Tuesday 15th September – Wednesday 16th September 2015
Day 3 of the Trek America Western BLT tour was one of extremes. We had just left the Grand Canyon, one of the most natural places in the World, and headed to Nevada to Las Vegas, one of the most commercialised places in the World. After playing van DJ for the 3 hour 45 minute drive and getting everyone hooked on Boyce Avenue we stopped off at a supermarket to stock up on essentials. When I say essentials, I mean alcohol, and make-up as I didn’t bring any eye brushes or eye makeup with me.
For the next two nights we stayed on the old Las Vegas strip, Fremont Street, at the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino. The hotel was absolutely huge, and we actually got lost trying to find our rooms! With a Starbucks, numerous shops and restaurants, and a theatre, there wasn’t much else we wanted. Oh, apart from a pool with a water slide going through a shark tank. Yeah, it had that too.
After settling into our rooms we quickly rushed to get ready for what was to be a manic night. We first headed out of the hotel onto Fremont Street to watch the light show. Set to upbeat music, the entire canopy becomes alive with videos in true Las Vegas fashion. We then walked back through the hotel and got on board a Party Bus. A 45 seater party bus with poles, and lights with your new best friends.
Well, it was at this point things got a little messy. The bus stopped at the Vegas sign and Bellagio Fountains before we made our way to a rooftop pool party at Drai’s. With panoramaic views of the Las Vegas strip we danced the night away with incredibly strong drinks in our hand. You might remember me saying there was two groups doing this tour. Both groups mixed during this night and I somehow got talked into heading to Omnia. Somehow Chad, the other group’s leader, managed to get us in for free. After too many vodka and cokes we eventually made our way back to the Golden Nugget. We felt like we had taken on Vegas and won.
Vegas actually won that night, as we all found out the next morning. I’d watched the Hangover films countless times and laughed at how unrealistic they were. Well listing to the stories from that night, those films could be a documentary. Let’s not go into too much detail but just say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Not one of us was fresh-faced and busy tailed and by lunchtime we were all lay by the pool feeling pretty sorry for ourselves. Until we remembered we were in Vegas, and when in Vegas, do as the Americans do. After a long shower we headed back on to the strip, this time completely sober and ready to see the sights. We headed into each hotel amazed by the pure size. Every hotel had a shopping mall inside them and stuck to there theme like glue. We decided we needed to experience a true Las Vegas buffet so headed to the Spice Market at Planet Hollywood. I’ve been to buffet’s, but nothing like this. If you wanted it, they had it. If your drink was half full, they filled it up. We later found out you were limited to 4 hour sittings. Is that all?!
After a while we decided to make the most of our time and grab some tickets to see Cirque De Soleil’s Zarkana at the Aria after a recommendation by our Taxi driver. The main storyline is that a dead circus is brought back to life, but let’s be trueful, you don’t go to see a Cirque show for it’s meaningful plot, you want to see some jaw dropping acts. Can I firstly just point out how amazing our seats were. We got tickets 2 1/2 hours before the show, for 4 of us and paid under $100 each. Well somebody liked us.
Being able to take photographs in a performance was something of a novelty for us, but we were soon snapping away at what our eyes couldn’t quite believe. I’ve seen Cirque shows before when they toured and came to Manchester, but seeing one in Vegas was special. All four of us sat there with our mouths wide open catching flies and our eyes bulging in disbelief. If anyone looked at us we must have looked like demented Goldfish, but they wouldn’t have looked because, well you’re at Cirque! Seeing this show was the perfect way to end my Vegas experience; ridiculously over-the-top and perfect in every way.
In the show I started to feel really ill again, just like I had felt at the Grand Canyon the day before. I decided to head home and leave the rest on the strip so I could get an early night (in bed for 12) and sleep some of it off before our mammoth 9 hour 45 minute drive to Yosemite National Park the next day.