Archive for the ‘Las Vegas’ Category

Days 75-79 – 11 July – Five days in Las Vegas

July 25, 2010 6pm in 2010 trip,Las Vegas,Travel | Comments (0)

There’s heaps more photos in the same facebook album as the previous post.

Wed 7 Jul

We got up just before breakfast finished in the Good Nite Inn in Buena Park, and encountered the worst breakfast in the history of breakfasts – all there was was donuts which were stale, and coffee which was empty. No cereal or milk or anything else like that. Yuck! We ended up going to McDonalds across the road for breakfast instead.

After a detour of a couple of hours at a mall full of outlet stores where I bought two shirts, a new wallet and a belt, we were off on our four and a half hour drive to Las Vegas. The drive was quite uneventful, no traffic or anything.

We checked into Ballys Hotel and Casino, which didn’t sound very flash, but it was! It’s joined to the Paris Hotel and Casino, which has a big replica of the Eiffel Tower out the front, and is on the corner diagonally opposite Caesar’s Palace (seen on The Hangover and on Friends) and directly across from the Bellagio where they have amazing water fountain displays. On the other corner is the more quaint “Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall”.

The line to check in was really long, we must have waited 40 minutes or so to check in. But when we went up to our room on the 19th floor, we were really surprised how nice it was for £55 per night. We had a great view, and it was nicely air-conditioned – well it needed to be, outside was 40 degrees and when you went near the window you could feel the intense heat from outside.

There was no internet surprisingly, there were a couple of third-party wireless internet providers, and I stupidly paid $9.99USD to one of them to use their internet for 24 hours. However, I used the internet for 90 minutes, then went to bed, and in the morning, it wouldn’t let me use the internet anymore – it redirected me to the payment screen again, even though by my calculations I still had over 12 hours left. Grr – I’d paid $9.99USD for 90 minutes of internet and some potentially dodgy company now has my credit card details. There was no phone number to call and no address to write to. The only consolation was that internet cafes in Las Vegas seem to charge around $12 per hour. Looks like it’s going to be four days without internet. I’m so annoyed about this rip-off wireless internet that I’m considering writing a separate blog post just on that to name and shame them! Boo Guest Internet Services, you’re a rip off!

We went out and got huge drinks each for $17 knowing we could refill them for $13. No way did we need a refill, they were so massive! We also did a bit of gambling. Hannah turned $10 into $45 on the money wheel, and I turned $10 into $0.

Big drinks from Evening Call

Thu 8 Jul

We went out for a walk down “The Strip” (Las Vegas Boulevard) to see all the sights. It was another 40 degree day, which made for tough going, but we braved it. There’s smaller replicas here of the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, and the Sphinx, which are cool, along with countless huge hotels and grand buildings.

Our ultimate destination was a hotel called Mandalay Bay located right at the end of The Strip, because The Lion King is playing there and we wanted to see how much it cost to go. We ended up buying two tickets for Saturday, but right in the very back row since they were the cheapest! At least they’re in the centre. Hopefully it will be good because I saw The Lion King the cartoon about 25 times when I was young and it came out (I think it was around 1996).

We got back after a couple of hours and tried out the Ballys pool, it was great and such a welcome relief from the heat. It was the first time in a very long time, possibly since school, that I’d been in a pool where I couldn’t reach the bottom and I had to try and remember how to swim!

Later on, we had the news on in our hotel room, and we heard that President Obama was in Las Vegas and was staying at Caesar’s Palace. Wait, we thought, that’s right across the road. Sure enough, we looked out the window and all the traffic had been stopped for his arrival. We waited at the window for 20 minutes, and the traffic was still stopped, but we saw no sign of the President, so we got bored and went back to what we were doing.

We went and refilled our massive drinks from last night for $13, and went and did some more gambling. Hannah had no luck with the Money Wheel tonight, and I didn’t do much better, but we both had a bit of luck on the pokies – Hannah turned a few dollars into $54.84 and I turned $9 into $18.14.


Fri 9 Jul

This morning we woke up, looked out the window, and saw that all the roads were eerily deserted – there wasn’t a single car to be seen anywhere as far as the eye could see. The news had said that the President was due at a speech at 9:20am, and it was now 8:40am, so we figured this was his doing.

Hannah and I had decided to have buffet breakfast which was across the road at The Flamingo Casino next to Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall, but when we went down at 9:00am to the street level there were police there that wouldn’t let us cross the road. We thought this was a bit weird because people were crossing across at the other two crossings we could see. So we talked to some people briefly who were also trying to cross about the President’s arrival yesterday, and then shortly after a huge motorcade of police came around the corner, followed by President Obama himself and he drove right by us. It was very cool! We couldn’t actually see him because his car was tinted, but it was obvious which car he was in. We felt very special to be that close to the President purely by chance.

