Last known location: London, England

Viva Las Vegas!

Let’s just get one thing straight, Dan and I did not get married in Vegas! Firstly, our Mum’s would never forgive us, and secondly, it just doesn’t really appeal to either of us! So, after landing late on a Saturday night we got a taxi to our first hotel, a cheap place near the airport. We were only staying there for one night because prices rocket for weekend nights at the big hotels, and all we felt like doing after a slightly traumatic day of travelling was crashing out.

The next day we did some serious shopping at two huge malls. Our by now very scruffy travellers clothes would probably get us kicked out of any hotel on the Strip so we got a few key pieces to smarten up our wardrobe. Or, in my case, bought 2 dresses, 1 skirt, 4 tops, a pair of shorts, a pair of shoes and a bikini. The bare minimum, obviously! Unfortunately our first hotel wouldn’t let us store our rucksacks while we hit the mall so we had to do all that shopping with our great big bags getting in everyone’s way. Shame on you Crestwood Suites!

Shopping done we were ready to check into our new hotel, the MGM Grand on the Las Vegas Strip. This may sound a bit extravagant to some of you but weeknight rates in Vegas are pretty reasonable and we got a good deal which meant we didn’t feel too guilty about living it up. Our room at the Grand was almost the size of our flat in London, complete with chaise lounge, super-king size bed and floor to ceiling windows. Plus, a massive bathroom with sunken bath. Heaven!

To celebrate our arrival we ordered champagne (sparkling wine!) from room service and toasted to the last stage of our trip. Then we put our glad rags on and hit the casino. After checking out some unheard of games (craps, anyone?) we decided that roulette was probably our best bet – no skill required! At first we were doing pretty badly but we got one big win and walked away $30 up. Enough for dinner, at least! Because drinks in our hotel were a bit pricey we decided to make the most of the $1.50 beer on offer at the hotel across the road, their huge adverts filling most of the view from our window. To Dan’s delight and my slight horror this was the Hooters hotel and casino. Still, not one to turn down a good deal I went along willingly. Most of the beers come in Light versions here, which is great, and a few Bud Lights later we were talking to 2 American couples who were staying at ‘New York New York’ but were drinking in Hooters for the same reason as us. They gave us a few tips for our road trip and confirmed the well known fact about US folks – super friendly! We ended up getting dinner at the Mad Onion at the hotel. The portions were huge but it was good grub so happy days.

After dinner we headed back to the nightclub in our hotel, Studio 54, which we’d picked up free passes for earlier in the day. Lucky for me it was Ladies Night which meant free drinks for me till midnight. Dan had to dash back to the room to pick up his ID; they’re pretty strict on it over here. I was very flattered to be asked but unfortunately it was just the once! We spent the night dancing away and chatting happily to fellow clubbers.  Good times indeed!

The next day, slightly hungover, we relaxed by the lazy river pool at the hotel.  The Grand had about 5 different swimming pools but we were particularly taken with the lazy river because it swept us along without any effort! Next door was ‘Wet Republic’, which is apparently a pool-based Day Club (as opposed to a Night Club), which was something new to us, but the huge queues weren’t that appealing.

That evening we took a walk along the strip and gazed at all the enormous and luxurious hotels along the way.  We ended up getting dinner at the beautiful Venetian hotel, complete with St Marks Square and serenading gondoliers.  Thanks to a great recommendation we ate at Tao, a funky Asian-ish bar/restaurant where all the celebs hang out.  Alas, no celebs (that we were aware of) to spy on but the food was amazing, and we left full and happy.

Our final two days in Vegas were spent by the pool, having a small flutter in the casino (we managed to finish a few dollars, and plenty of free drinks up), and exploring the Strip.  I also managed to get my hair done – 10 months is really too long!  We wandered through a few of the amazing hotels, getting dinner in New York New York, watching the fountain show at the Bellagio and checking out the volcano at Mirage.  I could’ve spent the whole time people watching.  There are so many interesting people in Vegas – from the stunningly beautiful to the very bizarre!  And talking of the beautiful, on our last evening we visited the Crazy Horse burlesque show, which was amazing; beautiful dancers combine synchronised choreography with stunning light displays.  Apparently all 12 of the international collection of dancers performed with the original Crazy Horse dance troupe in Paris.  It was a great way to end our time in Vegas.  The next day the road trip begins!

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