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Trip Nevada Nevada   Walter C (US)
USA

Nevada

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  • 02May 2017

    1 Start of Unexpected Trip 05/02/2017 USA —

    Las Vegas, USA

    Description

    A trip that I did would plan to the last minute, as my grandmother was visiting from Korea. And we had to decide where we wanted to go. My mom decided that Las Vegas would be the place. So we did all the necessary things for the trip, like airline tickets and hotels. My mom and grandmom would leave the day before than me.

    I have only been to Las Vegas once before, in 2005. And that visit was only for 1 to 2 hours. But I never really had a burning desire to return to the city, even if it is one of the most-visited cities in the US (if not the world). So I did not expect much on this trip, as I would be with my family. And not get to see as much as I would, if traveling alone.

    Leaving home, I drove to the nearest train station. By this time, it was the late afternoon. Then rode the train to the airport. I had already checked in online, so I went to the security line. After going through that, I waited at the gate, until it was boarding time.

    I got on the plane, as I would fly with Spirit Airlines. A non-stop flight, it was the cheapest one that I could find. I had the window seat, all the way in the back of the plane. While better than the middle seat, it can be difficult to ask people to get up, if needing to use the bathroom. Especially if these people don't even get up once.

    The plane took off, leaving Philly. Also, I decided not to pay for carryon, so I had to put my backpack underneath the seat in front of me. So not as much legroom, making it tight for 5 hours.

    As the plane approached the Vegas area, I could see the bright lights in the Strip. I am surprised to see the Strip being located very close to the airport. The plane landed, and took some time to get to a gate. Then waited to get out of the plane, as I could smell the jet fuel. I was the last one to get off the plane. Seeing the slot machines in the gate area, a reminder that I am in Las Vegas.

    As much as I wanted to see more of the airport, I had a bus to catch. I went to Level Zero, where I waited and caught the bus, taking me into town. The stops were being announced at first, then stopped. As a result, I missed my stop. And the signs were hard to see in the dark. Reaching the end of the line, I asked for directions from the bus driver, as I had no more $1 bills. And walked to the hostel, as I would see a tall building in the distance, the Stratosphere.

    A bit of a walk, I came to the back side of the hostel, which was fenced off. Then walked around a block, to get to the Hostel Cat. Passed by a bunch of a wedding chapels, motels and more. I arrived at the hostel, and went inside, to check in.

    The hostel consists of a series of buildings. One of them has the reception desk, lounge and kitchen in it. And another has a bunch of smaller buildings, which are the rooms. Each room door is decorated to a country’s flag. And the dorm buildings has some art of cartoon characters on them. Kind of nice to look at.

    After checking in, I went to the room, and got a top bunk bed. It felt hot in the room, even with the air-conditioner on. I unpacked a little and took a shower. Then went to sleep.

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  • 03May 2017

    2 Meeting With Family on the Strip 05/03/2017 USA —

    Las Vegas, USA

    Description

    It was not easy to sleep at the hostel, since the bed was not comfortable. Plus I had a snorer in the room, making it harder to go back to sleep. After some time, I had to get up, and start packing up. Then went out, to get some breakfast. There was the diner option, but I chose to get some snacks at a nearby Walgreen's.

    So I walked to the Walgreens, needing to buy some other things. I bought a candy bar there, and a chocolate pie from the nearby 7-Eleven. Then headed back, to eat my breakfast there. The candy bar was okay, but the chocolate pie was so bland. A very sweet breakfast, in a not good way. Plus I was feeling sticky, due to the sunscreen and heat.

    Back to the room, I finished up packing, taking my time. Then to the front desk, where I checked out. And got to chat a bit with the girl there. Then went out, to the bus stop. I had no place reserved that night, as I thought about staying at the same place as my mom and grandmother was.

    The bus stop was in the sunlight, which became unbearable. When calling for arrival times, and finally getting on, I waited in the shade, which was across the street. When I saw a bus coming, I came back, and hopped on. I paid for 24-hour pass, costing $8. It took me into the Strip, the most famous part of Las Vegas.

    Not surprisingly, it hit traffic once in the Strip. I got off at the Monte Carlo, where my family was staying. I called my mom, to meet up at some spot. After some confusion, I would meet her at the other entrance, away from the main street. Then went up to their room, where I met up with my grandmother.

