Ramblings from a bloke with his head in the clouds, literally

First bit bout the Vegas.

Ok, so it’s taken a bit to get this next chapter out, my apologies. It’s been a busy few weeks. Anyways….where did we leave off? LA airport that’s right.

We had parked out butts in front of our departure gate and the buzz was in the air. Not long now and we would be in Vegas, seeing what mischief we could get into. I got the munchies on pretty hard, as the flight over hadn’t had the most fulfilling meals on it so I went for a trundle round the departure lounge.  After failing miserably to find anything overly appealing I was heading back to the gate and got smashed into my some clown walking past. I turned around to give the guy a mouthful only to find it was Lucas. I’ve worked with Lucas off and on for the better part of nearly 8 years. I had now travelled half way around the world to run into people from Adelaide straight of the bat. Lucas and his mates ended up travelling on the same flight. Talk about rowdy. It was definitely cool to see him, but it was still a tad surreal to run into someone you know half way round the world in an LA airport.

Not long after and we were in the air again. I ended up getting jammed in the window seat next to some great big Texan war veteran. It was a nice flight from LA to Vegas. You could see the hills of Hollywood slowly change into the flat dry plains of Nevada. Flying over the literal desert of nothing and then all of a sudden out of nowhere this massive city pops up. The fasten seatbelts sign came on and down we went, towards the runway.  Problem was I swear the pilot forgot what he was doing. The way the plane landed with such a jolt it was like he was flying over the runway and suddenly remembered he was meant to be landing so just smashed down into the ground. Now as we all know I don’t like landing in airplanes. I don’t know what but that’s how it is. By the time the plane came to a stop in Vegas, I was white knuckling the arm rests. As soon as we could move I said to the big Texan “I don’t mean to be rude but you want to move pretty quick cause I just shit myself “I giggled as I said it, but he apparently took it seriously and bolted as much as he could to get away from me.

After a short sprint in a little mini bus thing, we checked into the Luxor hotel and made our way for our room. The Luxor is the big pyramid casino that beams light into the sky in a vain Egyptian looking attempt to send message to aliens in outer space and let them know that Vegas is indeed on the map and waiting for their arrival.

The Luxor at night

The room was simple but luxurious feeling at the same time, hard to explain. But they certainly followed through on the Egyptian theme. We had everything we needed including a view of the pool.

After dumping our bags and getting a quick suss of the room we decided to venture out and see what we could find. It didn’t take long and we were cruising down the strip. It was a pain in the ass to get around as almost every intersection there is no pedestrian crossings. There’s just too much traffic to contest with I guess, so they built bridges over every intersection. It became strangely comfy going up an escalator to cross the road.

Not far from the Luxor we found a little Mexican themed restaurant that made us our first dodgy decision. $30 for a yard glass margarita and $7 to refill. It was damn hot in Vegas and that thing had ice in it so that’s my justification.

Margarita yard glasses and vegas = messed up

We decided not to venture to far as both of us were pretty tired; half cut and were already getting annoyed by the flickers. Flickers are the guys and girls usually of Mexican descent working the strip in their brightly coloured t-shirts handing out what are effectively business cards for strippers and hookers.

They are in mass numbers all down the strip and pretty much force the cards on you, while making a flicking noise with the rest of the cards. I never got any good footage to show you but head over to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-i8gUnxKhgY&feature=related and you’ll get the idea pretty quick. Keep in mind these guys are literally every step of the strip. In one block there would average about 60 odd flickers and they stand both sides of the foot path so you have no choice but to walk down the middle of them, making it easier for them to throw cards at you from both sides. One thing I noticed is as soon as people get them, they drop them. The footpaths and streets are completely covered in discarded cards. I mean, the streets are so littered with these cards and they are so pressed into the asphalt that they are now part of the actual road.

The fact that we were in Vegas still hadn’t quite set in even by the time I was half way through my first tube and standing in front of a golden lion on the corner of the MGM casino. It’s hard to describe the feeling, not quite surreal but not quite not surreal as well. I think disbelief that I was actually in Vegas and on the first leg of 6 weeks of god knows what.

The tiredness soon took over, or maybe the sheer booze content of the yard glass and so we made our way back to the lux to settle in for a night of muggy air conditioning and our first foray into American hotel TV. At some stupid hour of the morning, my body hadn’t adjusted yet and I felt that familiar “hey its dinner time” calling from my stomach. Problem being it was 4 in the morning in Vegas.

I thought I’d go get some tucker and easy my stomach into the culture shock and time difference. Now at 4am in Adelaide when you leave the hotel chances are it’s going to be a ghost town. I for whatever reason was expecting the same. I thought there would be a handful of people in the casino as I made my way to the food hall. NOPE! It was like being at the big day out. People everywhere where gambling, eating, drunk, smoking, drooling over the cars you could win from jackpots and general Vegas life. It only took a sec to get used to but it was certainly an eye opener.

