Friday, August 20, 2010

Viva Las Vegas!!

Wow, what a birthday! We had such a big day, jam packed full of awesomeness. It all started with a delicious breakfast... fresh, crispy Belgian waffles with berry compote, thick vanilla cream and maple syrup, dusted with icing sugar and garnished with fresh berries. I had to force that down, obviously. Along with some freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, I was armed with a cheesy grin and large poodge overhanging my shorts.
Because we didn't have enough waffles in Europe...

We have been so stoked to be able to drink real coffee again. Europe has terrible coffee, due largely to their strange aversion to milk. In Vegas you can get whatever you want. Deliciously fresh brewed pots of coffee, smooth shots of espresso, or a latte venti, which is the biggest friggin' coffee on Earth. Seriously, these things are like a litre of coffee. Ok, USA!

We were in the tower on the right, about halfway up.
Staying in the Signature at the MGM Grand means full access to the MGM Grand facilities, such as their 5 pools including the Backlot River pool. This was basically a mile long circuit that somehow has a current generated, so it blasts you around in your little inflatable tube (or 'toooob' as they're known here). 

So, 10:00am saw us waiting for the gates to open, and then launching ourselves into the river. Huzzah!!


Then you blast around trying to smash little kids and your spouse with your tube.
Very Mae West...

Here we are toobin':

Amazing how much fun you have in a car tyre in a swimming pool, even when you're nearly 30...

Yes, very cool.
Some have the gift. Others...

It's written right there on the front
No one spins as fast as me! With my dainty legs...

Cruising the Backlot River!!

I'm a bit special, really...
We had such a great time, couple of cheeky buggers that we are. After we had well and truly exhausted ourselves, and clocked enough kids in the face with our mad tubing skills, it was time for my birthday present. A trip over the Grand Canyon in a microscopic plane, powered by a giant rubber band and our Cap'ns, James and Jeff!

Flying sardine can
We jumped in a bus out to the "airport" in Boulder City, about 30 minutes out of Vegas. Upon arrival we jumped into our tiny plane, and held our breaths, assured by the pilot calmly proclaiming "Ho boy, she's gon' be a bumpy ride!" You stick little headphones on for the guided tour.
Very calmly shitting my pants.

The Grand Canyon is awesome. 4 billion years old or something, the Canyon is biggest damned hole in the ground you've ever seen, an absolute geographic treasure. The range of colours and texture is endless, and you're really blown away by the sheer depth.

Apparently enough to propel a plane full of people through the sky
They damned the Colorado River too, with the Hoover Dam, creating a MASSIVE lake which is now used for recreation, as well as a major water source for the region. It's really pretty, a stunning landscape of azure.

At certain times of the year you can raft down this sucker.
The Hoover Damn.

Named after the US President, J. Edgar Hoover, the dam is as thick at the bottom as it is high.

It was interesting to hear that some Native American tribes still live in the depths of the gorge.

Lake Mead, giant man made lake
After a particularly....BRIEF landing, requiring a second change of underwear, we finished our tour. I was so stoked, what an awesome experience. It's not just a hole in the ground, it really is an amazing place. It was pretty scary in the plane which got buffeted around like crazy due to updrafts and what not, but still so worthwhile.

So, back to Vegas to shower and shave, and then we headed off to the next thing on the list. We got AWESOME tickets to see the stage production of the Lion King over at the Mandalay Bay, which we enjoyed. So awesome at the start, they get these African singers to blast out the opening song...tingles up your spine. Typically, I wanted to shoot the child actor playing young Simba, but once he got replaced with the older version, it was pretty rad.

Our own Lion King at the MGM Grand
So, the plan was then to walk the strip and drop some money on Blackjack, but we were both just so knackered that we cabbed it straight back to the hotel, and hit the hay. What an awesome, awesome way to turn 29. I had such a great day. Vegas is a great place, not anything near as seedy as I thought it would be, and very friendly. Thanks Han for sorting it all out!!


  1. Yayayayayay!!! So Stoked for you guys! You look like you are having a blast!!! Tube river looked FUN!!!!!! You both look very happy! Grand Canyon - that's awesome - thanks for putting that up (you don't know how much I look forward to these updates when I am sitting at my desk!!). Hoorahh!

  2. The Grand Canyon was so good. I think we have some great photos too! Slide show when we get back!