Las Vegas – Part II

***Continued from previous post.

{April 4 – 4:50 pm PST – Las Vegas, Nevada}
What a long day! Got up for 8:30 am and met Ryan & Stacey outside our hotel. We walked over to Hooters and ate breakfast at the Mad Onion. Jordan had eggs, bacon, and potatoes; I ordered a breakfast burrito with beans and rice on the side ($25.00 USD including tip). The food was good but I could hardly finish half the burrito.



We walked down the Strip together, popping into souvenir shops along the way. Bought some shot glasses. We also found some black T-shirts with a bride and groom on them and the words “GAME OVER” printed at the top, which the boys bought so that they could wear them to “crash” Chris & Katie’s wedding. Walked all the way down to the Venetian and watched the gondolas for a bit. I spent $14.05 USD in Sephora on some yummy Tuscan blood orange cream and grapefruit body scrub. I love that store! We also went into the Mirage and paid $15.00 USD per person to get into the Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat. There’s a huge pool where dolphins swim around, and then a second pool where the dolphins will do a few tricks and you can pay a small fee to swim with them. After watching the dolphins for a little while, we meandered into the secret garden portion and saw some beautiful cats – lions, a leopard, a panther, and a gorgeous snow white tiger. Before leaving we bought some ice cream to cool ourselves down. I picked out a few items at the gift shop ($13.00 USD).



During the walk back we stepped into the CVS so I could buy the picture frame I had spotted during an earlier visit. The frame was only $7.99 there and I had seen the exact one in other souvenir shops for close to fifteen dollars! Stacey and I also had our picture taken with Superman! 🙂 Then we headed back to the Tropicana, hoping to make it in time for Chris & Katie’s small wedding ceremony. We were not technically invited to the ceremony, only their parents were, but by the time we showed up we had already missed it. The boys wore their “GAME OVER” T-shirts, too. We hung around for a little while until the newly married couple came back from having their photos taken, and then took a few more pictures with them.



{April 4 – 8:45 pm PST – Las Vegas, Nevada}
After saying goodbye to our friends, we went looking for a place to eat dinner on our last night in Las Vegas. Jordan ended up with an expensive slice of pizza from a place in New York New York that he said wasn’t even that great. I bought myself a mocha frappuccino from the Starbucks and sat with him while he ate. We left that place, as none of the restaurants really appealed to me, and ended up at Hard Rock Cafe. I’ve never been to one before. I ordered a pulled chicken sandwich with seasoned fries and Jordan ordered the apple cobbler with a big glass of milk, totaling $30.00 USD (including tip). Not bad, we managed to keep the food cheap!

On our way back down the Strip we went into ROSS and I found a dress that doubles as a skirt for $15.00 USD, a purple Guess handbag for $40.00 USD (normally worth a hundred dollars), and a baby outfit for my nephew. We spent quite a bit of time in that store, browsing. Finally we made it over to the Coca-Cola store so I could buy a magnet for my sister. For a tip, Jordan had a couple photos taken with a guy dressed up as a character from his favourite video game, Halo.



Now we’re calling it a night. We’re being picked up by the shuttle at 6:15 am tomorrow and I know we’ll be dead tired if we stay out any later. I can’t believe how much fun I had here and I regret that we can’t stay a few extra days. We never even reached the end of the Strip! Maybe another time? Well, time to pack!

***End of journal.

A few hiccups on the way home. When we reached the airport we were informed that the computers were all down and there was a HUGE line-up, all the way outside the doors. We were very lucky that we arrived early, because many people missed their flights. We made ours just in time. Stop-over in Chicago, and then home sweet home!

Las Vegas – Part I

After our trip to Jamaica in February, we hadn’t planned on taking any more vacations for quite some time. However, a good friend of Jordan’s planned to get married in Las Vegas during the first week of April. His friend, Chris, had mentioned to a bunch of their buddies that everyone would be welcome to come out for a good time in Vegas. After some thought, we decided that Las Vegas sounded like fun and we might as well go since we had the opportunity! Neither of us had any interest in gambling, which was one of the reasons why I initially didn’t want to go, but some research on TripAdvisor convinced me that we could still have a good time exploring The Strip and hanging out with our friends.

