What Happens in Vegas…
Not what you would expect, actually.
We had four drinks each in total, did not gamble a cent and didn’t visit a strip club – though we had many tap-tap offers. There are no embarrassing photos, no tattoos and no weddings. Perhaps a less-than-traditional visit to Vegas, but we still had a great time!
Arrival was early Saturday and after checking into Wyndham (thanks Phill!) we headed back into town and met up with Craig and Nicole at MGM Signature. Following this we had rapidly booked a show, canyon tour and were wandering north up the Strip. Casino saturation by the time we reached the Wynn, and cured by jumping in a taxi for some shopping at the outlets. Amazingly (or perhaps not) it looked just like the Gold Coast Harbour Town. On the way home we rewarded ourselves with some delicious sushi from our local shop, Sushi 21. Australians could learn a lot about how to prepare and serve sushi from the Las Vegas Asian community! There are apparently 400+ sushi joints, so competition is tough. Our obliging chef made us an “Aussie special” with lots of seafood. We’re drooling just thinking about it…
The night’s entertainment began with a rushed tapas dinner at Sea Blue (MGM). The streets had filled up in the evening and MGM was full after a boxing match, making rapid progress impossible. Of note at Sea Blue was the massive wine list with its equally massive prices: it must have been 20 pages with prices from $60-4,000 …we had a beer. The rush was to get to the Bellagio to see O – by Cirque du Soleil. Turns out the show is a Vegas special due to the waterworks required to pull it off – think of mixing half an Olympic pool, 20m dive platform, zip lines and hydraulic booms with 50 odd performers. Oh and the pool floor rises and falls and has scuba divers! Unfortunately it only shows in Vegas, but if you are there, do it! Also remarkable is the quality of the performances, they must recruit ex gymnasts and divers as there was only one mistake noticed and the splashes were 10-point material, eat your heart out Chinese girls.
We avoided the bars as we needed to get up at 5:30 to be ready for our Grand Canyon tour. It was quite an epic adventure: we took 2 airplane flights, 2 helicopter flights, 1 dinghy ride, 7 bus rides and a short hike, and amazingly it felt like we were sitting around for hours waiting for stuff to happen! With that off the chest, the overriding memory is: awesome! Three of us were helicopter virgins so it was super-exciting as we dropped into the canyon: the feeling was sensational! It’s surreal to be so relatively quiet, maneuverable and resilient to the gusty winds.
The first helicopter ride was to the Canyon floor, where we walked down to the Colorado River. The River moves fast, which is not the impression you get a mile up on the Canyon rim. The boat ride was a bit tacky, but it led to the ride out: it was a great feeling to soar out of the depths. Following the heli rides we (literally) paid tribute to the local Indians out on the glass-bottomed Sky Walk and had a photo shoot with the eager guy hired to snap the cotton-bootied tourists (turns out you need to wear booties to protect the glass). Two foods for thought grow from the following observation, the walk has a 70 tonne capacity yet only 120 people are allowed at once. And yet, the restriction was 12 people on our turn… litigation or obesity, we ponder?
Following a brief siesta, we went in search of dinner. A TV show had recommended the buffet at the Bellagio: brilliant! We got to eat trays of frenched lamb cutlets, crab legs, kobe steak, duck, rabbit, sashimi etc. in the 45 minutes we had left in the session. Great eating after the limited variety, quality and tastes we’ve had to date. Of course, the great grub slowed the energy levels and the agenda (previously more shows and finding a bar) lost its appeal next to our bed at the Wyndham. We did catch the Treasure Island skank show before retiring after missing the Bellagio waterworks and Caesars Atlantis due to wind and rudeness. Turns out Craig and Nicole were just as pooped and bailed half way up to meet us.
Monday morning was designated relaxation time – sleep in and spa! We eventually headed back to the Strip for lunch. After being amazed by the interior of Caesar’s Palace (including the ivory carvings and replica Roman fountains), we opted for some comfort food (i.e. noodle soup) at Beijing No. 9 – like everything in Caesar’s Palace, we spent half the time gawking at the surroundings. We followed it up by buying the obligatory T-shirts and replica drinking glass, then it was on the plane and back to reality (*sigh*)
The verdict on Vegas: worth a visit. We’ll definitely be back.