Las Vegas, for me, was a whirlwind.
Tess had invited me to come out and join her and Katie on their roadtrip, which was a really brave move considering Katie and I had never met, but I could NOT turn down an offer like that, so I quickly found some flights (one logistical consideration was that I had to leave for England on the Sunday (22nd May) but they were going to be in Vegas for three days starting Wednesday (18th) so it was always going to be a bit of a whirlwind.
But after some discussion and careful planning, we calculated that we could be in Denver, Colorado by Sunday morning and I could fly from there back to Toronto in time for my overnight to Manchester. It had to be a tightly scheduled trip but would be totally worth it!
The first challenge was getting to the airport, now I’ve been through plenty of airports, not an excessive amount but enough to know how it works, for example; I know that you always have to leave plenty of time because you never know what strange problem or issue you may face on your way. With my flight at 7am I planned to be there for 5 to give myself a couple of hours to get through security without any rush or panic.
However, that morning, I learned the hard way that everything that could possibly go wrong in and around an airport, sometimes does so. All in one go. Consecutively. Read my story here;
But needless to say I made it and somehow managed to meet up with the girls at the other end, they were fresh from L.A and their spirits were high!
Before we checked into our hotel we took a tour of The Strip
Once we’d reached the other end of the strip, the girls told me to keep my eyes open for our motel. Apparently they’d tried to get us a room at the Luxor but it had proved too expensive so we had to settle for a cheapy motel called “The Blackjack Motel, or Inn, or something”
I would have loved to stay in one of the extravagantly themed hotels, especially the Luxor! With it’s black-glass pyramid and Egyptian-themed toilets, it would have been amazing, but our pockets were lined only with moths so we couldn’t be choosey. Besides, being in Vegas was enough extravagance to begin with, we should be happy with staying anywhere in the city. However, as we drove further from the strip and deeper into seedy seedsville, I began to question the decision to pick a place quite so… errr… “low-budget”.
It was just as we were getting to the motels advertising “All new plastic sheets” that Tessie decided that perhaps the Blackjack Inn or Motel or something may actually be on the other end of town, so with some relief, we turned around.
As we were passing the Luxor, the girls suggested that we go in and see what we were missing out on. I didn’t know if it was a good idea to torture ourselves like that but they turned in regardless and somehow got trapped in the valet parking line. It wasn’t until the valet leaned in and asked if we had a reservation and Tess said “YES” that I realised I’d been fooled!
Those sneaky Mums! They’d fooled me good! But holy-moly was it a good surprise, and once we’d gotten inside the front doors we had another holy-moly moment.
The entire inside of the pyramid was hollowed out to make space for an entertainment plaza offering shopping, dining, exhibits and stage shows! The scale of it was immense and our 23rd floor room gave us an awesome viewpoint from which to admire it.
Drunk and merry, we hit the town!
The fountains at The Bellagio are quite an event. Huge crowds line the promenade every fifteen minutes to watch the spectacular show set to some over-the-top anthem, which in this case was Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”.
By the time we got there it was mid-show and the sidewalk was packed. Amongst the rabble was a freshly married couple, hot off the press, fresh from the oven, crisp from the… crisper. We got chatting to them while we waited for the fountains to recharge and somehow the conversation steered towards my footwear. Look, I was bored of listening to a soppy, loved-up couple talk about how happy they were and wanted to talk about my right shoe! It had completely fallen apart since we’d left the hotel and I was quite upset, they were a gift from my little sister and I loved them. They were going to be married for the rest of their
lives week-in-Vegas, but this shoe story was current, it was now.
Apparently not everybody appreciated the topic though.
Tess grabbed the shoe straight from my foot and hurled it, straight-up, over-arm hurled it into the fountains.
And she promptly walked off. I didn’t really know what to do, Katie, The Bride and Groom and I peered over the wall to see the poor old shoe floating off into the vast lake. Sigh. Now what?
Katie had an idea. And The Bride agreed with it. I’d had a little too much to drink at that point so was way too easy to persuade. The next thing I know I’m taking off my shirt and emptying my pockets and hoping over the wall.
What the hell was I doing? I dropped down into the shrubbery bed that lines the edges of the lake and walked along to catch up with the shoe, it seemed to be full steam ahead on a voyage to the fountains. I took one last look back to see if anybody was going to stop me. Katie? Bride? Security? Of course not, this is what people come to Vegas to see, Idiots doing foolish things and getting taken away in the back of a police van. Or an ambulance. A small crowd had begun to form as I started to lower myself in. Where Tess was at this point, I have no idea but I doubt she realised what she had started.
I was expecting the water to be knee deep at the edge and then gradually get deeper toward the middle where I expected to be wading. Nope, I went straight in up to my nipples. It was cold too. I started to swim out in the general direction of the shoe, I could here people cheering me on and laughing.
