Vegas & Chicago

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February 23rd 2011
Published: February 23rd 2011
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Chris's Section

Las Vegas, what can I say? I thought I knew what to expect, but seeing slot machines in the airport was the first of many surprises. We later saw them in shops - even a pharmacy. This is a crazy place, designed and built to separate people from their money. It does this very well too! Our hotel, The Luxor was really nice. It's massive, like all the casino hotels. Another surprise was indoor smoking. It's been banned so long in the UK it came as a shock to see people smoking all around. As a consequence air freshener is pumped throughout the hotels and casinos. We kinda got sick of the artificial smell, but I'm sure it was better than smoke and the smell of people!

Our first night on the strip was impressive. It's a crazy scene of neon, masses of people, drinking in the street, huge themed hotels and casinos. Also the distances you have to walk are unbelievable. The main strip's only a few miles long, but it takes you forever to get anywhere. You often find the sidewalk suddenly goes through a hotel, which is like a maze. They're designed to make leaving as difficult as possible. The sidewalks are full of Mexicans handing out flyers, cards and magazines for prostitutes. Yes, I said prostitutes. You can order one like a pizza. I prefer mine large with extra cheese.

People come here to party and drink at all times of the day. You see granny & grandpa in the casino at 9am with beer. In fact, unless you have a watch you wouldn't know what time it is. The casinos look the same at all times of the day. There are no clocks or windows. It's all a little disorientating. On purpose I'm sure. The weather in Vegas was great on the whole. Pretty sunny days and not too cold evenings, until the last day.

The Bellagio fountain is a must see. Really well done. We heard the free show outside Treasure Island is great, but we kept missing it. The strip can be pretty expensive for food and drink. We found a cheap dive bar called Stage Door on East Flamingo. $1 beers, yeah baby!! Just down the road is one of the best value food places in Vegas. The Ellis Island Casino is a 5 min walk from the strip, and it does pretty good food at bargain prices. I had the steak special (quite a big steak, jacket spud and green beans and a beer!) for $7.99 . That's £5 people!!! Eliis Island is also brews its own beer. Large beers are $1.75 (£1.05).

An important point for other travelers – every ATM in Vegas charge a hefty fee for withdrawals. Most of the hotels had a minimum fee of $10 (even if you only want to take out $10), which increased as the amount you wanted to take out increased. The lowest fee we saw (off the strip) was $3. It's a pretty disgusting con. I thought the mafia had left town?!?! But this is Vegas and nothing much is free. We had a bit of a gamble, but we couldn't really afford to do much. You need money in this town. Our achilles heel as always! We really enjoyed our stay – so different from any place we've been before. We'd love to return – but this time with some cash.

Louise's Section

I had a great time in Las Vegas and won $20 (woohoo!) but by far drank

Just nuts
too many $1 beers. I think I spent most of my time hungover.

We had a lovely time meeting one of Chris's mates on our last night but boy should I not have had 3 pints before our flight to Chicago...resulting in me chundering big style into the sick bag. Chris wasn't sure whether to think ewww, help me or be impressed with the volume I had produced.

We arrived in Chicago knackered and bloody cold but thankfully the hotel let us in the room at 8am, thank you so much people of the Allerton (fab hotel by the way for $77 per night).

We ventured out finally after a long snooze, I had my haircut (thank you to the Trio Salon) and went for a mooch then returned to the hotel to warm up. The next day we went downtown along the Magnificent Mile pass the Tribune and had a look at the Sears Tower. This was the only day Chris willingly allowed me to go into all the shops as it was so cold and he had only got his shirt and jacket on - duh! Needless to say we weren't out for long as I think he would have died of hypothermia.

We had planned to go out the next day and go see the park and lake but it was pissing it down big time so it ended up being a day of heading out to get some soup and return to the lovely warm hotel and veg out.

We really liked Chicago and would love to have seen more or had the better weather to allow us to do this but hey ho it's always needing more money or better weather with us.

It's Washington DC next if we ever get there. We're sat waiting at the airport for our delayed flight and it has started snowing, hmmm tune in for the next blog in a week to see if we ever made it out!

Additional photos below
Photos: 10, Displayed: 10



... has some pretty impressive architecture
Sears TowerSears Tower
Sears Tower

Now got another name I can't remember
John Hancock CenterJohn Hancock Center
John Hancock Center

The next day when the weather turned

23rd February 2011
Great photos!

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