After a 6-hour drive from Phoenix, we arrived at the Grand Canyon just before sunset on Friday evening, allowing us to quickly unpack before finding a terrace to get a spectacular view of the sun setting beyond the canyon. Once again, photos fail to do any justice to the sights, as much as we tried to get the perfect shot. We weren't at the Grand Canyon for long, having both visited on previous visits to the States, but we did get chance to do a couple of small walks on the Saturday morning, affording some further great views, before heading to our final destination: Las Vegas.
Kirsty and I differ greatly on our feelings towards Vegas. My intention for being here was solely to see magicians Penn and Teller - who, by the way, were awesome and also hung out in the lobby directly after the show for a chance to meet them and get some photo opportunities. Kirsty's aim in life is to get rich gambling, which kind of means that Las Vegas is like a heaven for her! For me, it's a too busy, too commercial, too disorientating place full of obese slot jockeys experiencing little sunlight. Visiting the themed hotels remains fun, I admit, and highlights such as the Bellagio fountains will never grow old. But to say I'm now sick of the sights of slot machines and poker tables would be an understatement! The city seems to be a competition of who can be the brightest and the loudest, and the rooms and billboards and machines all lit up like a Guy Fawkes pose a strong irony to the notice in our room's bathroom that, by reusing towels instead of washing them daily, the hotel is committed to saving energy!! And just like last time I was here, it continues to frustrate me how difficult it is to get out of each place. The only EXIT signs are actually just feet away from the exit, meaning that by the time you've found an exit sign, you've actually found the damn exit anyway and it's useless.
What was nice, however, was to see two bits of Vegas that I didn't experience on my last visit: firstly, we visited Fremont Street, aka "Old Vegas". It's in a somewhat sketchy part of the city, but there has clearly been a lot of renovations done there recently, and a highlight was a giant curved ceiling covering a large stretch of the street that served as a giant screen. We also encountered a band called Nevermind, who did some great covers of 90s tunes and made up our fourth bit of live music during this trip. Apart from that there was the usual mix of street magicians, people in costumes, living statues, and all the other idiots you get trying to make a dollar or two in tourist areas.
Second on the "new" list was going up the Stratosphere, where we had our last meal of the trip over 800ft high in a revolving room that afforded great views of the strip and other parts of Vegas. This was excellent and a real highlight of the trip. Also on top of the building are three rides, two of which hang you over the edge of an 800ft drop, and the opportunity to 'SkyJump' off the building. The rides aren't cheap (the SkyJump costs about $110!) so I could pretend the reason we did not do them was because of cost - but in reality even a huge rollercoaster fan like me doesn't relish the idea of a piece of metal holding me over that big a drop!
And so concludes our trip. With the possible exceptions of the Toga Party "murder" mystery and, in Vegas, a CSI Experience that I was hoping would be great as a fan of the CSI franchise but which was actually pretty basic, obvious and required no discernible detective skills, it has been an absolutely fantastic trip and worth every penny (or cent). With Kirsty $100 up thanks to BlackJack, I am sure she would agree too! Thanks for following :-)
Grand Canyon posted by Aaron
Las Vegas posted by Aaron