Las Vegas and THE birthday celebration

Trip Start Oct 17, 2008
Trip End Oct 31, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Nevada
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Left home on time and got to the airport at 06:30ish - the plane was already 45 minutes delayed - went through the 'baggage drop', customs and the scanners very easily (had our shoes tested twice!). The time went quickly, the Gatwick South Terminal is being made over with more shops and restaurants, we had a nice breakfast in Garfunkles. Got on the plane in good time, but one passenger became agitated, it took another 45 minutes to get her settled before we could take off! But we landed only 75 minutes late. We had a prepaid transfer (would not do that again!) - we came out of Terminal 1 and our connection was at Terminal 2 - so we trudged to the other terminal and found the ride - the driver was from Chicago originally and was a great character... We got a meal at the hotel and had a quick look at the Strip - but turned in at 21:30 (over 26 hour day!)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The big day, Denis's birthday celebration. Did not sleep well so tired this morning. Mostly lazed at the pool today - fantastic sound system playing great music - but we had to find a quieter spot to be able to snooze in peace. Watched a wedding venue being set up at the pool - starting from a blank floor and finishing with the bride being led down the aisle - fascinating that the guests took drinks into their seat and were drinking as the ceremony was taking place - a bit like going to the cinema! The celebration started with a trip to the Stratosphere in 2 stretched limos - these were fabulous, lovely blue neon lighting inside. Got to the Stratosphere at 20:00 and went up to the top deck - the view was stunning! Food and wine flowed well and the meal seemed to go quickly although we were eating for over 2 hours! - then the fun began. Some of us were encouraged to take the rides on the top of the Stratosphere - I went on all 3, they were great fun (and managed to keep my food down despite the rides going straight up fast, going over the edge of the Stratosphere and the third going round fast looking down to the ground). Finally got to bed after 2am.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Knackered today! Didn't get up until after 10. Had our usual blueberry muffin for breakfast and then made for the Venetian. Spent 4 hours in there - it was amazing! Had a ride on the gondoliers - including singing along with the gondolier. Went for a meal at the Outback - fantastic food and great atmosphere - saw the Red Sox lose the final, that upset one of our party (Mara) whose father lives in Boston. Finally watched the amazing fountains at the Bellagio before going to bed.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A day on the Strip. Used the Deuce bus - $5 for 24hours. They are very modern 2 deck buses that get very full. One of the Deuce trips that we took was more like riding the London Tube, passengers were shoehorned in. Went to Luxor (great on the outside, disappointing on the inside); Excalibur - turrets and oldie English building effect (took a free monorail between them). Tropicana, Hooters (remember Al Bundy of Married with Children) and MGM. Definitely a case of entering one establishment after another with rows and rows of machines and gaming tables - but the exterior designs of those visited (and New York New York) are superb - even during the day. The evening was spent watching the Steve Wyrick Show - some absolutely spectacular magic and illusions - we had the front row centre so we had a very close view of the tricks - some really seem to be impossible!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What and exciting day! The day started at breakfast by getting Nigel's Tom Tom for the rest of the holiday. Keyed in both hotels and they came up on the screen - only hope that I can use it when I get the car. Then went to the Hotel Bellagio with the feint hope of checking out the car a day early, no such luck but at least I know where to go on the day to collect the car - it will help as tomorrow will be a long day...... Then the time when 2 ambitions were realised - our first trip in a helicopter and to see the Grand Canyon. The helicopters were state of the art (there were 5 helicopters that made the trip almost in convoy). It surprised me how noisy they are - fortunately we wore very effective headphones and could speak to each other (and everybody else could listen) using an attached microphone. The trip went so quickly although we were in the air for 1.75 hours! Saw the Hoover Dam - looked smaller than I imagined - sandwiched in some steep sides. The Grand Canyon was spectacular - it really did have some amazing steep sides and narrow gorges. We then got dropped of at the New York New York complex on the Strip so that we could ride the Roller Coaster - what a bone shaker! It also had a complete loop the loop and a corkscrew - we had to ride it twice just to make sure that we remembered it well.... We ate early this evening so that we could pack and be ready in the morning. We had a Chinese meal at P F Changs, an American chain - we had the best sweet and sour chicken that I have ever tasted....
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