Trip Start Sep 20, 2009
6Trip End Oct 11, 2009
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Where I stayed
As I flew over the Nevada desert I spied an eiffel tower, a black pyramid, a statue of liberty and a giant rollercoaster. Emerging from my plane, the airport was full of slot machines and ads for gun shops and shooting ranges.
I checked into my green hotel, the MGM grand, and immediately got lost within the smoky flashiness. What insanity is this? Circular walkways, rainforests, lions sleeping in glass enclosures, sounds blaring and not a clock to be seen. When I eventually found my room I realised I had two huge beds, instead of the one I requested. Oh well. I used one as my reclining longue and the other as my sleeping residence. I took a shower in the amazing bathroom and proceeded to flood the place. Luckily there were ample towel supplies to clean up my mess.
Headed out onto the strip and was immediately overwhelmed. I have never seen so many lights in my life. Scurried back into the safety of my labyrinth hotel and treated myself to a posh meal for dinner. I got a 3 course tasting menu at L'atelier for a discount as it was only 6pm, and so I treated myself to a cocktail that almost equalled the price of my entire meal. So delicious though and definitely the best food I've had here. I've been living on bottled smoothies, fruit and bagels, all from Starbucks. Hate to say it, but that evil conglomorate has saved my arteries on this trip. I cannot believe how hard it is to find something fresh and edible outside of an expensive sit down restaurant.
Anyway, after that meal, I went back to the strip. Question - is it strange to tear up when watching a fountain? Not at the Bellagio, where the magnificent display of water danced to the sound track of, what else, Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On. Headed into the casio, which was a lot nicer than mine (with the price to match), and won big on the chocolate wheel (I think the real name for it is the 'big six'). I left $6 up and with a free glass of champagne to boot. Go me!
Wandered back towards my hotel on the other side of the road, harrassed constantly on the way by card flicking club promoters, and checked out New York New York. Mainly because I wanted to ride the ginormous rollercoaster that runs along the top of it. Not that I realised just how massive the rollercoaster is until I was strapped in and going up a huge hill. I screamed my lungs out as we looped the loops and sped up and down the tracks, trying in vain to appreciate the view as I lost my stomach.
The next day I was up bright and early at 6am for the 14 hour round trip to the Grand Canyon. The tour was your basic cattle call - huge bus, timed rest stops and lots of old people. But it was worth the journey when I got to the Canyon. It's hard to explain something so incredible without using up all of my superlatives. Suffice to say, I was suitably impressed and would definitely recommend it - though next time I want to hike down into it and raft down the river. And the scenery along the way? It was straight out of a Warner Bros cartoon - I did expect to see the Road Runner beep beep past our bus at some point.
Yesterday I slept in and then headed down to the pool. I stretched out in the sun, frozen daiqueri in one hand, book in the other, and just chilled the hell out. It was so great just to do nothing for a day, after all of my hooping, touring and partying.
That night I was picked up by my hooper friend Julie and her husband Pat. Julie had secured free Cirque du Solei tickets after giving a private hoop lesson to one of the Cirque PR people, and had kindly invited me to join her. It was a great show, so many acrobatics, feats of amazing strength and stunning costumes. We ate dinner at a nice Mexican place then headed out to the club that Julie and Pat manage. It's on the 51st floor of the Rio building and has a birds eye view over the city.
Wow. Guest list entry, private roped off viewing area right on the balcony overlooking Vegas, a continuous supply of free champagne and rockin old school hip hop. Welcome to Vegas baby! We headed off around 2am and I crashed out.
Tonight we're getting costumed up and heading out to crash the Strip- guerilla hooping outside the famous Vegas landmarks. Stay tuned for video evidence and updates, coming soon.