Las Vegas

by Melita Tue, December 14 2010 08:52

Las Vegas is a town on steroids! It overloads the senses and overwhelms the mind. I have to say that the first night we went out on ‘the strip’, I was stunned. It seems every possible light is lit, every possible surface covered with advertising and every possible vice can be exercised. If I gambled, I’d probably be in thrall. If I gambled and smoked, I’d be a very happy person. If I was a male with other proclivities, I’d be in heaven.

After the almost deserted Zion national park and the quiet town of Springdale, coming to Las Vegas was a huge shock. Cameron thankfully drove into our hotel, but while he went into Excalibur to register, the cars zooming past and the excessive number of people coming and going just in the atrium started getting me stressed.

After getting settled in to our room, we decided to take a short stroll down the strip to see some lights. Our ‘short stroll’ took us several hours, as we walked from Excalibur, past New York New York, and down to the Bellagio, then back again. We saw the Mirage volcano erupting and walked through the very impressive Christmas display in the Bellagio (missed the fountains). We limped home with very sore feet hours later and crashed into bed.

The next day we decided to get ourselves the all-you-can-eat-all-day pass. This worked well as Zane was once again free (actually free for under 4). The food was fresh and mountainous. With our arm bands attached, we could come and go all day and eat ourselves into an early grave.

So, full of every imaginable breakfast food (and some you probably shouldn’t imagine as breakfast foods), we headed out to do some serious shopping at the outlet malls. This proved rather difficult with Zane (as to be expected – no 2 ½ year old likes shopping), but we decided to come back separately as there were lots of great shops and very good prices. We did manage to buy up big for Zane at Osh Kosh B’Gosh and Nike ($20 for a pair of joggers for Zane – I can’t even buy joggers at Big W for that price.) I think I’ll have to go back and buy him several pairs in bigger sizes. As he gets bigger, he’ll always have joggers. Super cute clothes at really cheap prices – jeans for $12 and shirts for $6. Back to our hotel for more food and then a nap. Cameron went out shopping and came back loaded up with Van Heusen business shirts for $20 ($45 - $60 at home) and some lovely casual pants and Levi jeans.

We headed out to see some more of the sights. We were going to catch the bus to see the Fremont Street Experience, but the bus was so slow, we ended up getting off and catching one back to Bellagio, where we saw the 9pm fountains and once again limped home for a VERY late dinner and bedtime.

Next day we found a Denny’s for breakfast before packing up our things and packing the car. Cameron took Zane to the Midway (games section of the hotel) and over to the MGM Grand (across the road) where they saw some lions (real ones) playing with balls. Cameron was disappointed there was no mauling of trainers – I think he was hoping to make some money on You Tube.

Meanwhile, I was working out the credit cards in the outlet centre. I admit I went a little crazy. I started in Van Heusen also (which, to my knowledge we can not get the ladies clothes in Oz). I love their clothes. A really nice make and fit, I bought 2x sweaters, 4x blouses, sunglasses, socks, jewellery and a denim jacket all at incredible prices. Most of the shirts cost me $22 and the denim jacket that was originally priced at $80, I got for $17. Now that’s my price! I also visited a Dress Barn and bought a beautiful party dress for $70 and a beautiful suit coat (incredibly well made and a lovely colour and cut) for $60. I could have shopped for hours, but was aware that we had to travel and I had to rescue Cameron. I’m hoping there will be more outlets as we travel as I have to still get a few things.

Back to pick up Cameron and Zane, and a quick visit to M&M world (a disappointment – 4 floors of overpriced merchandise and chocolate – I can buy cheaper M&M’s at the grocery stores) and then we waved farewell to Las Vegas and headed towards Barstow. We ended up stopping at Barstow and having food and a play at McDonalds before continuing on to Palmdale (nowhere of interest – just closer to the coast) to save ourselves another 1 ½ hours driving the next day.

I’m glad I’ve seen Las Vegas. It was mad and incredible and weird and fantastic! But I don’t think I will ever go back again. I found the casinos really smelly and smoky. As a non-smoker, this was a real turn-off. I hated having to go through the smoke-hazed pokies-filled halls to get to anything (and especially to get to the buffet). I found the excessive grandeur and sheer opulence a little bit offensive. While nothing was tacky, it still grated a little. I loved that things were themed – the Excalibur hotel and Circus Circus all had incredible foyers and decorations and little touches in every room that followed the themes.  I hated that every time we passed the service desk, we were hassled to buy time-share apartments.  Overall, a very mixed feeling about this visit, I can’t say I was sorry to leave.

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USA