Had to say goodbye to the faithful Toyota Corolla today and it was a sorrowful parting. I took a quick drive around the parking lot to experience driving on the right hand side and I don’t know how Pauline did it. It was rather bizarre, I kept going to do things with my left hand but it had nothing to do. I gladly handed it back to Pauline and we took a quick drive to the airport to drop it off at Hertz. It was a really quick handover, just drive it in, they scan it with a barcode then do a quick once over and next thing you know you are on the courtesy bus to the terminal. Took a taxi back to the hotel then we hit the strip.

First stop was New York New York. It has buildings from New York like the Chrysler building and the statue of liberty. Inside, the Casino is dressed up like Central Park and the stock exchange. There are sewer lids with smoke coming out of them and a rollercoaster that goes around the whole complex. Excellent game arcade as well where I played a penalty shootout physical kicking game. She shoots, she scored!

We then moved on to the MGM Grand where we checked out the lion enclosure with the little cubs. You can get your picture taken with them for $20. The lions live somewhere outside Vegas on a ranch and different ones are shipped in everyday. They also work in half day shifts so they aren’t on display the whole day. Mostly they just sat around and looked at us.

Crossing the road we headed for the Excalibur which was a knights of the round table theme. They had some cool goblets and trumpet players greeting our arrival. There is a dinner show that involves jousting that looked interesting but also expensive. We then wandered through to the Luxor which is egyptian themed. Most of the facilities are housed in the pyramid and you can even get a room there. The top of the pyramid shines a light straight up in to the sky which can be seen for miles. There were mummies and camels everywhere, but neither of them were real.

Somehow we came across the tram to Mandalay Bay so we took it. Mandalay Bay didn’t really have a theme, it’s more a high class hotel. It has massive convention rooms and a really good buffet. If it was to have a theme it would be ocean based because they have an attraction there called “Shark Reef”. I guess it’s similar to Underwater World, but we didn’t go so I can’t be sure. We joined the long line for the buffet and it was worth it. Best value buffet I’ve ever had – they even custom make pasta for you and have baked salmon. mmm ham. We didn’t gorge ourselves but we left happy.

By now we were knackered as this took about 3 hours but we wanted to go the Star Trek Experience. We walked back through all the casinos looking for the strip trolley bus that we had seen earlier but couldn’t find any stops. It seems public transportation signs are in short supply. I eventually asked a lady selling tickets for a show and as we came out of the casino the bus came past. We followed the bus around the circular drive, but were too slow and only found the stop after it had driven off. So 15 minutes later after freezing our asses off the next bus came. The bus driver was great value as he answered questions from seasoned vegas travellers and gave us running histories on the hotel owners, disputes between hotels, pertanent information on the street closures and humourous comments on people on the street. This was almost the best attraction in vegas!! The trip took about 1hr 15 mins to make it past 8 hotels down one side of the street and the traffic seemed atrocious to us, but he reckoned this was normal.

We got off at the Hilton and made a beeline straight to the Star Trek Experience. Pauline had forgotten this was a ride because I had spoken so much about the drink we were about to have and was pleasantly surprised to see all the memorablia and star trek timeline. I saw Picard and Janeway’s uniforms and the different versions of tricorders. It was cool, but it got even better when we took the ride. I’m not allowed to talk about it too much as it was upset the space time continueum but we saw the holodeck, bridge, hallway and took a ride on the shuttle. We were both afraid that the shuttle ride would be like the Batman ride at Movieworld that I hated so much, but to our relief it was excellent and not in the least bit jarring. It was great to have the actual characters in the show speaking to you.

After the ride Pauline went ape in the souvenir store and wanted to buy everything. She settled on a star trek uniform shirt after wanting the $175 jacket. We looked at seven of nine’s eyepiece which was for sale for $800 and also some replica borgs for sale. Then it was the moment I had been waiting for since we arrived in Vegas. A Warp Core Breach!!! This drink has 5 different kinds of rum, fruit and dry ice to make it smoke. When we ordered it the waiter said it was our funeral. We had seen how big it was when we walked in and saw a lady in a wheelchair finishing it off and although we had second thoughts, we figured if she could drink it all by herself, then we could share it. (We later discovered she had shared it with one other guy). So, over the course of an hour, our jokes got funnier, my face got redder and we slumped further in to our booth seats. It was sooooo excellent!!! A ferengi, borg and a klingon all stopped by to have a chat and we had a great time joking with them. They said I was a geek lifeform due to my jumper and I said to the ferengi that I suppose he wanted us to pay him for just talking to us. I can’t say how much fun we had, I’m still smiling as I write this.

So we stumbled out of the Hilton, extremely happy and wasted and headed for the next casino Circus Circus. As you might be able to tell, this had a theme of clowns and bigtops. It had a rollercoaster in the adventuredome and cool computer games including another physical soccer game. Walking around drunk we just kept saying how much we loved Vegas and how much fun we were having. We stopped by at another casino (i can’t remember it’s name) to get 99 cent yard long margaritas, but the line was universal studios size, so we got a 5 cent coffee and a hotdog instead. By now the strip was closed to traffic so we just walked up the middle of it, eyes open in wonderment at all the flashing neon signs, people flicking brochures advertising call girls and people with hats and streamers and horns screaming happy new year.

Around about the Treasure Island casino the police took barricaded the inside two lanes on either side of the road, so we were limited to 2 lanes and the pavement to walk on. It started to turn annoying here as we had to battle the crowds. We went in to the Venetian which is the most expensive hotel in Vegas. It has gondolas with singing drivers, a roof that makes it look like it is always day and pebblestone streets with shops. Outside there was a band playing and milllions of people. Around about here we got bowled over by a stupid bitch with a mobile phone on her ear who seemed enjoy whacking in to peoplel. Pauline sweared at her rather loudly and for once I joined in because she was just so rude for no apparent reason. The crowds weren’t that large to justify what she did. Stupid bloody bitch.

We then went to Paris where the eiffel tower is to look for a fruit punch drink in a plastic container the shape of the tower. I waited in line for a while then noticed that they barely put anything in it for $17.50 and said stuff that!!!! We were almost sober now, and it wasn’t yet midnight, so we headed to the Aladdin and starbucks to get a gingerbread flavoured coffee. We ran the risk of it being hell gross, but it was really really nice. The guy in starbucks thought he had seen me before, but I don’t know how! My twin again hey? We sat on the floor in the Sahara Desert shopping walking to rest our weary bones as we had walked a very long way. We still had an hour to wait for the new year and we were starting to fade. We went outside to wait, but it was way too cold, and although we wanted to wait outside the Bellagio (dancing fountains and best view for fireworks) we ended up in a pharmacy to keep warm.

We eventually creaked our way to our casino, stood inside for about 10 minutes and came outside just in time to see the fireworks come off all the buildings. All the buildings had the same fireworks so that no one was better than anyone else. It was very spectacular and special, and although the drunks bashing in to us was annoying, we managed to clear them from our minds for the fireworks. Afterwards the crowd all streamed for the casino to get in from the cold and not long after we were back in our room. It had been a very long day, we had been in our hotel room for like 5 minutes all day, and it was pleasing to have a message on the answering machine from mum. Sorry we weren’t there at 11.46am, we must have left about 15 minutes before you rang (ps stop getting up so bloody early!).

It had to be the best new year we have ever had, and although we couldn’t share it with friends and family, it was an experience I’ll never forget. Viva Las Vegas!!!!



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