Friday, December 9, 2011

A canyon of grandness and a final day in to the cold cold north!!

Another day and another little adventure.

At 6am this morning I was picked up outside the hotel and after a few stops to pick up other people. We were driven out towards the Grand Canyon. We stopped for breakfast on the way, but we still arrived at the west rim of the canyon by 10am.

I was surprised a little at how commercialised it is, with gift shops, helicopters and a real runway for tourist planes to take off for a look at the canyon from the air. But none of that mattered as we caught our first glimpse of the amazing sight. We were off the bus quickly and I ignored the tour guide, who started to tell us about cactus' and loads of shite that we didn't want to hear. I was the first of our group to make my way onto the Skywalk – a glass floored walkway over 4000ft above the canyon itself. I avoided the photographers and stood watching and taking in the view as people lay down, played dead and pretended to fly all to get a tacky photo of their 'walk in the air'. Obviously cameras aren't allowed onto the skywalk, so if you want a pic, you have to pay. But I was still the last to leave the walk – 1st on and last off – I was only there for 30 minutes – Why do people pay good money and then not take advantage and see the most that they can~!?

Crows at the Canyon

Great views

At the Hoover dam

Panorama of the canyon

It was always...

...going to get jumped

After the skywalk and look around Eagle point, it was a short bus ride to Guano Point, where natural ridge allows you to walk out and up a small rocky outcrop, to get a 360 degree view of the canyon. It is just spectacular. I spent a good hour just stood taking it all in and getting lots and lots of photos. Once again I couldn't believe that people turned up,took 2 pictures an got back onto the bus – because it was cold. Are people mental!!? I had fun feeding the massive crows that live near the cafe and watched as the tourist helicopters flew hundreds if not thousands of feet below us. Its an amazing place.

Finally it was time to go, but on the way home we had another stop – this time to see a great view of the Hoover dam, from the new bridge that was built to cure traffic problems. I had a great day out – apart from the annoying tour guide who kept calling us all 'Kids', and talked far too much about herself – She claims to be a Bette Midler impersonator – whoopy fooking do!! She should try doing an impression of a tour guide and not a mother!

Back in Vegas, I had a bit of dinner in town and then back at the hotel where I did a bit of gambling on a great 'Batman', slot machine – I put in about $17 and took out $55 – I know its not a massive win, but it meant that my dinner, beers and shopping were all paid for and I had a good hour playing the game and winning while the bloke next to me lost about what I won!

A quiet day followed the Grand Canyon day out. A good lie in and then into town to get tickets for the show tonight. The dice threw a 5 which meant that I was going to see Circe de Soleil – Mystere.
But before that I had lunch, a couple of beers and watched a terrible Man United game Vs Basle, in the Champions league in a sports bar I found in The Miracle Mile shops. I was lucky enough to be sat next to another Man United fan – Chris from Sheffield, who shared a good chat and a couple of beers as we watched United lose.

No, I have no idea why!

Before the show

Top of the Stratosphere

I went back to the hotel, sorted out my shuttle for the airport on Friday and after getting changed, I went down to Treasure Island to see Mystere – Well, I don't know what to say about it. I have never been to a circus, so haven't seen anything like it before. Some of the costumes were really weird and there was no story to mention, but the show itself was brilliant. From the clown at the beginning stealing popcorn from the audience and 'showing' people to the wrong seats, though the little baby who ended up being a brilliant acrobat and the brilliant trapeze artists and strongmen – it was an amazing show. There was so much going on that you could watch it two or three times and still not see it all. After a few days in Vegas, having seen this and The blue man show, I have probably been a bit spoiled, but I am now a fan of these type of shows and want to see more!!

After such a good night out I topped it off with a visit to the top of the Stratosphere tower, where I watched people riding the crazy ride that teeters them over the edge of the tower (The ride itself isn't that crazy, but at $16 a go – now that is crazy!!) It was a bit of fun and I got talking to a couple of cowboys as we watched some other people throw themselves off the tower on the free fall ride and drop for 17 seconds to the ground below.

My last day in Vegas was a lazy one. I have walked up and down the 4 mile long strip all week and took it really easy today. A good lie in till lunchtime and then a beer and a pizza in the afternoon, whilst I packed my gear was followed by a last night down the strip. I walked down there stopping on the way at Circus Circus, where they have free circus acts performing every half hour. I saw a russian couple who did illusions (changing clothes quickly) and a trapeze troupe from Argentina. They were pretty good, but none of it was up to the class of the Cirque from last night. But for a free show it was pretty good fun and for the families with kids that were watching, it was especially good -the kids loved it all.

I had to see the Volcano at Mirage and of course the Bellagio fountains one last time. They are my favourite free things in Vegas and both brilliant. So I watched them both before making my way back to the hotel on the bus. The bus was great fun as I sat next to an American woman who had lived in Dublin and knew all about United as soon as I mentioned Manchester. We also laughed about an old geezer on the bus, who had his shoes off and his feet on a seat in front of him and refused to move to let anyone sit down. One guy even had to climb over him to get a seat. I got some picture's of it for laugh. The nice couple got off one stop before me and promised to look at my blog – So Hello to you, it was nice meeting you on the bus, I hope you enjoy Vegas!!!!
Russian illusionists

Argentinian trapeze artists

More of the Volcano

and some more

Final look at Bellagio


Dude climbing over the old knobber on the bus

So what do I think of Vegas – It has been completely different that I imagined it would be. The strip itself, especially at night is just like Blackpool -all lights and a few drunk people – But the sheer amount of things to do and see is just amazing -from the free fountains and light shows, to the expensive shows that give Vegas it reputation as entertainment capital of the world. But a little like LA and Hollywood last week, it doesnt take itself too seriously. I expected to feel a little out of place and surrounded by rich gamblers who spend thousands a night. There are the few hawkers on the street that get in your way – especially the people who try to give away flyers for hookers and tap their cards loudly as you walk past – I want to get their cards and stuff them down their throats, but apart from them there are families, friends and normal people everywhere having a good time, spending far too much money and eating far too much food. It is a place where you can do whatever you like – gamble, drink, sleep, eat., visit a stripshow or go to any number of theatres shows. Or you can just sit and watch as everyone and their strange cousins pass you by. I like it, but when I come back I would like to do so with someone else. Thats the only downpoint for me. Its not really somewhere that you should do on your own, but I still had a good time and will come back.

I leave early tomorrow morning and head to Canada. Im going to Winnipeg, where it is cold. Fucking really cold. Im off to visit Buffy, see where she lives and spend 10 days mellowing out at her place before the travelling continues – Because on Dec 20th, Ill be landing in New York.

Nearly time for a haircut!

Remember there are loads (and I mean loads) more photos and videos at picasa and youtube -


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