Sunday morning was a relatively late start which didn’t matter as everything is open so late in Vegas. Before we came out to America, we purchased the Las Vegas Power Pass, which allowed us free entry into lots of attractions. We were staying at the Mirage and they had a dolphin habitat and a secret garden there, featuring white tigers, white lions and black panthers. We were so lucky to be able to see the dolphin pool from our window. We actually put sun cream on before heading out this time as it was 1030am and it was already 40 degrees. With no breeze. As we went down to the lobby from our fifteenth floor hotel room, you exit the elevator straight into the casino. There were lots of people already at the tables and machines gambling away. We followed the signs for the secret garden and dolphin habitat. This was included on our Las Vegas pass so we didn’t have to pay to enter which was a bonus! The dolphins were so close. All that separated us was a small wall lining the pool. They also had an underwater viewing area. The dolphins were very playful. That’s the second time I have been lucky enough to have dolphins actually at the hotel were staying at. We then went into the secret garden after avoiding the obligatory entry photo. It was an incredibly hot day so as you can imagine the animals weren’t really up for showcasing themselves. The white tiger was beautiful. Siegfried and Roy were two German men who became the most visited act in Vegas up until 2003 when an tiger injury ended Roy’s career. They were renowned for their appearances with white tigers and lions. There were a couple of white lions lying down in the shade too. You could definitely see they were a much much lighter colour but they were obviously finding it too hot to move, as was the panther. It was incredible to see these rare animals so close. If only it was a bit cooler!

We exited past the dolphins again then worked our way back through the casino to exit onto the strip and begin out hotel-crawl. We had seen the volcano erupt outside the Mirage last night so the plan was to see what all of the other hotels had to offer. The strip looks different in the day to at night. Obviously it would, but everything appeared bigger in the daylight. First stop just as we left our hotel were The Forum Shops of Caesars Palace. It’s safe to say neither of us had been in a shopping centre like it. As you walk in, you’re greeted by a reflecting pool which has a winding escalator up the centre, carved roman statues as support beams and an intricately painted ceiling. They certainly captured the essence of Rome that’s for sure. The souvenir shop was cheap and full of all sorts of things Las Vegas related. They had key rings 3 for $10, shot glasses of all different varieties and what we thought was pretty cool was that they sold used playing cards from hotels. We bought the Mirage ones for $1.95 and a ‘blackjack for dummies’ assist card πŸ˜‚. The shopping complex was huge. They had fountains and statues everywhere you looked. They also had the sky appear as though you are outside as it was blue and scattered with clouds. I can see why the hotels are also resorts as you’d never have to leave your hotel really! We stopped at Planet Hollywood for lunch as we were able to get $20 off our bill using our passes. Their cocktail menu was good and the menu quite big. I had pizza and Nathan had a burger. Just what we needed to fuel us to trek along the strip in the scorching sunshine. Next stop was the Bellagio. As we walked into the shopping area we were greeted by high range shops, including Harry Winston jewellers. The sort of shops that don’t display price tags because if you have to ask them you can’t afford it. Needless to say we didn’t venture into any. The ceilings were decorated with umbrellas and flowers. Very decorative. We walked through the casino and exited through the lobby to have just missed the famous Bellagio fountain show by seconds. The fountain was huge but it isn’t going all the time. It is like the volcano at the Mirage, it has timed shows. 

Walking a bit further along, we entered The Cosmopolitan hotel and were greeted with the largest chandelier we had ever seen. These hotels are truly like no other. They don’t understand the word small. Everything is huge and shiny and extremely impressive. There was a bridge walkway crossing the road which we took advantage of and stopped in ABC as we needed water. It was getting hotter and there was no shelter in amongst the towering hotels. The plus side was everywhere inside was blasted with air conditioning so it was welcomed every time we went inside somewhere. Along the street they had water spewing out from pillars in an attempt to help cool you down. They didn’t really work. What did work though was a girl shooting people with a water pistol from fat burger! Never thought being blasted with a water pistol would be more refreshing than a nuisance, but it was. There were still people walking round in jeans, shirts, skinny jeans, tight dresses, heels. High heels?? Really!! I seriously question people’s ability to regulate heat at times. I mean I know mine is way off and I’m just weird, but there’s no way any Nora,l human being could wander round in 40 degree heat in that kind of clothing. I was in my trusty gym gear πŸ˜‚. Better to be comfortable than fashionable is my motto!

