I bet no-one has EVER thought of calling their blog post Viva Las Vegas. Have they?
After 9 months of planning, researching and spending precious work time on Internet forums, we’re heading to Las Vegas, the first stop on our two week road trip taking in Nevada, Arizona and California. I have an A4 ringbinder full of itineraries, maps, coupons, restaurant recommendations and heaven knows what else. It is taking up precious clothes and shoes space in our suitcase.
We fly British Airways from Heathrow. We’re landing late in the evening, and along with our fellow passengers we cannot wait to see those bright lights of Las Vegas twinkling in the distance. Our carefully selected window seats on the right-hand side of the plane get that first sighting of the Strip. Even from this distance we can make out certain hotels. A pyramid and an Eiffel Tower are admittedly pretty distinguishable, even from an aeroplane. I can’t understand why everyone complains about the length of the Strip; from here, the Stratosphere Tower looks like it’s practically neighbours with Mandalay Bay.
We get through immigration reasonably quickly – smile for the camera here, fingerprints there, have a nice day– but our suitcases clearly decide to take a snooze in the hold and finally emerge long after all the others are on their way to their hotels. Mr Fletche suggests that the baggage handlers may have given my oversized pink flowery suitcase special treatment.
The arrivals hall is now practically empty. We’ve also managed to miss the queue at the taxi rank and thankfully stuff our suitcases into the trunk of one of the many cabs waiting outside. Our driver has fun trying to guess our accent. Geordie? Scottish? I am jetlagged and probably incoherent so it’s no surprise he doesn’t recognise my dulcet Brummie tones.
The MGM Grand. Home to a 100,000lb bronze lion.
We’ve never set foot in a Las Vegas hotel before. So excuse Mr Fletche and I as we do a little happy dance in the lobby of the MGM Grand. The huge lobby. The size of a small airport in fact. With another bronze lion (albeit a little smaller than the one outside). We’re greeted by a smiley check-in clerk who has guessed correctly that this is our first time in Las Vegas. Our excitement is so contagious (or annoying) that she allocates us a Strip view room without us asking. Just to get rid of us I think.
We find our way to the elevator, soaring up to the 24th floor. Just a couple of minutes later and we are ensconced in Room 402. We do indeed have a view of the Strip. And it’s pretty spectacular. We freshen up and abandon the clothes we’ve been wearing since the other side of the Atlantic. We do a quick time conversion. Its 9pm here in Las Vegas. Which means it’s 5am back home. No wonder we feel like zombies. We decide to fight the jetlag and grab ourselves a drink. It takes us a good 15 minutes to make our way back down to the lobby, and then to find our way out of the hotel. And then, suddenly we find an exit and we’re finally setting foot on the famous Las Vegas strip.
New York New York. Home to a jelly bean Statue of Liberty.
Our confused bodies remind us that it’s really 6am – almost breakfast time – and yet we’re not hungry. But we do fancy a drink. We ascend an escalator and find ourselves on the bridge – sorry, the Skywalk – between the MGM and New York New York. There are bright lights everywhere, and rushing traffic, and so many people… my jetlagged mind is overwhelmed. We settle on Pour 24 for our first drink of the holiday and we prop up the bar, having a beer for what is technically our breakfast. We have a second beer to make sure we get a good night’s sleep. By 10:30 we are definitely flagging though so we wave goodbye to the friendly bartender and the jelly bean Statue of Liberty and head back over the Skywalk to the MGM.
We may be feeling a little snoozey but Mr Fletche suggests we stave off the exhaustion with a quick gamble on the slot machines. In a sea of flashing lights, loud music and complicated looking machines we look for something nice and simple, and find a 1c machine with Bars & 7s. Last of the big spenders. We soon figure out that betting one line at one bet might last a long time but we’re never going to win big. There’s a whole plethora of bet combinations but I decide to save my hard-earned money for when I’m feeling less frazzled. The frazzled feeling is not helped by the cocktail waitress who is continuing to ply us with alcohol. We fling a tip her way and make our way back to the 24th floor. We’ve made it to midnight, and we’re going to bed the same time as we would normally be leaving for work.
Tomorrow we’re planning on spending the morning exploring before picking up our rental car! That’s if we don’t spend all morning sleeping of course…