Thursday, 21 October 2010
Viva Las Vegas Baby!
So heading to the bright lights through the desert is an interesting place to be. We stopped for "gas" on the way in, which we later realised was where "The Hangover" chaps stopped too.
I (Katy) was driving, so hitting Vegas was an eye opener indeed, as we’ve had the roads to ourselves for 100’s of miles and all of a sudden I’m on a 5-lane freeway with people coming at me from everywhere.
Most people are tourists in hire cars reading maps or looking at the buildings and only occasionally looking at the road, or they are chauffeurs from the big casinos. So thankfully for the GPS, we found our hotel, the Station Palace.
We walked through the lobby with our bags to check in, positively chilly after swapping the sweltering heat outside for the air conditioned casino and passing hundreds of slot machines with twinkly lights and pingy pongee noises, with the odd person slumped over feeding them with quarters with no winning going on from what we could see. Once we booked in we headed up to our room, which was massive with A/C and a view of the “strip”. We moved in, checked out the gym and the pool for later. We then went to walk to the strip, but after asking the concierge where to go he informed us that, “nobody walk to the strip”, mainly as there are no sidewalks from our hotel. Thankfully there was a courtesy bus.
Dropped off at one end of the strip we we’re taken aback by the heat, so hot and for those of you who have never been to Vegas it is impossible to walk in a straight line without being filtered through casinos after casino, which thankfully all have excellent A/C and some great people watching.
Now when in Vegas you have to take in a show and looking through our handy booklet that was in our room in the hotel we saw that the legend who is Mr Tom Jones was playing at the MGM Grand,
so we zig zagged our way to the other end of the strip to see if we could get tickets for the following night, as he was only playing for one week, thankfully they had tickets for us, so blowing our budget we bought 2 tickets, and with smiles on our faces we headed back down the strip taking in the Bellagio fountains, (just like in Oceans 11) the New York, New York roller Coaster and all the lights. At this end of the strip there are also many people asking if we wanted “ladies, ladies, ladies?!” “No, we’re good thank you”. We stopped at a great place, Serendipity (which is part of Caesar’s Palace Casino) for the most amazing burger,
great decor and people watching. The waiter also gave us a taster of the house special - frozen hot chocolate… delicious. Zig Zagging back, we hopped back on our bus, back to our hotel, by this time the casino down stairs was slightly more busy, what we did notice while cruising the casinos’ is that depending on where you go along the strip, you have younger and more attractive waitresses, who are there to entice you to gamble more money, so take the Bellagio, there waitress there are pretty, young and slim, our waitresses in the Station Palace we’re more, how can I put it, “used!” maybe they started on the main strip and ended up out at the Station Palace, and what was worst for them the uniform was mustard & beige and always two sizes too small. Honestly, that’s not going to look good on any one no matter what age you are. A great night’s sleep in a massive bed, which was bigger than Jezza, I got up early and headed for the gym, nice to be inside with A/C and some weights.
I met Tim later in the restaurant for our complimentary breakfast. The restaurant was a buffet style place where you can find anything you want to eat as the casino never sleeps and they cater for everyone’s body clock. I had fruit and cereal, Tim went for the big full breakfast, the man next to us was having a roast dinner, (it was 9am!) I mentioned to Tim as a joke that there was lemon meringue pie, and before I knew it he had gone and got himself a slice for breakfast…..although he didn’t eat it all, all I could hear through the mouthfuls was “I Love Vegas!” happy boy indeed.
Later, we headed back on the bus onto the strip to see all the casinos we had seen or heard about in books and movies, so much fun. We saw the embarrassed people going on the Gondolas in the Venetians while the gondolier sings at them in a shopping mall inside the casino… very loudly.
While being surrounded by a perfect blue sky with fluffy clouds painted on the ceilings. Then we went onto Caesars Palace to have a look, past Treasure Island and a huge boat which has wailing Sirens on the hour, in the evening, as you do! Headed back to the hotel I went and lay by the pool while Tim hit the black jack table, to win big! Although he didn’t win big, he didn’t lose big either, $7 in all, which won’t bankrupt us, well not just yet.
A quick change and back on the bus heading to see Mr Jones, so excited, especially as we had talked about seeing Barry Manilow, which although neither of us are fans, he does put on quite a show apparently, so we go to the MGM Grand, just missing the lions (they had been put away for the night), which was a shame. We went to grab a bite to eat, Tim was very adamant that Tom wouldn’t be on at 7.30pm, there was bound to be a warm up act, but I was nervous so popped over to the venue where people we already going in I asked the man on the door, if there was a warm up act, he replied no Maam, Mr Jones comes on at 7.30pm…….rushing back to where I had left Tim our food had arrived, I managed to get the waiter to bring our bill and put half of my sandwich in a box “to go” we headed over to the show, leaving my sandwich with the doorman (nice chap!) and ventured into to see the legend that is TOM JONES.
When we got into the show it was such a small area, Tom was in touching distance… nearly. We had a lovely Dutch couple next to us who we’re celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary, they had had their courtship to Tom Jones music, ah bless. Tom came on and I got goose pimples, what a performer, what a voice…….well worth blowing the budget for the tickets, I tried to take a photo on the sly but unfortunately it didn’t really work, but we have the memories. After the show I picked up my sandwich, and we headed back down the strip, “ladies, ladies ladies?!” “No thank you!” we wandered to the Bellagio just in time for the musical fountains very cool indeed (this time Elvis - Viva Las Vegas).
Heading back for the bus, we took a short-cut through the fashion “mall “ which is huge – someone kindly gent held the door open for us. It was quite late and the mall was strangely deserted. It wasn’t until we we’re in the heart of it that we realized the man who had held the door open was actually leaving for the night and we we’re now trapped inside! Honestly, the security guards would have had such a laugh as we tried all the doors, thankfully after some manic rushing around we found an emergency exit; it opened, we legged it! And just in time for the bus.
Vegas? Check! A bizzarely wonderful place which we thought we would hate but ended up loving it!
On our last morning we raided the breakfast bar, filling our bag full of pastries and fruit to fuel us as we headed to yet another natural wonder of the world, Bryce Canyon.