So, after the disappointment of LA we were hoping Las Vegas would be better.
We had to get up at the ungodly hour of 5am to check out by 6am and then waited 45minutes for the bus to arrive. We had to be in Chinatown by 7:15 so were panicking quite a lot by the time the bus rolled up. We willed the bus to go faster, but it stopped at every bus stop and every intersection for the lights.
I was sweating like mad, wondering what the hell we would do if we missed the bus as this was the only one of the day. We finally got to our stop and practically ran to the meeting place for the bus which was outside a bank of America. There were fair few people already waiting and the bus turned up less than a minute after we got there *wipes brow in relief*. We settled in as it was a 5 hour journey and we were very tired bunnies. We slept most of the way there and awoke to find a very different landscape to the one we had left behind. Desert replaced the tightly packed city, with just the occasional buzzard hovering over the road looking for roadkill. Las Vegas seemed to pop up out of nowhere, one minute flat plains, the next minute the most bizzare, themed buildings leapt out at us. Hotels, shaped like castles, pyramids and a host of other sky scrapng towers loomed above us.
Our bus stopped at a few to unload various passengers before we arrived at our stop.
Meeting the locals
We got off at the Riviera (not our hotel but the closest it was going to get) and was hit by a wave of heat. It was 2:30pm (we lost two hours going from California to Nevada) and as hot as the fires of hell. Thankfully we didnt have too far to go to get to our hotel but we were soaked in sweat by the time we got there. We had booked into the Sahara Hotel, one of the first Hotels built on the Strip. As we approached it we heard a loud whooshing noise, followed by screaming as a roller coaster suddenly rushed past overhead, stopping as it reached a vertical section then roaring backwards to disappear into the foliage again. We also spotted statues of camels and Arabs to complete the 'theme'. We walked through the casino to reach the check in desk, only to be confronted by a massive queue of other guests waiting to check in as well.
We had to wait for over an hour before we reached the front of the queue.
The roller coaster at our hotel
We had booked here as it was offering fantastic midweek deals, we got our hotel room for $40 a night, thats as cheap as 2 hostel beds! When we finally got to the desk Rachel asked if there was any chance of a free upgrade, and there was! We got a better room that had a partial view of the strip for no extra charge, result! Once we had dumped our bags we went down to the casino and looked around. There were plenty of people playing the machines, and seemed quite involved in it. We decided to take a walk down the strip, it was still very hot but we stuck to the shade as much as possible and wandered past the many hotels lining the sides of the strip. They varied from the quirky, themed hotels like the Sahara to the towering Hilton & Wynn, all shining glass and steel.
We walked about a mile it seemed, there is so much to see. All the buildings are lit up like christmas trees with gawdy neon lights, huge billboard ads advertising what shows they had and what famous people were performing (we had Roseanne Barr at the Sahara).
One of the many themed hotels
We stopped at the Bellagio to watch their water fountain display. A vast pond had hose type attachments placed just above the surface of the water, forming patterns. Once the 'show' began, the hose pipes squirted water high into the air & in different shapes in time to music. It was.....interesting.
Faced with all these exciting events, the next day we decided to sit by the pool (we were knackered!). it was set in an enclosed area outside and the weather was wonderful. Every time we got too hot we cooled off in the pool. It must have been about 70F at one point. We lazed about for most of the morning, enjoying a well earned holiday iin the middle of our travels. Around 3pm we dragged ourselves away from the pool and explored the stretch of the strip near us. We wandered through the Stratosphere hotel and down to Circus Circus, where we watched people play on the arcades before watching one of the free shows. It was a very flexible lady that did balancing acts. To be honest I wasnt very impressed, most of her act consisted of posturing then a few one handed handstands.