So I took the bus ride from LA to Las Vegas…. unfortunately I could not get an overnight bus, so I took the bus which runs through the day, which gave me the opportunity to see some of the dessert…actually quite nice, just like in the movies
So I arrived around 16:15 at the greyhound station in Las Vegas. From there it was not a long way for me to walk to the hostel…well ok it kind of was. Also in Las Vegas it is best that you come by your own car or you rent a limo. Now you guys ask why wasn’t I staying in a hotel? Well I was travelling alone so you meet more and better people in a hostel and around new year the prices for hotel rooms in Vegas are really high!
The hostel is actually not in a nice area…it is surrounded by Motels which surrounded by homeless people and used by some hookers. But who cares, I always put my angry look on with my black beard…nothing can happen
So I arrived at my hostel and around 8 pm then one of my friends from couchsurfing (Adam) who lives in Vegas picked me up to grab something to eat and drink at a local place (Sportsbar) where no tourists are. Was nice to see that people who live in Vegas have actually a live besides the Las Vegas Strip.
How did I met Adam? Well on couchsurfing me and some people were discussing on to travel together to see the Grand Canyon. One polish au pair (Eweline) from San Francisco, a guy from Malta (Ryan) and the US guy (Adam) and me fixed a trip to the Grand Canyon for the 30th of December. We were especially lucky that Adam has a car and offered to drive
The evening was good, but I went early to bed as I had to wake up pretty early the next day to go to the Grand Canyon!!! Yeah!!!
So I got up around 4 in the morning to get ready, Adam and Eweline picked me up at 5:00 and then we went to get Ryan…. actually it is kind of crazy, goin on such a day trip with people I have never met before (except Adam the evening before, lol)
Our first stop was the hoover dam
“Hoover Dam, once known as Boulder Dam, is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between the US states of Arizona and Nevada. It was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression, and was dedicated on September 30, 1935, by President Franklin Roosevelt. Its construction was the result of a massive effort involving thousands of workers, and cost over one hundred lives.(Wikipedia)”
The dam is actually right at the border between the states Arizona and Nevada, and there is even a time zone change between those two states. I must say the dam is pretty impressive! We went early in order to have a glimpse on the sunrise and also to escape the mass of tourists… it seems that we were there too early as the bridge/damn is only open for pedestrians by daylight. (Seriously, police is checking and we experienced it!)
We did not wanted to take the tour through the dam. But fact is Las Vegas would not exist without the light that the dam produces. But what you should try out are the toilets which are at the dam. From there you have a really nice view!!! Guaranteed! Also worth to visit is the memorial which was built up for all the workers who died during the project.
We took several stops on our way to the Grand Canyon National Park….
but luck was not really on our side. I would have never thought that it could snow in Arizona! Moreover it was not just snowing…it was a real snow storm! And as many people are not used to the snow there, sometimes because of others our Car got stuck and we had to push the car to get it going!
Finally after some time we reached the National Park, reached the entrance, paid the fee (25$) and again were warned (by the amazing looking femal park ranger) that there is a bad storm and that it would not be really possible to see something. Anyway we came all the way, lets try.
So we went in and it was bad! We had to push the car again but then the car was going and me and Ewelina could not catch it, so for a couple of hundred meters we were walking and the main attraction for the tourist that were comming/going to the Canyon. At the Canyon one could get the idea of how high and large the Canyon is, but one could see almost nothing due to the storm. Anyway it was a great experience, who can at least say that he has been to the Canyon during a snow storm….
So we left the Canyon (Southern Rim) rather quickly, wait we lost Ryan and I had to search him for some minutes, but in the end we found him and went to the IMAX theatre to at least see the Grand Canyon on the big screen…it seemed that many tourists had this idea. The movie is ok, but not really recommended when you have the real thing next door, but can’t see it. What can I say…it was a group decision But still good to get a bit warmed up, especially for Ryan as he did not had a jacket or gloves.
