So we left Oz in the morning and set off on a 12 hour flight to Los Angeles where we'd arrive local time of 6am then have 4 hours to wait until our flight to Las Vegas. I'd decided the best way to get my body ready for the time change was to sleep on the flight as much as possible so when I woke up it would feel like morning. Unfortunately I was not at all sleepy so I managed to watch a total of 4 films and get about 20 mins snooze time so I'm hoping I can just fill myself with enough caffeine to keep going until night time in Vegas.
As soon as we arrived everything was so different from Oz. Over in the airports there even the staff are really laid back and call you mate where as here the security getting through the airport was crazy. Then everything seems to big. We went into a starbucks for a hot chocolate and they were huge! The people so far seem pretty big and there seems to be a large number of oversized wheelchairs! The good thing for me though is that eating out every night for a month has not been good for the figure so here I feel great! I must say though that I'm starting to look forward to some home cooking and no more restaurant food! (I'm not looking forward to finding out exactly how much weight I've put on or working it off down the gym especially with xmas coming up but I'll worry about that later on). Also for the first time our flight is delayed so we are stuck in the worst airport ever. I thought people were joking when they said there were only 5 shops but they weren't.
So Las Vegas - well I'll probably surprise a few of you by saying I did not like Vegas. I swung from hating it to thinking it was ok but I don't feel the need to come back anytime soon that's for sure. For starters our "deluxe" room in the Luxor turns out to be the most basic room they offer (why doesn't that surprise me) not that our travel agent made that clear. So we were booked to stay in a room in the pyramid and it was horrible. For some reason I'd thought the hotels in Vegas would be really nice but this hotel anyway seems really old and tacky. We went to complain based on the fact we'd been given separate beds anyway and got an upgrade to the tower rooms. These were much nicer and you could tell they were newer than the main building. So we had a bit of a snooze then headed out to explore. The worse thing about this whole place is the smoking. Its everywhere and it really made me feel quite sick.
We had a night flight in a helicopter booked that evening so we headed down and got taken in by the staff offering free shows and meals. We ended up signing up for a timeshare presentation the next morning but as we need to eat and were going book another show anyway we didn't feel too bad.
Our flight over Vegas was interesting and this place looks a lot nicer at night. After we got back we decided to go see the bodies exhibition which is a collection of dead bodies and organs - not for the faint hearted but there were some really interesting things in there.
The next day, after we had attended our timeshare presentation and obviously not buying into it, we went off to explore one side of the strip. After a while once you've seen one casino floor you've seen them all but there were different shops in each to at least look at. At the mirage we found the secret garden and decided to take a look.
This was great, first we saw the dolphins playing then saw the white lions and tigers which were just beautiful. That evening we went and saw O at the Bellagio. That was definitely worth the visit to Vegas, it was the most amazing show I've ever seen. The show cannot be taken on tour as the stage was especially built for the production and cost 30 million dollars to build! Its a water based show so has the acrobats diving, synchronised swimming as well as the usual rope and swing type tricks.
The next day we had a well deserved lie in and decided to tackle the other side of the strip. Time has no meaning out here so at 1 in the afternoon I was walking down the strip drinking a pint of mojito (that was a smallest one they did!) We then ended up eating in an Aussie restaurant which was quite weird but it meant Al got to enjoy a pint of his favorite Aussie lager (and I had another cocktail). We then went into the Venetian which was possibly the nicest of the hotels we saw and I ended up paying $34 for a cocktail (about £24)!! It was the largest drink I've ever had but even so I was in real shock at the price and it meant we couldn't take a ride on the gondala because drinks weren't allowed and I wasn't going to down it! We then ended up booking tickets to see another cirque du soleil show, Mystere at Treasure Island. Again another amazing show this time more acrobatic than the last one and some strong man bits. That same evening we also saw our free show - Criss Angel's believe (again a cirque du soleil production). We'd never heard of Criss Angel before but he's apparently a David Blaine type of magician. Problem with this show (even though it was enjoyable) was that there wasn't enough of his magic type bits but then the cirque stuff wasn't the best either but it was still better than being out on the gambling floor losing money.
Our last full day of the holiday and we had a very early start (5am) as we were going to the Grand Canyon. As we booked the trip before we arrived we only had a choice of coach for 14 hours where you spent some time actually walking around it or a helicopter where you only flew over and didn't land so for that reason we'd chosen the coach tour and hence the early start. On the way we got to stop off at the Hoover Dam which was a nice surprise as our travel agent had told us we wouldn't see it because buses weren't allowed to cross (which is true unless the coach has a permit which ours did).
We then got to see a part of the historic route 66 but that wasn't much fun as all that is left are the signposts! A few more stops along the way and we were at the Grand Caynon which was pretty spectacular.
Only another 5 of the 7 natural wonders of the world left to see having done the great barrier reef earlier this trip (we were hoping to see the Northern Lights a few years ago when we were in Lapland but we didn't so have to go back there.) We managed to make good time on the journey so we were back in time to go to another show. We thought we'd go see the last of the cirque shows so got tickets for Ka at MGM grand. I was quite disappointed with this show perhaps because the other 2 had been so good but this one was different in that it followed a story line so although there was a lot of dancing there wasn't as much impressive action as the others. However it was another spectacular performance in terms of the stage and the design.
So that's pretty much everything. On checking out this morning we had a $25 chip from our free gift package so we headed over to the roulette table and put it all on black. It came as no surprise to us that it came up red but at least it wasn't really our money. So now we were just stuck in the airport with ages to wait and our flight had already been delayed. We both feel pretty crappy from a month's worth of changing sleep patterns, lack of exercise and junk food (I only saw a single piece of fruit the whole time I was in Vegas!) but we've still had an amazing time but (and I never thought I'd say this) are looking forward to getting home and getting back into a normal routine and fingers crossed if the house sale has gone to plan we'll be moving in a week and then it's xmas so maybe we'll have to wait to the new year for things to get back to being normal!