|Las Vegas by Night|
Las Vegas…where to start…this city has just been awesome from the start. Whether it be the shows, the nightlife, the natural attractions, the playground, the gaming there is really something in Vegas for everyone and you will have a blast doing it!
We landed in Vegas from the East Coast and after very little sleep and another early flight we checked in to our hotel – The Monte Carlo, owned by MGM Resorts. This place is probably the nicest that we have stayed, and was by no means the most expensive. In fact it cost us less to stay in a suite here than what it did in New York. So we enjoyed this, checked out the casino, saw our concierge to get some advice on which were the better shows to see. When we returned to our room, our lack of sleep caught up with us and we were knocked out until the next morning!
Our first full day in Vegas saw us get up and squeeze in some fitness in the gym before going out for some breakfast and exploring the Strip. We walked past the famous casinos, the MGM, the Mirage, the Bellagio, Treasure Island, The Flamingo, and Bally’s, admiring all of their impressive attractions out the front. The first thing that hit me as we walked along the strip was how big each of these Casinos are, many of them Dwarf Crown Casino and there are so many of them!
We stopped by a ticket booth where we were able to get some really cheap tickets to see some shows and ended up buying tickets to the Madame Toussauds Wax Museum as well. Since we had no real plans for the rest of the day, we decided to head there and check it out. The wax figurines were incredible. They were so lifelike, it was extremely impressive, and the best part about the Vegas museum is that it is completely interactive. We were able to snap some great photos with some of the celebs including a few fun photos. On the way back we wandered into some of the casinos and shops and checked out the impressive 84in Sony 4k TV that you can pick up for the bargain price of $25 000 USD.
|James and Michelle with a real
member of the Blue Man Group
Later that night we made our way downstairs to see the popular Vegas show – The Blue Man Group. This show was brilliant!! It was a spectacular display of art and comedy and included great audience involvement. Their acts were funny and entertaining and everyone who attended had a great time. It is a very difficult show to try to explain but to anyone heading to Vegas it is certainly something that I would recommend.
The next day we enjoyed a breakfast skillet at Denny’s before heading to the Las Vegas shopping outlets. Whilst the shopping wasn’t as good as in New York, it was still quite impressive, and we still managed to buy enough stuff to keep our cases bursting at the seams (zips). After spending a large chunk of the day here we headed back to our hotel for a little respite before heading out to grab some dinner.
|Stars of the Monte Carlo|
|Chilling with the stars|
|Me and the Champ|
|The Blue Man Group Show|
For dinner we decided to try one of the famous buffets – this one at the Monte Carlo. As one comedian accurately describes the buffet is an example of how your mind can change its opinion so dramatically. When you are young the buffet is such a treat – however when you get older and gain a little perspective…well not so much. The food was ok, but probably not something that I would rush to do again.
|Hotels on the Strip|
After the show we headed across the road to the MGM Grand and saw The Magic of David Copperfield – a belated birthday present from Michelle. This show was absolutely unbelievable. I am someone who is not easily tricked or fooled but the illusions that were being performed in front of us left us in complete amazement and wonder. It is truly unlike anything that I have ever seen before in my life. The more spectacular of the acts saw David Copperfield accurately predict the numbers and facts about audience members chosen completely by random from the crowd. We saw a car appear seemingly out of thin air and 13 members of the audience vanish from before our eyes. This show is a definite must for anyone, magic lover or not and is something that has to be seen to be believed.
|James and Michelle with the
Blue Man’s Robot
After an amazing performance we wandered out to explore the Strip by Night. Las Vegas is a city that lives at night and it is much more picturesque by the evening than during the day. We saw plenty of different attractions whilst walking the strip and enjoying a few drinks – you can pretty much do anything in Vegas including drinking on the streets.
Wednesday we got up for another early morning start as we were picked up from our hotel for a tour of the Grand Canyon by air. We made our way to the airport in Boulder City and met our pilot Captain Misha. We flew the 45 minutes over Hoover Dam and Lake Mead to the Grand Canyon. One of the most interesting things we flew over was the mining town of Temple Bar, completely submerged under water. What makes it so fascinating is there is still predicted to be around $140million worth of gold in the mines beneath. In fact as the dam was being constructed the residents were warned of the risks of staying and even after it started flooding when construction was complete until the government passed laws outlawing people going there for their own safety.
Our pilot gave us a great commentary on the way in and we enjoyed a pleasant and quick flight in. As we approached the canyon we were amazed at the views we were seeing, the sheer size of the Canyon is just incredible. Geologists say that the Canyon was formed by the Colorado River (that runs into Lake Mead) over thousands of years but it is just incredible.
|The Grand Canyon|
When we landed we got onto a bus and drove to the Guano Point lookout to get a great view of the Canyon. We were not disappointed! The views from the lookout were absolutely breathtaking. I have uploaded several photos but it is an incredible sight and understandably why it is considered by many as the greatest of the Natural Wonders of the World. Words do not do this wonder justice, check out some of the photos that I have taken and see for yourself.
|Enjoying frozen slushees on the strip|
After taking in the wonder that is the Grand Canyon we made our way back to the airport as we prepared to take off. This time Misha flew us over the Mojave Desert and we got great views of the plains below us and were lucky enough to see quite a bit of wildlife below.