    After a little while, we went back down, to the casino floor, with all the slot machines and other things. Then went to a all-you-can-eat buffet, for lunch. Then went inside, to eat as much as we can. And drinks are included, which are becoming more rare these days. The food selection was really good. I ended up being stuffed, as I ate and drank as much as I can. After the meal, we went out, to sit down for a bit on the chairs, outside of the entrance.

    We then walked over to the Bellagio Casino. A bit of a walk, especially in this weather, plus the hassle of going up and down to access the bridge, since there was no way to cross the street directly. We would go inside some buildings, hoping to take a cooler route. One of them being the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Looked around for a bit, before coming back out on the main street, Las Vegas Boulevard.

    We would encounter some showgirls, who my grandmother wanted to pose with. But it was ripoff, as they would tell us that it costs $20 for the photo. How disappointing, as I expected the cost was just to tip them. Then we walked to the Bellagio, approaching the fountain. Walked along it, until we got inside the casino.

    We sat down for a bit. And I decided to call the same hostel, to reserve a bed. After getting through the annoying automated menu, I was able to get a bed. After that was all done, I went to the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. A small walkthrough through a garden, set to a different theme throughout the year. I went through it quickly, and something to do indoors that is free.

    After seeing the gardens, I sat down with my family for a bit, just looking around. Then we went back to the Monte Carlo, going back by bus. Once we got there, we rested for a bit. After resting, we went back out, as we would be going to the Luxor for a show.

    Passed by a few casinos, and ended up passing the option to take the tram, walking all the way to the Luxor. Once we got there, my mom would get the tickets for the Blue Man Group, the show that we would be seeing. Since we got there really early, we just sat around, mainly to relax and look around. Then I walked around, to see the casino area. And after talking with my mom, I decided to spend the following night at one of the casinos.

    The Luxor is a casino, set to the theme of ancient Egypt, with its displays. The casino is actually inside the pyramid, with some statues and obelisks around the place. Nice to look like, even if they are not actual artifacts. There were options for museum exhibitions, but I did not visit them, since they were pricey and photography was not allowed.

    When the time came, I had to check my bag at the bell desk, since bags are not allowed in the theater. After doing that, I went inside the theater, to watch the show, "Blue Man Group".

    Basically, there is not really any story, as it is about 3 blue men, who do all kinds of crazy and messy tricks. And they don’t speak at all, but the look on their faces pretty much says it all, with all the craziness that they get themselves involved in. And they are really entertaining and funny to watch. Set to rock music, that can be really loud for some people. But I think it does add to the show.

    After the show, we went back out, and took the bus back towards the Monte Carlo. After getting off the bus, we stopped by a food court, to get some dinner. It was fried rice with chicken mushroom at the Panda Express. Then back to the Monte Carlo, where my mom and grandmother went back to their room. And I took the bus back to the hostel.

    Once back at the hostel, I had to check in again, and got placed in a different room. But this time, I had the room all to myself, which was great. So I can spread all my things around, and not worry about waking up others. But this won't last long. I took a shower and recharged my devices. Then went to sleep.

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  • 04May 2017

    3 Zoo, Aquarium and Show 05/04/2017 USA —

    Las Vegas, USA

    Description

    Getting up, I did have the room all to myself. I had to get ready, and make another trip to Walgreens, to buy some things. After getting those things, I returned to the hostel, to finish up packing. I still had some time left on my 24-hour pass, so I had to check out before that. Once I did that, I walked to the bus stop. But then, saw a bus coming, so I had to run to the stop, so I don't miss it. I was able to get on the Deuce bus, which took me to the Strip.

    I sat in the front again, looking around, until I arrived at the Monte Carlo. Then went inside, to check in. Unfortunately, I had to stand in line, since I was not able to use the mobile check-in. It took a while, but I was able to check in at the front desk. After getting my keys, I went to the room, and got settled. This was a huge upgrade for me, as I don't get to stay in such places at these, very often. I know that I will enjoy my stay there.

    I would meet up with my mom first. And we went to the food court to meet with my grandma. I did not know that the casino had a food court inside. They were waiting for me, and have not eaten anything yet. Neither did I, and we all went to the same buffet for lunch. And got stuffed.

