Thursday, 2 October 2008

Viva las Vegas part 1

Hi Everyone

(yeah the photos took a while to sort. This entry is the first of 10 with pictures of vegas, only the first 3 entries talk about our trip the others just explain the photos just thought I would warn you)

Well I don't quite know where to start with this blog entry. We had a fabulous 3 weeks while my parents were here, it was so good to see them, and it was really cool showing them around our adopted city, now when we talk about places they know what we mean. The highlight of the trip for everyone had to be the 4 days we spent in Las Vegas.

Now I had booked to fly out of Seattle (which is 2.5 hours south by car) because it was like $200 cheaper per person than flying out of Vancouver. Conveniently there is a bus that leaves from downtown van and takes you to Seatac (seattles airport). However I had booked the trip leaving on the 30th august thinking it would be cool for Mum to have her birthday there, and it was a long weekend so Scott didn't have to take as much time off work. Yeah it was a long weekend both sides of the border, and you really want to avoid the border crossings in a vehicle when it is a long weekend! Instead of the 4 hours it was meant to take us to get to the airport it was probably closer to 6 because we got stuck in traffic for over an hour at an intersection near the border. Once we got through the intersection there was a bus lane on the other-side and we zipped through. So it wasn't the best start to the holiday luckily we had allowed for a bit of time for a delay so we were still at the airport early and everything was fabulous from then on.

I hadn't really thought about the fact in Vancouver because we are so far north in summer it doesn't get dark at night till much later, ( and unfortunately the opposite in winter). However Vegas is a lot further south, so it was a lovely surprise to find we actually flew in to Vegas in the dark so we got a lovely aerial view of The Strip all lit up.

Vegas is so hard to explain because it is like nowhere else. It was mind blowingly awesome, we all knew we were going to have a fabulous time but we were still blown away. Even if you don't want to gamble and to be fair we didn't do much there is still so much to see, we only scratched the surface. Everyone had said " you don't want to be there more than 4 days" but I think we probably could have done with a few more days then we could have done it at a more leisurely pace and had a day basking in the sunlight around the gorgeous pools ( note the plural!!).

We stayed at the Luxor which is all Egyptian themed (unfortunately not as much as it use to be but it was still really cool) with 3 ancient Egypt fanatics amongst us it was quiet fitting. We got to check in and they upgraded us to rooms in the tower instead of the main building which is of course the pyramid.

We got to the hotel and were a little confused on where to go nothing is particularly well signposted (in the states in general from what i have seen). This guy in a suit with a badge came up to us and said "have you received your free gift?" and lead us off to a desk to the side and passed us over to a woman that spoke really fast. She proceeded to explain if we went to a 30 MINUTE presentation of a new hotel facility we could get free tickets to Mama Mia (poo) or free tickets to some magician (poo again) or tickets to mystere by cirque du soliel for $20 each instead of $82 which we thought was wicked so we signed up. BIG MISTAKE!!!! The 30 minute presentation was a 3.5 hour hard sell for a time share complex!!! We got great seats at Mystere and it was absolutely fabulous, but I think we would have rather paid the full price and not lost 3.5 hours of our lives. So if you go to Vegas beware of anyone offering you free stuff there were these timeshare people in every casino, you have been warned.

Back to Mystere, it was fantastic. I kinda felt like I had bullied Scott into going but having seen a cirque du soliel before I knew he would enjoy it and I was right. There are currently 5 cirque's in various casinos across Vegas Mystere was the very first one, by the end of next year they expect there to be 8 different cirque du soliel shows! The stage itself and the props are almost as interesting as the act's themselves it must have cost a fortune to create the theatre we were in as the whole stage went up and down. As with the last one I saw you just never know where to look, there are always things going on in the background, actually out amongst the crowd, to the sides it was like watching a tennis match.

Viva las vegas part 2

The architecture and amount of money spent on the hotels is astounding! I read in a guide book before we went that Vegas is the only place on earth where the hotels themselves are the tourist attractions, and it was absolutely correct. A lot of the hotels/casinos were actually linked, obviously owned by the same people they had covered walkways joining them so you didn't have to go outside into the heat. The Luxor was like this with it's neighbours the Mandalay Bay and The Excalibur (which looked like a castle).

The Venetian was definitely the most amazing with a scaled down version of the grand canal complete with gondolas and singing gondoliers and St Marks square. It was incredible the ceiling was painted like the sky at dusk, it was so well done you actually forgot you were inside I'm not kidding. The only thing wrong was everything was everything was a little too clean to pass off as the real Venice and of course there were no pigeons going postal. Just along from The Venetian was Paris which also has gone for an outside in decor, complete with the leg of the 1/2 size Eiffel tower (outside) coming through the ceiling in the middle of the casino itself. Although Paris was also well done the venetian still blows it away because of the sheer size of it. The Venetian is actually the biggest casino in the world.

A bit closer to our hotel New York New York was another one that had gone for an outside in look, with the outside looking like the NY skyline complete with a roller-coaster that looked like a taxicab that wound it s way around the skyscrapers and statue of liberty. Scott went on this thinking that he might get a good view of the city, but no, it was too fast and you spent the majority of the ride upside down. He enjoyed it but said I had made the right decision just waiting for him. Unfortunately there is no place for spectators to watch there loved ones on the ride so we didn't see him screaming.