The strip became very touristy all of a sudden, offering t-shirts and hats in every shop for a couple of dollars. There was a Hard Rock Cafe as well as a Coca Cola world and an M&M world which was about four storeys high. Continuing down the strip led us past New York New York hotel and Planet Hollywood hotel. It got rather confusing around the MGM Grand hotel because there were works being done so we entered in via the casino. Wanting to take a bit of respite from the sun, we decided to try our hand at routlette. Better the big bucks of $1!! We managed to win $6 before the computer started cheating and stole it all from us πŸ˜”. I don’t think we could make a successful gambling career that’s for sure. The exit took us out the back of the hotel, opposite Hooters hotel and we walked back to the boulevard and had to enter in via the casino again, but go up one level to the bridge walkway, to Excalibur. This had a castle like exterior and as you entered, you were on a moving walkway that took you right to the check in desk. Why they don’t have those everywhere is beyond me! I did lost fall off though as I forgot to lift my foot up πŸ˜‚. You could walk from Excalibur to the Luxor without going outside. However it proved easy to get lost. We passed a restaurant called Dicks where they give poor service and you sit with white dunce hats on whilst you eat. It looked like a very fun place to eat as everyone was laughing. As we were trying to navigate our way around this hotel we passed it four times before we asked a member of staff how to get to the walkway to the Luxor. Apparently we had to go up one level then we would reach it.The Luxor was grand and I especially liked the lights above the bar. There was a woman dressed in six inch heels, tight leather trousers and a tight revealing top handing out leaflets to the Kriss Angel show. I had to ask her where the exit was. We were stood right in front of it. The Luxor is pyramid shaped and as we exited we were greeted by a huge pharaoh in front of the pyramid. It looked stunning. We were also by the tram which could take us back to Excalibur or down to the Mandalay Bay. 

Not wanting to be lazy we decided to hike it back through the maze of hotels we had just encountered and we made it back to New York New York. It looked magnificent and as Caesars Palace did with Rome, it really captured the essence of New York. They had a roller coaster! Our next aim was to reach the Eiffel Tower and use our card to get to the top for free. The lift only held nine people and was a bit of a squeeze but once we got to the top, the views were worth it. The best bit was that we only had to wait a few minutes to see the Bellagio fountain entertain us. 

As you can see, it truly was beautiful. The view down the strip, you could see for miles. You didn’t need long at the top so once we worked our way round we queued up to go down. Everywhere we had gone, people were promoting shows for all the hotels along the strip. I had always wanted to see Cirque du Soleil, so we decided to book a show. We booked MystΓ¨re, at Treasure Island. I wouldn’t recommend booking tickets whilst jumping between wifi and 3G as the internet drops and you end up booking it twice. Not ideal. 

As we reached ground, we had a bit of a rush to get back to the hotel, showered and changed and then heading to Treasure Island to pick up the tickets no later than 6pm. That gave us 45minutes. Luckily we had a tram right outside the Mirage which took us to Treasure Island, so we took full advantage and gave ourselves a well deserved sit down.

