I’ve always had a great love for the states, ever since my first visit to Disney World, Florida in 1997 it’s been my choice of holiday destination. So in August this year, me and my best friend Megan set out on our Stateside adventure!
Travelling takes months of planning, with so much to consider from timescales to accommodation, the majority of our trip I booked prior to leaving the UK, however a section I left in the hope that we could just make it up as we went along.
We boarded our flight to Las Vegas, Nevada on the 10th August 2013. This was the longest and most painful flight I have ever had the misfortune of sitting through. After 7 hours of severe sickness we finally touched down in Chicago, only to board a further 4 hour flight to Vegas, saying this was not ideal is an understatement. We finally landed in Vegas on the evening (local time) of the 10th. Jetlagged and feeling still quiet ill we decided to call it a night and hit the sack ready for a jam packed day of adventure tomorrow!
From this point on I documented my travels, a daily diary entrance helped me keep track of my experiences, I’ll share these with you if you promise you won’t laugh.
11th August 2013.
WE HAVE ARRIVED BABY, touchdown in Sin City! Last night was dire but hey hoe, I’ve finally picked myself up, no time for illness in Vegas. We did some great exploring today, I think I’ve done more exercise in 1 day than I did in the entire month of July. The hotels are colossal with each one consisting of its own underground shopping mall, eateries and of course Casino!
The diversity in Vegas is inimitable; an aura of elegance intertwined with the seemingly corrupt, seedy casino goers makes Vegas a city like no other. Vegas buzzes, it’s alive with both the mirage and the real portraying the city itself as the lead character in its very own show.
Today, we’ve had chance to study our hotel, the Tropicana is one of the longest reining hotels on the Vegas strip and is situated directly opposite the MGM Grand, New York New York and Hooters. Well, it’d be rude not to pop into Hooters for tea being so close and all wouldn’t it? I’m sure this makes many the male reader envious :P.. but I suppose if I had a backside like that I’d be parading it around a restaurant as well. Although not the nicest meal I’ve had, it did provide as promised, a typical American dining experience. On hindsight, I wouldn’t of ordered a salad, salads should be given a wide birth until dining in Los Angeles.
12th August 2013.
Feeling a little like Katy Perry again today ‘waking up in Vegas’, a little achy after a nonstop day of wandering on foot we decided to take the bus tour today and head down to old Vegas, Freemont.
The sightseeing bus is such a great way to see the city! With local tour guides you really do get to share their wealth of knowledge and immerse yourself in their bizarre stories!
Personally my favourite useless fact, potentially of the entire trip, came today: In the 1950’s the showgirls, residing in Downtown Vegas, were informed by their management that they would be fined $50 if they had visible tan marks for the Vegas shows. An unavoidable feat due to the skimpy garments they paraded in. The girls decided there was no alternative than to sunbathe starkers. Word soon hit the streets that the stars of the Vegas strip were revealing their bodies for the world to see so naturally, peeping toms flocked in there 100’s to spy. The girls protested ‘ how is it fair that our personal space is invaded in such a way’. They put together a campaign and fought for a large cement wall to be erected around their living quarters. Less than a year later the girls won their battle and the wall was built, to this day the wall still remains!
Freemont was, by far, my favourite part of Vegas. The cute little wedding chapels line the streets, we even managed to catch a glimpse of a few ceremonies taking place! After another full day we headed to Freemont to unwind with a cocktail or 3, Magarita’s are as cheap as $0.99 in the district making it Vegas town for the locals. Freemont puts on an epic street show. A light show runs from one end of the street to the other, every hour the ceiling comes to life. Queen blared out as we stood absorbing the atmosphere, simply amazing!
13th August 2013.
Our Vegas adventure came to an end too soon! As we woke on our final morning in Sin City, we solemnly packed up and checked out. Our final morning in the city and we were still to see the iconic ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign.
Unless fact: did you know the creator of the sign, Betty Willis, never patented her sign, leaving it free to be replicated and printed on a whole matter of products & memorabilia without a cent in royalties being issued to Betty. Bad luck ey?
A monorail operates from Excalibur to Mandalay Bay which from there is around a 10 minute casual walk to the sign. We got there just in the nick of time! The queue was quiet short when we arrived at around 10am (it appears Vegas goers don’t rise until noon), we were able to get some fantastic photographs and spend some time posing without getting any evil looks.
My top tips for Vegas:
1. Don’t underestimate the temperature, 40 degrees is always going to be boiling but teamed with the sheer fact that Vegas is situated mid desert makes it feel a million times hotter. Pack bikini’s but remember those comfortable converse (no one wants blisters in heat).
2. Freemont is well worth the trip. A short taxi drive away, you really get the raw authentic down town vibe when in the vicinity. Some of the best resturants can also be found in Freemont. I’d even go as far to say I had one of the best pizza eating experiences here.
3. Tip your waitress. If you fancy a gamble in the Casino’s then the drinks are ‘on the house’. The American’s are big on tipping, so tip good the first time and she’s sure to come back!
4. The hop on hop off City bus is a great way to see the city. With comical tour guides you really get an insight, and a local take on the strip and downtown Vegas. Haggle with the price of a ticket though.