This decision came at the end of February when I noticed the decent price for a WestJet package, flying Toronto to Las Vegas, and staying at the newly renovated Tropicana Las Vegas resort. It was right in our budget. Unfortunately, by the time Jordan’s leave pass was signed and given back to him, it was a few days into March and the great price I had noticed jumped up $600. We were almost unable to go due to that huge increase in price, but my travel agent was able to book us flights and the same hotel for only a hundred dollars more than the February WestJet package. We ended up on a Continental flight from Toronto / Dallas / Las Vegas and an American Airlines flight Las Vegas / Chicago / Toronto. In one months’ time I was able to scrape together $500 spending money for the both of us as long as we didn’t gamble.

So here is my journal from our April adventure in Las Vegas, Nevada!



{April 1 – 2:15 pm EST – Toronto Pearson Airport}
We left the house this morning just before 9 am so we could first stop at the bank to withdraw cash and exchange it for US dollars. Arrived at the Economy Park n’ Fly close to noon and caught the shuttle to airport. Easy check-in with Continental Airlines and security was fairly quick for myself. Jordan was given a pat-down and then security went over his backpack and laptop with a fine-tooth comb. Had a quick but expensive bite to eat: chicken wings, two beer, fries, club sandwich for $35 CAD (MasterCard). Now we are waiting at our gate after having been informed that our flight to Dallas has been delayed by two hours, which will cause us to miss our connecting flight. Luckily I was the first person to run up to the counter and explain our situation, and the nice lady changed our connecting flight to a later one.



{April 2 – 9:00 am PST – Las Vegas, Nevada}
What a looooong day yesterday was. We barely made our connecting flight in Dallas. Once off the plane we literally ran for the Skylink monorail to get to gate A39 from D, and just caught the last of the boarding line! The flight was smooth but Jordan and I didn’t have seats next to each other. Arrived in Sin City at 8:30 pm Pacific Standard Time. Grabbed my bag from the carousel and went to inspect the long line for a taxi. Decided it wasn’t worth the wait and bought tickets instead for the shuttle bus ($24 USD round-trip for the both of us). While we waited for the bus, Jordan bought a $3 USD bottle of Dr. Pepper from a vending machine. After a very long wait we boarded the shuttle and were the first to be dropped off! I was so happy to finally be here, but very exhausted with a bit of a headache from the flight.



Our friends, Ryan & Stacey (not the ones getting married), were waiting for us in the Tropicana lobby. They stayed at the Luxor and had arrived the day before us. We checked in, took the elevator to our floor in the Paradise Tower, dropped off luggage, and inspected our room. Very large and spacious, everything was fresh and new. The whole place smells like coconut suntan oil, which is neat. Ryan & Stacey convinced us not to go to bed yet but to walk some of The Strip with them so they could show us around. First we walked over to MGM Grand to get a frozen drink from Fat Tuesdays: $12 USD for a tall peach bellini slushie alcoholic drink. So good! I was starving so we grabbed a meal at Wendy’s for a very late dinner. Then walked over to the Bellagio to watch the spectacular fountain show! At long last we made it to bed by 1 am PST (4 am EST). Now we’re up and getting ready for our first breakfast in Vegas and a trip to Hoover Dam with Ryan & Stacey!



{April 2 – 8:00 pm PST – Las Vegas, Nevada}
Ryan rented a red Cobalt from Tropicana. We drove to the Premium Outlets mall and shopped there after breakfast. First we went into the IHOP but the line was really long, so we decided to skip that and walk over to “Dunkin’ Donuts” for food. Jordan and I spent under $10 USD on our food. At the mall I spent $70 USD on a pair of dirt biking gloves and a pair of jeans for myself at the Fox Racing apparel store. At the huge Skechers store I got a pair of sandals for myself and another pair for Jordan ($100 USD). We spent most of our time in those two stores or looking at luggage; there wasn’t anything else of interest to the four of us. Grabbed an iced tea and Gatorade from the “Dunkin’ Donuts” kiosk ($3.88 USD) before hitting the road. Stopped at Carter Powersports for awhile to look at bikes. Jordan bought me a chest guard and elbow pads for $190 USD, but he didn’t find anything for himself.



