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Published: July 25th 2009
We arrived in LA on the Monday lunchtime and after a sleepless night and feeling like sh*t the next day, we hire a car to get the hell out of there. (It’s true what they say - flying east is far worse - we were zombies for the best part of 4 days!) After an hour and a half, we were just out of LA (believe me, it’s just HUGE) and on the dusty highway to LA. Now we thought it was hot in LA but when we eventually made it to Las Vegas, the heat just hit us (after checking the weather, it had been 43 degrees - now that‘s hot). We managed to find our hotel, park, check in and then collapse in our room for 10 minutes, before we got ready to go out (we were meeting Paul’s uncle that evening).
We spent most of the time on the way to the restaurant just gazing around us in awe. Our hotel was on the “strip” (the strip is Las Vegas Boulevard which is lined with the plushest, largest and most impressive hotels and casinos in the city) and although it looked impressive in the day as we
drove through it, it was nothing compared to seeing it in the night with everything lit up to the nines. It had cooled down to about 32 degrees and the pavements were thronged with people of all ages milling in about. As we neared the hotel/casino/shopping complex where we were meeting David, we went past a large lake at the front of the hotel and there was music playing and a synchronised fountain display. Very impressive - never seen jets of water “dancing” to Frank Sinatra’s Luck be a Lady. So we meet David and have a delicious meal at “Fix” one of the restaurants in the Bellagio. As we’re almost falling asleep in our desserts, we walk back to our hotel and sleep for 500 hours.
After we surface the next day, we decide to check out our own hotel - we were staying at the Venetian Hotel which, as you can guess, mimicked many of buildings found in Venice, including the Rialto bridge and many of the canals (there were both canals out the front of the building and inside where the shops were - mental!). The casino took virtually a whole floor up which considering the
Check in at the Venetian
Not what you need when driving for 6 hours and jet lagged...
size of the place was some achievement. After getting our bearings inside, we then went outside to warm up (the air con is just too efficient) and take a walk around some of the other hotel complexes. There is another hotel called Paris which has guess what? Yes, a miniature Eiffel Tour and also, for some reason, a hot air balloon. We soon discovered that you can almost walk from one end of the strip to another without stepping outside as many of the hotels and casinos are joined. There is a monorail which will take you up and down the strip if you can’t be arsed to walk in the searing heat. After checking out another large hotel called New York, New York, we decide to head back and get ready as this evening, we were going to see a show at the Mandalay Theatre. We went to see The Lion King and it was fantastic - very clever how they interpreted scenes from the film which would have seemed impossible to do on the stage. After the show was over, we spent the next few hours visiting almost every hotel/casino on the strip and partook in some gambling
(machine variety - which we were unsuccessful). When we got back to our hotel at 2.30am, there was almost the same number of people out and about as in the day.
The 3rd day in the city was spent perusing more casinos and shops and also moving to another hotel, 10 minutes away from the strip. We ended it by having the most amazing Italian meal at “Casa Di Amore” which was a small, insignificant looking building about 20 minutes away from the strip. The food was superb though.
The next day, we decided to take ourselves out of the city to the nearby Red Rock National Park where we admired the scenery (and the fact that it rained - only for 3 minutes and 34 seconds but it was real rain, although it evaporated virtually the moment it hit the floor!). The notice boards warned us that we may see Burro (donkeys - fine), Tarantulas (err, feeling uncomfortable in spite of the fact that they’re harmless to humans); Black Widow Spiders (hopefully I’d never even spot one) and Scorpions (I’m staying the in the car). But luckily, we scared the creepy crawlies (and probably the donkeys) away.
The forecourt of the Venetian
Yes, that is a canal and bridge
That evening, we went to a Japanese Steakhouse called Musashi where we had our food cooked in front of us just to our liking- bit different to your average McDonalds! Food was amazing - he even cut an onion, then placed the rings on top of each other to make a cone, filled it with some kind of oil and the set fire to it - like a mini volcano!. The taxi driver who took us to the Japanese restaurant told us about the old Downtown section of Las Vegas and said we should definitely go there, so after our meal, we got another taxi and headed to Fermont Avenue, which, if my memory serves me correctly, was the road where Sean Connery drives a red mustang up and down in James Bonds’ Diamonds are Forever (ooh shush Shirley Bassey) - gotta check when I get home. The section of road has now been pedestrianised and there is now a huge ceiling which is actually a massive TV screen. Every hour, all the lights on the old-time casinos go out and a song is played over the speakers and a video is played overhead. Very impressive! There are also girls
dressed up with huge plumes of feathers on their heads (showgirl outfits) getting asked by pervy old men to have their picture taken with them; street artists who often draw the biggest crowds by making arty, often moonlit mountain scenery prints with spray paints and cardboard; sax players who play along to naff sounding songs blaring out over speakers. Paul also tells me that it was where the video of “Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems” was filmed. After a good walkabout, we head back to our hotel to pack, as we were heading out of Vegas the next morning.
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