This year for vacation, “him” and I went to Las Vegas! I have been there around 13 years ago, when I didn’t get a chance to enjoy it much, because come on…Vegas is not really children-oriented. But still, it felt familiar and extremely refreshing to visit again. This is our first time traveling this far alone with each other, and I can tell you that the “honeymoon” phase of our relationship is well behind us after this 5 day trip :P (a healthy thing) Anyway, here are some heads up… and here’s to making you all jealous :) Warning: this might be long!
We traveled with WestJet. Wow, this is the worst airline I have ever been on! Small plane, only satellite TV (seriously? obviously there was no signal up in the air), pay-per-view movies, small-butt screen, no free earphones, no free blankets, NO FREE MEALS?!? We were starving and thirsty… and needless to say, we ate a huge meal at our hotel. When we first landed, the heat overwhelmed us the moment we stepped out of the airport. 40 degrees was MUCH warmer than we thought! 3 minutes out in the day time and we were already desperate to get inside. It was unbearable heat. We had just missed the threshold of getting on the first shuttle bus so we had to wait for the next one. The shuttle dropped us off near the lobby of our hotel, Planet Hollywood. Our room was only on the 8th floor… not much of a view, and the TV was not working! Still, it is a lovely and comfortable room, with a very spacious bathroom. The location of the hotel is close to center strip and close to the more classic hotels. Location is crucial because it spared us from a lot of walking!
On our first day, we signed up for a Grand Canyon tour. (FYI: always ask if there is a discount available. This city is purely dependent on tourism. They have many ways of giving you what you want) We started exploring our hotel and the mall. It took us quite some time to realize that the lobby entrance was one floor below the main street. We had to shamefully ask how to get onto the Vegas Blvd! Once outside, we explored the hotels nearby and slowly made our way to the Wynn hotel at the end of the strip to make it to our first show. We first died in the heat, and then we died of fatigue. Walking in 40 degrees takes a lot of energy! We wanted to walk fast, but the weather dragged us down. By the time we tunneled through all the casinos on the way, our feet fell off. We watched “Le Reve”, which is an acrobatic/water show with a love-story. The theatre was intimate and beautiful and the show was very original. We loved the props and the water-dancing. The only down side was that there was TOO much going on! You look in every corner of the theatre and there are different characters, each doing different things all at once. Overall, we enjoyed it and it was everything we expected and more. By the time the show was over, it would have been almost 3:00 AM Montreal time. We were exhausted and sleepy, making our way back to Planet Hollywood was painful. Not much of a night life on the first day. We’re old and were in need of a good sleep.
On the second day, we woke up early to tour the other side of the strip. The streets were fairly quiet, so we wanted to go inside to play a bit at the casinos. Surprisingly, the casinos were empty too! Where are all the people? I guess they were up partying all night and are busy sleeping in. Nonetheless, it didn’t stop us from playing and it was our lucky day! Free dinner that night! This was also the day that we got to know the city a little more. Many “dealers” on the streets giving out free coupons to clubs, restaurants, shows. For the free shows, we had to be a couple with the same address. But at every block, we would get stopped and asked the same thing. After awhile, we just told them that we were siblings. Lots of people also sell cold water on the streets and there are a fair amount of beggars! They actually jump into the fountains to collect coins. Other than that, we got carded everywhere we went. For buying a drink, for playing the casinos, for even watching the casinos. That evening, we tried Gordon Ramsay’s BURGR restaurant. It looks a lot fancier on television than in reality. We were starving so they tasted quite good, but in the end, it was just a normal burger. The patty was cooked quite good though and I loved how they serve their sweet potato fries with vanilla powder! Interesting mix. At night, we went to see the Bellagio fountain show. We stayed there for quite some time. I loved it! Super romantic and cute how the water dances. Then we headed over to the Mirage to watch their Volcano eruption. We had just missed the show and thought that we would wait 30 minutes maximum, but we ended up waiting for almost 1 hour! My feet were done. After, we were supposed to continue heading down to Treasure Island to watch a pirate show, but we were so fed up of walking and waiting and dealing with the crowd that we just headed back home. We were still jet lagged on the 2nd night so we went to bed early and prepared to wake up for the grand canyon tour the next day.
Bright and early on the third day, we got a wake-up call at 5:10 AM for our tour! Our tour guide/bus driver was really annoying at first because he would not stop talking, and we really wanted to sleep. But after listening for some time, he was super hilarious and wonderful. We visited Hoover Dam first. Nothing too impressive. Then we headed to the Grand Canyon South Rim. It was just breath taking! The moment we arrived, we immediately regretted not doing a helicopter tour. The helicopter tours were only offered in the West Rim, which is a very small part of the canyon, so I’m still glad we saw the bigger picture of it. To get a picture off the cliff, we climbed down some rocks off the main trail. It was dangerous (and I was wearing a dress and flip flops!), but worth it. We also wanted to hike down the canyon, but there was not enough time. It takes a complete day to get down and another whole day to come back up! I would love to do that one day. We returned to Las Vegas at 10:30 pm.
On the forth day, we took it relax. We ate an international buffer lunch at the Aria hotel. We heard the Wynn hotel had one of the best buffets but no way did we want to head back there in the heat! Aria is a very gorgeous hotel and very close by so we spent a lot of time in there. The buffet was average, but it was a fancy set-up and the servings were very well presented. In the afternoon, we did some shopping, bought our souvenirs, and also bought a last minute show. We went for the Cirque-du-Soleil Criss Angel show because it looked very promising. Even if the magic is not good, at least the acrobats will put together something impressive. Before the show, we ate dinner at the MGM grand Forest Cafe. The food wasn’t that good, but the atmosphere is cool. There are moving animals all around the periphery, aquariums in the center, and every half hour, there is a thunderstorm in the restaurant! After dinner, we went to the Luxor hotel for the show. Very ugly hotel on the inside. Anyway, the theatre was grand and spectacular. I bit spooky too I must say, which is what we expected from Criss Angel. However, throughout the entire show, where was the Cirque-du-Soleil crew?!?! It was only Criss Angel and some of his assistance. He did more talking than he did magic. The magic was predictable and nothing we haven’t seen before. Overall, it was quite boring and dull! We were disappointed because we wanted to see one last great show before leaving. So anybody who wants to see a good show in Vegas, do not go for Criss Angel. There are many, many other amazing shows in every hotel, I’m sure (hint hint: Michael Jackson’s ONE). I wish we had more time to watch more!
The fifth and last day was very depressing. We got up, finished packing and checked out. We ate one last time at Planet Hollywood. I bought a lobster grilled cheese sandwich. BEST THING EVER! It was really, really delicious. Anyway, we caught the shuttle to bring us back to the airport, the most depressing ride of our life. And now here we are… Montreal. Woo hoo.
We had a blast. Drank a lot of margaritas, enjoyed the marvels of the streets and hotels and probably ate 3 different meals for free. Yes, it is Sin City, but it is also an eye-opener. It gives us a little taste of what is out there and how it functions. It is interesting if you take it on with an open mind and with discipline. This was a good opportunity to experience and to learn.