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Posts Tagged ‘Las Vegas’

What can I tell you about our Sunday in Vegas? Well, nothing much that I’d like to admit to, that’s for sure. I was…well, hmmm… I was…incredibly hungover. Spectacularly hungover. Not much at all took place during the day except I stayed in bed and drank a lot of water.

So, yeah. Avoid alcohol, kids, it’s BAD FOR YOU!!

🙂

Sunday night, however, we had tickets booked to go and see The Rat Pack is Back – dinner and a show! I have nothing bad to say about this excursion. Except the whole Marilyn Monroe thing was a little over the top. But the atmosphere was light-hearted and fun, the steak dinner was delicious (being the only thing I ate that day…again – alcohol is bad for you!), and the music was fantastic. I have to say, in my opinion, the guy playing Dean Martin was the best, although they all had their parts down pat. It was funny and irreverent and nostalgic and we really enjoyed ourselves.

After that we did an in-and-out tour of a lot of the casinos. Why? Well, we wanted to say we’d seen them, we wanted to scope out where we’d like to stay if we ever went back and (I can’t stress this enough) so that I could get a free pen from as many casinos as possible. It was a good laugh. We did not stay to gamble in any of the casinos, just wandered around briefly then moved on to the next one on the list.

When we did gamble we played the Roulette. We did not win big money but we did end up profiting overall. Take that, casino conglomerate people! HA! We played early in the morning and kept to the quieter casinos so that the limits were low. I know, we’re such risk-takers, right?

Twice I was overcome by a strange feeling that I should bet heavily on Red 14. Twice I won “big” (big for us, which is, in reality, rather small!). Hence the name: Red14Photography  of the shop where I sell my pictures. So, yeah, there’s that.

Two further notes on Vegas: 1) I was offended by the guys handing out photographic business cards for call girls on the street corners. They are very incessant. I was starting to get really irritated by it and starting to plan routes so I could avoid them all (impossible) until Sarah (see previous post) mentioned that she’d seen two college-age guys playing Top Trumps with the cards. This made me laugh A LOT and after that, I wasn’t quite as offended. 2) The fountain at the Bellagio is phenomenal. I could have stayed there and watched it all weekend. In fact, I did spend quite a lot of time begging S to take me back there to see it again (and again, and again). More than just the music and the lights and the water show, I liked how the fountain sounded. If you’re in Vegas, don’t miss it. Especially at night.

Arizona. It’s hot here.

On Monday morning we left quite early and headed East into the desert. En route to the Hoover Dam we stopped in Boulder City for breakfast at The World Famous Coffee Cup. This was the first of a few Diners Drive-Ins and Dives restaurants I’d found along our route. It was delicious, charming and everything you would expect from somewhere that gets a thumbs-up from Guy Fieri.

We then continued on to the Hoover Dam. What can I say? It’s an engineering masterpiece. Totally stunning in both scope and execution. Plus, it’s HUGE. Don’t forget that part. Really, seriously gigantic.

Hoover Dam

Also, it’s a pretty scary place for someone (me) who is terrified of things that are underwater (including all types of pumps, generators, intake valves, etc). I know I wasn’t close enough to anything to really be afraid – but that didn’t stop me being frightened. I may not have been able to see the inner workings of the dam, but I knew they were there….

Lake Mead

(Also, if someone could please, PLEASE, explain to me the mystery of why the rocks below the waterline are completely white?, that would be a huge help. Thanks!)

The view of the new road bridge was also quite wonderful. Although it only served to emphasise jut how high up we were…

The new bridge and the river

After seeing the Hoover Dam we drove over the new road bridge (where, sadly, it is almost impossible to see the dam!) and headed further east and further still into the desert. Our destination was the Grand Canyon, but the drive was well worth it. We had debated, before we left, booking one of those day-tripper things where you spend the day on a bus – – I am SO glad we did not do that! It gave us a chance to explore Arizona ourselves. It gave us a chance to drive some sections of Route 66 (swoon) as well, which I was desperate to do!

Of course the Grand Canyon was amazing. How could it not be?! I mean, there isn’t much I can tell you except it’s something you really need to see for yourself. In real life. It’s an experience not to be missed.

Having said that, looking back over your own photos of the event is kind of anti-climatic. The drama and majesty of the place simply does not come alive through photographs.

Having said THAT, have a look at some of the ones we took!!:

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

The view from every single overlook is completely different – it seems as though if you blink the scene before your eyes changes. I know there are sections where the rock face opposite is so far in the distance that your brain can’t process the images as 3D, and that is incredibly cool. The fact that it was partly cloudy also helped to bathe the canyon meandering patches of darkness and light which enhanced the drama of the place.