Then we grabbed some food (Pizza, rather expensive) and made our way back to Vegas. It took us some more time due to the bad weather but it was a fun road trip. But the day was not over yet. I was dropped of the Hostel around 21:30, had a hot shower (this saved my life) some tea, got ready and got picked up by Adam in order to party with the other guys at the Hard Rock Hotel Club (yes the hotel club and not the Cafe)
Apparently Ryan’s host now some people and we got into the Club for free and without queuing. Furthermore it was Ladies night and Ewelina got some drinks for the guys The party was amazing! A hard rock drummer on stage who played a long to the DJs music, great entertainment by dancers, and the waitress really gave the guests the impression “welcome to sin city”. In the club I also met the Hostel crowed, who happened to also be partying there. So double fun!
Finally I arrived back at the hostel around 5 in the morning, that means I was 24 hours up and running! So I was happy to see my bed! An amazing start into Vegas life!
Day 3 (31.12)
As you might guess, I slept only a few hours… I have far more important things to do then sleeping when I am travelling! So I met a new roommate at the hostel who was from Australia and just arrived to Vegas. So we teamed up and walked to the strip. (a rather long walk, next time we better take the bus). To get to the bus we first had to walk to the Fremont Experience which is close to our hostel
“The Fremont Street Experience (FSE) is a pedestrian mall and attraction in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. The FSE occupies the westernmost 5 blocks of Fremont Street, including the area known for years as “Glitter Gulch,” and portions of some other adjacent streets. The attraction is a barrel vault canopy, 90 ft (27 m) high at the peak and four blocks, or approximately 1,500 ft (460 m), in length. While Las Vegas is known for never turning the outside casino lights off, each show begins by turning off the lights on all of the buildings, including the casinos, under the canopy. Before each show, one bidirectional street that crosses the Experience is blocked off for safety reasons.(Wikpedia)”
So at the fremont street experience we had a good donout breakfast, passed the stratosphere tower and reached finally the Las Vegas Strip with all the Casinos and Hotels. We saw it all, Treasure Island Hotel, the Venetian, the Belagio, The new york new york hotel (ride)
New York New York Hotel… amazing!!!
Bellagio Hotel with Fountain
Went to a food court to grab some good burger. Then I called up at 3 in the afternoon my family to wish them a happy new year in Germany (time difference). Was kind of different but it seemed that many people were experiencing this that day. We checked out a shopping plaza with major stores of Prada and other high quality brands…this was crazy! The first time that I saw a mall which had more security than shoppers.
The fun thing about Las Vegas is that this town is all about fun. If you buy a cocktail you get a mega large guitar or can witch a really long straw that you can carry around as it was a bagpack.
So finally we went again to the belagio hotel to watch the fountain show (Amazing with the music, lights and fountain). Then we took the bus back to Fremont street to walk from there back to the hostel to grab some dinner.
Ah it is the 31st of december! So what are my plans for New Years eve? Well I had no plans but the hostel had one so I signed up, ironed my shirt and suit and went down to the lobby! Around 9 pm we all gathered, the hostel organized 3 hummer limosines with unlimited champagne! So we had an amazing ride with lots of cool people to the MandalayBay Hotel (which is one of the large hotels on the Las Vegas Strip) jumped the queue to entry the night club eyecatcher and it was an amazing party!
Just before midnight we all walked out to the strip to see the fireworks (it was nice but to be honest, I have seen better ones) at the MGN Hotel. After the fireworks I went back to the club to continue with the partying! Afterwords it was difficult to get back to the hostel…too tired to walk back home…too long queues for the taxi, so had to wait a little bit longer to get a chance to get the bus…
So when I reached the hostel and went to bed it was around 5 in the morning. At 6 I was woken up by a female police officer that was standing in my hostel room. I felt like I am in a drill camp. Well some of us were also thinking that this might be some prank or someone ordered a stripper
But no it was actually the real police. One guy could not get in his room (our room) there was a booking mistake by the hostel and two wrong brazilians were put into our room. The guy was drunk, could not get into his room and therefore called the police. The best part of the police officer was the sentence that she said when she entered “good its hot in here, are you guys baking cakes or what”. Great start into 2010.
Anyway after the police left, I was able to catch some more hours of sleep and got up around 11. Enjoyed my pancake breakfast, had some tea, chilled, talked with some other travellers. Then had a great dinner and went with some people to see the fremont experience lightshow. Wow this is really something that you should not miss when you happen to be in Vegas. The light shows there change regulary.
