Monday, 8 August 2011
Viva Las Vegas! Part 1 - Getting to the heat and dazzle
(Lots of pictures, maybe even more words)
As part of our Tour The World In Three Weddings schedule, the husband and I went to Vegas. It might be worth recapping at this point, where the other places were that we went to, just in case you stumbled upon this blog and thought it was a wedding tour blog or something like that.
1. Wedding 1 - Bath, UK (not much touring involved since we'd been to Bath quite a few times, but anyway, that covered Europe, or a part of it anyway)
2. Wedding 2 - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (we went to Bali for the honeymoon, so I guess that covered 2 countries in South East Asia)
3. Wedding 3 - Las Vegas, USA (since I'd only been to New York prior to this, my second trip to the US of A covered Vegas and the route to the Grand Canyon)
We didn't eat very much while we were here. Or at least, not to our usual standards of much anyway. What with the 8 hour time difference (behind the UK, so we were pretty much knackered and walking in our sleep by about 8pm Vegas time) and the intense 40 degrees (Celcius, BTW) heat, it was kinda like a grape drying out in the sun, on its way to becoming a Sunmaid Californian raisin.
If grapes could feel tired, that was.
With my factor 50 suncream all packed and ready to go, we waited at London Gatwick airport in anticipation (and part-tiredness, having not slept much the night before, and having woken at 6.15am to get to the airport on time). We'd flown Virgin Atlantic once before to NY, and found it to be so-so. The journey to NY was good, and they served us Gu brownies which always makes it better. Journey back was kinda bleh.
I'm not convinced about the service from these Virgin Atlantic stewards/ess because some of them are really friendly, but then again, some of them are pretty rude, bordering not bothered at all.
Like, on the way to Vegas, the lady assigned to us seemed so reluctant to be there, that, at one point, when she was pushing a trolley past the aisle and a lady asked very politely if the stewardess could help her take her bag out from the overhead compartment, the stewardess actually said something like 'It's only by the edge of the door' meaning, 'Hey, why don't you get it yourself.'
Huh? Surely that's part and parcel of the job you do, hey? I know she was pushing her trolley and everything, but there are many other ways to tell someone you'd get back to them after you were done doing whatever you needed to do, rather than, hey, it's only there, you get it yourself.
The customer stood her ground (albeit looking rather sheepish about it) and the stewardess then came back and helped her take the bag out. Wasn't looking best pleased but I guess a smile wasn't going to be forthcoming after all that hoopla, was it now.
Hopefully she was one of the exceptions, because on the way back, all the stewards and stewardesses were nothing but nice, very polite, and almost believably warm and caring.
One other thing since I'm whining about VA: I am not sure how VA won those awards for Best Entertainment or something like that because it's the worst of the airlines we've flown with anyhow (i.e. you can't press play on a movie when you wanna watch it, you have to kinda have to watch it as it's being shown on loop. Flashback to 1970)
Griping over. Now, we're at the airport.
Not exactly what you'd wanna see first thing coming out of the airport. I'm told it's one of the top attractions in Vegas. I'd much prefer the buffet, but each to their own.
We were picked up by our airport transfer service, and taken to our hotel, via a few other stops along the way.
No, not the silver limo. The one behind it.
Tip of the day. If you're in Vegas, you should probably get one of these pre-paid transfer services. Cabs cost quite a bit over there, and the cabbies are, at best, worrying. We sat in one where the cab driver was effing and swearing, presumably because he thought we were going to the airport (ie big bucks) but then when we said we were headed down The Strip (still a few fair dollars), he kinda lost the plot a little.
Checked into The Bellagio (I still smile a little smile whenever I say that, it feels grand, and I'll probably not stay in a hotel of that league ever again, so humour me whenever I drop that name here and there.)
Check-in was interesting. We saw a couple all dressed up in wedding gear (like white gown, white suit for the guy, the works) signing in, as if that happened everyday. No one batted an eyelash.
This hotel is huge. Like all the other huge hotels in Vegas. It had something like 3 buildings making up the whole hotel, and a ridiculous number of restaurants in that one hotel alone. We stayed in room 23084.
Our view from the room - of the 5 pools below. FIVE pools, I'll say that again. Not that we went to any of them, but we kept saying that we would given how hot it was.
By the time we'd freshened up (somewhat), it was evening time and the sun had gone in a little, so we decided to go for a walk. Nothing better (and more free) than a stroll around the Vegas strip on a Wednesday evening.
We saw lots and lots of people, no surprise. Colours and bright neon signs abound in Vegas, and food options aplenty. We initially thought we'd have some Mexican food here, seeing as Vegas is pretty close to Mexico and all, but couldn't find any authentic looking type place for it.
When we spoke to our Canyon guide a few days into the trip, he mentioned that there were, in fact, plenty of Mexican places around, just not anywhere near The Strip.
Only in Vegas
There are 2 (maybe more?) cities within a hotel type places in Vegas. One of them is the New York New York, where there is ...
The Brooklyn (Mini) Bridge
The Statue of Liberty herself (If you stood at a correct angle, Lady Liberty could be standing next to The Eiffel Tower)
An Irish pub
You know you're in The Big Apple when there is an Irish pub because in Ireland, they're just ... pubs.
Not quite sure what the significant of Pepsi-Cola is to NYC, because the drink was introduced for the very first time in North Carolina, but who am I to argue with a beautiful signboard. 3D, to boot.
In the NYNY casino/mall (because the hotels have malls, restaurants and anything you want in them), we found a little sweet shop selling American sweets. Now, usually I get very excited when I find a shop in London selling American sweets. I'm not sure why anyone would get excited finding a shop in America selling American sweets, but here goes my logic for you. But ...
Whoooa how's that for some excitement. Made completely of jelly beans, this is one beautiful lady.
'Does my (jelly) belly look big in this?'
Ha ha I crack myself up.
Toffee apples - never had one, didn't try it here either. Just too much to get through, in my opinion, humble or otherwise.
After a 32 oz slushy or two (strawberry masks the taste of alcohol very well) (also, no pics as I was very busy rehydrating myself by then) we decided to make our way back to the hotel.
What a comforting letter of the alphabet.
More to come in the next post.