April 23, 2008

LA and Vegas

April 21, 2008 7:18AM Monday, Philippine time (April 20, 4:18PM Sunday, American time)

After almost 10 hours of delay, we finally got to board, and eventually depart, the HKIA. Well, the row we sat on still had no audio in its entertainment system, so we had to deal with the boredom by reading (I read Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere) then watching a foreign film with English subtitles (Julian Schnabel's The Diving Bell and the Butterfly- a great movie).

Anyway, when we finally got down to the Los Angeles Airport (LAX), we had to walk down a series of non-working walkalators and wait a line to go to the baggage claim (because we had to put fingerprints and take a picture as stated by US Aviation Law). We then had the chance to get out of the inspection stages and look for a ride to our hotel. After an hour in a car, we got to the Lincoln Plaza Hotel. It was already 2am American time by then.

Hours later, we woke up to eat a very, very light breakfast and go to our bus to go to Las Vegas.

Actually, I've just arrived in Vegas and we're gonna be waiting for 6:30pm American time so that we can tour the casinos. Unluckily, the Wi-fi here (4 Queens hotel) is not free unlike in Lincoln Plaza so this post, for most of the 3 days we're staying in Vegas, will be long and filled with the word "UPDATE". Photos will be added in 3 days.

The Casino Tour (April 20/21, 2008 American/Philippine time)
Ever watched the original CSI? How 'bout the crappy Nicholas Cage movie Next? Well, you'll probably notice backdrops of Las Vegas being shown, and we're going to the places found in the backdrops. We went to Treasure Island to see the show Sirens of TI but to no avail because of windy weather, we went to the Tropicana to shoot some pics, we drove through New York New York to see the replica of the Statue of Liberty, the Mafia-owned Flamingo and came in the Wynn and the Venetian (the same as the Venetian in Macau, only classier) with their multi-million real flower gardens and greenhouses and faux Victorian villages. Lastly, we went to the Belagio to look at the famous and beautiful water fountain show. We got back to the hotel at about 10:40pm American time, and watched TV then slept.

April 22, 2008 Tuesday, Philippine time (April 21, 2008 Monday, American time)
We had to wake up early and catch up with the bus for Grand Canyon, Arizona but we weren't gonna stay overnight there despite the long drive. However, we first went to see North America's largest man-made lake which has a name I forgot. This lake connects to the Colorado river (I think) which is located near the Hoover Dam which is also a sort of boundary between the state of Nevada and Arizona. We didn't stay in Hoover Dam for long, just 10 minutes so we can pee and take pictures. It is actually notable for being the shooting spot for 007: Goldeneye as well as last year's blockbuster Transformers. It may seem old because it is, but it's still enough to make a futuristic robot movie!

Anyway, after a long ride in the bus again, we got down in the desert full of Joshua trees to ride yet another kind of bus- an Indian bus. No, not the Indian living in India, but the Indians in Pocahontas. You see, the West Grand Canyon is also the home of the so-called Hualapai tribe and is powered by solar energy because of their lack of resources. But this isn't important now, is it?

There were 3 designated points in the area: Point A, the gift shop; Point B, the Eagle Point; and Point C, the I-Forgot-Point. We didn't do much in Point A, so after riding the bus to Point B, that was when amazement was evident in the big crowd. Why? It seems that Mother Nature's carving of the American eagle is just damn amazing and it took 9 million years, too. After that, we went to the Skywalk which is basically a transparent platform that enables people to see the view of the Grand Canyon below. Cameras, cellphones, backpacks, anything couldn't be brought because the staff at the Skywalk itself are the ones in charge of the pictures. It's a bit expensive, especially the 100 dollar USB disk package thingy, but what the hell, you only live once.

We did nothing in Point C as well except wait for my sister and mother to scan the jewelry being sold there. Afterwards, we ate in Point B adjacent to the dancing Indians.

"Time for the Friendship dance! Ouuwahwahkeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhh!"

After eating, we went back to Point A, played DS 'till 2;00 and rode the bus back to Vegas. We got back at 5 and we instantly ate downstairs in our hotel, the Four Queens hotel, in a pizza place. The oil in that thing will just make you puke, though.

6:00 and we went out to wait for the bus to take us to Planet Hollywood so that we can watch Steve Wyzick's Real Magic. I guess watching magicians in the act live is different from that on TV, obviously, and it's great. It's definitely great for the kiddies (my little brother's still talking about it!) and it's entertainment for adults either for the mild sexual innuendo in the jokes or for the ladies wearing short, short skirts and barely concealing tops.

The show finished at 8:30 and we got back to the hotel by 9. But before that, we finally got to see the Fremont Street Experience which is basically a blatant ad for LG Electronics. But still, I gotta admit, who knew a ceiling with hidden lights could do that. It's not that much of a must-see, but if you're in Fremont Street, it's free. After that, we came in a gift shop nearby to find some jerky because my brother's godmother told us it was delicious, but we couldn't find that specific, so-called Las Vegas Jerky. It wasn't especially helpful when the Chinese tour guide simply laughed at our question though. Still, we tried some branded spicy jerky that was terrible.

We watched CSI: Miami, looked up what the time for American Idol would be the following day and watched the news. We slept afterwards.

APRIL 23, 2008 Wednesday 2:22AM, Philippine time (April 22, 2008 Tuesday 11:22AM)
I woke up at 6:30 and watched Good Morning America in ABC. After taking a shower, me, my dad and mom went out to walk and explore Fremont Street and buy breakfast in McDonald's. After eating, we went down to get in the bus and went to Tropicana Casino to pee. An hour later, we went back to the bus, and now we're riding towards LA. So yeah, we're going back to Lincoln Hotel Plaza to rest up for the big day tomorrow. But I'm getting way ahead of myself now because we're still in the bus, watching Live Free and Die Hard. So for now, I leave you... that is after I charge this thing.  

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