At last! After 9 months of hard planning, researching and spending precious work time on Internet forums, we’re off! The stars of this story are myself (Mrs Fletche) and the hubby (Mr Fletche). Mr Fletche has been to the US before (Midwest only) but I’m a US Virgin. I’m a meticulous planner and have a full A4 folder full of itineraries, maps, coupons, restaurant recommendations and heaven knows what else…
Our British Airways flight from Heathrow is fine – complimentary drink service, standard food, a good selection of films, TV & music on the IFE. But everyone is just waiting to see those bright lights of Vegas twinkling in the distance! Selected window seats on the right-hand side of the plane to get that first vital sighting…. WOW! There it is! It’s amazing how distinguishable the hotels are, even from this distance. And 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, thank you Madame, have a nice day (how many times will we hear that this holiday?) – but as usual for the Fletche’s, our suitcases clearly decide to take a snooze in the hold and finally emerge when all the others are merrily on their way to their hotels. Maybe it’s because my suitcase is huge, pink and flowery – maybe it likes to make a solo late entrance so as not to overshadow all the drab black and navy suitcases?
By the time our suitcases make their appearance, the Arrivals hall is practically empty. Luckily, ours is the only flight landing at that time, so there is no queue for the taxi rank. Mr Taxi Driver is very friendly: I utter those immortal words I’ve been waiting to say for months – “MGM Grand, No Tunnel” He asks how we know about “The Tunnel” and I explain about Trip Advisor and their wise words of advice. … He entertains us by trying to guess where we’re from (“Newcastle? You sound like Geordies. Edinburgh? You sound Scottish”) I guess my dulcet Brummie tones aren’t that recognisable in the States…Cab costs a very reasonable $12 to the MGM; we tip an additional $3.
Entering our First Vegas Hotel!
Bearing in mind that the MGM is the first Vegas hotel we had been in; Mr Fletche & I are in raptures about how luxurious the MGM is. Of course, after spending days trawling around the other hotels you realise that MGM is actually quite a poor relation to some of the places on the Strip – what, no Aquarium in the lobby? No Sistine Chapel? No beautiful blown-glass flower covered ceiling?
However, what they do have is a big gold lion, and a lobby the size of a small airport. After anticipating long winding check-in queues akin to a theme park ride on opening day, we were pleasantly surprised to walk straight up to a check-in clerk. “Is it your first time in Vegas?” she asks. Is this not clear from our beaming excited little faces? “I’ll try and get you guys a nice Strip View”. Just a couple of minutes later and we are ensconced in Room 24-402 on the 24th Floor with a stunning view of the Strip. And we didn’t even need to try the “$20 trick”…
A quick change of clothes and it’s time for a bit of a wander around to try and keep us awake, bearing in mind it’s about 5am UK time and we’ve almost been up for almost 24 hours. Must fight the jetlag! We discover just how huge MGM is – and probably don’t even scratch the surface! We finally find our way outside via the exit near the Rainforest Café, and there it is – we’re officially standing on the Las Vegas strip! Photo opportunity ensues.
We’re not hungry – amazingly the airplane food has sustained us – but my God, do we fancy a drink! We use the skywalk to get over to NYNY – wow, there’s a bridge over the road with escalators and elevators and everything! Vegas is already overwhelming my tired little mind…
After oohing and aahing at the jelly-bean Statue of Liberty for a while, we settle on Pour 24 for a couple of drinks. Bartender is friendly, we can sit at the bar and watch the world go by and we’re having beer for what is technically our breakfast. After two drinks, the time difference is taking quite a toll and we need to sleep!
We mosey on back over to the MGM – after another ooh and aah at the jelly-bean Statue of Liberty – and Mr Fletche can’t resist a quick gamble on the slots. We’re not big gamblers, so we look for something nice and simple – a 1c machine with Bars & 7s…. It doesn’t take long to figure out the combination of bets (after a while of betting one line at one bet – lasts a long time but not much chance of winning big…) but I decide to save my hard-earned money for when I’m feeling less frazzled. However, I’m loving the whole cocktail waitress thing – they’re happy to serve me even though I’m not gambling! Two Jack Daniels & Cokes for the princely sum of a $2 tip!
Eventually we cannot keep our eyes open much longer, and we make our way back to our room about the same time as we would normally be getting up for work back home! Viva Las Vegas indeed!