“There was a madness in any direction, at any hour. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning” – Hunter S Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
Vegas – what a place! We woke up at 6am to get on the coach in LA at 7:15. Our Contiki tour manager Braden had to talk to the group for the first two hours which was actually really good and helpful. He explained the logistics of our tour, which optional activities we wanted to sign up for in Vegas (all of them!) and explained a few of the cultural differences between Australia and the USA. For example; why is the toilet water so high in the toilets? And why don’t hotels have ceiling lights, only lamps? It is little things like that which make a difference. After he finished talking we stopped off at this super stop in Barstow, California where we got a donut and a coffee from Dunkin Donuts, the donut was good, the coffee was shit (still yet to find a decent coffee here). We met a few more people on our tour here. We are slowly meeting everyone. There are 54 people on our tour so it takes time.
Following our stop we hopped back on the bus and listened to music and chilled until we got to a spot that was not on the itinerary but Braden and Alex (our bus driver, looks like he could be a son of Ragnar Lothbrok) thought it would be cool to stop at. They were right. It is called Seven Magic Mountains. It is a giant art piece in the middle of the desert. It is made up of 7 towers that are essentially gigantic neon boulders stacked on top of each other. It was pretty cool, but it was also ridiculously hot in the middle of the desert.
We ended up making it to Vegas. The strip is massive! It was so much bigger than we imagined. It is beautiful, even in the day time. We got dropped off at a casino called Harrah’s where we had two hours of free time before we had to go to the hotel to check in. We wandered around through the Linq promenade and ended up at Caesars palace which is spectacular.
All of the casinos here put The Star in Sydney to shame. Caesars is our favourite though and is the one that a lot of people know from ‘The hangover’. We went to H&M inside Caesars which was huge and had its own DJ.
Then we went to the food court and bought some ramen each. Big mistake, it was gigantic. We only needed one between us and even that was too much. Also that meal cost us an arm and a leg. On the way back to the bus (we had to walk through like 5 casinos) We saw a Game of Thrones slot machine. So naturally we chucked a dollar in. Lost that bad boy on a single spin, the best part was when we lost it a video of Cersei Lannister popped up and was like ‘when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die’ fun! Something that threw us off about Vegas is that people can smoke and drink anywhere – inside, outside you name it.
We went to the hotel to check in. We’re staying at a casino called The Golden Nugget on Fremont street. Fremont street has a massive LED screen that stretches for 4 blocks and covers the entire roof! It’s hard to explain but it is magnificent.
We checked in, had about an hour and a half to get ready to go out. Aimee bought clothes to wear from H&M but unfortunately they forgot to take the security tags off. 5:45 hit and we were on the coach all dressed to impress with the tunes pumping. We rolled to the Vegas sign for a group photo and then we went to dinner inside Caesars Palace at a place called planet Hollywood. This was an included dinner on the tour so the whole group was there. We sat at a tables with about 8 other people and got to know some of them a bit better. Everybody’s stories and backgrounds are so interesting.
Dinner was yummy and we had too many cocktails and were pretty drunk by the time we left. We all stumbled back to the coach and by this point everyone was a few drinks deep. Then we went on a surprise optional. We drove to a wedding chapel where we all rolled in. Our tour manager told us that we were sitting in on a wedding vow renewal. When we got there Elvis rolled into the chapel singing songs and rocking out – Elvis style. It was so good. Then he called forth two people from our tour (a couple on their honeymoon) to renew their vows with hilarious Elvis themed vows. This was a blast.
We coached it back up to Fremont street for the lights and sound show. We ordered a a vodka slushy with some people and drank that while we watched the show. Fremont street was hectic at night, thousands of people and some dude with a microphone and a huge sign walking around telling everyone that if they keep partying and don’t follow the rule of god and Jesus that we’ll all go to hell. So naturally Ronnie had some choice words for him.
The next part of our night was included on the tour which was VIP and guest list access to one of the hottest nightclubs in Vegas. It was called Hakkasan at the MGM Grand. DJ Zedd was on. All the girls got to go on first and they all got a free drink. We ended up in there for a while for a few drinks and just to check it out. It was extremely packed and not really our scene so we left.
Then we left the club to meet up with a friend that Ronnie have been talking to for over 10 years online. His name is Gus. He recently moved to Vegas and as we were in town, we made the meeting happen. Gus turned out to be just like he is online, an absolute legend. We smashed a few drinks at the sports bar inside MGM and then went for a stroll down the strip. A few panhandlers tried to sell us their shit on the street, we ignored them and Ronnie called one of them a panhandler and he was pissed. We kept walking but Gus being the nice guy he is spent like 15 minutes calming this guy down who was irate. Ronnie didn’t mean to offend him, but whatever, if he is going to try and aggressively sell tickets on the street and put stuff in your hand he is a panhandler. Eventually we went to the Bellagio and said goodbye to Gus.
We got home at about 3am and hit the hay. Our first night in Vegas was epic and we cannot wait for another one tonight. We love Vegas!
Ronnie & Aimee.