Monday, 5 May 2014

3 DAYS IN VEGAS.......are you crazy ?

5.5.2014
Its hard to know where to begin. I'm sitting in a campsite next to Route 66, the temperature yesterday climbed above 100 and I'm watching a stream of bikers go past.......but I'm getting ahead of myself

30/4. Caught the Heathrow express from Ipswich at 10am, terminal 5 by 1.30pm no hassle and a fairly decent meal to while away the time. Our BA flight left from the last and furthest gate available and including the shuttle took 20 mins to reach only to discover that boarding was delayed and the 16.50 flight didn't start loading until 17.20 and didn't get off the ground until 17.45. Plane was full and the journey was enhanced by the antics of a party heading to Vegas for a wedding who stood up drinking for most of the 101/2 hrs.
I'm small and leg room was tight and the rubbish ear phones rendered the excellent choice of films unwatchable. Managed to sleep a few hours and landed on time thankfully at 19.25 feeling very weary as body clock is saying 3am.
Takes 2 hrs to unload, get through immigration, customs, walk miles and queue for a cab which charged 28$ to go a long way round to our hotel which you can see from the airport...it being the Stratosphere and the tallest....queue to check in and finally get to our room. Not luxurious but big and serviceable. First impressions are that we've landed in a theme park. Ring D&M to meet for a drink but they have crashed out having arrived at 13.30. We settle for a wander round the hotel checking out restaurants ,buffets,bars and slot machines etc and eventually (queue) to take the lift to the 108th floor after being searched. Stunning panoramic view round the tower with everything laid out below so had an expensive small can of beer and a juice and wound down.
The strip is as bright as you can imagine. However body clocks dictated that we retire early to recuperate.
Wide awake by 7 and out by 8 to walk up to the Greyhound terminal to sort tickets out for the first leg of the Amtrak journey in 2 weeks time. Good job we did as it was a complete cock up as I had suspected and a good thing we hadn't left it until we returned to Vegas . I'm not going to detail the problem as there will be a stiff letter of complaint which will be more than the usual 3 pages but we wasted many hours over the next 3 days and many £ s on phone calls at first. Fortunately the room had free WiFi so I managed to use Skype in the end at 0.014 p a minute as opposed to £1.39 on my vodaphone or 0.89 on the gf's Tesco phone......which ran out of credit and refused to load any more and said our cards were blocked which meant phoning Nationwide to check they were not and Tesco eventually to discover that their systems were down and would not accept top ups over £20  and as we  had tried unsuccessfully about 10 times to load £30  we were now blocked and finally I got through to guy called Neal who sorted it and gave us £10 credit for the hassle and I was losing the will to live and still talking to Mark Travel on one phone and Amtrak on another trying to sort the stupid mess out. So my view of Vegas was jaundiced from the start.
We met D&M for lunch and drinks at the Bellagio Thurs lunchtime at last and had a very jolly time as they showed us around. They were  still feeling a bit grim so we amused ourselves in the evening on the Strip watching the sites and had dinner at the Strat .
On Friday we had our trip to the grand canyon which was superb. Picked up at 10.30, shuttle to a small airfield and flown out to airfield in the GC National Park where we joined a coach to drive us to various locations on the south rim for the next 4 hours. Very hot weather and better than we ever expected. A breathtaking sight.

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