Friday, 14 October 2011

The One with the Gambling

Our Last full day and night in VEGAS BABY!! Breakfast was taken at the Harley Davidson Cafe, in my opinion the food was not as good as the hotel breakfast but it did have some wicked cool bikes out the front to take some lovely touristy photos on them.

We had our Grand Canyon Helicopter tour pick up at half 2 so it was a short trip because don't forget, even though you can see something in Vegas it doesn't mean it is close! Our first stop was Planet Hollywood to buy our tickets for this evening entertainment....Peep Show. Yes this is how it sounds, we decided that we would go to a strip show. Our first plan was to actually go to a strip club as being fans of C.S.I it all seemed like quite good fun however, as surprising as it sounds, strip clubs are hard to find on the strip. We have a little scope around, and although Vegas seems to be large, off the actual strip seemed really dodgy, and, as I said above, being a C.S.I fan I also know where all the murders happen. So we decided a strip show in a hotel might be safer.

Tickets booked, a visit to Casears Palace to visit the famous Forum Shops, get lost in the Casino, and search out the 2 pools they had. That was about all we got to do before we had to head back for our pick up. At this time I was pretty excited for our helicopter trip and it was also ridiculously hot and I was looking forward to the air-conditioned bus! Turns out I am suited to the UK weather more than anywhere else because I don't do heat too well for too long.
Woops off track...right helicopter trip.
We got the bus to Boulder City and so got a nice view of Vegas off the strip. We arrived at Boulder City which (interesting fact here) is the only city in Nevada where it is illegal to gamble! True Story.
I wasn't sure how the helicopter trip would work because there were a lot of us in the mini bus but we couldn't all be on the same flight...turns out I was right, they had a fleet of little helicopters for 4 people plus a pilot with windows floor to ceiling. Our captain was very chirpy considering it was the end of the day and a bit of a joker! You know the type "its my first day" "can you hold the joystick while I have a nap", he did do a lot of singing over the mic which I found hilarious and I wasn't sure if all the other people in the helicopter could hear me laugh if I could hear him sing. It was all a bit confusing. But anyway, back to the actual helicopter ride - possibly the best way to see the Grand Canyon especially if you want to experience the awesomeness (in the original sense of the word not the Barney sense of the word) of it and experience how massive and vast the whole thing is; and we only saw the rim. We flew over Lake Mead, the Hoover Dam and then onto the Canyon. Words cannot here are some photos.

Hoover Dam

The Canyon through my sunglasses

After getting back and grabbing some food it was time for the strip show. As with Cirque, no photos allowed, its sad I know, you were all probably looking forward to the most but rules are rules. I will say though, the hotel strip shows are not as seedy as they sound. There was a wide range of people, older couples, young friends, a sugar daddy and his big breasted blond (they had a table at the front) but it was just good "clean" fun.
After this "day of fun" (said in a Janice voice) it was gambling time. Gary really wanted to play on the tables but we couldn't afford the $10 minimum bet so we tried the slot machines. Now these I did not get. How on earth can people sit there hour after hour playing these machines? I didn't even have the patience to sit there long enough to get a free drink let alone any winnings. So as the high flyers and the cheap skate options were out Gary and I decided to try out the electronic roulette. And as Joey said about the Buffet " that's how we won all our money back". I placed our bet on the black 6 and BINGO or ROULETTE we won  $17. Now this is the time where it counts, what do you do with your winnings? Do you put it all back in, do you switch games and up your bets because your on a winning streak? you gamble Kayleigh style and cash out while your up $17 and go and buy cocktails?
I decided to buy cocktails, Gary did the honourable thing and went to the bar to get the drinks while I watched the dancers on the tables and Gary got chatted up by a hooker. Oh yeah!!! You can't get much better on your last day in Vegas, boobs, booze, gambling, dancers and hookers.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

The One with All the Walking

After an amazing (and huge) breakfast in the hotel Cafe, with some great service; the service in America is very different from England, we decided to "have a wander" around the hotels on the strip and check out all the different themes. Lets just say - we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. 
In the grand scheme of things, Vegas Strip takes up only a small area of Las Vegas but boy is it huge. To get an idea of the hugeness - we started walking at around 10.30am...we looked in all the hotels and didn't make it to the Stratosphere hotel until around 8pm! I was tired! Before reaching that though, we did have a lot of fun checking out the hotels. 
We headed right out of our hotel and walked down towards Mandalay bay, compared to our hotel, all these others were so much more gimmicky, great to look in and around but still glad that we picked The Monte Carlo. 

New York New York was beautiful and very New York - well what I imagine that New York would look like from all the T.V shows that I have watched. As the photo shows, they even have the American-Irish section complete with an Irish bar out front. I liked the New York New York, inside it looked like a proper sports bar with all the screens off all the sports going on as well as the "normal" casino machines. Walking around the hotel is it quite cool how all the food places and coffee places (mainly Starbucks!) were set out like the streets of New York, cobbled and apartment blocks above the deli, just like walking around New York. 
The Luxor
Mandalay Bay
After New York we walked down and checked out Excalibur, Mandalay Bay and the Luxor. They were different from New York as they were themed on a time in history rather than an actual place. 
Once these hotels had been checked out we had become suitably lost in everyone, we were quite hungry so we decided what was needed was some chicken wings, curly fries and beer and the best place for these things...

