Part-time traveller, Full-Time Brummie

Viva Las Vegas: USA Travel Diaries

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.

View of the Strip from the MGM-NYNY Skywalk, Las Vegas

View of the Strip from the MGM-NYNY Skywalk

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.

Jelly Bean Statue of Liberty, NYNY, Las Vegas

Jelly Bean Statue of Liberty

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…

In 2010 A Brummie Home and Abroad headed off to Las Vegas for the very first time. This is a day by day account of Las Vegas for beginners


14 responses to “Viva Las Vegas: USA Travel Diaries”

  1. April Munday says:

    Sounds like the start of a great holiday.

  2. I love Vegas! So much fun, even just people watching! 🙂

  3. LKD says:

    Neil (From Edinburgh) has been to Vegas, while I, from New York, have not. He said it’s great just for the people watching alone, and I’d love to go just to be there. The plan is to go and renew our wedding vows when we hit ten years together, a little over two years time. Purple dress and Elvis impersonator, ha!

    But I would just go to see the Statue of Liberty as Jelly Beans, so thanks for that!


  4. masgautsen says:

    Sounds like an exciting adventure.

  5. Jennifer says:

    You just made me look up “No tunnel.” Lol!

  6. Gary says:

    Shoot; was that a real jelly bean Statue of Liberty??? I mean real sweets??? not that I like sweets you understand (Imagine Homer Simpson drool). Looks like a well cool trip 🙂

  7. Steve says:

    We were lucky we got upgraded on our flight. We were also in awe when we arrived at our hotel (to be fair we were staying at the Bellagio and not slumming it in the MGM haha, only kidding). Did you try the $20 sandwich trick when you checked in? Loved the fact you get drinks when you gamble! Well, except when I wanted a morning coffee that ended up costing my $40 but that’s another story. I’m really looking forward to reading your other Vegas posts! And other travel posts too as you have a similar ‘travel review style’ to mine I think. Mine are very tongue in cheek and I don’t think I’ll be writing for Lonely Planet anytime soon. Nice to meet you! Steve x

    • emfletche says:

      MGM was a step up from our usual Travelodges 🙂 To be fair we got great rooms at both MGM and Mirage, wasn’t confident enough to try the $20 sandwich! And thanks for the nice comments about my writing style – I’d rather tell a (rambling) story rather than just list stuff we’ve done! Welcome to the inside of my head 😀

      • Steve says:

        We tried it and guess what? It worked!! Rambling style is good. If you read some of mine and you’ll see inside of my head is maybe worse than yours lol

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