It was an amazing day. There was a funny incident which involved a small rock (higher vantage point) from which I wanted to take pictures. I was about to clamber to the top when a Japanese tourist jumped in front of me and right to the top of the rock, which was only big enough for one person. He then proceeded to take panoramic photos. With six different cameras. Which took forever, but I waited. When he started over with the first of his six cameras and started taking panoramic video I gave the rock up as a bad job and moved on. When S and I left the viewing platform nearly fifteen minutes later the man was still on top of the rock taking videos. I am sure I would have found it impressive if I hadn’t been so annoyed.

Also, if you’re like S and I and are playing the License Plate game during your road trip, definitely go to the Grand Canyon. Cars from every state. And Canada. And Mexico. And Europe. It’s like a great, big watering hole in the middle of the Arizona desert – everyone is there.

We drove back to Las Vegas after our day at the Grand Canyon. On our cross-country trip we would eventually cross the Arizona state line 10 times. More than any other state. There is a LOT to see in Arizona and, if you can handle the heat, you should definitely go there. It really is very impressive. Grand, really.

xo

A

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We woke early on the 21st of May and packed up our camping gear. It had been a lovely night and, to be honest with you, I was a little sad to be leaving our peaceful, quiet spot in the Valley of Fire and heading towards the bright, busy city. However, we sort of eased into Vegas, so it wasn’t too much culture shock.

The first thing we did was get breakfast at Jamm’s Restaurant which was, according to the fifteen billion reviews I’d read online, the best place in Vegas for breakfast. Well, I am sorry to say it was a bit disappointing. Sure, it was quaint. Sure, it was off the beaten path (nowhere near The Strip, I mean), but it wasn’t all that special. It was a restaurant that served breakfast. They seemed to be a bit too busy to function efficiently, and the food was only so-so. Still, it gave us a place to go, so it wasn’t a waste. I had waffles.

After that we went to a coin-operated laundry and washed our clothes. I know, how hard-core are we, right?

After that we drove up and down the strip once or twice, just to get a feel for the place, before we pulled into the parking garage at the hotel we’d booked – Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall and Saloon. It’s small, but central – just what we needed. Although, when we arrived at the desk to check in they told us that they were overbooked and we’d been upgraded to The Flamingo. OK. Sure!

We reported to the VIP desk at the Flamingo as we’d been instructed, and, I have to admit, it made me feel quite special walking through the glass doors into the cool quiet of the VIP area. Pretty swanky. It was quite funny, to be honest with you. While we were waiting I happened to say to S that it was far too hot outside to be dragging our luggage from one hotel to the other and, all of a sudden and totally out of nowhere, there were two bottles of ice-cold water sitting on the desk in front of us! !!! As if by MAGIC!! So, I thought I’d try my luck and said, sort of under my breath, “Gee, it sure would be nice to have a huge wad of cash!” to see if any would appear…. Sadly, no… none did. Just the magic water. Which suited me just fine as it was very, very hot and humid.

After we were shown to our room (overlooking Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall and, across the street, The Bellagio) we took some time to freshen up and then headed straight out. Frivolity ensued. 🙂 We went to Paris and I got a strawberry daiquiri inside a plastic Eiffel Tower – 32oz I think. I did not finish it, thank goodness, or I think I’d have curled up for a sleep in one of the shadowy corners of Paris casino. I have to say, as an aside, that of all the casinos we went into (most of them), I liked the interior of Paris the best. It’s pretty.

Paris – See? Pretty!

As a lucky coincidence, a good friend of S’s from work was over in Vegas at the same time as us – and he’d just been married on the 18th! – so we met up with the newly-weds in the early afternoon. And spent the rest of the day drinking. Honestly. No, honestly. We started out with pitchers of beer at Bally’s then graduated to $1 bottles of Bud at Hooters (yes, Hooters – but only because of the $1 bottles of Bud… I hope!), and finally rounded off the evening with free shots of something pink from the promo girls at one of the bars at the MGM Grand. It really was a lot of fun. It was great to be able to be a small part of Tommy & Sarah’s celebration week, as well, although I did start feeling bad for Sarah (who doesn’t drink alcohol) sometime when we were still at Bally’s. Sorry, Sarah!

View from the Hotel

There are quite a few out-of-focus pictures of S and I standing in front of various famous Vegas landmarks as we tottered home from the MGM in the wee hours of the morning of the 22nd. I am not going to share any of them with you because, well, it’s kind of embarrassing! Y’all know I’m not a drinker!! This was one of those What Happens in Vegas… moments. And I’m glad I got to have one! I’d have been quite sad if I’d gone to Vegas and done nothing out-of-character! 🙂

So, this is where I will leave the story for tonight. Tomorrow – more Vegas.

xo

A

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