America's Playground



I forgot this place was called America's Playground, and after a day or so here, you can see why. It really is the capital of everything that is immoral, or fun, or both. 

One can also see why you'd want stuff that happens here to stay here. It's all flash, and no substance. The ground is littered with ads for prostitutes. Everything is overpriced. Everything is luxurious. Every surface is lit up like the moon (coincidental fun fact: Las Vegas is the brightest city from outer space). There are the most lax liquor laws anywhere I've ever seen - it's completely fine to buy a drink somewhere and just walk with it down the Strip and wander somewhere else. 

(This time, literally). 

This week of our holiday was the most holiday-ish part. Of sleeping and relaxing a lot, with shopping and eating mixed in. The usual. 

So this is a week's worth of photos - various places and things, but I suppose it's kind of set out like a walk down the Strip and back. Which is a pretty damn good walk, if you ask me.

Let's go. 

Starting at our hotel, the MGM Grand - from our room, to be specific. The MGM Grand is near the end of the Strip, so going to the end and back covers everything you want to see. 

The Strip is over to the left.

MGM lobby.

Casino, casino.

Excited by this point because can recognise things from Ocean's 11. 

Outside! Across the road: New York New York. Weird seeing all the NYC themed things, after having come straight from NYC. 

Starting lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. 

We wanted to go to the original one - we assumed here or LA or something - it's actually in London, because it's British. Whoops. 

A quick detour to get snacks for the room, instead of buying a hugely expensive something every time we got peckish (weird after having our own apartment and kitchen for 3 weeks) - everything in Vegas is lavish and luxurious, except the supermarket's fruit section.

But I digress - you're only really here to see Vegas at night, obviously.


Behind is the Excalibur casino/hotel. Home of Thunder from Downunder. Heh heh. Google it.

The Monte Carlo, across the road. 

So the Strip is set out in a very specific way - you can't just walk down and up, the path is built and blocked off so that you must go up escalators, over bridges across the road and through shopping centres and casinos. All with two very specific points - so you can buy as much as possible, and so that drunk people die as little as possible.

So a small detour into Planet Hollywood one night - 

All the casinos obviously look pretty similar, but interesting to note the different atmosphere and decor that dictates what kind of clientele it's looking for. 

Once you've seen one slot machine, you've seen them all. 

Dinner: a Gordon Ramsay place called 'Burgr'. Because apparently fancy restaurants do not require the use of vowels. 

Fancy iPad menu things. 

That's one super fancy dawg. 

Also truffle and cheese fries. 

End food porn, recommence the Strip walk -

The Paris casino - who needs Europe, eh. 

The Bellagio, what I believe is the classiest of all the casinos, and where most of Ocean's 11 was actually set. 

And here's Caesars Palace (no apostrophe in 'Caesars' anywhere, anywhere, it was awful) - by far the biggest casino, with a lot more shops and other fun things than the others, and also where Tony Stark was in Iron Man, which made me happy. 


Bloody massive H&M. Sigh.

A giant bowl for some pretty miserable-looking sting rays. 

An utterly bizarre robotic reenactment of the fall of Atlantis, complete with incomprehensible mumbling, flames, and terrible character development. 

Dinner right behind the fish tank - a salad. As big as my head. 

Caesars (arg) lobby.

Speaking of Caesars - these are the Forum shops, with all the fancy and the pretend ceiling and the restaurants and the statues. 

Found this brand in Toronto - here it has its own shop, ooh. Spelled wrong, and for skinny rich people though :( 

But who cares, because CURVED ESCALATOR!!


Also much less fancy, but much more alarming, types of stores:

 Back out again, going up the way we came, but on the other side.

Which means - through the Bellagio, and the super super fancy shopping strip you have to walk through to get to the Bellagio.

Nice work, Strip people. 

Other things that happened:

Shopping. We found the outlet centres. All of them. 

A spontaneous "cbf-going-downstairs-to-get-ripped-off-for-dinner-so-may-as-well-do-it-in-our-room" session. 

About 3 or for mornings (and a lot of the afternoons) were spent here - 

After coming from Toronto and New York, 11 degrees seemed like perfect swimming weather. 

Especially in the spa. 

One night was spent at the circus; a Cirque du Soleil show is featured at nearly every major hotel/casino - went to see LOVE at the Mirage because Beatles. Clearly you need no better reason than that.

No photos in the theatre. 

But, just for you, here is a slight kind-of view of the incredible performance space before the curtains went up, or in this case...across... or...disappeared entirely...I'm not sure. 

Absolutely bloody effing brilliant. 

Fancy hair things out of the finale streamers. 

One day, we conquered a Vegas buffet.

Or maybe it conquered us. 

On the last night, Ellie and I realised we hadn't gone up the top of the Stratosphere, the casino/hotel at the very other end of the Strip. 

If you've been reading and keeping up with my travels for a while and have been taking notes (good on you), you might remember I mentioned the Stratosphere before, most notably the fact it has a massive amusement park perched on the top of it. 

Just a small reminder:
Just to jog your memory.

We did it. The view from the top:

And the big drop, which we did. It's the closest anyone will every come to flying. Or dying. Not sure on which of those, either. 

The face of flying/dying.

Back down somewhat close to Earth - giant Margaritas on the street. 

Because you can. Seriously, that is the reason. 

And we're done.

BUT, I hear you say, what about the Bellagio's beautiful fountain show?

Well, I'm glad you asked, because damn that is spectacular. 

It happens every hour or so, and each fountain sequence is different, set to a different piece of music. There was Lucy in the Sky, then Elvis' Viva Las Vegas (I see what you did there), but here, because I like you, I recorded it all set to Lord of the Dance.

Just for you.

Until next time, people.

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