Travelling The United States of America: Las Vegas

Las Vegas

A Sin City of neon lights and non stop party built in the middle of a desert.

A 5am start was painful! We got on the bus and headed to the JFK airport, next stop VEGAS!

We arrived at the airport, checked in our bags and a few of us found a cafe to get breakfast, hadn’t had that in a while! I got the breakfast quesadilla, loved it! One of the best cooked breakfasts I have had – well not that I had much to compare it to at that stage!

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We boarded the plane around 8am and were all scattered with our seating. I was in the middle of a middle-aged man and woman, Amelia was in front of me. The lady next to me was lovely, she was up for a chat! I was telling her Amelia and my idea of getting married in Vegas for a laugh, she loved the idea.

We had a plan, on the first night I would propose and we would have the ‘engagement party’, the second night would be the ‘hens party’ and the third night we would get married at a chapel by Elvis and have some of the Contiki members in our wedding party!

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I slept majority of the way after talking the ear off the lady next to me, which I really needed! When we landed, we were definitely in Vegas! There were slot machines in the airport! In the boarding lounges and while you waited for your bags, unbelievable! I do love the pokie machines, so I was in heaven!

We got our bags and headed in the bus to our hotel, Harrah’s. Due to being three hours behind New York, it was only 11am and check in wasn’t until 2pm. So we left our bags at the hotel, and Nicole, Amelia and I decided to go to the North Premium Outlets.

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We got a taxi there and drove down part of the strip heading out, wow! It is actually like they have just built a fantasy land in the middle of a desert, words can not describe the Las Vegas strip!

The North Premium Outlet had everything, Adidas was so cheap! The Vans were around $25USD each, Quicksilver and Roxy items were half the price! It was about lunchtime half way through our shopping so we headed to the Cheesecake Factory, oh my god! The cake case alone looked incredible! So many different cheesecakes and the menu was so thick! Way too many options and two pages of just cheesecake flavours!

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Everything sounded so good, but it was so hard to choose! So we ordered drinks first, I got a passionfruit mojito, the best and our waitress was so lovely, she helped us pick what to have and she had overall amazing customer service. We decided to get two ‘snack meals’ each, I put snack meals in quotation marks because they were definitely not snack sizes, and we shared what we ordered.

I got the buffalo wings, with blue cheese dipping sauce, and the crispy pretzel coated chicken sticks. Amelia ordered corn dogs and crumbed vegetables with an amazing dipping sauce and Nicole got the corn dogs and cuban rolls.

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We also got potato tots to share. Way too much food and because we were drinking our appetite decreased as well! All the food was sensational, the blue cheese sauce for those buffalo wings was the best I had on the trip! More drinks, a pineapple mojito and lack of sleep turned as all a bit drunk at lunch time, only in Vegas.

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After eating too much food what do we decide to do? Order a cheesecake, it was a must though! We got the Reece’s Pieces cheesecake in a takeaway box to try later! The waitress also put our left over food in takeaway containers.

We headed back shopping, which is a bad idea when you have been drinking, I almost bought a pair of $169 runners! We also bought another bag for checked luggage, which was super cheap, and of course couldn’t resist the Las Vegas souvenirs.

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But it was Nicole who got the best buy, Nike Runners for $36USD! She did fit into a kids size though. We then headed back to the hotel to check in and got ready for our included dinner and the night ahead.

The hotel was fairly big, probably not compared to others in Vegas, but it was really nice! Our room was massive too. It also had a fridge so we put our food in it, expecting it to be on. We were late, again, got on the bus heading to Planet Hollywood for dinner in the Caesars Palace Shoppee Forum.

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When we got there we were told the restaurant would offer a Contiki special, a fishbowl cocktail with a keeper glass for $36, definitely a yes! For dinner I had the ribs with mash, it was pretty good, no other vegetables but that’s fine! Eating dinner I look over and notice Amelia had skulled her fishbowl, it was only 7pm!

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After dinner Kiran had organised a birthday cake and birthday items to be worn for Jess, because it was her birthday the day before, but a Vegas birthday is way better! We then ordered a round of shots to get everyone keen for the Vegas nightlife, Mill ordered two, of course,  I had a gummy bear shot, it tasted exactly like the lolly!

After dinner we headed on the bus for a drive down the strip. We stopped at the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, which is from the show Pawn Stars. Nicole, Carl, Amelia and I went in for a look. We were talking to the girl at the counter and she said they film Monday to Friday, but it was Sunday so no filming happened that day!

