Viva Las Vegas

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Mar 16, 2009

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Where I stayed
Sahara Las Vegas Hotel And Casino

Flag of United States  , Nevada
Thursday, October 23, 2008

We tried to get an early start from LA as it's about a six hour drive east to Vegas and managed to set off around 10 after playing Tetris with the luggage in an odd shaped boot. While we were still trying to get out of LA when we experienced a little of the cities infamous driving behaviour when I tried to merge into a lane that entered the highway. No one would give me a gap so I left my indicator on a simply stopped and waited for a gap, when a little one did appear the car behind closed the gap as quickly as possible and blocked me, I hooted trying to ask the guys why, he simply replied by giving me the bird, big mistake. I immediately pulled up next to him wound down the window to get an explanation for his rude behaviour, he screamed at me to wait my turn which was clearly impossible as I could not reverse to get to the back of the line. After I 'kindly' reminded him that I did not realise there was only one lane entering the highway and that not every driver was as familiar with the roads has he was he apologised and let us in. I found this whole interaction very exciting but the girls where shocked.

Back on the road we were quickly reminded that we were in the desert as cactus started appearing and the lush gardens of LA started becoming disappearing. As soon as you cross the state boarder into Nevada its clear that gambling is legal in the state as every little town has some sort of casino but we weren't interested in these little attractions we were heading for the bright lights of Vegas.

Las Vegas conjures up images of bright neon lights, Elvis impersonators, wedding chapels, feather clad show girls and slot machines on every corner in a city that never stops. For this reason we planned to spend four nights in the city and try not to gamble too much but rather catch as many shows as we could afford. Our first stop after checking into the Sahara Hotel which is at the northern end of the strip was at the entertainment reservation desk.

At any one time there must be about a hundred shows to choose from and after much debate and deliberation we managed to book three shows for three separate evenings. Our first evening was spent walking the strip to orientate ourselves and take in a few of the free shows along the way. It was incredible to stroll through some of the bigger casinos and see how much money was being won and lost in an instant. It was also interesting to compare all the strange aroma's pumped through the ventilation in each of the casino's clearly to entice gamblers to stay longer and spend more.

The following evening we made our way back down the strip to Bally's to watch one of the longest running Vegas shows, Jubilee. It's a typical music, feathers and dance show with a massive cast with vibrant props and big and often minimal costumes. I found it quite difficult to watch as there were so many people entering and leaving the stage but all together very entertaining. I can just imagine the preparation and expenses that go into putting on a production of this scale.

No visit is complete to the area without visiting the Grand Canyon one of the biggest attractions in the area. As the drive getting there is a good few hours we opted for the quicker and more scenic option of taking a trip via a light aircraft. It was only a 40 minute flight and the views on this clear day were outstanding as we flew over the Grand Canyon. I never imagined that it would be so big and deep and must truly be one on the wonders of the natural world. After we'd landed we were taken to one of the Canyons newest attractions the Skywalk which is a semi-circular glass bottom walkway over the canyon giving awesome views of the canyon below. It was an extremely eerie feeling knowing there is nothing between you and a 4000 ft drop except a few millimetres of glass. After a great lunch with a view to die for we made our way back to Vegas via Hoover Dam.

The girls decided to see they wanted to see a little something more for the ladies and booked tickets for a show called 'Thunder Down Under' which from the billboards looked like a group over steroid pumped guys wearing banana hammocks. I bid them farewell and headed up the Stratosphere which in an observation deck at the top end of the strip that boasts great views over the city and as some of the worlds highest thrill rides. Not content on having the strips highest observation deck the Stratosphere as three thrill rides mounted on its roof. I decided that I needed to brave and at least try one and to make it worth the money I choose the scariest one, X-scram. X-Scream is described as a giant teeter-totter that propels you 27 feet over the edge of the Tower, 866 feet above the ground. It truly is a freaky feeling being shot over the edge of a skyscraper only to come sudden stop while hanging face down, still gives me shivers thinking about it.

Vegas is also all about weddings, more accurately quick and dirty wedding. While I was up a taking a few sunset pictures from the top of the Stratosphere I witnessed three weddings taking place all with noticeably pregnant brides all in the matter of an hour. I could not help but wonder if the marriages would last as long as the wedding ceremonies.

Back on land I shakily made my way to the see the Blue Man Group at the Venetian. Due to a little mix up when buying the tickets I only realised I show started at 7pm instead of the 10pm show we had asked for so I sprinted to the theatre to see if I could change the ticket or catch the last few minutes of the show. The company that sold us the tickets refused to change the tickets so I had no choice but to try and catch the little that was left of the show. Fortunately the act runs for almost 2 hours and I was able to see almost and hour of this outrageous show which was a mix of sound, light, comedy and audience interaction. I would highly recommend seeing the show and we'll definitely make a plan to see it again.

For our last night in Vegas we decided to have a grand finale and decided on a Cirque du Soleil show. In total there were about five different Cirque du Soleil productions showing in Vegas and so on the recommendation of the ticketing agent we went selected a show called Le Reve which was in the same vein as Cirque de Soleil. The show is set in a custom built circular theatre which has a huge pool in the centre where performers appear and disappear into the water. The show is a feast for the senses with near perfect choreography, high wire acrobatics, synchronised swimming and song and dance. It's a amazing show to see and was well worth the money spent but I would still like to see the Cirque du Soleil equivalent, O.

We did manage to do a little gambling in Vegas in the form of a $5 challenge where the three of us had to see who could win the most or gamble the longest with only $5. We all started on the 1c slots and even though it sound like you could spend hours playing on the minimum but we all only lasted about 20 minutes before losing the lot! Amber was a little more successful on the tables and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the high risk games.

Vegas on the surface might be all about gilts and glamour but venture of the strip and from the flash hotels and the evidence of gambling addiction is obvious. From the people living on the streets to tacky budget motel that might rent rooms by the hour, strip bars an endless amounts of predominately Asians trying to palm off their flyers advertising sexual services and booming pawn shops where I guess many gamblers sold their last few valuables. It's a fascinating city that should come with a serious health risk warning!
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