Then we went again to the Vegas Strip to see some of the other free shows of the hotels. The Treasure Island show with pirates, and many explosions. Then the volcano show at the mirrage hotel also great! The downside is always that the shows have specific timings and one has to wait sometimes until one show starts.
Then I went to the ceasars palace, had a view on the sky painted ceiling, lots of nice statues, went to the Casino, played some rounds and then passed the pussycat dolls club. Again had to wait long for the bus to get back to the hostel.
At the hostel I had again a good time with people from the UK, France and America. Went to bed around 5 in the morning (I guess this became some sort of a habbit) But before I went to bed I said good by to my friends from Santa Barbara with whome I celebrated New Years with.
My last day in Vegas. I went early to the fremont street experience in order to purchase tickets for a cirque de soleil show. See another amazing thing about Vegas is that there are plenty of shows that one can watch. And the different cirque the soleil shows are one of the most spectacular and therefore worth seeing.
So I got some tickets, actually quite cheap, as there are stalls who sell last minute rest tickets for much lower rates. (tix4tonight) So after I got the tickets, I went to the New York New York hotel to try out the rollercoaster and also to exchange my voucher for the actual show ticket. The rollercoaster ride was short but good! Recommended!
From there we then went to the MGM Hotel to see the Lions, and from there took the bus to get to the Gun Store. Now many of you will think, what is the gun store about and what is Kawe doing there? Well my friend Bruce told me that Las Vegas has a gun store where one can try out all sorts of gun … and by all sorts it really means all sorts.
So I tried out a classical Uzi and my Australian friend was convinced by the good looking texas dialect speaking ladies to try out a full gun package. The fun thing is that you can pick any target that you want, (I took bin Laden) then you get your ear and eye protection, an instructor and you are ready to go. It was the first time that I shot a gun, especially one like this and I must say it is kind of scary. Why is it scary? Well it was so easy to fire 35 bullets in a couple of seconds and also hit the target… So I don’t want to even imagine meeting a person who has such a gun and is on his way to kill people. It became even stranger when we met an afro american outside the store at the bus stop. He chose as his target the picture of a good looking girl, because he recently broke up with his girlfriend. And guess what he was from Detroit, luckily I live outside Detroit and not in the city.
So after the gun shooting I went back to the NYNY Hotel, watched the show which was mind blowing, it is unbelievable how talented some people are! Went then again to the Bellagio to have one more time a look at the fountain show (can’t get enough). Continued then to the Stratosphere Tower:
“Stratosphere Las Vegas is a tower, hotel, and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada. Its tower is also the tallest observation tower, and the 5th-tallest structure, in the United States, as well as being the tallest structure in Las Vegas. It is owned by Whitehall Street Real Estate Funds, an affiliate of Goldman, Sachs & Co who purchased American Casino & Entertainment Properties which includes the Stratosphere along with three other properties. The sale closed on February 21, 2008 for US$1.3 billion. The property’s signature attraction is the 1,149 ft (350.2 m) Stratosphere Tower, the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States, and the second tallest in the Western Hemisphere, surpassed only by the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario. The hotel is a separate building with 24 stories, 2,427 rooms and an 80,000 sq ft (7,400 m2) casino (Wikipedia).”
The rides are worth the money. Well the free fall tower is kinda boring but still you have an amazing view over Las Vegas. The other rides are even better Of course you can also enjoy the view without buying tickets for the ride. I was there kind of late so did not had to queue up that long, but I guess during the day one has to wait long.
From the tower I then took the bus back to the hostel, packed my bag, played some pool, meet again many travelars and actually did already checked out as I did not need the bed during that night.
at 4 in the morning I then took the shuttle to the airport, met there my Brazilian friend Eunice (remember my roommate from Los Angeles) had a good Starbucks Chai Tea latte and took my flight back to Detroit.
Unfortunately I had a lay over in Minneapolis (from the window I could only see white everywhere). Also during the flight my illness came through (a bad cold) which I pressed down during the travelling. So the stop over was actually good because I could get some medcine. At the airport I had a good lunch and then took my flight and arrived at 5:30 in the afternoon in Detroit. The booked taxi picked me up and brought me back home… finally some rest … well not that much as I had to work again next day…
I must say it was an amazing trip along the West Coast!!!! I just wished I had more time!
PS: If you think that there are some infos and images missing…well I only can say this…