Las Vegas Baby!!!

Trip Start Apr 08, 2007
Trip End Dec 22, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Nevada
Sunday, December 16, 2007

Friday 23rd November - 29th November 2007

Two days and three flights later we arrived in Las Vegas. The airport at Las Vegas is full of slot machines (pokies in Australia). Welcome to Las Vegas.... Let's gamble!!! After seven weeks in the tropical climates of Mexico and Costa Rica, Las Vegas in November was a bit of a shock.

We checked into our hotel, which could probably be described as the tackiest of all the Las Vegas casinos, The Excaliber. The Excaliber is a medieval themed casino complete with fairytale castle and interior to match. Even the waitresses dress up in costume. Our room was on the 22nd floor and had views of two other casinos, Luxor, an Egyptian based Casino and the Mandolin Bay Casino and the airport. Rooms facing the other direction looked down over the "strip" but cost more. The airport's fine.

We spent the first day walking up and down the strip taking it all in. There is a water show at the Bellagio Casino where hundreds of fountains spring to life perfectly choreographed to music. Las Vegas is obviously a fairly strange place and attracts its fair share of strange people as well. It also seems to empty your wallet in record time and before we new it we were back at the ATM once again. This is even before we started gambling or drinking.

In Las Vegas there are a number of Cirque du Soleil productions, most of which were booked out. But we did manage to get tickets to a very interesting show called Zumanity. Zumanity is the adult version of a Cirque du Soleil show. Comedy mixed with nudity mixed with acrobatics mixed with nude acrobatic comedians. A great show. The hula hoop girl dressed in a schoolgirls uniform was one highlight as was the two almost nude girls in fish bowl. There was a few guys running around too but they didn't hold my attention for to long.

We walked down to the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign to take the obligatory photo then took a taxi down to the outlet centre. Hundreds of stores selling name brands at a fraction of the cost. We spent more than we had planned but scored some great bargains. So we'd been in Las Vegas a couple of days and had spent all our gambling money on shopping already.

We hired a car for three days and drove out to the Grand Canyon via the Hoover Dam.
Hoover Dam is a pretty awesome feat of engineering when you see the height of the wall and the amount of water it has to hold back. But manmade monuments were not what we had come to see, so we headed off into the desert to find the big hole. We arrived late afternoon and the temperature was dropping fast. The sunset was pretty spectacular and the five layers of clothes we were wearing kept us reasonably warm. The same couldn't be said for the sunrise. We set the alarm early to drive up to the rim before the light show began. As we stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon shivering, (I say shivering because it was - 6 degrees.) We tossed up whether to take the helicopter flight over one of the world's great sights. Our money was running low and Mandy was pretty nervous about it but we thought, what the hell, we'll never come back so we might as well.

We forked over our $150 each and watched the safety video then began our wait - the longer we waited the more nervous Mandy got. She couldn't sit still. She's overcome her fear of riding cable cars up steep mountains but this was a whole new ballgame. Finally our names were called and then we were told we had been upgraded to another flight in a better chopper so we were stoked. Mandy got the window seat, not sure if she was too impressed with that. We took off and headed for the edge. The pilot (or driver as Mandy called him) pumped the classical music through our headphones and the orchestra peaked just as we crossed the precipice. There's nothing that compares to the feeling of cruising just above the tree tops one minute, and the next the ground just drops away. The size of the Grand Canyon can only be appreciated from this vantage point. We thought (and Mandy hoped) that we were only going for a 20 minute flight across the canyon and back, but it soon became obvious that we had been upgraded to more than just a better helicopter, we had also been upgraded to the 45 minute flight over the north rim loop as well. Mandy relaxed after a while and enjoyed the ride, and we were both glad we did it. One of the highlights of the trip.

We set of back to Vegas buzzing. We checked into the Excaliber again, (they did us a great deal) and went straight downstairs to balance the lopsided budget. We needed a win we'd already spent over twice our weekly budget in just 5 days. We put $10 in an Egyptian themed slot machine and won $60. So we threw $20 bucks at the roulette wheel and lost it in 4 spins....OK. The next day we put $30 back in our lucky machine and lucked into the extra spin feature and won $280. We played a few other ripoff machines then went back to old faithful and won another $130. Mandy was starting to get that glazed over look in her eyes as the gambling bug started to bite so I suggested firmly that we should call it a night $410 in front. WOOOHOOO!!!

Even after our big win we still left Las Vegas having smashed our all time spending record. The budget had been blown but with only three weeks to go we were on the homeward stretch much more damage could we do?
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