    After lunch, we went outside to the entrance area. There were some chairs outside, where we sat for a while to relax. And posed for photos at one of these special effect painting or something. One of them looked like, a person would get attacked by a scorpion. Hard to describe in words. After having fun with this, we went back inside.

    My mom and grandma played some slots, picking the $1 one. And got back only 15 cents. After this, we parted ways, as they went back to their room. And I went out to see one of the sites, as I had a couple hours. Coming out of the other entrance, I would see T-Mobile Arena, as well as the New York, New York (NY, NY) with its rollercoaster.

    I tried to go a different way, hoping it would be shortcut. But it was not, just took the same amount of time, as if I walked along Las Vegas Blvd. I went up to the crossing bridge, to the Excalibur Hotel & Casino. And to the tram, which I decided to ride it, to save time. Hopped on the express one, which took me all the way to Mandalay Bay. Passing the by the Luxor, I realized that I made a mistake for skipping it the day before. It would have saved me and my family a lot of trouble, as it was also free to ride.

    Arriving at the Mandalay Bay, I walked through its casino floor, passing by slot machines and shops. It seemed to take forever, to get to the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay. But once I got there, I paid for admission, and entered the aquarium.

    Going up the escalator, I would start the first of 2 parts of this attraction. This one is the main aquarium, with all the marine life on display. Starting with the part under a greenhouse dome, looking like an ancient temple. Then going "inside" the temple itself. And finally, inside a shipwreck. After seeing the aquarium, I went back out, and headed to the second part, Polar Journeys. More about all this, and more photos, in the aquarium blog.

    After coming out of Polar Journey, I would see a group of photos, of different animals, on the wall. This was part of a series called "PhotoArk", presented by National Geographic. Really nice to see. Then I looked out the window, seeing the swimming pools, which looked like a mini-water park. Then started to head back.

    Walked all the way back to the tram, then rode it back to Excalibur. Then walked to NY, NY, going inside it, hoping to take a more comfortable route. I came to the casino floor, and got confused, as I ended up going around in a circle. I followed signs to T-Mobile Arena, but that helped a little. I was led outside to a side street, where I could see the arena. Then just walked towards it, leading me back to the Monte Carlo.

    I went back to the room, washed up and rested with the time remaining left. Alarm was set, so I don't oversleep. When waking up, I got ready and headed out. I met with mom and grandma, and we tried to figure out how to get a taxi. We were heading to another show.

    We got a taxi, with the driver being from Ethiopia. We talked, as he took another route to the Mirage, the casino that we were going to. Turned out, the cost would have been the same as the bus, but less stressful, and probably took less time.

    Once at the Mirage, we went inside, and looked at the aquarium, behind the front desk. It was nice to look at. Then we continued on, to a greenhouse dome, with the water and rainforest trees. Looked around for a bit, which was also nice to see and pass through. Then went to the ticket office, where my mom stood in line to get the tickets. My grandma and me waited around the slot machines.

    After a little while, my mom got the tickets. I wanted to visit the zoo, but they did not, so we agreed to meet back at the theater area. So I walked all the way through the Mirage, and came outside. And to the Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat.

    This zoo was outdoors, and I did not have any sunscreen on me. So I hope this is shaded. Paid admission to enter, and with a short amount of time, I would have to see as much as I can.

    I came to the dolphin pool. First to see, was the underwater view of the dolphins swimming. The only indoor part. Then back out, to go to the Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden, where I went to one side to see the white tigers. Then back to the dolphin pool, for a keeper talk. Then back to the Secret Garden, to see white lions and leopards. Then headed back out, as I was finished seeing this place. More about the zoo, along with more zoo photos, in the zoo blog.

    I went back inside, to the Love Theater, as I would be watching the show, "The Beatles Love", from Cirque du Soleil (the company that produces these shows). I did not see either of my family members in the ticket office area, so I went in the theater, to my seat. I would see them shortly after. Then the show itself started.

    The performances are very impressive to watch, to a point where you find yourself asking at times, how do they do that? The choreography is just awesome to watch, and seeing the variety of circus acts and stunts are just amazing to watch. All set of the songs of the Beatles, which do not feel out of the place in this show, and in fact, adds to it. Even though I am not a Beatles fan.

