As it was my friends' holiday, I was happy to go along with whatever they felt like doing. And when a trip to Las Vegas was mooted, I was up for it! When you think of Vegas, what comes to mind? This is what I had in my head prior to visiting:
3. Neon lights
4. George Clooney in Ocean's Eleven (He's a classic. Always smoking hot regardless of what movie he's in. And classy too. I'm digressing again.)
This is what it actually involves:
3. People (usually Brits) having emotional meltdowns on the street
4. No George Clooney (we waited outside the Bellagio fountain for him to appear, but no dice)
5. People drinking hard liquor and gambling at 10am
6. Perpetual twilight inside casinos (this was how it looked at 10am)
...casinos which are all essentially the same except for having different themes such as:
Ancient Rome (it looks JUST like the Trafford Centre inside)
7. No clocks anywhere because nobody wants you to realise you've been gambling for too long
8. Legalised prostitution and thus people on every corner handing out flyers saying SEXY WOMEN DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR IN 20 MINUTES
9. Loads of people drinking from big plastic cocktail cups on the street (we weren't on the street but joined in the fun anyway)
10. The following conversation after seeing a big picture of David Copperfield on the wall of the MGM Grand:
Hannah: Is it me or does David Copperfield look younger than ever? How does he do that?
Me: Umm... magic?
It's also a PAIN AND A HALF to get anywhere. We stayed at the Luxor hotel - the one in the shape of a giant pyramid - and right outside our window was a big concrete cat I assume is supposed to be a mock Sphinx (apparently though the real Sphinx is tiny. Like an actual stone cat. Cats are becoming a theme of my trip. First it was the Paula Abdul cat haunting my dreams and now this). We wanted to go out for dinner (we meaning myself, Hannah and Dave, not the cat, forget about the cat) and took a little walk down the Strip. But to cross any of the roads and go from casino to casino, you have to access these huge walkways. So while you might be able to see where you want to go, be prepared for it to take at least ten minutes per casino to get there. We were only three casinos down from Caesar's Palace, but it took a good 35-40 minutes to walk. And I saw a familiar sight on the way back; a tired and emotional couple arguing, JUST LIKE YOU'D SEE IN MANCHESTER AT 2AM ON A FRIDAY (OR 7PM IF YOU'RE IN YATES'S ON PORTLAND STREET). It went like this:
Girl (sat down on pavement, head in hands, shoes off, crying): I just don't get why you are so MEAN TO ME ALL THE TIME!
Boy: I've had it! I've had it with you that's why! I'm sick of this! You're a mess!
Girl: But WHHHHHHYYYYYYY?
Etc, etc, rinse and repeat.
A few pics of our hotel, in which the lifts go diagonally up the pyramid, so every single time you fall over a little bit...
I am way too chicken to gamble any money, but spent a while at the rubbish little 25c machines drinking free booze. The following picture pretty much sums up my evening (Mum if you're reading this the cigarettes aren't mine. I was just holding them for someone).
Suffice to say, because it's in the middle of the desert, it's BOILING. I took great delight sunbathing the next day in temperatures of about 100F.
And the drive to and from Las Vegas? It's long...
...you pass some seasoned gamblers...
...and some odd advice...
...but it's pretty awesome in that it's just desert for about four hours. There is literally nothing else. Once again the epic size of North America continued to astound me.