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When we went to head back to the bus we noticed everyone was walking towards a wedding chapel. This was Graceland Chapel where Jon Bon Jovi was married! When we got in it looked exactly like you picture from the movies and I was told to go on stage and hit the music button. After the music played nothing happened, it just stopped, so I pressed it again.

Next minute, Elvis comes out and kicked me off stage so I sat in the front row next to Amelia. We both looked at each other and thought, ‘I wonder if we are going to watch someone get married’.

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Then, Elvis calls Amelia and I on stage to be the ones to get married!!! On the first day of Contiki when we were picking the activities to do and there was a surprise for $10, everyone paid and it turns out it was for two people to get married in Vegas! Because Amelia and I were planning on getting married and told everyone, Kiran put our names down.

It was the funniest thing, we said our vows, sang with Elvis and the Contiki group made an arch way for Amelia and I to walk down as a ‘married’ couple, best wedding ever.

We even got a marriage certificate and some hilarious ‘wedding’ photos in the gazebo out the front! After our shot gun wedding we all headed on the bus to the famous Old Nugget Casino in Downtown Las Vegas to look at the Fremont Street Experience.

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The street is a long drag out the back of the casino that is covered in by a massive roof and they have a zip wire that goes from one side to the other. We went to see how long it would take, but the wait was 90 minutes and we didn’t have that long!

We watched the light show on the roof, it was so cool and had some music choreographed to go with it! We bought some drinks and headed back to the bus. Not realising the drinks we bought were flavoured beer! They were so cheap, but the cherry one I got was actually really good!

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Then off we headed to the MGM Grand Casino to go Hakkasan, the nightclub! When we got there we were even allowed to take our drinks from the bus into the casino, definitely a no go in Australia!

All us girls got a free drink voucher and headed into the club. It was massive, one of the biggest nightclubs I had been to! The dance floor was huge and they had the VIP booths on different levels surrounding it! We all got raspberry and vodka for our free drink, wow free pour in America is crazy, the drinks were strong!

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All I can say is Vegas is one of the craziest places I’ve been to and that was the first night, clearly I wasn’t thinking about the next days hangover! When we got back to the hotel we were hungry for our leftovers from lunch! Yeah, the fridge wasn’t on, you have to organise that! Good job girls!

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Waking up hungover was the worst. I tried to function but it was so difficult. We made it just in time for our buffet breakfast. I got a tiny bit of everything and still tired as much food as my body would let me, they even had homemade ice cream!

Everyone else left to go to the outlets that we went to the day before. So Kiran hung around with us and ate more breakfast. But, after a while of not moving from breakfast they were serving lunch! Planned that perfectly, so we had some lunch food as well. They had sushi and fried chicken, pretty much everything! Best buffet I’ve ever had!

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After eating we headed upstairs to get ready to go exploring the strip, but our bodies had other plans. So for a few hours we had a much needed nap. Around 3pm we woke up, 4 hours later. Then we headed to the Mirage to see the Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat.

The entry was around $20, which we found pretty reasonable. The tiger and lion enclosure was named after the famous magicians who used tigers and lions in
their magic shows. The habitat had white and orange lions and tigers and the cutest cubs ever! One was playing with a pumpkin, it was so adorable.

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It was really worth having a look at, and hard to believe it was all part of a casino and hotel! The dolphins were my favourite! The trainers were out when we got there so they were getting the Dolphins to play and do tricks! Then you can go underground to see the dolphins underwater from the viewing windows, which is a really good feature! Especially to get good photos.

We then got a taxi to the New York New York Casino to go on the roller coaster! We got a taxi there because, if there is one thing I noticed in Vegas is, just because your hotel looks close, doesn’t mean it is! The New York casino was amazing!

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It had little stoops with the fire escapes and the buildings were bars and cafes. It looked like you were in the streets of NYC. The place was a lot more child friendly as they had a massive games arcade upstairs!

We paid $12 to go on the roller coaster, I got a bit nervous because I was still feeling a little worse for wear. I sat with Nicole and Mill was behind us by herself. So we head up and up and up and up, not realising how high is actually was! What goes up must come down, the drop was massive! It was actually terrifying and we didn’t realise there was a loop, pretty decent for a hotel roller coaster! It was fun, but didn’t make me feel any better!