    After the show, we left the theater, and tried to get a cab back to the Monte Carlo. Went one way, then had to stand in line for a taxi. Once we got one, we rode back to our casino. Once there, we went to the food court, for a quick dinner. We all had a slice of pizza, which was good.

    After dinner, we all went back to our respective rooms. The only night that I get to enjoy in a Vegas casino. It has been a very good day.

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  • 05May 2017

    4 Solo Day on the Strip 05/05/2017 USA —

    Las Vegas, USA

    Description

    I got up really early, as both my mom and grandmother were checking out this day, and heading back home. So after getting ready quickly, I would go to their room, and then help them to find their shuttle bus. My mom told me that she already checked out. So that saves that trouble, as lines for checking out tend to be long and very slow.

    Once at the casino floor, we went out, and just waited until the airport shuttle bus came. Once we confirm that it was the correct one, they go on the shuttle. Then I went back to my room, and slept some more. I would stay at this casino until around check out time, since it costs so much money for me.

    A few hours later, I was awake, and went to the casino floor, trying to decide what to eat for breakfast. After walking around the food court and not finding anything appealing, I just decided to eat the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet. Only $1 less than the lunch one, but I love to eat breakfast buffets, even if it is unbelievably unhealthy. So I went there, and ate away. And yes, I really enjoyed it very much! And was very full.

    After breakfast, I went back to the room, and relaxed a bit. I could hardly move around after eating so much. But my time in the room came to an end, as it was about check out time. I had to pack up everything, and then left the room. And used the Express Checkout, which was a small computer box. That saved me the trouble of standing in line, as it was very quick. But I was sad, as my time at the casino has come to an end. I left the Monte Carlo, and took the bus to go to my next place to sleep.

    I would go to the downtown area, getting off at Fremont Street. Then walked on that street, which was a long walk, as I passed by old motels. And mostly in direct sunlight. I arrived at the Las Vegas Hostel, and tried to check in. But not surprising, I would have to wait some hours to do that. So I put my backpack in storage, and looked around the hostel. This does look like a good hostel, but just not in a good location, being far from everything else.

    I looked at some brochures and used the computer there, deciding what to do next. But with limited time left, I had to narrow my focus. Also, I tried to print out my boarding passes but no luck. But I was able to check in, online. That should buy me some time at the airport, as I had an early morning flight, and likely not to get much sleep.

    I walked to a bus stop, going a different way. Then got on the Deuce bus, and stopped by the Hostel Cat from earlier. I took their key by mistake, and decided to stop by, to return it. This hostel had no room left, which is why I had to book with another hostel. Too bad, as this hostel has a much better location.

    Back out, I hopped on the bus, and got off to go to a McDonald's. I thought they would have $1 drink promotion, but turned out this McDonald's did not. So I ended up paying almost $2. After getting a refill, I went to the nearby Circus Circus Hotel & Casino, to visit Adventuredome.

    Adventuredome is an amusement park inside a glass dome. Walking around, it reminds me of the Mall of America. I came to an arcade area, and saw some old games. Played some of them, then left the place. Leaving Adventuredome, I went to McDonald's to get another refill. Then to the bus, taking it to the main part of the Strip.

    I stopped by the Excalibur, to use their restroom. Then looked around this casino, as it does have its own arcade. Strange to see in this day in age. I did not play any games, and left the Excalibur. I took the bus, going to the famous welcome sign.

    The sign that says "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas", I used to think that it was part of a hotel. But it is located on a median, in the middle of the street, much to my surprise. Still, I had to make sure that I seen it on this trip, after seeing it on photos for some time. Turns out, it is located next the airfield of the airport. I would see some planes taking off.

    Afterwards, I went to see some of the casinos along the way, both outside and inside, for the architecture of them. Starting from Mandalay Bay, which has Asian architecture around the entrance. I rode the tram to the Excalibur. Then went inside NY, NY. Along the way, I would stop and make a list of things that I wanted to see before leaving LV, and cross check with times. After looking it over, I resumed seeing more of the Strip. Leaving NY, NY, I went to the MGM Grand.

    Then left quickly, to go to the Bellagio, for the fountain show. Then picked a spot, and waited for the Bellagio Fountain Music Show to start. Or whatever the exact name it is. It puts on a nice water display, set to music. And each show does have different music. And if at night, there is a light show as well. The nighttime one is the better one, but still worth a watch.

