Saturday, October 20, 2007

Las Vegas Trip

I went to Las Vegas this week to meet up with my friends, Craig and Chris, who I met while traveling in Australia two years ago. Craig is South African but lives in New Zealand and Chris is from England. They had just flew down from Canada after spending time going across it by train to Vancouver. Our first night in Vegas we went to the new Cirque du Soleil show about the The Beatles called "Love" at The Mirage. It was the best live performance I have ever seen. It was a great mix of acrobatics and dancing. The countless ways the stage could transform was amazing.

Finale of the LOVE Cirque du Soleil show
We stayed at the Bellagio with a nice room facing the fountains. We could watch the water spraying to the music on a special fountain channel on our room TV. I had the best accommodations of the three of us, a sleeping bag on the floor. I wanted to go with Craig to Monument Valley with a flight over the Grand Canyon but the tour was sold out so Chris and I cruised through the hotels on the Strip. I am always the most impressed with Caesar's Palace. I won a big jackpot on the slots at Luxor! Too bad it was just the Penny Slots!! We hung out around the pools at Bellagio on Wednesday relaxing.

Luxurious accommodation at the Bellagio
I have always wanted to go to the Fremont Street Experience while in Vegas, but I have never had the chance in the past. Wednesday night, we took the monorail and a public bus to reach downtown and we got there right before the first show of the lighted ceiling. It was very impressive and the sound system was powerful. The street was full of street artists, musicians and performers. Watching a guy make colorful portraits with spray paint was pretty interesting but the coolest was a gymnast who would balance on a pole held between two strong-looking guys. She would be thrown up into the air, doing twists and turns before landing back on the pole with her feet and she never lost her balance. I liked the vibe here. Very relaxed.

The colorful ceiling of the Fremont Street Experience
The last time in Vegas when I went to the Stratosphere, we weren't able to go up to the top of the tower due to high winds. So it was nice to go up this time and see the whole city landscape at night. The Strip was brightly lit and colorful to look at from this height. We went on two of the rides at the top of the tower. The Big Shot which catapulted us straight up into the air and free-falls back down. I have been on this type of ride before but never up at 1,000 feet which makes it intense. We then went on the scariest ride I have ever been on in my life, the X-Scream. It sits on a pivoting track that tilts out over the side of the tower as you slide quickly down the rail about 30 feet before coming to a sudden stop. I don't know why I sat in the front row with Craig, hanging out over the city streets with just a lap restraint. My palms were sweating and my knees shaking as I got off of this one. It was worse than skydiving.

The scariest ride of my life - rocketing off the side of the Stratosphere Tower
Chris flew back to San Diego with me to stay at my house until he flew home to England on Sunday. Craig was on his way to Orlando before flying home. I showed Chris around town, Point Loma, La Jolla, Pacific Beach and down to the Gaslamp Quarter in Downtown where we had dinner and went inside the Haunted Hotel.

Running down the catapult line of the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier
On Saturday, Chris and I went down to the USS Midway in the San Diego Harbor and then over to Sea World. The audio tour of the USS Midway is very informative and the aircraft carrier is huge. I have been wanting to come visit it for a couple of years now. I always enjoy the shows at Sea World.

High leaping dolphin at Sea World

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