Get Daddy the Rainman Suite!

Trip Start Sep 12, 2007
Trip End Feb 25, 2007

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Where I stayed

Flag of United States  , Nevada
Thursday, February 14, 2008

I arrived on a windy Wednesday, with turbulence all the way from San Francisco. The city came out of the middle of a desolate desert- just like in the movies. It really is a machine for extracting money from people, in the middle of nowhere!

On my first night, I decided to head from the downtown area of Vegas, a slightly rougher end of town, to The Strip, where the newer areas of the more commercial casinos and hotels are located- the hub of activity out here. Instead of taking the bus as everyone suggested, and thinking I knew better, I decided to walk to the strip.

Naive! As I headed away from downtown to what I thought was the strip, darkness came quickly, as did a severe sandstorm. And little did I know, that due to this, I was walking away from the strip, and into the very dangerous areas of the outskirts. One or two homeless people soon became a multitude, lining the streets where I walked, shouting some incomprehensible profanities at me. I of course reacted in my tried and tested way- I donned a cap and sunglasses (even though this meant I could hardly see) and tried my hardest to look menacing, whilst walking as quickly as possible. For of you who know me, looking hard is not my best talent! To top is all, there was a power cut due to the storm, plunging the area into darkness, meaning I was virtually blind in one of the dangerous situations I've been in on my travels. Having negotiated Cambodia and Vietnam, that's saying something!

Soon, out of the gloom of the sandstorm, and with my mouth and ears rapidly filling up with sand, the golden arches of Mc Donald's appeared! Never been so happy to see it in my life! I dived in and bought myself a milkshake and a cheeseburger to steady my nerves with a sugar rush, and asked the staff in my most polite English to call a cab for me. Needless to say, I took the cab home to the hostel, thinking if my luck was this bad in getting to a casino, I don't think I'll be in much luck once I get there! Not a great start, but I think I'll look back on this and laugh!
Cabs all the way from now on!

The following day, I took a trip to the Grand Canyon- One of my main reasons for visiting Las Vegas. To avoid a 12 hour round trip and get a better view of it, I paid the extra for a flight and tour with Papion alrlines to the west rim. This is in the deepest part of the canyon, but is also slightly more developed, having the 'skywalk' etc.

The flight was on a small 20 person propellor plane, which flew low over the canyon as we approached, showing its huge depth , taking millions of years for the river to carve out. The weather was perfect, allowing us to see for miles. The scale of it was breathtaking! After landing on the West rim, we spent some time walking around, going on the Skywalk, and trying not to stand too close to the edge as there's no protection from a 4000m drop! After taking in the dramatic beauty of the place for 3 hours and another all-you-can-eat buffet lunch (I often wondered why Americans are often overweight, and I think the all-you-can-eat concept is a significant factor!), we got back on board and flew into Vegas just as the sun was setting and the lights of the casinos were just coming on.

And so, it was finally time to hit the casinos, and loose some money. I headed to the classic- Ceasar's Palace- to try my hand at Blackjack. I still like to think of it as Pontoon, even to the extent of saying 'stick' or 'twist', which the dealer didn't really understand. Anyway, taking to the table the most I was prepared to loose, ($60), and taking full advantage of the free drinks, I soon found myself slightly inebriated and having accumulated over $200! Beginners luck, I guess, until I continued to play and lost the lot over an hour later! It's true what they say- in the end, they get it all! Still, fun while it lasted! I spent the rest of my time wondering while I didn't quit at the top, wondering around the casinos here, which are garish, immense and obscene buildings, designed for one thing- taking your money!
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