**Flying in style to the Grand Canyon**
Aaaaah, it seems like a mere mirage in the desert now, but my trip to Vegas was once again nothing short of fabulous! The lure of the neon lights, the heat, shopping malls, live music, endless glasses of champagne and big fat bastard meals draws me back every time. What can I say? I’m a sucker for the glitz and fakery.
This trip saw Tez (my partner in crime, A.K.A. my BFF) and I stay at the Hard Rock Hotel for 8 nights while we truly immersed ourselves (read; drank, ate and gambled) into Vegas culture.
**Dino’s, one of the last dive bars in Vegas**
**Rocking out at the Nelson gig**
Our first full day saw us off on our helicopter ride out to the Grand Canyon which I surprised Tez with! I told her to think of it as an early birthday gift and made her promise this was the last of our big gifts, from here on out we need to save for bigger and better holidays!
It was hot and stinky and at times truly terrifying but boy was it pretty flying out! Once in the Canyon we stopped off for a “champagne picnic” which wasn’t very fancy but the champers was much needed to quash the nerves. After some quick snaps it was back in the chopper for our ride back which finished off with a fly over the Strip.
That evening as we were waiting for Karen to arrive we happened to be sitting out the front of the casino to escape the cold of the air conditioning when who else happens to be arriving at the same time? None other than the band that I’d come all the way from Oz to see, Nelson! To say they were lovely would be an understatement. You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face for the rest of the trip, my weird premonition had come true.
**The entrance to the Hard Rock Hotel**
**Rock and roll at the Hard Rock**
**Hmmmm pool life**
We spent most of Friday lazing by the pool and enjoying the sun. That evening we had an incredible dinner al fresco at the Culinary Dropout (at HRH) while being serenaded by the sweet harmonies of Nelson in the background as they were doing their sound checks. Their pool-side gig was nothing short of my ideal venue! Oh so close and intimate and to top it off they all came out for pics and chats afterwards. HEAVEN!
After the concert we hung out at a bar called the Ainsworth and watched this amazing one-man show. This guy was truly, truly outstanding! He had a guitar, a drum machine and a loop and sang just about every genre of music imaginable. Talk about whipping the crowd into a frenzy (or was that the vodkas?). Needless to say our heads ached the next day.
**Like a tiger!!**
**A very fun reunion**
**Hitting old Vegas down on Freemont Street**
Hilary arrived bright and early Saturday morning, and while the girls slept off a little of their hangovers Hils and I ate breakfast and caught up. After a day of strolling the Strip we attempted one of the big clubs, Tao, that evening, but alas it just wasn’t my scene. It also didn’t help that I was still
very a little dusty!
Sunday we ventured down to old Vegas and wandered around Freemont Street. We also checked out the Downtown Container Park which was a cute little area filled with boutique stores and eateries housed in old shipping containers. By this stage we were bushed and needed a well deserved drink (or three) and after we quenched our thirsts it had started to get dark and all the fantastic neon lights came on!
Eventually we found a karaoke bar and settled in for the night/early hours of the morning listening to strangers warble off key before it was our turn to demolish a couple of 80s classics – for all your sakes I didn’t post the video BUT if you are super desperate to see it I can post it!!
**Clear blue skies and the sun glinting off the Mirage**
**Sitting around in Paris…the casino that is!**
After a full day out on the Strip exploring more casinos we bid farewell to Hilary on Monday evening and then it was out again to some some strip malls so Tez and I could get our full Americana experience! We managed to hit up a T.J. Maxx and Walmart – oh the bargains we bought! Needless to say there will be a plethora of product reviews coming your way!
**A huge thrill meeting Nelson. I was in the right place at the right time**
Tuesday was another glorious full pool day. I just knew I had to store all of that amazing vitamin D in my body as all reports from home told of Melbourne’s coldest winter in something ridiculous like 30 years! No thank you!
That evening it was off to the Flamingo for dinner and drinks before seeing Olivia Newton-John live in concert. Fate just so had it that she was covering for Donny and Marie for the next couple of weeks and our very own Karen just happens to be a HUGE fan of ONJ! Good zhu-zhu was definitely on this trip with us.
**No trip to Vegas is complete without a spot of shopping**
Wednesday was our last full day with Karen and we spent it like all good women do; shopping!! We had a ball scouring Sephora and other stores before heading over to China Town and devouring the yummiest bowl of ramen I’ve had in ages.
Back at HRH and after some champers it was time to bid Karen adieu with all of us vowing to meet up again SOON. Tez and I finished off the evening with MORE drinks and MORE food before settling in for an early night.
**Last drinks before heading back to the airport**
Our last day was spent in a bit of a funk, both of us were incredibly sad to leave and we couldn’t believe our trip had already come to an end. After some drinks and soaking up the last of the heat it was back to the airport and the long journey back to Oz!
I hope you enjoyed just SOME of the pics from my trip. Later this week I’ll be sharing all the food porn pics. You can bet your sweet ass there was LOADS of food consumed…when in Rome, hey?