Monday, June 15, 2009

Las Vegas - Nevada

New York New York Casino
Paris Casino toilets
Cafe Iles St Louis
Bellagio Casino at night
Our red Mustang beside Hoover Dam

On Wednesday 10 June we returned our hired Ford Focus and collected our red Mustang Convertible 2010 model. It's fabulous! It took about five hours to drive from LA to Las Vegas. The countryside varied from very flat and baron to undulating but there were no animals or greenery and only three official rest areas in a 400km stretch of road. The roads are in good condition but I do wonder how many accidents happen from drivers falling asleep. We had copious supplies of gummy worms (a disgusting variation of what we call snakes - sorry, but defnitely not 'yummy gummies' although they do have the same sugar effect to keep one awake)!

We arrived very late afternoon and checked in to the Stratosphere on The Strip. All the casinos double up as hotels and all have their own special attraction. Ours had a tower above the 108th floor where there was a magnificent view and four floors above that joy rides outside the tower - not for this wuss however - watching people's faces was enough for me!

On our first evening we walked along the Sunset Strip (always referred to as just The Strip) about 8km, checking out lots of casinos and their attractions on the way. Neither of us are gamblers - it's just all about the atmosphere and the free shows and sights and of course the people watching - wow! We took the bus back to our hotel in the early hours of the morning. This is the city that literally never sleeps.

Thursday 11 June
We drove our car with the top down to view Fremont Street where the casinos originally started then we drove along the Strip and to the Vegas Premium Outlets where we found a few great bargains. It was fun driving our fancy car with music blaring and roof down - we felt like we really fitted in! That evening we took the bus back along the Strip and had a very very late night (morning). Everwhere is so glitzy - music, dancing, bright lights - wow! We loved the piano bar in the Paris Vegas where they sang and played any requested song with money thrown on the piano. We also visited MGM casino where there were lions behind glass in a lion habitat where we had a great view of them. We had lots of fun and couldn't believe that it was 4am before we went to bed.
Friday 12 June
Needless to say all these late nights meant that half the mornings were wasted sleeping. We bought all-day bus tickets which were very economical and this meant we could bus to different spots and return whenever we liked as the tickets were valid for 24 hours. We checked out lots more casinos and free shows including a pirate boat show at Treasure Island casino (TI) with two boats, bautiful girls, pirates, fire etc. It was fun and very effective. That evening we had a beautiful meal in Paris Vegas - fillet mignon that melted in the mouth and creme brulee to die for. The bottle of champagne we drank with the meal just made it perfect. Then to top it off I had booked tickets for Cirque du Soleil at New York New York Casino where we saw Zumanity as an advance birthday treat for Dave - a very sensuous and amazing performance. There were lots of ropes, sheets, trapezes, acrobats and very skimpy costumes. We were very glad we were not sitting in the first few rows however as people were selected from the audience at random to take part in some 'interesting' maneuvres. It was altogether a great night.

Saturday 13 June
Today we decided to try to see all the things we hadn't already managed to see. Our first visit was to the top of our tower which was complementary for guests of the casino/hotel. The views were stunning. Next we took a bus right to the other end of the Strip and worked our way back going into all the casinos which had an attraction we hadn't yet seen. We visited the Venetian which was based on Venice with little canals and gondolas running under bridges and Italian shops and restaurants. Next on to Caesar's Palace which had amazing luxury shops and walkways and went for miles. From there to Mandalay Bay, then to Luxor where we caught a little train connecting to the next place Excalibur. Each of these casinos has its own uniqueness with fantastic architecture and each based on a different city in the world or on a different theme - very imaginative and exciting and all full of people. At the Imperial we visited a Classic Car Show where the majority of cars were for sale. There were purportedly 300 cars on display although we think there were probably a few less than that, perhaps they had been sold! It was great though with some gorgeous cars.

We had fun at the M&M store which had four floors of M&M related paraphenalia. We visited a huge Adidas store where I was in heaven! By this time hunger had set in and we just couldn't go past our Paris restaurant for a repeat performance of the night before. It lived up to its expectations and this time we included a beautiful cocktail - Marmosa du Soleil - just divine but I can't remember what was in it now - dammit!

To finish our evening we visited Circus Circus where we watched a couple of free circus performances - incredible balancing acts and a juggler who also bounced seven balls at once - phew - making them go round in circles - quite amazing.

Sunday 14 June
I know I haven't remembered to include everything we did or all the places we saw but suffice to say we had a ball and loved Vegas, the atmosphere and all the interesting sights and people. We even caught the bus one night with a bride in her long white wedding dress and red handbag along with her new husband in white pants and sleeveless vest, red shirt, red shoes and white cap. The bridesmaid had a short white dress and white extremely high shoes. There are wedding chapels in most of the casinos so that people can pay about $35 to have a quick wedding. We saw a few couples waiting their turn at various places and they were always dressed up in wedding outfits but there were rarely guests.

We left Vegas at about mid-day after stocking up on a few goodies from the supermarket including beautifully sweet strawberries to keep us going on the journey. Then we headed for Arizona. Today was the first time we experienced a real traffic jam. It was a very very slow drive as we neared Lake Mead due to construction where they are building roads near Hoover Dam. These roads and bridges commenced in 2003 and were supposed to be completed in 2008 but they have a lot still to do and obviously a Sunday is a good time for locals to visit Hoover Dam as an outing and thus the hold up. Hoover Dam was definitely impressive but we didn't stop there apart from taking a few photos. As we left that area the traffic eased and we had a much easier run. The road was steep and windy and the landscape was almost lunar - very barren - almost eerie. We stopped at Kingman on Route 66 for a quick look and plan to check out the museum on our return. We travelled along Route 66 after this and thoroughly enjoyed it. The countryside became very flat although there were hills in the distance. There were lots of interesting spots on the way, including the Hackberry General Store which was so cute. Everything is all set in the 50s and 60s with old original cars in the village streets outside the stores and so much to see.

- to be continued


  1. Sounds like you guys are having an amazing & wonderful time. CAn't wait to read the next instalment.

    Take care

  2. I'm disappointed - where's the photo of you both in the Mustang with the top down?! I'm also disappointed you wussed out on the rides outside the building!

    When you said "bautiful girls", did you mean "bountiful girls"? Whatever... sounds good to me :)