Day 34 – Los Angeles to Las Vegas

Today we would be flying from LA to Las Vegas, but since our flight wasn’t until 5.45pm we had a whole day to kill in Los Angeles. But killing time in LA is never hard. The group had a slow start to the morning, which has been rare on this trip. I’m not sure what everyone did for breakfast, but I know I didn’t have much to eat. A lot of the group spent a fair bit of time repacking our bags. There had been concern the whole trip about this flight and whether our bags would be under the limit. International flights have higher limits than domestic and though we would be fine for flying home, our domestic flight to Las Vegas would be challenging for some. There was a lot of juggling between carry on and checked to make sure we didn’t have to pay an extra.

Once everyone was packed and ready, we checked out of the hotel and synchronised our gps’s in the car for Canter’s Deli listening to Pauline complain about the broken mirror the whole way there. Canter’s is an LA institution with rockers and movie stars, but we weren’t expecting to see any at 10.30am in the morning. The majority of the group weren’t hungry so soon after breakfast, but having not eaten I was up for the huge pastrami sandwich.  The others chose bagels and pickles and tea, but I could sense their jealousy when mine arrived. The pastrami sandwich is to die for – it’s something I’ve never been served in Australia and if I was it would probably be over $20 with that amount of meat. I shared some with Madonna who fell in love with it too. The warm delicious spices of pastrami piled between the two slices of bread is worth revisiting LA just for that. In fact Madonna and I agreed that if we ever had a stopover in LA for more than 3 hours we would do a mercy dash just for that sandwich. The decor of the place hasn’t likely changed in 50 years with it’s booths, menu and stained glass? ceiling. Even the mural outside is impressive.

Canter’s Deli Mural:

Canter's Deli Mural

Roof of Canter’s Deli:

Roof of Canter's Deli

Entering Canter’s Deli:

Entrance to Canter's Deli

The magical Canter’s Pastrami Sandwich:

Pastrami on Rye at Canter's Delil

After Canter’s we headed over to Beverley Hills to do some celebrity home spotting. We didn’t buy one of the maps – instead using the Seeing Stars website to find the homes. One of the first streets we headed down was Roxbury Drive since a lot of the stars lived or used to live there. It was kind of underwhelming, so we headed over to Carolwood Drive to see what was going on there. We headed down a short road, but then it led in to a different street. Confused, Madonna’s car did a u-turn back in to Carolwood Drive, so we followed them doing a u-turn also. On our return all these people starting running for a gate while a car drove out of it – the people went a little mad and almost got run over. We wondered which celebrity lived there since the number wasn’t on the seeing-stars site at the time. It was only a month later when I was watching tv and recognised the gate and house that I discovered who lived there. We had mistakenly stumbled upon the last house Michael Jackson lived in, only a month before he died. I’ll never know if it was him in the car, but it was a bizarre experience.

Bored with looking at houses we headed over to Century City to do some shopping at the Westfield Shopping Centre. While there, I was given a card and some money as a thankyou for planning the trip, which was unexpected and a lovely gift of cash. With it I lashed out on some Miller Harris Coeur de Fleur Body Lotion which we discovered in one of the hotels we stayed in on the East Coast. It cost an obscene amount of money for body lotion – for that amount of money I expected my skin to smile when I put it on, but you can’t get Miller Harris in Australia just yet. Then, we made the mistake of visiting the foot locker where Kelly decided to buy some Nikes. Not wanting my sister to have all the fun, I also bought a pair of furry yellow, black and blue Nikes which I later discovered to be pretty rare Teen Wolf commemorative shoes. Sweet!

New hairy nikes

Leaving the shops we headed for the Santa Monica pier where I had a Tony Hawk moment. Driving down the wooden dock through the entrance to the carpark reminded me of the Santa Monica Pier level on the Tony Hawk Skateboarding game and instantly I knew where everything would be. The group split up on the pier to investigate, vowing to return at the specified time. Pauline and I wandered the stores, posed for photos then decided to take the ferris wheel. What was funny was that Kelly & Mat and Sue & Fiona all decided to do it around the same time so that we were all riding it. Afterwards Kelly, Mat and I played the bashing squirrel game thing which I won. I let Kelly pick the toy which of course ended up being a dog that reminded her of turbo. We then headed back to the car where we checked out what we bought and tasted some of the banana sundae Kelly had bought.

Pauline at Santa Monica Pier:

Pauline on Santa Monica Pier

Kelly and her puppy:

Kelly wins a puppy

View from the Ferris Wheel on Santa Monica Pier

View from the Santa Monica Ferris Wheel

Banana Sundae at the Pier:

Banana Sundae at Santa Monica Pier

Leaving the carpark we headed to Burbank Airport. Trusting our gps, the two cars separated, Madonna’s car being told to exit off the freeway and get back on again to avoid a traffic jam, while our car had no alerts so we got stuck. Interestingly enough, we beat the others to the airport traffic jam and all. Dumped all our luggage at the entrance with Fiona & Sue to mind it, then went to drop off the rental car. I was worried about the side mirror I had broken and was ready for a hard time, but all they did was give me a piece of paper to fill out and sent me on my way. Glad we took out the full insurance. Eventually the rest of the group turned up and we checked in, Madonna ending up being the only one to pay more for her checked luggage (and she had only been travelling a week and a half!). Of course, the rest of us were dying from lifting insanely heavy carry-ons.