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After that we headed back to the hotel to get ready to meet at the MGM Grand to go to the V Theatre and see KA-Circus de Soleil. We got there early so we had time to get some food from the food court. I went to Rita’s Tacos and got the x2 taco combo with a mango margarita.

So a review of the show? Well due to being extremely tired I did fall asleep through a bit of it, but the story line was a hard to follow and there wasn’t a lot of ‘circus’ involved. I did, however, enjoy the acrobats in the show. Like Kath Day Knight from Kath and Kim would say, “it was good, but I didn’t agree.”

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After the show we had some free time in the casino before our limo ride. Firstly we went to the slot machines, I went on one of the old school machines with the cherries, 7’s, bars and lemons. I won free spins and got up to about $60. I withdrew the cash at $30 and went to play computer roulette.

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I hit my number, 22 and went from around $10 to $60. We then headed to the real tables. I won a little bit of money and then, 22 came up! I won over $150, winning in Vegas definitely feels sweeter. The waitress also comes around and you only have to tip for drinks in the casinos, so I tipped $2 and got a vodka and sprite!

So we met up with everyone and headed in our limo ride up the strip, it was awesome! We had champagne, music and the roof even lit up! We stopped at the ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign and got photos.

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A lady even stood there with a light so people could get good photos, obviously for money. We headed back down the strip and the limo dropped us off at Wynn Casino to go to XS nightclub.

When we got there, again girls got free drinks, free pour again! But with pineapple juice it wasn’t so bad. The toilets at this nightclub were amazing, you tip the lady and she has perfume, makeup, flat shoes, chewy and everything you need when out, how incredible! The music was pretty good at this club, actually had lyrics, and it backed on to a pool.

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In summer it would be awesome because they would have pool parties! We made our way into a VIP booth at this place and joined in on a Christmas work breakup! I can’t quite remember what time we got home but it was an awesome night, XS is a good nightclub!

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A 6:30am start is never ideal on little sleep. Of course, we were late again. We got on the bus to go on the Grand Canyon helicopter ride with Papillon! I had been looking forward to this day the most. I slept the way there, but was starting to get a sore throat. We made it to the launch pads, which were basically in the middle of the desert, it was a really nice area though!

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In our helicopter was Kiran, Nicole, Amelia, Zac and Jess. We met the pilot first, he was really funny and informative! The views were stunning and so breathtaking! We headed over the Hoover dam, which was huge. Then over a town in the middle of nowhere, Lake Mead and an old World War II airfield.

We also flew over the Colorado river where part the  river goes from brown water to blue, it was incredible and confusing at the same time! How is the water two different colours and it never changes?

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The views over the canyon were just beautiful and it was the perfect day, clear skies and the sun shining. We landed in the canyon with the other helicopters for a picnic lunch. We got the most incredible photos inside the canyon, it was just perfect!

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We sat down at our picnic tables and got a little basket each with a salad roll, Pringles, apple slices, chocolate chip cookies and peanuts. We also got champagne, which was very fancy! Lunch was so beautiful looking over the canyon, such an incredible experience and worth every cent!

On the way back to the helicopter we fed the crows some Pringles, they loved it! We even saw a little chipmunk, it was adorable but wasn’t sure about Pringles. On our way out of the canyon we went the opposite way and got to see different sights on the way back, which was awesome!

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We saw a retirement village in the middle of nowhere, a town which the pilot said is the real Breaking Bad and not even the Police know what goes on there, we saw wild horses, the San Andreas fault line and a new volcano that had just formed, just incredible to be able to experience all those sights in one return trip. When we landed I started to feel really sick, I had flu-like symptoms.

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Overall, the helicopter ride was $360USD, but so so worth it! Best experience and they say the skywalk is overrated and takes ages to get to, so it just depends if you can justify the money, I say yes you can! We got on the bus and headed back to Las Vegas.

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Coming in it was so cool to see the suburban houses, it reminded me of the movie Pay it Forward. We got back to the hotel and got ready to go exploring again.While gathering our stuff Nicole realised she was missing her bank card! Oh no! We searched everywhere in the hotel room.

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Thinking back Nicole said she got cash out last night at the nightclub, but thought she put it in her bag! Kiran rang the nightclub but no card was handed in! Lucky it was only a travel card. Nicole had to ring her dad to transfer what she had on her card to her normal bank card to use that for the rest of the trip, again only in Vegas!!