The next day was pretty straight forward. We got up early in the arvo and decided we’d get some tucker and just spend the arvo/night cruising the strip a bit further down. I wasn’t feeling the maccas vibe so I tried Nathaniel’s. Southern chicken, ranch fries with cheese and bacon topping with a large drink. Can you say HEART FAILURE! Nathaniel’s ended up being a once off for obvious reasons.

Nathaniel's -large heart faliure meal

Our adventures on the strip took us much further down this time. We found places like the coke shop (a multi-story store devoted to everything coca cola you can ever imagine), the M&Ms shop (omg omg omg omg), The Harley Davidson café and Diablo’s Cantina ,which has the most amazing smelling food coming from it but was waaaaaaaay to packed to even think about.

We ended up going into the Paris casino. Yeah yeah I know, I can hear you all say that goes against my firm believes against French people but let’s face it, they had the Eiffel tower as a look out and it was the only way we were going to get a sky high view of the strip. The inside of the casino was freaky. They had the roof painted as the sky and it was all brightly lit. The way the building motive worked around the edge of the roof it made you feel like you were indeed outside. We shelled out some coin and got up to the top of the Eiffel tower replica. DAMN! What a view. And by sheer luck by the time we got there it was just starting on sunset. An amazing time to be up there as you can see the strip slowly change from bustling city of tourists in the middle of the desert to bustling neon city lighting the sky filled with party goers, drunks and entertainers alike. I was funny but from the top of  the tower, you can really get the feel for how expansive Vegas is as a town, but then how factory pressed and surrounded by nothing it truly is. We made it down to the Bellagio in time for the water/light show spectacular which we ended up watching a couple of times.

After taking photos, posing with street buskers, Elvis, showgirls, and a guy dressed as a duck we decided on an early night as we had a big day planned for tomorrow. We had made it a fair way down the strip so it was natural we needed hydration. This time we picked the Excalibur casino.  A medieval themed camelot-esk casino that was nice enough to serve us Pina coladas in modern day chalices and cheap as shit vodka jelly shots. End result I don’t remember getting back to the casino or apparently stopping at Baskin and Robins for a super nut fudge Sunday with whipped cream and cherries. No wonder I felt a bit rough in the morning.

The Vegas Strip as night sets in - Photo taken by yours truly

Worst day to start off by feeling shit. We had nominated day 3 as the day to head out to east Vegas and visit The Gun Store. IF YOU’RE EVER IN VEGAS GO AND CHECK THIS PLACE OUT. Sorry for yelling but it’s true.

Check them out at http://www.thegunstorelasvegas.com we shot a coalition pack which was an M-16, an m9 pistol and an M249 LMG with holographic sights. I then shelled out some extra golds to shoot a .308 swat issued sniper rifle as well. Hot tip, if you’re ever firing a .308 rifle, make sure you brace it against your shoulder properly. I nearly blew mine off as I hadn’t braced all the way. The knock back was so bad my shoulder was bruised and sore for the rest of the trip. The noise was so big that people from the other end of the range came down to see what the hell I was firing.

I swear my nickers are still moist from this day at the range. Apparently i have a good eye for shooting as well. the rifle i got all center mass and one between the eyes, the saw i got all shots inside the target, the m9 i got all inside center mass bar 1 and m16 i got pretty much everything inside the target. When asked if i had shot before, i told them other than call of duty not really. The staff member then told me to definatley look into long rang shooting when i get home.

The ease that we fired these guns is crazy. You walk in, sign a waiver, select your guns, get your targets and ammo, pay, collect your earmuffs and goggles and off to the range with you.

The staff loads them, show you how to hold and fire them, hand them over and away you go.

There were 2 things that bothered me about this experience. Once we had collected our free t-shirts and targets, we decided to look next door in the actual shop. This is where I found a .50 cal machine gun. Brand new with a box of ammo for 10k cash.

Seriously, who needs a .50 cal in civilian life? No wonder there is problems in America. The guns laws are in insane!

But to make it worse, as we were leaving this little southern kid who would have been no more that 10 was standing at the counter picking out which guns he was going to fire. WTF! THIS IS A KID IN GUN SHOP!  Seriously? Fair enough people have the right to bear arms and whatever but why the fuck are you letting kids shoot machine guns?

We made a hasty retreat before the kid messed up and somehow managed to shoot us even tho we were in the car park and ended up sharing a cab back to the lux with a pair of poms who thought fosters was still the greatest Aussie beer ever!

We got back to the hotel and were still pumping from the fun we had. It made having a nanna nap hard so we ate, chilled, watched some TV and waited for the arrival of the rest of the gang. The fun has only just beginning.

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