The Grand Canyon and Las Vegas in one entry? This might get a bit long.
When I first saw the canyon I couldn't really believe my eyes. It isn't possible to explain with words or pictures how massive it is. It's not just the tangible size, it's the weight of its history as well. It's hard to believe that water - the same stuff you drink from a glass every day without even thinking about it - is capable of creating something like that.
I spent half a day at the canyon with my group. We walked some of the different trails along the rim, took oodles of photos, spotted squirrels, deer and the Colorado river, stopped to post some postcards from the canyon post office, and ended the day at a beautiful spot, enjoying the sunset along with a slice of hot pizza.
The canyon is amazing in the day, but it is awe inspiring in the twilight hours. The play of shadows, the different colours as it gets darker, the backdrop of the evening sky...
I loved it. ♥
It isn't easy to top an experience like a visit to the Grand Canyon, but Las Vegas comes very close.
My group drove to Vegas - stopping to look at some interesting sights along Route 66 - in the scorching desert heat. Thank Willis Haviland Carrier for air conditioning! I don't think it would be possible to drive for any amount of time in the desert without the AC on full blast. (Unless you're lucky enough to drive a convertible, but then you need to worry about sunburn!)
Route 66 was quite cool, but Las Vegas is a much more interesting subject.
After stopping at a Goodwill store to stock up on Hawaiian-themed clothes for the evening, we checked into the Stratosphere hotel, washed the desert dust off, and headed for adventure!
It all started with a red Hummer limo. It took a party of 14 crazy kids, dressed in silly Hawaiian get-ups, to see the sights of Vegas.
We cruised along the Strip, saw the rock show at Fremont street, checked out the 'Welcome to Las Vegas' sign, and watched the fountain show in front of the Bellagio. The song it was set to while we were there was one of my favourites - 'All That Jazz' from Chicago
. Once the limo ride was over it was time to have some fun at the New York New York casino - where you can see a miniature Statue of Liberty! I met up with a couple of guys who were having a bachelor party and the stag made the best man buy me a Martini in exchange for my Hawaiian lei (flower chain)!
The following evening was even better. After a fun day of sightseeing and hanging out by the hotel pool, I got dressed up in a sparkly black dress and went to see Mystère! It's a Cirque du Soleil show, full of acrobatics, humour and dancing. The clown was my favourite. He wasn't in a clown costume, though. He did things like steal people's popcorn and throw it at other people, kidnap audience members and steal their seats/girlfriends, tease the ringmaster, and generally cause mayhem and wreak havoc!
After the show I headed over to the Bellagio and gambled away an entire dollar!
On the way to the Bellagio I met Elvis.
At a bar at the Bellagio I was adopted by another bachelor party. Most of the guys were Indian American, but I mainly spent time with a Korean American called Joe. He showed me how to play craps at the Flamingo! At the craps table we met some other interesting people - a high roller from North Carolina, and a guy from New York who was in Vegas to watch his sister compete at a poker tournament. I also tried my hand at Texas Hold'Em while I was at the Flamingo. I didn't spend too much on it - I just wanted to play a hand. To be able to say that I did it. I nearly won my round - but the dealer had a lucky hand.
After a late night/early morning batch of cheese & bacon fries along with a root beer float, I walked over to the Bellagio to see if the rumour of a 6 AM fountain show was true. It wasn't, but the hotel in the early morning light was beautiful.
As I crawled into bed around 7 AM, I ended up sleeping most of my final day in Vegas away. But I did go to a nice buffet. I should have skipped the main course and gone straight to the desserts! There were so many delicious treats. I won't torture you with descriptions. Let's just say that I spent the rest of the evening in a food coma.
Right now I'm back in LA. I'm staying with Sigthor - a photographer I worked with in Iceland when he was there. I can see the Hollywood sign from his kitchen window! I'll be in LA until I leave for Peru early next Saturday. I'm quite looking forward to the Fourth of July! Should be fun to experience it in the States.