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Viva Las Vegas!

42 °C

I returned my car at Denver airport this morning. It wasn't an emotional goodbye, but the car had been my main companion for the last three weeks. It got me from A to B, took me to some incredible vistas and dangerous cliff edge roads, it was even my shelter for some nights. The last few weeks have certainly been a good advertisment for Hyundai Accents as far as I'm concerned. For the record mine was Colorado plates 798-WBK.

I jumped on a Frontier Airlines flight to Las Vegas. My immediate impressions upon landing? Firstly, it is HOT! It's 42 degrees celsius in Las Vegas at the moment. Secondly, I can't help but think that this city is best described as an adult Disneyland. I'm only on the shuttle to the hotel, but I've passed extravagent castles, the Empire State Building, the Statute of Liberty, a pryamid, the Eifle Tower, ancient Rome, a pirate ship, Venice and a sky tower. I can't think of any other city like this. It's just mind blowing.

So here's my plan for the next few days. I'm spending two nights at the Golden Nugget Hotel and then I move onto the Riviera for athird night. I inted to spend today downtown at the Golden Nugget in the old part of Vegas where the first casinos were, tomorrow I want to drive to the Grand Canyon in Arizona and I want to spend my last day and night on The Strip.

As I've just said I'm not staying on The Strip tonight, but north of it in the more classic part of Las Vegas. It is by no means shabby. I've got a 4* hotel room for two nights for £27 per night. The room is lavish. The bed is enormous. I took myself on a little tour of the hotel. Well between the 'tower' in which I'm housed and the casino floor is an outdoor pool. What's so special about that I hear you ask? Well this pool has a slide ... that passes through a shark tank! Only in Vegas would they have a water slide that passes through a shark tank. A quick inspection of the casino floor reveals everything you'd expect; slots, craps, roulette, poker, blackjack, the high rollers and the low rollers. I've got my eye on free poker and craps lessons before I hit the floor in a 'serious' way.

I've set aside $100 to gamble. As I see it, I'd spend that in other cities going on tours and visiting museums. Plus, who says I'm actually going to lose any of it?! I first hit the penny (one cent) slots. You literally just spend a penny everytime you pull the lever. There is almost no hope of you winning anything, but because you are gambling you'll get free alcoholic drinks, so you're not really losing. Slots are fine, but they are boring and a deadly way to lose money. I broke from my high-stakes slot play and went up to the hotel buffet for dinner - an all you can eat job for about £13. Things were going great at the buffet until I misplaced the envelope I had put my gambling money (I had forgotten at the time, but it also had my drivers license in it). I couldn't find it anywhere and nor could the staff. Great, I had lost $95 in Vegas far sooner than I had intened. However, just as I was leaving someone approached me with my envelope! Now I really did feel as though I had won money in Vegas!

I was in a very good mood now, which is partly why I was so disappointed with what followed. I have been sharp to criticise others over the last few months and I should be equally sharp to criticise myself. After I ate I went out to Freemont Street to explore the Freemont Street Experience. The Experience is several blocks of a pedestrianised road that are enclosed above by a digital roof. The roof lights up everything below and is pretty mesmerising. All around the Freemont Street Experience are people who have stuck on fancy dress and take $1 off people to have their photographs taken. I found what I thought was an unobstructed part of the Experience where I could set up my camera and tripod and photograph it. As I was taking some slow shutter shots a rather large woman started walking inching in front of my camera. I know she knew I was there; firstly, because she bumped into me and asked me to excuse her, and secondly, because as she started moving in front I asked her if she would excuse me whilst I was clearly set up taking my photos. I asked her again if she could move and what I got back was, "You don't own this street! I'm just paid for a photo." She clearly didn't appreciate the juxtoposition of her statements as quickly as I did. My camera still clicking away she kept moving around in front of me and standing in front of me regardless and pretty inconsiderately. I had asked her if she could excuse me, which she didn't, so I moved, tripod and all in front of her shot. "Perhaps we could both move out of each others' ways?" I asked really hoping to resolve the matter. "Get lost!" So I decided I'd just stay there and she started flashing her camera in my face. We must have looked quite a sight. After perhaps twenty or thirty seconds we both decided we had had enough and we parted, exchanging our opinions of each other as we did so. I really did immediately regret this incident. My reaction to her initial lack of consideration was imature and as similarly inconsiderate - the incident would have resolved itself far quicker had I let her just get on with it. My jibes at her as she walked away were petty, offensive and really not becoming of me when I haven't been prone to rise to such things in the past. In future I will make a better effort to stay cool and avoid the confrontation.

I got on with my night walking along Freemont Street and went back to the casino to have a go on the Wheel of Fortune, which I had heard paid pretty well, especially when you played with a $100 note. Sure enough I made up what I had made up what I lost on the slots and, after a long day, went back to lie in luxury.

M

Posted by MattOGrady 21:47 Archived in USA

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