On our last night we went to see Folies Bergere (a traditional Las Vegas Showgirls show with the feathers etc and boobies) at the Tropicana casino which was conveniently across the road from the Luxor. The Tropicana was one of the first casinos on the strip I think, and i don't think they have renovated it since it opened, it was probably stunning in it's day but now it is rather tired looking and greatly overshadowed by the rest of the casinos on the strip. Everywhere gave Folies a rave review, the show has apparently been performing in Vegas for 50 years. If we hadn't seen Mystere first it may have been better, but at the end of the day I have seen 12 year old kids dance better and more sexy than the supposed "professional" dancers in the show. Considering the longevity of the show we expected a lot more, but still had fun.

After the show we caught a taxi to Fremont St. the old part of town where it all began. Here is where you find the neon cowboy you have seen in so many movies, and the Golden nugget casino etc. The whole street is covered with an arched ceiling that is the biggest screen in the world. At night on the hour all the neon signs go out (not that much of the cowboy was going in the first place) and the ceiling lights up and plays a specially made film. We happened to be there for 2 different showing the first was pretty mediocre, the second was great though slightly raunchy, girls dressed up as fireman dancing, and flames and stuff (they should hire those girls for Folies they were much better). Apparently there is one film where aeroplanes zoom up and down the length of the street but we didn't see that one.

Vegas basically has it's own time-zone. Whilst inside the casinos you never see a clock on the wall and very rarely see daylight from the casino floor itself. So you very quickly lose track of time and come outside and much to your surprise it's dark and 8pm yet it feels like 3.30pm in the afternoon. So it wasn't unusual to have dinner at 10pm which I think we did most nights. I guess it gets referred to the city that doesn't sleep for a reason. Although the USA isn't smoke free inside you hardly noticed the smell of cigarettes whilst in the casinos they must have massive extraction units. They also pump in oxygen which keeps you awake and hopefully in there minds spending money. In the shopping areas in a few of the casinos we saw little kiosks selling oxygen and half a dozen dumb tourists paying $10 to sit on a bar stool for 10 minutes with tubes up there noses like they were in a hospital. Um hello our atmosphere is full of oxygen and it's free! I guess it is like the bottled water phenomenon who would've thought.

I just saw a guy on a motorbike go past with a big boxer dog in the sidecar, it looked really hard case. Anyway I'm getting distracted where was I. Well I have just about written a novel, not much left to say spose I better wrap things up. In conclusion Las Vegas is fabulously over the top, fantastically awesome, muy bien! ( very good in spanish), great, better than sliced bread, excellent, mind blowing, lo pase bomba (we had a great time in spanish) the shiznit, super cool, phenomenal. Ok I have run out of ways of saying it is fantastic. You all really ought to go and check it out for yourselves I guarantee you will have the time of your life regardless if you gamble or not. Come on do it, doo eet! You know you want to!

Ok must go now and sort out the photos there is a lot of them, otherwise you lot will start complaining, I know!!

Catch you guys later.

love Monique and Scott

Vegas photo 3

hello

This one is Scott, me, my mum Lynda and my dad Craig at the Venetian. This was the night we went to see Mystere. Aren't my shoes pretty?

Oh a few things i forgot to mention in the mammoth vegas write up, the fountains at the Bellagio were amazing really magical to watch, I think we caught 3 different shows of it. it was like watching fireworks you couldn't help but go "Oooh" and "Aaah".

Secondly teh Top 3 toilets were: The Luxor, Treasure Island, and New york New York.

Most disapointing: The Bellagio they weren't horrible but considering how much they spent on everything else i expected them to be flasher.

Worst: The Tropicana seriously the ones at high school were better.

The following entries just say a bit to explain the photos, I haven't worked out how to put the photos all in one entry yet.

have fun!

vegas photo 4

hey

This is inside the Venetian, this was a shopping area. I think I said it in the entry at the start you seriously forgot you were inside it was that well done. We think we will probably try and stay here next time.

ciao bella

vegas photo 5

hi

yeah i just noticed there are too many s's in the photo name in the link but it's too late now. This one is St mark's square INSIDE the Venetian casino.

ciao

Vegas photo 6

hi

This is scott playing a giant pokie machine (not to be confused with puki who we forgot to take with us). We had to wait for ages the lady in front of us put like 50 bucks in, it's $1 per pull.

laters

vegas photo 7

hey

Here is Scott and my Dad Craig with some Vegas Showgirls they pose for tips.

byebye

vegas photo 8

hi

This one is the paris casino all lit up at night. The eiffel tower is roughly half the size of the real one.

Au revoir

vegas photo 9

Hi
This one is Me and Scott out side New York New York casino you can see the rollercoaster that scott went on.

bye

vegas photo 10

hi hopefully i get the order correct this time I usually muck it up when adding heaps of photos.

This is my Mum Lynda and my dad Craig out side the Paris Casino

catch ya's later