On our journey around Vegas we went to Caesars Casino across the road to have a look, found the gift shop that had merchandise from the Hangover, because the movie was set in Caesars. Then we got a taxi to Coca-Cola World. It was crazy the amount of coke products they sold! I bought a few things including a recipe book with dishes made with Coca-Cola products, this place was even two story.

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We went upstairs and they had a little cafe that did an ‘around the world’ coke tasting. We shared that and tried all the different coke products. My favourite was the Mango sprite from South Africa, the worst was by far the one from Italy, yuck! It was so bitter and just really odd!

We then headed over the road to Hershey’s World, it was amazing! So much chocolate and lollies, you could even buy cakes and cupcakes, they looked incredible! On our way back down the strip it was definitely time to eat something so we found a McDonald’s for a cheeky snack. We realised we wouldn’t have enough time to ride the gondolas before meeting the others to go to the High Roller so we got some nuggets and then a taxi back to Harrah’s, at this point I was feeling so sick, but I had to keep going.

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Jaz, Nicole, Amelia, Carl,  Josh and I went to the High Roller wheel to use our tickets we bought. You could even buy drinks at the bar before you got on! When we got up the views were incredible! However, I was fading fast and starting to get worse at this stage, Vegas was killing me! But, if you go on the High Roller I highly recommend going at sunset, you see the whole strip in light and dark! Plus the orange sky looks awesome in photos. However, it is hard to get photos of yourself in it due to the glass!

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By the time we got off we headed to the hotel to meet more of the group to go to the Stratosphere – the tallest building in Vegas with huge rides on top. I decided I was feeling too sick so instead I had a lay down in the room and a bath! This cold was getting the better of me and I wanted to go out that night.

After half an hour the thought of missing out got to me, so I went to the lobby for wifi and messaged one of the guys who had his data roaming on. He wasn’t great with instructions or replying so I played the Willy Wonka pokie machine, after losing I went to explore and find the pool. Following the signs, still no pool, I couldn’t find it at all. Finally Josh replied and they were heading to Downtown Vegas to do the zip wire and Nicole wanted to get a tattoo – umm what?

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I met them at the zip wire ticket booth, I bought my ticket to do the sitting zip wire with the rest and we all headed to the ride. As we were waiting in line Amelia was telling me that when she bought her ticket she asked the lady if she could wear her thongs on the ride or if she had to take them off. The girl looked at her puzzled and confused, thong in American is g-string and flip-flops were thongs!

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We didn’t realise how high it was so we were all a little nervous, being harnessed up and waiting was making us all sweaty! But it was really fun, it was really worth experiencing it! After that Amelia, Nicole and I headed off to find the tattoo parlour for Nicole, she wanted an outline on an aeroplane on her forearm. So we found one called LV Tattoo, it was really clean and they priced her $60.

Couldn’t believe she was doing it, but she did so well! However, we did have to put up with the drunkest lady going round in the parlour, she was funny, but so annoying! Nicole was tough and got through, and it come up awesome! We were definitely making the most of ‘when in Vegas’ rule.

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I had to definitely pump myself up to go out, that’s how sick I was feeling! But I was going to pull through for the last night in Vegas. We met downstairs with everyone who was going and walked to Caesars, heading out to Omnia, the newest nightclub in Vegas. We walked over the road and I realised I left my ID in the room so I raced back. When I got back a girl approached us and asked Nicole, Amelia and I if we wanted to go in a VIP booth with her and her friends to fill it up for them.

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We agreed – of course – the lady was celebrating her birthday and worked at Caesars, she reminded me of someone from the show Las Vegas! It turned out we should have said no because: 1. her friends were nasty and 2. it took much longer to get in! When we finally got in we got our free drinks and went to find the others!  The bass was so loud and heavy from the music that you could feel it in your chest, my painfully sore cold ridden chest! It was an awesome club though!

We left around 12ish so we could see the Bellagio Fountain. It was us three girls and Josh, but we got a little distracted gambling, of course, and when we actually got the taxi to the Bellagio we found out the fountain finished at 11pm, oops.

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So we headed back to the hotel, our taxi driver got lost and it cost us so much more! Josh went and got us some McDonald’s and bought it to our room, gem! Vegas had well and truly killed me! It was like a different world and I loved it!!

Things I would like to do in Las Vegas:

Click here for San Fransisco post

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