Anybody who knows us (and especially Sarah) would know that Las Vegas isn’t our kind of thing. Tacky, crowded, booze and gambling-tastic, and a pale imitation of the real world. But somehow, when Vegas has got you in its grip, its becomes a little more charming. And I don’t mean ‘gambling grip’.
We arrived Friday, and saw a few of the casinos, and today (Saturday) we devoted to seeing a few more.
We started with the free continental breakfast at the hotel – examining this gave us an insight into why Americans are fatter than your average world citizen. On the buffet there was Cereal, French Toast with Syrup, Choc Chip muffins, Raising Danish, Cinnamon Danish, Apricot Danish, and doughnuts (sugar, cinnamon, lemon-iced, chocolate, hundreds-and-thousands with icing). Oh, and a bowl of fresh fruit that was so ignored it had been relegated to a completely different buffet table! Of course, the girls loved it, and so did I, stoking up on as much sugar in a morning as we normally manage in a couple of days. I’m sure that rather than losing weight backpacking, I’m putting it on!
Then a swim by the hotel pool, before getting in the car and heading to the casino hotels. We chose ones that had a free show that the girls would like, or something else that the girls would be interested in (after all, when you’ve seen one casino gambling areas you’ve seen – and heard – them all).
Today was the turn of Circus Circus, which promised a lot on paper, but delivered very little in reality. We went there for the buffet lunch (as though any was needed after breakfast). It was quite good, and a bargain at $7, but it was difficult to eat in the presence of so many overweight people. There were family groups where you could see the family similarity running through everybody. I know it’s rude, but I just had to take a picture to share with you. And this chap wasn’t exceptional, he just happened to be sitting nearby! Then we went to the “clown show” in the “big top”, which turned out to be two guys who been dragged off the street, on a small stage inside the amusement park. So what do I think of Circus Circus? Well, it’s got a cheap buffet and lots of parking
Then we decided to go to the Venetian, one of the newer casino hotels. We claimed our car from the huge free car park alongside Circus Circus, and drove the ½ mile to the Venetian car park. This is the amazing thing about the States – everybody drives everywhere, no matter how short the distance. However, in 100-degree heat its madness to walk around in the middle of the day – the sun is absolutely blasting on the pavements. The Venetian is amazing outside, with a canal of gondolas, and a replica of various Venice buildings and bridges (I managed to completely omit the Bridge of Sighs from this photo).
And the scene inside is even more amazing. Like the Alladin, they’ve recreated a street scene inside. After you’ve been inside for a while its easy to forget that you are inside a building, 2 stories in the air. (‘Yeah, yeah’ you say, but could you have told which photo was inside if I hadn’t told you?). Anyway, the replica St Marks Square was just like the real thing too – expensive restaurants around the outside, and lots of tourists milling in the middle!
The other thing at the Venetian was the gondoliers. They steer their gondolas around the (second floor) canals, singing to their passengers, who all look suitably embarrassed. Some couples were getting married on the Wedding Bridge, just off St Marks Square, which was a joy to behold. Because it was a busy Saturday, the couples waited outside the Gucci shop while the couple in front got married, and then they had their turn, and the group outside Prada got to move to the outside-Gucci stop. I completely failed to get the photo of two brides queuing up to get their gondola trip tickets (wedding gondola extra $50). And this being America, there was an obvious paranoia about security. Look at the photo and you’ll see what I mean – the bride and groom had to wear their seatbelts for the whole trip. And the special wedding gondola didn’t have white silk seat belts! (Handy for the fourth wedding we saw, where the wide wore black. And the fifth, where the bride wore a Stetson and cowboy boots!).
By the time we left the Venetian it was 7pm, so it was straight back to the hotel for a quick snack and bed. Not a typical backpacking day for sure!