Day 1: Back to fairyland
12 June 2010
Is it really a whole year since we last made the trip to Vegas? I suppose it must be.
This time we’re really going to set the place on fire. So to get off to the right start, Baglady decided we were going to travel in style: Virgin Premium Economy.
A leisurely taxi at 9:00 got us to the airport for a late morning flight with the promise of bypassing all the queues. Lovely!
Some things are the same whichever flight class you take though. For example we all share the same smoking areas outside the airports.
Here’s the Baglady looking relaxed in her travel outfit enjoying one last puff outside Gatwick…
It sure was nice to go to the front of the queue at bagdrop and at the gate, get on the plane first, go upstairs and have a bright cheery lady bring you a glass of champagne. And it was really nice to have the extra space and the absence of screaming kiddies.
But the flight took just as long and it’s just as boring tbh. I whiled away the long hours by playing the plane at backgammon – the interactive game in the seat back is very bad at backgammon even on the “hard” setting, but I found that working up a winning strategy was relaxing enough to help the time pass in between the food and drink interruptions. By the end of the flight I was ahead 26 games to 2, which suggests that I have an edge, lol.
So it seemed like only half a day by the time we passed through immigration at McCarran Airport and outside into the dry Vegas air.
Here’s a slightly stressed Baglady having her first ciggy on American soil before we go for a taxi:
This year’s hotel was the Flamingo, who were doing a decent price for a center strip hotel this year. The check-in queue was HUGE; unfortunately our premium economy ticket didn’t take us to the front of this one so there was nothing for it but to wait in line.
Still the front desk was friendly enough once we got there and the lady gave us a really nice room on the 25th floor. Big, quiet comfortable … and what a view! We’re bang opposite Caesar’s Palace and the floor-to-ceiling window gives a great panorama of the strip, only slightly blurred by the huge perforated picture of Donny and Marie that covers the outside of the building. I thought the Mirage was good last year but this is fantastic!
It was cloudy and cool (mid 20s) in Vegas that afternoon, so a good opportunity for an explore.
First on the list was to have a look around the Flamingo. They’ve got one of the best free pools on the strip so we went out the back to have a beer and a look for the pool. They also have a little white wedding chapel at the back and were preparing for a ceremony, so there was an unusually large number of people in formal dress.
Here’s a pic of the Flamingo grounds:
The first pool we found was the adults only one. This one is free for the ladies but costs $15 each for the men. I had a feeling we weren’t the demographic they were aiming at, so we walked on down a bit to find the other pool area. This one is free to hotel residents, just show your pass and they put an armband on you. We went in for a quick look around, it’s a big pool area with lots of loungers to lie on; maybe we’ll have a day here if we get knocked out of the WSOP Seniors before the final day.
We’ve got a nice new camera this year, which is why the image quality is up on 2009. A little Canon, suggested by Ken Snappit, it’s a sweet little device, very easy to use with a decent lens. It’s a nice evening so we decided to go and have a look at the strip and see if we can see any differences from last year. And to have some camera practice.
It’s rush hour on the strip…
… and Paris looks particularly romantic in the late evening sun that has now emerged from the clouds…
While we had been travelling, England and USA had played their first group game in the World Cup against each other.
I had expected that the World Cup would be pretty much ignored by the Americans, so it was a surprise to find that actually they were engaged with it and even quite excited at the prospect. All the matches were on in all the casinos, with great excitement in the sportsbook rooms. Even the bar staff seemed interested if not really all that knowledgeable.
The stone angels on top of Caesar’s Palace seemed to be adding to the cacophony of vuvuzelas that was to follow us round for the whole fortnight!
We stopped by the Bellagio to watch the fountains again. We both agree it’s still the best free show in Vegas; such a simple idea but it just works.
The Bellagio itself has the most imposing and stylish facade of any Vegas casino, so here it is again in the fading light.
Once it got dark, both the Baglady and myself started to feel the effect of the 32 hour day. So we headed back to the room in the Flamingo.
Tomorrow the plan was to check out the new Aria casino in City Center and to play some poker. But for now here’s the view from the hotel room at night, with the red and purple of the Rio imposing itself on the view from behind Caesar’s. It was a while before we could bring ourselves to close the curtains…
Goodnight, sleep tight!