We then got to the breakfast buffet at The Flamingo. It was $14.99 plus tax and it wasn’t too bad, although I’d been looking forward to scrambled eggs for ages but I didn’t like the ones they had there so that was disappointing. They made up for it though with a massive selection of desserts, there must have been 20 or so cakes, a chocolate fountain with fruits and marshmallows, and a build-your-own sundae bar. Yum! Although being breakfast, I was disappointed with the small amount I could actually eat. And when we asked the waitress for another drink, she snapped at us saying something like we should have ordered our drink before they seated us, which was impossible since we didn’t know what we wanted then! She didn’t care about that though, and it scared Hannah off ordering a hot chocolate.

We both needed our hair cut and coloured, so we went for a drive north of the tourist area, and set the sat-nav to try and find hair salons. All the ones it found were either in really dodgy parts of towns, or all the writing wasn’t in english, or it only had old people in there getting their rollers re-done, or it cost way too much, so we thought the only other chance we have was at the outlet centre that we saw near the airport, so we went there.

Paul Mitchell the hairdressers were having a sale in the outlet centre which was great, I got my hair cut and also got bleached highlights for $45USD, and Hannah got her hair coloured a really great light shade of brown. We had lunch at Auntie Anne’s (they have the best pretzels there with cheese dips and nice drinks).

On the way back to the hotel, we looked at the car’s dashboard, and it said it was 44 degrees (111 degrees farenheit). And I’d believe it too! Hannah was talking on the phone outside the outlet centre and I was going to wait with her but it was so uncomfortably hot that I had to go back into the air-conditioned shops.

44 degrees - nice and hot

Tonight our gambling didn’t go well, Hannah and I both lost $10 on the Money Wheel, and even though I won $10 from $1 on the very first spin, nothing more came of it. Although we had a good night at “The Tequila Bar” with $1 margeritas and $2 beers, and a $5 serving of tortilla chips and cheese which had so much cheese dip I couldn’t eat it all.

Sat 10 Jul

We slept in late today, until 11:30am! Then it was off to the pool for a while. But for the first time since we’d been here, we saw clouds, and were soon clouded over. So we went off early to Mandalay Bay hotel where the Lion King was showing. We got there at aboue 3:00pm for a 4:00pm showing, so we filled in some time gambling. On the Deal or no Deal game, I got a high offer of $9.34 on a $3 game, but I turned it down, and ended up winning the lowest box there which was $0.01. I still have the $0.01 cashout ticket as a souvenir.

The Lion King performance was great, despite being second row from the back we were right in the centre and we had no people either side of us, and it wasn’t that hard to see the stage, I thought it would have been worse. The people behind us talked a bit and texted on their phones a bit, but it wasn’t too annoying.

Afterwards we went to another outlet centre for more shops, I bought a polo shirt from Ecko. Then we had Mc-Donalds. I learned an interesting fact in Mc-Donalds – they don’t have McChickens in Nevada, only in California and other states.

Then we went gambling at Ellis Island Casino, we chose that one because the minimum bet on Roulette was $4 instead of $10 at the bigger casinos and so Hannah could learn how to play. She didn’t have any luck though, only winning one outside bet (red/black, odd/even, etc) out of six. I did better, I turned $40 into $67.50 on blackjack and then $30 of that into $85 on roulette – really the first time I’ve won anything decent all week. Although the last spin on roulette I put $3 on “double zero”, and the spin brought up the regular zero – if I’d put my money on the other zero, I would’ve won $105 just from that spin. I say bring back European Roulette which only has one zero.

Sun 11 Jul

Sadly it was time to check out of Ballys Las Vegas today, after checking out we went back to the pool and I ended up staying there for two and a half hours, and now I have radioactive legs. Oops.

Then it took us nearly 6 hours to drive back to Los Angeles because of the traffic, it seemed that half of Vegas heads back to California on a Sunday afternoon. Although we also stopped for KFC in Victorville.

Hannah said in the first day of Vegas that she could stay here for a year just chilling out, but today she changed her mind and said that we need to get back to reality sometime, and I agree. Besides, Vegas would get too expensive gambling every day! I’ll miss the pool though, although it sounds like London is having hot weather which is almost as good.

The sat-nav was having trouble, perhaps it was the heat or something, or the fact that LA just has so many roads, but it stalled twice, and reset itself three times, and once wouldn’t turn back on. Luckily though, during the periods that it was misbehaving, we didn’t miss any exits or turns, and we managed to check into Econolodge in Garden Grove. After removing the existing resident from the room (a bee), we settled in. And they have free internet! Which only works sometimes, from one particular point in the room. But better than nothing.