Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The mustang, Fountains, Volcano, Light shows, and drunk Mickey Mouse

I left Hollywood on Saturday morning and picked up my hire car from LAX to drive to Las Vegas. It had turned out that to drive a hire car. With fuel, was only about $10-$20 more expensive than flying, but a lot more fum. Especially as I had booked myself a Ford Mustang Convertible.

I was given a choice of 6 cars – mostly grey Mustangs, but one stuck out – A red one, with a beige roof. I lobbed in my luggage and started the 300 mile drive to Las Vegas. The first couple of hours were Freeway all the way, but the going was easy and soon I left the outskirts of LA and headed out into the Mojave desert. The landscape was amazing, a little reminiscent of the outback in Australia, but not as red. Long open roads, leading as far as the eye can see into the distance and mountains surrounding the open plains.

I stopped at Calico Ghost town on the way, which was a little disappointing. I was expecting a real ghost town – with ramshackle houses and dusty roads leading nowhere. But the old town has been turned into a tourist theme park with cafe and slightly tacky photo opportunities. They really cant advertise a ghost town and then have loads of people trying to get you to buy Calico Ghost town t-shirts! I headed on after a short stop and made my way out into the delolate desert. It was a great drive with fantastic views and a few photo opportunities, including signs for Death Valley and Nevada.

Calico Ghost town

In the desert

It had.....

..to be done!

Where!? Nevada!! and cold!

My morning view in Vegas

New York *(The real one is in 2 weeks!)


Eventually, about 3pm, I rose over the hills and before me lay a walley with the lights of Las Vegas in the distance, so I continued my drive and completed it by driving up through the famous Las Vegas strip, past The Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower and Venetian canals. Its is such a strange and wonderful place, but it does bring a smile to your face. On the first evening, I stayed local, just having a look around the Stratosphere casino and Tower – watching people make a few bets and playing a few slot machines before going up the tower to see the views over the strip.

Early the next morning I was up and out to drop the Mustang back off at the car hire place. It was dropped at the southern end of the strip, so I took the opportunity to visit a few places as I strolled back along the strip itself. First was the Mandalay bay to have a look at the shark reef aquarium, before a quick look around the inside of the Luxor - the pyramid shaped hotel and casino and then lunch in New York New York after a close look at The Statue of Liberty and mini Brooklyn Bridge. Finally for the day I stopped by at the MGM where I saw real live Lions asleep on top of a glass walkway as I and a few others walked underneath. I then bought myself a cut price ticket for The Blue Man Group show for later tonight and also a tour to the Grand Canyon on Tuesday. Its going to be a busy week!

It was a good night.......
I went down to the Strip early, so that I could see some of the free 'shows', that happen every night here. First, was the volcano at 'The Mirage', its a light a nd fire show, played out on a pretend volcano about 15metres high,, where flames and coloured water shoot out of the top of the volcano in full view of the road and everyoine passing by. On a cold night it was even better as the massive flames warmed up everyone who stood around to watch. It was like a series of fountains, but with fire instead and was brilliant – I will definitely be going to watch it again sometime.

Next was 'The Fall of Atlantis', another fountain – inside this time though, that has animatronic statues of Atlas and his son and daughter as they fight over who will take over the throne. It sounds a bit arse, but it was surprisingly good as it mixes sound, water and fire to tell the tale, plus an appearance by a massive dragon at the end as Atlantis is destroyed.

Lastly, I went to the Bellagio to see the famous fountain show. It plays every 15 minutes until about 11pm and as such I expected to see it and wal kaway, but it is just incredible. Without doubt it is captivating. Every show is different, from the music it plays to the atmosphere it creates. Sometimes romantic and slow, other times happy and fast or sad and melancholy – It is just brilliant. I ended up staying for half an hour and watching 3 completely different shows and just as I was leaving a 4th started and I rushed to get a better view and see it again. Its is such an awe inspiring sight – seeing the jets of water propelled 30 or 40 metres into the air, to the background sound of some great music and the loud bangs that you hear as the water is shot skywards. The videos I made just do not do it justice. I would fly back to vegas and happpily do nothing apart from eat, sleep and atch the fountains.

After all the free shows, I was at The Venetian for 10pm, where I went to see 'The Blue Man show'. For nearly 2 hours you sit and watch open mouthed as 3 blokes, with blue heads perform a show of music, comedy and weird and wonderful skits. If you look on their website, it tells you that the show is very hard to describe and it is. One minute they are playing music on drainpipes, then next they are throwing marshmallows across the stage and catching them in their mouths – then they... Im not going to go on. It was excellent – even when one of them stood on my chair and threw a load of paper at me – Its a weird and wonderful show and flew by too quickly. If you ever get a chance to go to one of their shows, then go- you will love it!

So it was a really really great night. The only downpoint was the walk home, when I saw so many people, who had obviously been out all day, drinking and gambling and not seen any of the things I had. I hope they make time while they are here to see some of sights of Vegas and not just get wasted all the time.

Today was a pleasant if unspectacular day. The day consisted of a little bit of shopping and a look around the insides of Paris. Bellagio, O'sheas, Flamingo, Wynn and Encore. Bellagio was the best for me with a beautiful ceiling made of what looks like brightly coloured umbrellas. Flamingo obviously had live flamingos but is looking dated and the others were nice enough to spend a while wandering around.
Bellagios beautiful glass ceiling. 


Later in the evening I headed up to Downtown Vegas to see 'The Fremont Experience'. This is actually a street which has a 460metre (yes 460 metre) long digital video screen as a curved ceiling. It also boasts 550,000 watts of power to play music and sound as the screen displays a show on the hour. It is another example of what can be done with a lot of money and imagination. I watched 2 shows – The 2nd was best - An alien adventure calles Area 51, where aliens attack and are beaten by us! The video is on youtube along with all my videos from last night of the fountains and volcano – just follow the youtube link on the left. You wont be disappointed as the Fremont street experience was brilliant.

It doesnt look like that much!

Fatties eat free!!

460 metres of light show!! ( Videos on you tube!)

Future travel plans!

I headed back to the Hotel and spent a while on the slots in the casino. I had a bit of luck tonight and at one point had more than doubled my money, but I lost it all again pretty soon afterwards. Its only a bit of fun though and so Im not that fussed!

My highlight of the day was undoubtedly when I met Mickey Mouse. I dont know who was inside, but someone had a genuine Mickey costume on and was sat in the street, drinking a beer and quite obviously pissed! He (or she) had a tub in front of them collecting money and I gladly paid $1 to get a photo of Mickey with his beer, sprawled on the pavement. To me it kind of sums up Vegas in one photo. My favourite pic of the day!

Oh yeah, since Im in Vegas , I have also bought myself a dice (die) I have always wanted to travel by throwing a dice and seeing what to do or where to go next and after new years in Niagara Falls, that is what I am going to do....... watch this space.

For more on my inspiration of travelling using a dice look here (http://diceman.co.uk/ )

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!!!! Vegas in one photo!!


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