I Hope Nobody Got Married Last Night…

Trek Diary: Day Twenty Two (18th July)

I awoke at 6am. A time that should never be seen in Vegas.

After nearly three weeks of camping, it seemed that my body was regulating its internal clock by the sun and i found myself wide awake. It also didn’t help that i realised that my room was missing something quite important. It seemed my dear room mate had pulled a “Hangover” style stunt on me and had yet to return. It would have been fine if she had taken her phone, or if i had everyone’s mobile and room numbers. And so, our poor Trek leader had another “emergency” telephone call from me at stupid o’clock in the morning – sorry Steve!

After a few guesses and a selection of sleepy strangers down the end of the phoneline, i managed to dial the right number and updated the rest of the girls on the situation. An hour or so later, we were reunited with our missing party animal (who had done Vegas proud) and dragged her along to our next destination – Grub. I was very concerned about her welfare…but i wont lie, i was also concerned about who was coming to breakfast with me. Ah yes, I know my priorities. Especially when breakfast was a buffet.

The booze box claims another victim

After the gambling, the eccentric shows and excessive partying, the best way to recover is to find yourself a breakfast buffet. Each hotel has their own, which vary in price and quality. For example, we picked up a breakfast buffet for $14 in the Flamingo but for $30-40 dollars you could have dinner in the Bellagio with alcohol included. But no booze was required or wanted for this particular sitting. Buffets in Europe tend to lean towards either continental style or full English. However, in Vegas you can literally get anything you could ever want for the first meal of the day. I have even heard of people having Roast dinners and Vietnamese noodles at these buffets – seriously, anything goes. (Nb. Now that i have been to America – the burgers for breakfast thing does not suprise me. We may have done this the following day…) I really wish i had taken a photo of our selection. There was the usual breakfasty items – bacon, cereal, toast, eggs etc, but it went on to include – pastries, cupcakes, steaks, king prawns and even the salad bar was out. I was rebellious and had ice cream. For breakfast? Take that parents!!

After digesting the horrific amount of salt, sugar and whatever else we could eat for $14, we met up with some of the others and took a short drive to go shoot some guns. For a European or an Australian, a trip to Vegas is never complete without taking some frustration out on a paper target with the biggest and most bad-ass looking gun that your budget allows. Having been recently robbed and with a week left on a limited amount of cash, i decided to sit this one out. As did Lisa, who was probably still too drunk to even be near a firearm.

Natalie looks like she is naked in this photo.

The afternoon was spent exploring Vegas in 40’c heat, debating purchases of various “Hangover” souvenirs and avoiding Victoria’s Secret for fear i would spend every last cent i owned. As this was to be our last proper night together before the end of the trip, i attempted to get everyone together to go out and find some dinner. But by 7pm the majority of the boys were still sleeping and so our dwindling group decided to try Dick’s last Resort Restaurant in Excalibur. The Vegas guidebook describes Dick’s as having obnoxious staff, rude games, insults and a lot of banter. Sounded interesting. Some genius and some very clever marketing, created a successful chain of restaurants where the staff are rude to you and will go out of their way to insult you. If you are (un)lucky, you may even get a dunce cap with something degrading written on it. It was definitely a very unique dining experience.

Our waiter, Dustin. He then proceeded to throw cutlery at us.

Our last night in Vegas was relatively quiet – except for the boys, who powered through many cigars, vodka and our beloved George Dickel Whisky. Most people had partied hard the night before and were not really up for a second night. We managed to regroup outside of Caesers Palace and wandered around watching the hotel shows and attractions. Back at the hotel, we played a last round of “Arrogance” and headed to bed before our early start and last day together.

Yet, before the day had even begun, we all had a very rude awakening at 5am when the WORST ALARM EVER started to sound. I have never been so terrified in my entire life. A siren was blaring and a mans voice was repeating the following, “WARNING. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY”  In my sleepy state, i somehow thought it was my personal alarm and started frantically trying to find my phone. This went on for about 5 minutes and people poked their heads out of their doors and collected in the corridor. Some went out the fire exit, some panicked and some went straight back to bed. We never did find out what caused the alarm but i loved the guy who waved to us and shouted, “Morning Everyone!”

From River Tubing to The Vegas Party Bus

Trek Diary: Day Twenty One (17th July)

Why wake up in a green and sweaty tent, when you can wake up to views like this? Although, it would be a lot more scenic without the car park. Waking up in canyons, deserts and swamps was definitely the best thing about sleeping outside. It was about 7am, some of the boys had opted to hike up the toughest trail in Zion, Angels Landing, and had already left by the time we got up. I opted out of this, knowing i would have to be as refreshed/alive as possible for our next stop. But fair play to them, they did bring back some awesome photos.