    After the fountain show, I would see some costumed characters pass by, some with their masks off. Then went to Caesars Palace, looking around. at the ancient Roman architecture. Then to the Mirage, for the volcano show. Walked around, to get a good view. Fire and smoke coming out of it, set to a musical drum number. Plus fire around the volcano as well. It is a good show, with very nice special effects. Better to watch it from the street side.

    Looked around some more, then went inside the Venetian. I remember visiting this place in 2005, and had to see it again. I went to see the canal, which has gandolas floating on it. A replica of Venice, even including St. Mark's Square. Looked around more, then went back out. I went to see the fountains near the Wynn casino, for the fountain show. This show seems to run continuously throughout the evening hours. I stood around for about 20 minutes, and it did not seem to end. Also, the part with the light show, is a lot more colorful, as the colors do change along the way. Makes it more colorful to see. A nice show to watch, and worth seeing if you happen to be in the immediate area. And that is more likely the case, with the Wynn being next to the Venetian.

    Afterwards, I rode the bus, going to my last site of this night, the Stratosphere. Then went inside it, and rode the elevator to the observation deck at the top. Looked at the city at night, first indoors. And got to see someone jump off, to bungie-jump, which was really something. Then went outside, for the outdoor views. While the nighttime views are nice, I feel like I was missing out since I could not see the surrounding area. So I should remember to make these visits at least 1 hour before sunset.

    After seeing this place, I went back down. And quickly went out, catching the bus just on time. I rode to Fremont Street, where there was a light show in progress. But I had no time to see it. I had to start walking to the hostel, as it was getting late. But then, a bus came along, and I got on that bus, getting me to the hostel faster. This saved me some time, which I needed, in hopes to get as much sleep as possible.

    Arriving at the hostel, I was able to get to my room for the night. Then quickly organized my clothes, in a way to save time for the next morning. Then took a quick shower. After all that, I went to sleep, knowing that I would not get much of it, due to the early morning flight.

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  • 06May 2017

    5 Leaving Las Vegas 05/06/2017 USA —

    Las Vegas, USA

    Description

    I was able to get up on time, with help from my cell phone. Then got ready quickly, and packed up. Luckily, the preparation from earlier, proved helpful. After that, I left the room, going to the reception desk, to check out and let them know of a few issues that they need to address. Like a leaky faucet, which is a much bigger deal in the desert. I got directions to the nearest stop to a bus line that took me to the airport.

    Leaving the hostel, I walked to the bus stop, which was about 15 minutes away. In a residential neighborhood, around 4 AM. I got to a gas station, and got some bottled water at the store there. I was very thirsty. Then waited until the bus came, and I was not alone at the stop. When the bus came, I hopped on, and rode it to the airport.

    Once at the airport, I did go in, and quickly skimmed through the museum part. The displays told the history of McCarran International Airport. I did not stay long, as I had to get in line for security, which was long. I was able to get through it, then took a tram to the terminal. Then proceeded to my gate, where I waited around, until boarding time.

    When that time came, I got on the plane, and had the window seat. The plane took off, leaving Las Vegas. Looking out, I could see the surrounding mountains, and the city. I would going to Minneapolis first, for a 4-hour layover.

    Once the plane arrived at the gate in Minneapolis, I got off, and went to the next gate, just to see where it was. Then went to a food court, to get something to eat, as I have not eaten anything this day. I got myself some Chinese food, chicken with rice. It was pretty good. And I got a text, saying that my flight back home, is delayed. I would find out later, it was due to just falling behind schedule.

    Along the way, I ran into someone, who I knew from college. I did not get to talk much, since he had somewhere to go. Then waited at the gate, until boarding time. When I got on the Delta flight, I would have the middle seat. At least with Delta, it does not cost extra to store luggage in the overhead.

    The plane took off, leaving the Twin Cities, and heading back to Philly. Once it arrived there, I took the train, which then, took me back home. The trip to Las Vegas was over.

    I did not expect much from this trip, but much to my surprise, I ended up having a very good time. And it has been a while since I traveled somewhere by airplane. I am sure that I will return to Vegas, as there are a bunch of day trip options that I am very interested in.

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