We collected our tickets and had a bit of time to spare so we ventured outside to find the ships featured in Miss Congenality. It didn’t take long and they definitely look bigger in the film! We then walked down the road to Walgreens to get some water, and passed a couple of paramedics attending to a homeless man outside. Once back inside we purchased a drink and headed to our seats. It was exciting. As we were waiting for it to start, there was a guy dressed in an oversized suit and messy grey hair. He was taking people to their seats, but not really. He would take them to a random seat, move others, rip up (fake) tickets, all to the unknowing chosen few. It was hilarious. He then was ‘escorted’ out. I guess it was one of those moments where you had to be there to find it amusing, but we were in fits of laughter.The show started promptly at 7, with a ventriloquist French puppet bird followed by two big babies. The boy baby found his ‘papa’ in the audience and maintained this act throughout the show. There are deeper meanings than just strength, agility and acrobatics. There were Chinese poles where the acrobats wore masks with faces on on the back of their heads. Creepy but gave the illusion they were looking out at us. They were so strong and just dropped down the pole catching themselves by their legs at the last minute. You could hear the gasps from the audience. The meaning? Life throws us different situations but despite what’s thrown at us, we put on a brace face whilst hiding our true emotions.There were two incredibly strong guys who were on the rotating platform and they used their strength to perform perfectly balanced poses. The trust between these two guys must be unparalleled. It was incredible to watch and the poses they performed, as well as manoeuvring out of them was insane and so graceful! The meaning? There will always be someone to lean on and hold you up.The trapeze artists were mental. The height and speed and precision they had was perfect. There were two lots, single trapeze and then one where they were being caught. They were fast paced, twisting and turning in the air being caught by someone hanging by their legs off another trapeze. Then they had three people dangling from them!! The meaning? We can depend on many,  not just one person and the trust we put in another person as we take risks, makes them easier to take.They had a see-saw which the actors were using as a trampoline, performing all sorts of somersaults a few metres from the ground. They also had a trampoline which they were fast-tumbling on. It took me back to my trampolining days when I saw straight backs and double somersaults being performed. I could do those back in my hay day. Maybe not on a seesaw but definitely on a trampoline. It was truly amazing what these people could do, as well as tumbling over each other. The tension was immense. We were loving every minute of it. The baby made appearances as did the crazy oversized suit guy. He even located someone in the audience, took him on stage, locked him in a cage, then sat down, opened champagne and proceeded to have a drink with the guys girlfriend. He then took another man from the front row and sat him next to the girl. It was highly inappropriate but so funny! The characters were dressed in an array of costumes all weird and wonderful. There was a little Asian lady performing with silk ribbons hanging from the ceiling. She was daring tying herself up in just the ribbon then plummeting down to the stage. There were also acrobats hanging with one hand from a bungee attached to the ceiling at times you didn’t know where to look. It was mesmerising. You could watch it over and over. The finale is that of drum beats which called everyone back to the stage. The meaning? It’s the heart beat. Human spirit thrives and finds the power to overcome challenges, take risks and enjoy the circus of life. The deep meanings hidden within this performance made it even more magical. I had to purchase a souvenir book. The show lasted an hour and a half then we got a slice of pizza and a beer from across the way. It was delicious and we headed back to the tram. Out of order. Walking it was then. As we arrived back at the Mirage we dabbled at the machines, lost a few more dollars then retired to our room to enjoy the view out the window. It was a wonderful day πŸ˜ƒ.

A relatively early start for us on Monday morning saw us checking out of the Mirage with our massive bags, sweating in the heat of the hotel. There was a queue to checkout sadly so Nathan went to dump his things in the car whilst I checked out, with the intention of coming back and assisting me with mine. Check out proved to be quicker than I thought. So I trekked to the parking lot and just as I got to the elevator, it opened and there he was. My bags fell to the floor. We packed up the car and headed to the Rio hotel. Parking was free hitch was an added bonus. As we walked in the hotel a smell of musty cigarettes hit us, but we preserved and as we walked through the casino, which was dead, we arrived at KISS crazy golf. It was so cool all lit us! 18 holes of fun whilst rocking out. Another perk to our Las Vegas Pass.We even had a glow in the dark score sheet and pencil! Not that we needed one because I lost. It took me 68 shots and Nathan 52. One day I will win something πŸ˜‚. 

TGI Fridays was our stop for lunch before we could check in at our new hotel, The Stratosphere. It was Β£40 for one night with a view of the strip. Not bad really! We dumped our stuff then headed down to the concierge to get tickets for MJ Live, a Micheal Jackson tribute act. Then we hit the roulette table again. It was not our best as we walked away with $1 ticket. It was time to head back upstairs to make ourselves look presentable for the show. We had a bit of time so we thought why not try our luck one more time at roulette. As we sat down in our same seats, we were asked if we wanted any drinks, to which we said no and all our focus was on winning. After playing a few spins of 50c red snake, we were $32 up after putting in $6! Time to walk away…We headed to the theatre, purchased a beverage and took our seats in the booth. The act was uncanny. So much like Michael Jackson the voice the moves. It was so energetic and everyone was singing along and clapping. Truly worthwhile seeing if you’re in Vegas. Once the show was over we headed to the Stratosphere observation deck, again using our passes. We had to get tickets at the tattoo parlour, which was a little strange, but it allowed me to enquirer about a tattoo. Sadly I wasn’t paying $100 for a little one on my wrist so we took our tickets and headed to the elevator. The view was epic. You could see the strip all lit up all around the observation deck. It was so pretty. We headed back down and this time I wanted pizza so we got pizza slice and a beer before heading back down to blow our winnings. Worst idea ever. It was all gone in three spins. That called time on our gambling. πŸ˜”

Until next time….

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