The boys on Angels Landing

With the morning to spare, we decided to arrange a less energetic activity – river tubing! Our campsite was right next to an adventure company where you could hire rubber tubes and go on a self guided tour downstream. We had two instructions – get off at the right stop and to not lose our tubes…and nearly failed both of these. We all got stuck on rocks, sent into spiky bushes on the riverbank and very nearly flipped out into the rapids. I also foolishly chose the ring with the hole and spent the entire time trying to avoid grazing my bum on the rocks. I could have spend the entire day floating down that river, rescuing my Trek mates from rocks and watching Ingrid chase after her runaway tube. But after an hour or so, we reached our stop where a bus came and collected us.

After returning to camp and rejoining with our tired boys, we packed up our things and set off for our next stop – Vegas! After stealing the front rows of the van for the majority of the journey, us girls reluctantly sat at the back. We made a brief stop in St George, Utah for Subways and ice cream before shortly crossing the state line into Nevada, where we made a very important and necessary booze run. Our stocks were running low and where better to replenish these than an alcohol superstore! I have never seen so many types of Smirnoff vodka before and was very tempted to try the Dragonfruit flavour. Natalie even found her beloved cider which was the first state-side sighting!

Once the alcohol was bought it was straight on to Vegas and the back row crew were getting a little over excited. The boys on the other hand, were either asleep/tired/still hungover and were being very boring and told us off for being too noisy. These were ignored with shouts of, “VEGAS BABY! YEAAAAAAH!” and a variety of quotes from “The Hangover”.

“Not at the table, Carlos!”

“We’re the three best friends that anyone could have!”

“…PAGING DOCTOR FAGGOT…”

Annnnd repeat.

"There it is!"

I am told it is best to see Vegas for the first time from the highway. After driving hours through desert, it appears out of nowhere and then the onslaught of billboards, light shows and extravagance begins.

Our hotel was Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall and Saloon situated right on the Strip and opposite Caesers Palace. Not the fanciest of hotels but it served its purpose as base camp very well. Besides, who wants to stay in their room when they go to Vegas?! After checking in and doing the “Grand Entrance” (the leap onto the bed, which should be done in each hotel room – without fail!) we set off in search of an In and Out Burger – a West Coast specialty.

One of the activities which is included with the Southern Sun trek is a limo ride around Vegas. The one we had was massive and fitted all 26 of us in it. It even had a pole. So after a frantic girly session of hair straightening, we grabbed our booze and red cups and met the other group at the Flamingo. The first stop was Fremont Street, the second most famous street in Vegas. It is used in virtually every single program and documentary to do with the city. There are shows, a neon cowboy, plenty of bars and casinos and an LED roof which has its own light and sound show. Back on the bus and a few more drinks later, i was showing off my skills on the pole. Not the greatest idea in a tiny dress and in a moving vehicle, but it had to be done! The second stop was at the famous “Welcome to Vegas” sign, where a lot of photos were taken, many of which seem to have made it onto the front of our Facebook profiles. The third and final stop was the Bellagio to see the famous water show. By this point everyone was a little worse for wear and we must have stood there, taking photos and half-watching the display for about an hour.

The Party Bus - A few beverages later and that i was upside down on that pole. Classy.
Fremont Street

Eventually the group split up and begun to stumble off down the strip in search of cigars, slot machines, cocaine and hookers (…I can only assume…) For this evening i assumed the role of “drunk carer” and had to steer one particular member of our party back to our hotel and to bed. Amazingly, i managed to re-group with our little party outside The Flamingo, before deciding to head over to Caesars Palace and to the famous roof top bar. I am very surprised we were allowed in, especially after Lisa managed to throw the entire contents of her purse at the bouncer. Entry was only $10 and i was falsely led to believe that the drinks would also be relatively reasonable. WRONG! It is always a bad sign when you approach a bar with no drinks list, filled with incredibly hot individuals who are sipping fancy looking cocktails. I ordered a shot of Jager in an attempt to gauge how pricey this bar was going to be. “That’ll be $10” I severely regretted not pre-drinking more.

The combination of the Vegas sobriety, extortionate prices and…i will admit, the fact that everyone looked like they had stumbled out of 90210, made for a stroppy Amy. It also didn’t help that the trip was coming to an end and i kept thinking about how i would have to leave my new best friends in a few days. So…in a very girly fashion, with a few tears, i was escorted back to the hotel thanks to one of my fellow Trekkies.

Wow.

I totally failed Vegas.