31 January 2009

Vegas & The Grand Canyon [Day 10, 11 & 12]

For all those out there suffering from nealandrochellesoe.com withdrawal... never fear! Here we are again with an update. I will apologise for the length of time since our last update – but we have been very busy! Besides – it’s only been 3 days! Take a seat, its going to be a big one...

Before I share with you what we have been up to these last few days, I will let you in on a couple of observations I have made while in Las Vegas. This place lives up to the name Sin City. I walked into a dairy to get change for a $100 bill – and were confronted with rows of 'pokie' machines. I went into a gas station to ask for directions and all that was in the fridges was beer and spirits – really cheap too. You can buy cartons of cigarettes from the supermarket. A pack is only about $3 and you can smoke ANYWHERE! Pretty disgusting really – you can never get away from the smell of cigarette smoke. Instead of newspapers in those automatic pay dispenser machines on the footpath, there are porn magazines. You cannot get away from people offering you flyers for "escorts" on the street. We also saw two people being arrested (separate occasions) on the first day we got here. So on the whole – its mental.

Wednesday 28th Jan (day 10): What a stressful day! The root of this stress: our rental car company. Believe me, these guys are **** (insert your best insult here). Apparently because we had the tires replaced, they could not authorise any further repairs. I was also told that they knew for a fact that the car was fine and had no problems – I was being paranoid. I was also told that I was expecting too much, and that if I wanted a new 2009 model vehicle I would need to go and see another company. I proceeded to tell them that 1. All I want is a car that runs well and is safe. THAT’S IT! I don’t care if its 20 years old! 2. They should never have hired a rental vehicle that had tires that were completely bald and dangerous to drive on. And 3. There is something seriously wrong with the car and I do not feel safe driving it.

So they gave me 2 options – drive it as it is, or they will drive out to Vegas and replace it – but if the car makes it back to LA without causing a horrific accident or breaking down, I will have to pay for their time/gas etc for the trip. I tried reasoning with them and explain that if anything were to happen to us while driving an unsafe rental vehicle, they would be in a lot of s**t. But they didn't want to hear it. So I said to them – look, I will go to a mechanic and get the car checked out at my expense. If there is nothing wrong with it – then perfect! But if there is, you either pay to get it fixed or drive out to Vegas and replace it. Finally they agreed.

I managed to find a mechanic. They took it for a test drive, and reported that it was a wheel bearing that had failed. While continuing to drive it MIGHT be OK, there’s also the chance that the wheel falls off at 70mph. Not a risk I was willing to take. Looks like the rental guys thorough checks of the vehicle pre-rental, and their crystal ball that told them there was absolutely nothing wrong with the vehicle weren't as good as they thought. I rang them up and explained this all to them and they finally agreed to pay for the repairs. What was even better was the mechanic was able to fix it the same day! Finally we were getting somewhere.

While the car was in the shop we walked down to Fremont Street – which is a big area about 5 blocks long that is closed off to traffic. There are quite a few big casinos there – including the first casino in Vegas - The Golden Gate. Also the famous neon cowboy Las Vegas Vic. We went into a couple of casinos and played some pokies. Lost a total of $10.

That evening we planned to go out to see the bright lights of the strip! But first we stopped in at Fremont Street again to see it all lit up. We were really impressed...until the whole roof lit up, then we were blown away! The largest big-screen on the planet! Was crazy. Pictures do not do it justice.

Then we headed to the strip. It is hard to believe what you are looking at is real. I have never seen anything even remotely close to this in my life. The amount of money spent on that strip is just out of this world. Everything is so detailed and the lights are amazing. Some of the famous casinos we saw were the MGM Grand, Excalibur, New York-New York, Paris, Monte Carlo, Aladdin, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Mirage, Sahara, Riveria and Treasure Island. We saw the fountains at the Bellagio which were so cool! I have got a vid of it that I'll upload at some stage...

Thursday 29th Jan (day 11): We were up bright and early for our trip out to the Grand Canyon. The land is basically desert the whole way - huge wide open roads, complete with cactus and tumbleweeds. We passed the Hoover Dam (more about that later) and drove down Route 66. We were steadily climbing the whole way and before we knew it, we were surrounded by snow again! But this time, the place was blanketed in the stuff. We got into the park and checked into our lodge (about 20m from the canyon edge!) then went out to catch the sunset over the canyon. Again - pictures do not do it justice. The canyon just looks like its a picture before you and you cannot grasp how wide and deep this thing is... Its monstrous! And we only saw a tiny part of it. It just blows your mind how big this thing is. We also saw some cool deer just wandering around the place.

Random men dressed up in dog suits

Friday 30th Jan (day 12): As Arizona is an hour behind Nevada, we had to get up at (what our bodies was telling us was...) 6am! Madness! And sheesh was it cold. This is the coldest I think I have been... EVER (Yes I do realise we are going to Canada in 3 days). But it was definitely worth it. But I wont bore you with more pictures... except these two (second is our car windscreen).

As we were in no rush to get back to Vegas, we stopped at the Hoover Dam. Rochelle was not game to do the power plant tour so I had to go alone. This thing is HUGE! A truly amazing site. For the tour we went down to the base of the dam and into one of the turbine rooms. These things are massive! Very impressive. We also went into one of the tunnels that was blasted out by dynamite when the dam was first built to divert to flow of the Colorado river.

We got back into Vegas and decided to go into the strip again and see the things we missed on Wednesday night. Mainly - the pirate show at the Treasure Island, the Flamingo enclosure at Flamingo, the anamatronic show at Caesars Palace and I wanted to check out Circus Circus. The pirate show was cool and there were alot of nice girls dancing on stage! The flamingos were also very cool but most were asleep when we got there. Anamatronic show - meh. But Caesars Palace is amazing! And Circus Circus had a pretty average circus show, but the lights were awesome!

Oh and we also snapped this one on the way home!

So you are all up to date! Tomorrow we head to San Diego. Main attraction being the Zoo. Should be fun :)

Oh and before I forget - heres a photo of us under the HOLLYWOOD sign :) A couple we met from Aus took it for us as our camera was flat :P

Next Post - 'Keg Party! San Diego'


  1. America...big bold and brassy!!! Awesome update and pics. Glad you got the car sorted. You're getting all seasons over there eh... keep the winter woollies handy for Canada!
    Enjoy :)
    Love Mum XX

  2. Cool photos and updates. We stayed at the Excalibur when we were there. Amazing huh!!
    Enjoy your adventures.
    Cheesykat :-)

  3. VEGAS! This post makes me want to go even more now. :) And yes-- welcome to America. Land of craptastic customer service!

    ps) You?? Are adorable. :)


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