Hooters of course. 

These were on the back of the sugar sachets and I thought they were brilliant
After Hooters it was time to get lost in the MGM Grand hotel - which I did find out is the only place now that holds the MGM Brand. True Story! The MGM was pretty amazing mainly for...

Unfortunately no pictures allowed but I can safely say it was so much fun. We were given a crime scene to assess, ours was a car that had been driven through the wall of a house and had a dead person at the wheel. With all mine and Gary's experience at watching C.S.I we had a go. After assessing the crime scene we headed over to the Lab to analyse the evidence then to the Doc for the autopsy, before reporting to Grissom on our findings and solve the case. Now I can't give you all the details otherwise anyone who goes and does the experience will already know who dun it! 
Once we had cracked the case and got glowing praise from the God who is Grissom, our exploration of the hotels continued. 

The rest of the hotels were also pretty cool, my favourite was The Venetian - mainly because it has a canal flowing through the entire hotel. We also found that every hotel has the same shops - mainly unaffordable ones, so there was no shopping in Vegas unless I wanted to end up broke. 

This is not me and Gary but they are getting serenaded!
Eventually, after much walking and getting lost in all the casinos and hotels (there are no exit signs, no clocks, and no windows) we made it to the Stratosphere. 

For all those people who are going to head to Vegas soon, I will give you a little bit of advice. Get a taxi to the Stratosphere, or at the very least do not walk ALL day and then walk up to the Stratosphere. Just a bit of friendly advice. 

Now having said that, it was worth it. From the Stratosphere you can see a lot more of Las Vegas than the strip, the view shows how little space is taken up by the Strip in comparison to the rest of the City. We went all the way up to the observation deck and then to finish our day we had a glass of wine in the 107 level bar. Definitely worth the walk and definitely needed a taxi back. 

On the way back down the Strip, two more things needed to be checked out; the Siren show at Treasure Island and of course the Fountain Show at the Bellagio. We caught 2 of those shows, both very different from each other and amazing to watch the choreography (if that is the best way to describe). I didn't have a video so photos will have to do. 

After the fountains it was time to head back to our hotel because we were at the Bellagio which of course means that it was going to be a 20 minute walk back that was not anticipating the flyer people on the street who thrust what can only be described as Catalogues of girls in my face but not before slapping them on their own hands just in case I hadn't seen them! 

And so this is the end of the second day, mostly walking, lots of photos and lots of getting lost in every Casino because they never want you to leave!!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The one with the plane ride

Virgin Atlantic flight 043 departing from London Gatwick airport at 11.15am to VEGAS BABY is ready to depart.
And we are off, flight was long but well stocked with films food and t.v shows so the time went fast. We landed in VEGAS BABY at around 2pm and checked into our lovely Monte Carlo hotel. The hotel was pretty cool, simple and not as gawdy as some of the others but enough luxury to make us feel important.

Had some time to kill before Cirque du Soleil at the Bellagio so went to check out where the show was going to take place and a good thing too. I learnt very quickly that in Vegas, just because you can see something does not mean that it is close. The Bellagio is 3 hotels down from the Monte Carlo and it took us about 40 minutes to get there and search the hotel for the theatre.
After finding the theatre it was time to sample my first american meal. At Serendipity 3 I found out that you can order a soup AND triple decker cheese cannot get that anywhere in the UK (anywhere that I have been) and it was possibly the tastiest meal I had in the two weeks.

That evening we sat down in our "splash zone" seats to watch the show. O was amazing. I have only seen one other Cirque du Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall but this was 10 times better than that. No photos were allowed and unfortunately I cannot draw as well as my mind can remember but I would say...if you can go and see it, or any Cirque show for that matter. What I did enjoy most in the show was the clever placement of acrobats through the performance, some were obvious and some where unexpected. 
By the end of the show I was pretty tired...I can't even work out how long I had been awake but it was a long time. 
It was time for our 30 minute walk back to the hotel providing we didn't get lost in the casino and bed in order to rise at an acceptable hour and start the first full day in VEGAS BABY!!!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

The One With The Introduction

So Gary and I have just got back from our 2 and a half week road trip around California. We did so much and have so many people to tell so I thought it would be a good idea to write it up as a blog. It won't be very long - just as long as the trip really but I hope that you all enjoy reading it. 
The title of the blog "Travelling with F*R*I*E*N*D*S was decided because not only was I travelling with my best friends, EVERYTHING and I do mean EVERYTHING could be attributed to a F*R*I*E*N*D*S quote - of which I have a back-log from my obsession with the series. 
Therefore, the days of the blog will be titled as Friends episodes. I will add photos to this blog but the main photos will be on mine and Gary's Flickr account if you feel like having a peruse.

It might take me a few days to write the first day but I will let it be known when it is up.
I hope you have as much fun reading as I did writing and actually doing the trip.