the slots for hours, smoking and gambling their lives away...pretty sad really. Not sure Vegas is my kinda place. I had fun, but it left a bit of bad taste in my mouth....
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