By the time I reached it I was getting worried that I was too close to the fountain jets and knew they were set to start again anytime soon, I grabbed my shoe and turned around, the crowd had increased in size and all eyes seemed to be on me, I held the shoe up, triumphantly, over my head, everybody cheered. It was a great moment but it soon made way for worry. I was a lot further from the edge than I’d realised and with all these people pointing and cheering I was sure there’d be security waiting to take me away when I got back.
I swam back as fast as I could with one hand, threw my shoe up and somehow lifted myself out of the water, the walls here high and the water deep so I have no idea how I didn’t get stuck. Back on dry land I was soaked through and shivering like a leaf. Katie and Tess (who had returned to see what was taking us so long to catch-up) wrapped my dry shirt around me, we said goodbye to the happy couple and headed back to the hotel, leaving a trail of wet footprints behind us.
And that was just the first night! Thinking about it now, I have no idea how security wasn’t on top of me as soon as I’d jumped the wall, I’m sure they monitor that place 24/7 for idiots like me. I’d gotten very lucky. I couldn’t even wear the stupid shoe afterwards and had to throw them both out!
The next morning we were all pretty hung-over… Some prettier than others if you know what I mean…
As Tess lay dying in her cave of horrors, Katie and I went for a nice walk around the hotel, had some delicious crepes for breakfast and managed to find me a shoe-shop to alleviate my footgear issue!
The three of us spent the rest of the day relaxing by the pool.
We sunned, we swammed, Tess took 4 hours to eat an apple, we met a weird woman in a hot tub who we convinced I was 16th in line to the throne and had body guards around the pool. We told her Tess and I were in Vegas because I wanted to have a quick and simple wedding, we just couldn’t compete with Will and Kate, but Tess didn’t want quick and simple. “She’s a smart girl, holding out for the royal treatment!” She then wanted an invite to the big “royal wedding” in England.
She was a strange woman and we spent way to long feeding her lies.
That evening we got all prettied up again and hit the town with designs on a Cirque du Soliel show (there were six to choose from, playing every night) but thanks to over-priced tickets and lack of availability; Cirque was a no-go.
We heard that The Blue Man group had a show down at The Venetian, so wandered down that way to see what we could see.
The Venetian is INSANE. It’s so vast and detailed. The amount of work that’s been put into it is unbelievable. It has it’s own canal system for crying out loud!
You can literally take a gondola ride around the hotel, not just outside but through the inside too, which is designed to look like the streets of Venice, but it’s inside! There are shops and boutiques, restaurants and cafes, bridges and docks, you can wander the banks of the quarter-mile long Grand Canal all day and all night without noticing your even inside thanks to a crazy fake-sky ceiling.
Apparently the whole resort cost somewhere in the region of one and a half billion dollars to build back in the late nineties.
We got lost several times trying to find the Blue Man Group Theatre, but once there we happened upon some good luck! The only seats we could afford were the ones way at the back and they were still about eighty dollars, but as we were discussing which of the bad seats were the best we were tapped on the shoulder by a woman who had a couple of tickets she was looking to sell.
She had two tickets in the one hundred and fifty dollar section yet, because the show was only ten minutes from starting, she only wanted seventy five for the two!
Luckily we were right there with the ticket man so he could verify that they were the real deal, but there were only two, the next stroke of luck was that the seat next to those was still available. The price tag was one fifty for it but even with that we were still getting three one hundred and fifty dollar tickets for two hundred and twenty five dollars, not only better than half price but also cheaper than if we’d bought three of the cheapest tickets.
And the show was fantastic!! All tricks and music and stunts and crowd participation and lighting tricks and crazy musical instrument inventions. You literally had no idea what was going to happen next. It was thrilling! Those men can certainly put on a show. I don’t know why they’re so down.
If you ever get the chance to see The Blue Man Group, do it, you will not be disappointed.
We spent the rest of the night exploring as many casinos as we could get into, it’s a bizarre city where everybody on the streets is there on holiday, it’s like an x-rated Disney World where porn is openly advertised on bilboards and hundreds of people force flyers into your hands as you walk down the street.
It’s a place of adverts and promotions and gimmicks. It’s loud and it’s bright and it’s garish and it’s in your face.
But it’s fascinating and it’s exciting and it’s spectacular.
We rounded off the night by braving a restaurant in the Bellagio, I was looking over my shoulder and fixing my fake moustache the whole time. We hit the Egyptian-style hay pretty satisfied at our Las Vegas experience and ready for the next part of our adventure. I could probably have done one maybe two more days there but I feel like that would have been my maximum, longer than that and my head may have exploded.