Viva Las Vegas

And so to the final stop on our West Coast tour, and the end of the annoying daily posts about how great my life is right now.  This holiday has been two years in the planning (and paying for) and it has certainly exceeded all expectations.

Vegas is amazing, in all possible ways.  It’s not my favorite place but it does have charms all of its very own and I think I’ve developed a soft spot for it.  I’m pleased we chose to stay at the Vdara, which is one of the few hotels that is casino-free, which means it’s a lovely quiet relief to return here at the end of the day and not have to wade through acres of gamblers on our way to bed.  We have a room on the 48th floor which overlooks a lot of the strip including the Bellagio Fountains but we’re high enough up to not be able to hear anything that’s going on down there.  The view is amazing, day or night, and you can see to the mountains in the far distance.  We have been waving to the helicopters flying past our windows.  I was also far too excited about the electric blinds and I can’t stop myself moving them up or down at any given opportunity.  Best thing about this room though, in my opinion, is the bathtub.  I haven’t mentioned it in a while, as after two years I am sadly resigned to the fact that Americans just don’t do proper baths.  Usually an American bath is no more than about six inches deep and really, what good is that to anyone?  For our stay in Vegas, however, we have a proper bath-sized bath that I can have a good old soak in.  I have had to build bathing time into my daily schedule and even bought some celebratory bath bombs from Lush for the purpose.

When I have been able to drag myself away from the bath, however, I have been out and about, enjoying the craziness this city has to offer.  You can walk huge lengths of the Strip without your feet ever touching the ground outside.  This is because a lot of the hotels are interconnected (and when I say “hotels” I mean miniature cities in their own right) and when you do have to leave a hotel complex you can generally reach the next one by taking a covered escalator, a tram or a gondola to the next one.  Considering that it’s over 40c out there at the moment, this is actually not such a crazy idea.  The thing does that irritate and amaze me in equal measures is that it’s virtually impossible to leave one’s own hotel directly by a front door.  This morning it took me fifteen minutes to get from my room to the pavement on the actual street outside.  I only had to walk through one casino to get there though, which is some achievement.

Our main entertainment here has been simply walking through the hotels and witnessing the madness contained therein.  We have seen dancing fountains, an exploding volcano, the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, Egyptian Pyramids, and lots of other things that we no longer even bat an eyelid at.  Many of the hotels contain shopping malls which are bigger than our actual local shopping mall.  Several times we have had to stop and ask each other which hotel we’re standing in because we’ve been wandering around for so long that we’ve forgotten.

One morning we found ourselves transported by the magic of Vegas to the canals of Venice where we were serenaded by a gondolier.  Despite being inside a shopping mall at the time, we gazed up at the clouds in the blue sky and waved to the people who stood on the bridges above us.

We couldn’t do Vegas without seeing some over-the-top spectacular shows, and again these did not disappoint.   There is such a huge choice of entertainment that you could see a different show every night for a month or more, if you could afford it.  We saw Criss Angel: Believe, which I think has everything you could want from a Vegas show: lots of lights and loud music and sparkle, spectacular illusions and an audience gasping in wonder at the whole thing.  My favourite part was when he disappeared from the middle of the stage and reappeared seconds later in a seat in the middle of the audience.  I would love to have been sitting in the seat behind him to see exactly how he got there.

Our other choice of show embodied the fun and silly side of Vegas as we went to see Rock of Ages again.  It’s certainly not the most skilled of musicals but it is a fabulous night out.  Thanks to the finale, when we got home we found our underwear was completely full of glitter.  And that pretty much sums up Vegas.

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