Viva Las Vegas
After a great couple of days in the Grand Canyon to start off our trip, we were pretty excited to hit the bright lights of Las Vegas and meet up with Dayna’s old workmate and bridesmaid, Jessie.
We dropped off the car in the afternoon and got a taxi for the short ride from the airport to the Strip. We had booked our accommodation at the Luxor quite far in advance so had got a great deal on our 3 person room. I think our 3 nights there ended up costing less than 1 at the Best Western at the Grand Canyon.
Our plan to meet up with Jessie hit a snag when we couldn’t get the WIFI to connect and the hotel wouldn’t let us check in without her. Eventually we got hold of a very jet-lagged, sleepy Jessie who had managed to forget what room she was at that point sitting in. We got there in the end though and were promptly off to get acquainted with the pool (36 C heat so the pool was an attractive option!).
After a swim and a cheap Mexican meal, we were off to our first highlight of our stay in Vegas – Cirque de Soleil “One”. We had booked this in advance knowing we would all likely be a bit tired but the tickets were great for this night so we thought we’d brave the tiredness. Luckily the show was amazing and managed to keep us awake (along with the special effects like actual misty raining falling on the crowd at certain points to go along with what was happening on stage). The show lacked a good story-line but all the MJ songs and dance moves made up for that.
Unfortunately for me, I still had some chunky bits of work to do on our travels so I set up at the desk in our room the next morning to get some work done while the girls headed out shopping. There’s nothing like staring at the giant butt of a huge Sphinx statue to motivate you to get through your work quickly.
We headed out to the pool to laze around in the heat between swims. The pool at the Luxor didn’t disappoint either. The pool area is huge with a few different pools and the water is nice and cool. We were pretty happy there. We did find a reason to visit another Hotel’s pool though – a waterslide through a shark tank. We had to head off the strip and in to downtown Vegas for that though. The slide was at the Golden Nugget where we obviously weren’t staying so we had to hand over $20 to get in to the pool area purely to have a go on the slide. I took first turn lining up with a bunch of excited kids and eventually got a quick ride through the tank. Not quite worth $20 but worth a try I guess.
After our brief, slightly underwhelming ride through a shark tank we headed off for some cheap food at the nearby main street station casino. Dayna learnt why you should never jump straight for the cheapest 2 for 1 wine special as she got stuck with two huge glasses of the sickliest wine she’s ever had but at least the food was cheap and decent.
The main attraction in the revitalized downtown Vegas area is the Fremont Street experience. The street has been pedestrianized and the ceiling turned in to a huge light show so we wandered around and enjoyed the show there for awhile.
Along with the light show, a zipline and casinos Fremont street also has a bunch of places you can eat including the Heart Attack Grill. We were on pre-wedding diets so decided to give the world’s highest butterfat milkshakes, chips fried in lard, the world’s highest calorie burger and wine served in an IV bag a miss. We had suits and dresses to fit in to and plus we weren’t one of the lucky people who can eat here for free (those who weigh over 350 pounds don’t have to pay a cent).
Being used to and constantly frustrated with UK and European service in restaurants, we immediately fell in love with the service in Vegas. Everyone is so nice and the wait staff are incredibly prompt and good at their jobs. It’s amazing what the motivation of a few extra dollars does compared to Europe where tips don’t seem to encourage anything. Our biggest issue with service in Europe is just having to wait for a long time to be served and then waiting forever for the bill. No such worries in the US, the bill seems to just arrive just when you want it to. I’m pretty sure some of the waiters are ninjas because we would go to get their attention to ask for the bill before discovering we already had it sitting in front of us.
A big draw to Vegas is just walking along the Strip and taking in all the famous casinos and sights so we did our fair share of just walking around (with the standard over-sized frozen margaritas to fuel our walks of course).
As you may be aware, I’m a huge poker fan so heading to Vegas was always going to include a few games of Poker. After a bit of bad luck in a tournament, I managed to pay for a small chunk of our trip with a couple of wins in cash games. The highlight was near the end of our stay in Vegas when I was playing at our home, the Luxor. There was quite a fun mix of people at the table and I ended up getting in to a bit of rivalry with the guy seated on the opposite end of the table to me. Every time I bet or raised, he would either call or re-raise himself. This meant my wonderfully placed bluffs weren’t succeeding too often.
There was also something a little different about this guy.
He looked about 90 years old and came in on a mobility scooter with who I am guessing (and hoping) was his nurse with what seemed to be almost a life support system hooked up to him (it had a full on breathing apparatus and tubes going everywhere). During one intense hand between us, the guy next to me said “I really think you should just fold now, the guy’s eyes are dilating and it sounds like he’s having trouble breathing – you don’t want to kill the guy”. Being a nice guy I folded that hand but unfortunately for our persevering elder, a few hands later I ended up with a full house against his all in bet with 2 pair and I couldn’t fold with a few hundred dollars on the table. He took it well though and the defibrillators didn’t have to be pulled out. Good to know that ill health and old age doesn’t get in the way of poker – my retirement plans are now sorted.
And what better way to finish a blog on Vegas than a few photos of my favourite water fountain (everyone needs a favourite water fountain). So here’s some shots of the Bellagio one:
Next time: Dayna takes over as we head to Canada for the start of our Rockies Roadtrip.