LA Traffic Jam

Burbank Airport

The usual security checks were made and it was here that I made a fatal mistake. I had forgotten about the liquids limit and still had my Miller Harris body lotion in my carry on! Damn if I wasn’t going to throw away something so expensive, but the airport security were really great about it. They escorted me outside and told me to go back to the counter and see if my bag was still there. The counter staff were able to retrieve my bag and I shoved it back in happily, thankful that everyone was really nice about the whole situation. Usually the security get a bad rap, but they were fantastic, given what they have to work with.

I met up with the group at the gate who were settled reading magazines or buying coffee and gum. We boarded via the tarmac which was quite pretty with all the mountains surrounding the airport and then we were up and away to Vegas!

Madonna talks to the kids, while the others just wait

Leaving LA for Vegas Baby!

Leaving LA for Vegas Baby!

Landing in McCarran Airport the vegas virgins were shocked by the pokie machines in the waiting area and the huge signs advertising the Cirque De Soleil shows and Cher. We waited for our ride to the hotel, which I had ordered online. We waited and waited and waited and I called to discover the guy was stuck in traffic outside the airport. But it was all worth it when he turned up, because I had ordered a….. Stretch Hummer! We all squashed in with the luggage and disco lights and asked for him to drive down the strip. He refused since we had almost used up our hour – which I thought was bullshit since he had been late. That soured the journey a little since we had expectations for the amount we had paid, but we still made the best of it. The sun was going down, the neon lights were turning on and we were just excited to be in Vegas! He dropped us off at the Flamingo which was our hotel for the next few days and I negotiated a little lower price because of the stuff up.

Waiting for the transport:

Waiting for our transport to the hotel

Stretch Hummer!

Stretch Hummer Baby!

Disco lights inside the hummer

Inside the stretch hummer

In the hotel queue Kelly decided to try the $20 trick, which I didn’t because I had paid extra for the Strip View. Mum listened and asked for a cue if it worked, but we forgot in the excitement of it all to tell her. Kelly and Mat ended up in a suite overlooking the pool. Pauline and I unfortunately had a smokers room, but the strip view we wanted, while Mum and Madonna had a reasonable room but the worst out of us all. A fact that sucked, since she was the reason why we took this trip in the first place – for her 60th birthday.

Hallway at the Flamingo Hotel

Our rooms were incredibly awesome though, TV in the bathroom mirror, lcd screens, new beds and a view of Vegas to die for. The Flamingo is a great hotel thanks to it’s location in the middle of the strip, a view overlooking the Bellagio lake and Paris Hotel and the fact that the monorail station is at the back of the hotel. Plus it has one of the best pools in Vegas (not that I used it).

Pink bathroom:

Our pink bathroom at the Flamingo

Beds in our hotel room:

Bedroom at the Flamingo Hotel

View from our Flamingo Hotel Room

View from our room at the Flamingo Hotel

The pool at the Flamingo:

Pool at the Flamingo

It was now 10.30pm in Las Vegas and we headed out to get dinner. We took the monorail to the MGM, since they had some of the best restaurants on the strip. Off the monorail we stopped for cold alcoholic slurpee type beverages since in Vegas you can drink anywhere. Bizarrely, a lot of the restaurants had closed by 11pm which meant we ended up in the shitty cafe eating crap burgers and fries. A disappointment considering I wanted this Vegas trip to be a culinary adventure.

Kelly starts drinking:

Kelly loves slushy alcoholic bevereges

After eating we wandered the strip looking at New York New York and the bright lights then left Kelly & Mat to hang out with their friends Sam and Amber and have fun, while the rest of us old folks headed for bed.

Inside the MGM Casino

For more photos, check out the Flickr set.

For Kelly’s version of events, check out her matching day blog post.

Tweets of the Day:

@clialios its ok’ I’ve bought some floaties and a blow up banana! We’ll float back to australia.
@may17earthquake You’ve found out our secret. People who say sex instead of six ARE cuter than aussies. 🙂
Damn. There are tickets available for the Ellen show, but it doesn’t start until 4pm. Our plane leaves for vegas at 5.45 so no good. 🙁
No Doubt were going to be on the Ellen show too. Who booked those plane tickets?? Oh, that would be me.
@digitiel I think you are right, it must have been the fantastic hot dog you had before you went to sleep.
Pastrami sandwich to die for at canters deli. Swoon. And @danoz75  I’m sitting in a booth! http://twitpic.com/5fste
@matthew_hall it was absolutely stunning. Worth coming back to LA just for that!
Just bought some winter nikes. Furry on the inside just like ugg boots.  http://twitpic.com/5g0eg
Riding the ferris wheel at Santa monica pier. Wool!  http://twitpic.com/5g6ro
Feel like I’m living grand theft auto here on Santa monica pier.
Nearly lost my new bottle of lotion at the security checkin at the airport but I made it to my bag in time. Next stop, vegas baby!
Landed safe in Vegas. Have to admit I get a little thrill as soon as I see it. Stretch hummer will be transporting us to the hotel.
I feel like a pimp in this stretch hummer! Or lauren from the hills.  http://twitpic.com/5gtyb
Little bit bummed that the hummer ride didn’t last longer but we are lining up to check in to the hotel right now.
OMFG, we can see the fountains of the bellagio from here. I love vegas!  http://twitpic.com/5gxk9
There is a tv in the bathroom mirror! Sweet! http://twitpic.com/5gxu2
@j3thr0 I didn’t but @Kelsbells did and it worked! Her room is bigger but mine has the view!
@Contendo flamingo. So happy!
The gadget fun continues at the flamingo. Horizontal shower nozzles or what I like to call nipple cleansers. Also pink mood lights in shower
In honor of my workmates I am wondering the streets of vegas with a real pi̱a colada Рnot a virgin one.
it’s 1 am and there is still a traffic jam on the vegas strip.

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