The hotels strike back, part 2 of the road trip trilogy
01.02.2009 - 03.02.2009
View the big trip on jamienrach's travel map.
So imagine it’s 5 in the morning and you’re in a Wal-mart Carpark sleeping in the back of a van and your wife is twisting and turning. She eventually get’s up and says, ‘that’s it I can’t sleep anymore, we’re going to Las Vegas”. You continue to doze while the engine turns over and the van jumps forward and you roll around on the mattress in the back still half asleep as she drives you out of the carpark and onto the interstate which smooth rolling gets you back to sleep.
Around 7 I woke up again when we were about ½ an hour from the Arizona Nevada border, Rach had stopped the van and was taking a picture. When you actually get to the border you’re not just crossing into another state your going over the Hoover Dam as well.
New bypass bridge, when it’s finished you wont be able to drive over the dam.
Also you may remember that Rach had started driving at about 5 in the morning which meant we got to the border at about 7:30, but there is one more thing you cross over when going into Nevada, a time line. So 7:30 became 6:30 way way to early, what happened to sleeping in on holidays.
It took another hour and a bit to get into Las Vegas and our hotel, the Stratosphere (Looks like the Auckland Sky city tower but made out of playdough, a recurring theme in Las Vegas). We were way to early for check in but luckily our room was ready and we had a bit of a nap until lunch time to get rid of the superbowl party the night before.
View of the Strip from the top of our hotel
I’m not exactly too sure what we were expecting of Vegas, maybe bright lights and superclassy everything with hot looking people all around and free offers everywhere. But unless you’re constantly on the tables spending up then they don’t really want to know you.
F650, Someone’s ‘day car’ parked in the too big for normal parking building carpark
We spent our three days wandering up and down the strip, popping into all of the casino hotels and generally soaking it up. By day everything looks so drab and old and even the brand new sparkling buildings just seem out of place. But at night when all the lights go on it starts to make a bit of sense as to why people come here
Fountain show outside the Bellagio.....nice
One thing we noticed was that for every themed hotel, Venice, Rome, Paris, New York, Egypt and more we’d actually been to the real thing. So when you’d see other touristy types staring at the buildings going wow, well we just weren’t that impressed with it. Don’t get me wrong it’s pretty in a flashing bright lights, everything all in the same place way, but the polystyrene nature of it all is a bit tacky.
Tower in San Marco Square, Venice...bin there
Eiffel tower...bin there
European Castle...bin there
One thing we were keen on doing was going to see a show of some kind, Circ de sole had 4 different shows playing while we were there so we just went to the one at the MGM grand that had the most amount of live fireballs (easily the best thing we did on the strip).
Lion statue outside the MGM grand, and New York skyline (bin there) hotel in the background
Our hotel, the stratosphere, was not exactly the flashest hotel on the strip. It’s better than the back of our van but was nowhere as slick as some of the other places we could have splashed out on. And the size of these places, they’re massive. With football field size gaming lounges as you enter and just the weirdest standing attractions on the inside, flamingos in the Flamingo, lions in the MGM grand, a canal running through the Venetian, Half hourly circus acts at Cricus Circus, A weird zen garden by the reception at the Bellagio and Rollercoaster rides on the top of our hotel and through the NYC skyline hotel.
Glass flowers in the Bellagio
The sad looking flamingos at the Flamingo
If you haven’t already guessed we weren’t big fans of the things on offer in Las Vegas, the fake polystyrene nature of the strip just put us off and we just couldn’t get ourselves into the gambling scene. We tried, even went to a craps lesson but the games and the odds just don’t make any sense, and the cheapest bye-in for a poker game I could find was $250 (do you know how many nights of ‘accommodation’ we could get a Wal-Mart for that). After three days and two nights on the strip we gave up trying to fit in and found another drive-in movie theatre instead.
Rachel just not able to give up her money to the slot machine monster
We ended up spending more money in the kids area on air hockey and dancing games.
So Las Vegas, we were so super excited about going there but it kinda bombed for us. If you’re on a budget that requires you to sleep in a van outside supermarkets every other night then maybe it wont be too great for you either.