Sunday, January 08, 2012

Day Seventeen, Shops and Caffeine

It felt good to sleep waaaaay past 4.15am on our third day in Vegas. Indeed we were in no rush whatsoever to get moving on Thursday. We headed back to Jimmy Buffet's for breakfast, where I demolished a delicious plate of huevos rancheros much to the horror of my parents. I can't help it - huevos rancheros is my favourite breakfast item. It's fun to say AND fun to eat. Whatever.

The meal was just to fortify us for the day of consumer madness at the Las Vegas Outlet Mall (south side). I came out here on my Vegas trip in 2008, but they have added a few more stores since then. We bought our $7 day tickets on The Deuce - the Strip's shuttle bus service - and got out to the Mall for a great day of browsing and buying. I snagged a few great clothes bargains but one thing the place seriously couldn't offer us was good coffee. [Side point to all Australian baristas who might be reading this. Please come over to the US and use your skills. Expats in this country need you, man. This is not a drill.]

Carrying multiple bags (and a new suitcase for my parents), we caught the Deuce one stop closer to the Strip, to a place called Town Square. I think this must be where Las Vegas locals shop. It has a Whole Foods, a bunch of other dining and clothing stores, and a massive electronics store (which was why we stopped in). We also managed to get a half-decent cappuccino, which helped immensely.

Back on The Strip we dropped our bags off in our room and caught the Deuce to the MGM Grand, just in time to see the lions before they went to bed at 7pm. I also found a fantastic light-up postcard for Granny in the gift shop, and it was all I could talk about for hours. Lame.

Wandering back along the Strip we saw the fountains of the Bellagio exploding with full-force, which was just amazing. We'd seen them a few nights before (but from the Hotel side) so it was very impressive to stand across from them and watch them spout and froth in time with the music. Oh Vegas, how I love you for being totally over the top.

And before long we were back on the Deuce, this time heading out north for the Freemont Street experience. Our Grand Canyon tour guide had suggested this as the first item on his must-see list and I had done it in 2008, so I was definitely eager to head back there. And it HAD changed a bit since I was last there, so that was really good to see. They've added a zip line for one thing, so you can go flying-foxing over the heads of people and I was quite surprised when Mum said she would be keen to do it. We didn't though - perhaps it's a job for next time? After a bit of a flutter on the slots at the iconic Golden Nugget casino (which was not as seedy as I remember it being last time), we were under the giant canopy of plasma screens just in time for the 9pm light show happening 90ft over our heads, this one set to the music of The Doors. Amazing.

Even though we hadn't gambled our lives away, or even seen a stage show, by this point in the holiday Las Vegas had chewed us up and spat us out. We were exhausted. It was all we could do take the Deuce back past the World's Largest Gift Shop and to our hotel, stuffing in some food and a cold beer, before collapsing into bed.

Day Eight & Ten, Back to NY Again
This is just a brief paragraph, and not something that needs its own blog entry. The last day of my holiday with my parents was Friday and it all happened so fast - the airport shuttle, the check-in, the hasty coffee & farewell before we parted ways.

I know that just by reading back over these blog entries I can relive all the great times we had - not only discovering New York together, but also Washington DC and Las Vegas. From the stories they've told me, my parents really enjoyed their US adventure and I am so grateful they let me tag along. I hope I can see them again soon. At the very least, now that Dad has retired he should have plenty of time to make me the photo DVD of our trip that he promised me. Get to it, fella!

Back to work on Monday - eek, normal life rears its ugly head already. Fortunately my cousin is coming to visit later this month so I'm counting down the sleeps until that one. We have a date with Jon Stewart (well, with the taping of his show anyway) so let the anticipation build!

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