Finally, we reached the Hoover Dam! Parked in a free area, then walked down. Amazing views and we took plenty of photos. Beautiful day, windy, but humid compared to being in Las Vegas. I bought some postcards at a gift shop. We ate lunch at “High Scaler Cafe”: $21.35 USD for my chicken wrap with fries, and Jordan’s chicken fingers with fries, plus a large fountain pop. After eating we walked slowly back up the hills to where we’d parked the car.



We stopped at the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign on our way back to the hotel but it was very crowded. Instead, Stacey and I snapped some pictures from the vehicle. Dropped off the rental car, put our purchases in our room, and then headed over to the Luxor to see their room and hotel. The hotel is shaped like a pyramid and the windows in the room are slanted on an angle; it’s pretty neat! I found the hotel a little shabby though. We got frozen drinks at “Evening Call” in the Luxor. Jordan and I both got the passion berry flavour called “Call Girlz” ($7.00 USD for 17 oz and $11.00 USD for 25 oz). From there we walked leisurely through to Mandalay Bay, intending to visit the aquarium and shark reef but then we realized we can’t take the beverages inside.

Getting ready to see Cirque du Soleil’s “KA” tonight! I hope I can stay awake; I’m exhausted!



{April 3 – 3:30 pm PST – Las Vegas, Nevada}
Met up with Ryan & Stacey at our seats in the KA theatre at MGM Grande last night. This particular Cirque show has a storyline and I’m still not sure if I liked it or not. There was plenty of acrobatics, but it didn’t really “feel” like a Cirque show, if that makes sense. Some of the scenes were pretty cool but I did fall asleep a few times. I wonder if maybe I was just too exhausted to be able to enjoy it?

This morning Jordan and I left the hotel around 9:00 am and walked up the Strip on the New York New York side and made it as far as Caesar’s Forum Shoppes. Bought some water, chocolate bars, and a Vegas calendar at the CVS, a magnet for my friend Stacey back home, and some other souvenirs (all for under $12.00 USD). Browsed around the Crystals shopping centre; the stores are very upscale. Popped into the Cosmopolitan for a look around. Admired the beautiful ceiling of blown glass flowers in the Bellagio lobby, and wandered through the butterfly-themed courtyard.



We ate lunch at The Cheesecake Factory in Caesar’s Forum Shoppes, which was a recommended affordable place to eat that I read about on TripAdvisor. I ordered a delicious smokehouse BBQ burger with fries, Jordan had a pizza and beer, for $35.00 USD (including tip). While walking back to our hotel after lunch, Jordan was asked for money by a guy on the street. He offered the guy his beer instead, which he took with thanks. We’re going to head over to the lion habitat at MGM Grande in a bit, to meet up with a few people.



{April 3 – 10:00 pm PST – Las Vegas, Nevada}
Met up with our friends Ryan & Stacey and Chris & Katie (the couple getting married) around 4:00 pm at the MGM Grande’s lion habitat. We waited and waited to see the lions fed but nothing happened, so we left after taking a few photos. At one point Jordan asked me to hold his drink and as soon as I took it from him a security guard came over and asked for my I.D. Almost 29 years old and he thinks I’m underage. We left and wandered over to the Luxor to show Chris & Katie around. Headed over to Mandalay Bay and paid $16.95 USD per person to get into the aquarium and shark reef. It was neat to see but my camera battery died; I ended up taking some pictures with Jordan’s camera but it didn’t do a great job, unfortunately. Stacey had a headache so she and Ryan returned to their room while the remaining four of us walked over to New York New York. Jordan, Chris, and Katie wanted to go on the roller coaster. The ride costs $14.00 USD. Jordan said it’s not worth the price itself, but it was cool to go on the ride.



Jordan and I returned to our hotel afterward to change footwear and grab a sweater. The days are warm and windy and the nights are cool and windy! Walked over to M&M’s World and wandered around the store but didn’t end up buying anything. Checked out the Coca-Cola store as well, and bought my sister a Coke magnet. We ate dinner at Denny’s, trying to keep things cheap: appetizer platter and a chocolate milkshake for $13.00 USD (including tip). So tired, it’s time for bed!

***Continued in next post.