Las Vegas was a great experience. Although we arrived in the early evening it did not take us long to get out to hit the pavement to wander along the strip and gawk at the architecture that is Las Vegas. We were staying at Excalibur, which from the outside looks like some fantasy castle from back in the days of King Arthur. It is a bit tired when compared to some of the other casinos but the room rate was fine. For those who have been before, it is next door to New York, and Luxor and across the road from MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay. There are pedestrian overpasses everywhere connecting most of the casinos so getting around on foot is quite painless. The architecture of the casinos is extreme to say the least, New York looks just like New York and visiting Luxor is just like being in Egypt. The outside is a pyramid and inside the ceiling follows the roof line and of course there is a sphinx in the centre. Amazing. We wandered around most of the casinos, but would you believe, we must be one of the vary rare couples who did not even put a cent in a slot machine. At night the streets are alive with people, but during the day it is the opposite.
Funny thing - we had the TV on yesterday while we were waiting to check out of the hotel and a very serious guy was reading the news, the news item was about backyard pools and infant drownings. The news reader said 'there have been 5 drownings in Nevada in recent weeks, two of them were fatal'. What???
Moving along......we actually came to Las Vegas to visit the Grand Canyon. We had pre-booked our trip and it was absolutely fantastic. It was a very small group, about 12 people and we were picked up at about 6.15 am. The drive to the south rim took 5 hours, but was so worth the travel. I had been to the west rim before but the south rim was awesome, spectacular. We were dropped off at a car park and then walked about 2 and a half miles to a pick up point to take us back to our hotel. We had 3 hours to do the walk and we needed every minute of it. Needless to say we took heaps of photos. When standing on the rim and looking down it is about a mile to the bottom, it is a giddy making experience. The colours of the walls of the canyon are just beautiful, from reds, greys, blues, magentas, the rock formations are incredible, with huge rocks balancing upon other huge rocks, wind blown archways and caves.
We did not get back to our hotel till about 7.30 pm so no partying for us that night.
Next morning we again had an early start, this time to the Valley of Fire. Lucky us, we were the only ones on the tour, so we felt very special. This trip was also amazing and very different to the Grand Canyon. Our guide allowed us to stay in places as long as we liked, no pressure, so we really were able to soak up the magnificent scenery. Red, red sandstone cliffs, which again had been weathered over the milleniums to create some absolutely glorious formations. So another great day and no partying that night.
Our last day was spent wandering the strip and then packing for our flight later that day to New York.
So that now brings us to New York, where we arrived about an hour or so ago. We are staying over at Staten Island which is only a free ferry ride away from Manhattan. We are staying in the wildest B & B, its a turn of the century old house divided up into various rooms. We have a gynormous bedroom, a kitchen complete with shower recess (yes in the kitchen) then a separate loo (not in the kitchen). At $120USD per night it is a bargain.
When we arrived at JFK we queued for the taxi, and one was allocated to us, the driver put our bags in the boot, then an argument started between our driver and the guy who allocates taxis to passengers. These guys almost came to blows, the cabbie wanted to take us, the JFK guy was telling us to get out of the cab and we were stuck in the middle. The cabbie won but cursed and swore all the way to Staten Island then couldn't find the B & B.
So thats it for now. We are about to head out to discover the delights on the Big Apple.
Starting off in Sydney we head over to the US for a few days in Los Angeles, then Las Vegas and finally over to the Big Apple. Then off again, down to Cuba for about 18 days for some old cars, cigars and Baccardi. After that we head north, this time to Toronto in Canada for a whistle stop before crossing the Atlantic to the UK. One of the highlights there will be a week down on the Isle of Wight. Jetting off again we will then spend approximately the next two months driving around Italy and France. After all that hard work we journey over to Greece where we will island hop using the local ferry systems, with 3 nights on Santorini, 3 nights of Mykonos and 3 nights on Paros. Yep, we love doing the tourist stuff! Finally we begin the long haul home stopping off on the way in Honkers for a little retail therapy.