Touching down in Las Vegas is such a weird visual, you fly over seemingly endless orange desert and out of nowhere a mirage of buildings and lights just appear as you touch down.
We arrive at the gate and straight away there is a bank of pokie machines and a sign right next to baggage claim saying “Liquor Store” – this is basically what Vegas is all about.
We collect all four of our large suitcases and negotiate with physics and work out a way to walk with 4 large suitcases, 2 backpacks, a Country Road bag and small carry-on wheelie bag and make our way to the longest taxi cab line ever, it was a 45-minute wait.
It seemed like a long line and every second person appeared to be drinking beer or wine which we just assumed was what you did in Vegas, but then our cab driver informed us that it was Spring Break, oh and on top of that we had lost track of the date, it was the day before St Patrick’s Day.
We finally made our way to the MGM Grand where we were staying and it is THE biggest hotel I have ever seen. In our rooms we check out the room service menus to find there are no dairy-free or vegetarian options at all, which is surprising because with all of the extravagance of the hotel you would think that certain requests would be frequent and they would be accommodating. But we found an amazing looking vegan place not too far from The Strip and we hop in a cab and head there. So we’re sitting in the cab on the way to this place, but we’ve left The Strip, we’re in the desert and it seems that there aren’t really any other taxis driving around. It occurs to me that we haven’t set up new sim-cards for our phones and I turn to Laura and say “So how do you reckon we’ll get back?”. Basically we ended up taking an expensive tour of the outskirts of the Las Vegas desert.
Turns out though, there are actually 2 vegan/gluten-free friendly restaurants in the Luxor Casino. There’s a pizza bar called Slice of Vegas Pizza and a Mexican place called Hussong’s Cantina. Both were delicious and had pretty great drink specials on too.
Walking up the strip is quite amazing, the lights are great, I mean they’re not as good as Times Square, but still a sight to be seen. The water fountain at The Bellagio is certainly worth checking out.
Vegas seems to be very much like Surfers Paradise in Queensland; A bit seedy, everyone is there to have fun, but there’s no beach….so not really our jam, since we don’t like clubbing, shopping or gambling. We did go see Cirque Du Soleil’s production of Kà. It’s billed as the most expensive Las Vegas production ever made.
It was alright, filled with AMAZING stunts, like I can’t even explain how crazy the production value of this show was. But I will try. So the main spectacle relies on the stage which elevates, tilts completely so performers slide down it, rotates to change angles and moves in every way possible. Naturally the performers all do crazy stunts on it. I always felt that the main attraction of Cirque Du Soleil was the crazy stunts the performers do. It seems with this show somewhere along the way they were told that the story is important, because there’s an attempt at story-telling here which falls completely flat. There is an attempt to build tension with a lot of stage-fighting which ends up just coming across as boring compared to the other stunts. There is also a false sense of epic-ness that tries to be built upon the false tension which the performers don’t really see. This isn’t to say there aren’t impressive stunts, there just aren’t enough though to take you away from a story that isn’t engaging in the slightest.
I’m happy we went to see it, but in hindsight we probably wouldn’t spend the amount of money we did to see it. After the show we made our way to the airport to hop on our first red-eye flight of the trip.
After our flight via Atlanta we land at Louis Armstrong Airport inNew ORleans with very tired eyes and just wanting a bed. It’s the coldest weather we’ve experienced so far…I know Toronto will be crazy, but it’s 6 degrees and we’re exhausted and since we have an Airbnb place we have lots of luggage. So we go to a Starbucks use the Wi-Fi and go and see the movie Zootopia. It wasn’t bad, the parts we stayed awake for anyway.
We get to our apartment and it is soooooo good; big bed, nice living room, big kitchen and a washer/dryer for all of our dirty clothes.
While Laura gets settled in I head to the streets to try and find a supermarket so I can make some food. I head up Canal Street, towards the water where there’s apparently a place to buy groceries. That turns out not to be true and I head back towards the house and up Bourbon Street to another supermarket. Long story-short I ended up seeing a lot of New Orleans, getting a bit of exercise only to come back with eggs, beans, and almond milk…so we had scrambled eggs for dinner!
New Orleans was just great for walking around and taking in the vibe, so we spent the next day walking along the water and drinking at various Jazz bars. There is A LOT of live music around and so many bars, the streets always seem alive. It’s just a great atmosphere full of culture and great architecture that I haven’t seen before.
It was only a short trip to New Orleans, but it was more of a pit-stop for us to catch up on R&R and get clothes clean. I hope to go back again, but probably spend a little more time there.
Next we hire a car and I adjust to a different side of the road as we drive to Orlando for the next Disney adventure!!