After we got back we grabbed a bite of lunch and went to buy tickets to Cirque du Soleil – Ka. While we were there we met the famous illusionist Jan Rouven from Germany. After meeting him we were convinced to buy tickets to his show for the following evening. We wandered into the Coke Store and the M&M store to check out these brands flagship stores.
As we were walking through the casino to get our seats for Ka we stumbled across a warm up session for one of the boxers in Saturday night’s world championship fight at the MGM Grand. It was pretty cool to see this athlete being put through his paces and the ‘meat’ in the sandwich, his sparring partner dressed in a complete set of padding. We also saw 50cent who manages the young fighter take the stage and support his client!
|The Stip by Night|
That evening we saw the spectacular show Ka – by Cirque du Soleil. This show was an unbelievable display of acrobatics and artistic gymnastics and was simply amazing. Cirque du Soleil has been able to bring something new to their performances, with several of the cast being medal winners at the Olympics. This show was different to the others that we saw, but it was unbelievable and the talent left us in awe.
After seeing the show we wandered out onto the Strip to see Vegas by night – properly. First stop were the amazing Fountains in front of the Hotel Bellagio. This beautifully choreographed show to different musical tunes was brilliant and there is no doubting why this show has become an icon of Las Vegas.
We wandered further down the strip sipping giant slurpies mixed with bourbon before our craving for dinner took over. We happened to wander into Bally’s Steakhouse to enjoy some dinner, unfortunately without realising just how pricy it was. We decided to treat ourselves, after all it is Vegas, and enjoyed a nice dinner and cocktails before making our way back to our hotel.
The next day we enjoyed a bit of a sleep in and then wandered downstairs onto the casino floor to take a free craps lesson. We spent an hour learning this game from a great dealer in the Monte Carlo, his character and jokes certainly made the lesson fun. After learning the ropes of Craps we headed out to do a little more shopping at the fashion mall in Vegas, Michelle was really the one doing the shopping, and we were surprised at some of the cheaper department stores, and just how good their ranges were. After grabbing a bite to eat we headed back to our hotel and decided to fit in a quick session of Craps.
|Cirque du Soliel – Ka|
Craps is actually fairly enjoyable, although whether that was because we were taking money from the casino or not I am not too sure, but call it beginners luck or not we came out in front – all in all a good effort.
We quickly got ready to go out and headed to the Riviera Casino at the far end off the strip. This is where Jan Rouven – the German illusionist was going to perform. Jan’s show was quite different from David Copperfield, but we were treated to some incredible and dangerous tricks. We saw him escape from a chest whilst chained and many times switch places with his assistants in the blink of an eye, leaving them chained in the spot he just escaped from. The magic on display was amazing.
|Michelle, Jan and James|
After the show we had the chance to again meet and take photos with Jan which was great because he is a really cool guy. After that we dropped some souvenirs at our hotel, grabbed a bite of dinner eat and headed across to the Deuce bar at the Aria Casino to do a club crawl. This was a great night, we met a couple, Jae and Laura from Sydney as well as a large group of Spanish Guys who flew 14 hours to Vegas to celebrate one of their friends bucks night.
|The Spanish Bucks Party, Laura, Jae
Michelle and James
We continued to a couple of different clubs, the first one Haze was inside the same casino where we learned that it was Laura’s birthday. We had a great time getting to know our newest friends over several drinks whilst we were out. When we got back to our hotel we saw a few of the cowboys who were in town for the rodeo wandering the casino floor. This was quite a sight to see!
|Michelle and Justin Timberlake|
On Friday we got up to an incredible challenge – figuring out how to fit all of our new clothes that have been slowly accumulating into our cases. It was a challenge that we were just able to squeeze everything in. However when we got to the airport we ran into the issue that one of our cases was too heavy, so a quick repack (and a bit of luck that we were flying with Southwest) to fit everything in and we literally squeezed in just underweight.
Our time in Vegas was incredible, there is something in Vegas for everyone, from the shows to the clubs, to the activities. We barely scratched the surface of what is on offer and we are looking forward to going back and continuing our adventures in Sin City – Las Vegas!
Funniest things that I saw:
Well it is Vegas so it is a city where literally everything and anything goes. Drinking on the streets was legal, but nothing new after some European cities, the big alcoholic slurpies were similarly cool but I have also seen them at home, there were plenty of weird people but I think these 3 are the ones that stand out.
On almost every street corner there are people who hand out a stack of cards, not drink specials or nightclubs but for escorts. Not so unusual but persistent when they offer them to girls, and guys who are clearly walking with their girlfriends down the streets.
Although I had heard rumours of the ‘drunk bus’ – a bus that will hook the too intoxicated to an IV to help them recover from their hangovers I did see an O2 – oxygen bar. Just in case you need that extra pick me up – nothing says hangover cure like breathing pure oxygen.
We have seen a lot of people trying to get money, begging, asking for money in exchange for photos, although I have not seen anything like this until Vegas. One person on the street offered anyone willing to pay $20 the chance to kick him in the nuts. I have a feeling that he was going to be in an extreme amount of pain later in the evening.
|Getting tips from the pros|