Viva Las Vegas, Part 2

If you haven’t read part 1, check it out.

After our sad goodbye to Caitlyn. Kevin and I headed out to explore the side of the strip we hadn’t gone to yet. Our goal was to slowly make our way to where our show for the night was.

The Show - Mystere by Cirque Du Soleil

This show was weird, though I’ve a feeling all Cirque Du Soleil shows are. As we weren’t willing to spend $50 on the book that explained the show I am not fully sure of what the story was. However I will say that it was excellent. It began with a guy showing up behind us in a oversized suit and wild spiked white hair, he began talking to everyone down the stairs in the aisle seats. Every time he showed up a spotlight would follow him. He proceeded to “help” guests to the wrong seats, move people from their assigned seating to another person’s seat, and balance popcorn on people’s head. I think my favorite part was when he was dragged off stage and sent three buckets of popcorn across some rows. He was definitely one of my favorite parts of the show. However the best part of the show was when 6 people came down from the ceiling on swings and bungee cords. They pulled some amazing stunts up in the air and I would love to one day try something like that. Technically Kevin and I have seen a Cirque Du Soleil show but it was a small bit, back in Calgary as part of an orchestra event we went to. This was our first full Cirque Du Soleil show and I am so glad we went.

Food

Sushi Roku - This was hands down one of the best meals of the trip. The sushi was perfection, the bento box was beautiful, and the sake was delicious. I wish Caitlyn had been with us for this one. We found this just wandering around and after ordering our food began enjoying a sake sample set. There were three different kinds of sake; a milk coconut, a milk strawberry, and a milky mango. The coconut wasn’t my favorite but Kevin enjoyed it enough to get a glass and I got a glass of the mango, while taking down the names of all three so hopefully we can find a bottle at home. In our enjoyment of the sake we didn’t notice how much time had passed until they brought out Kevin’s bento box. We thought it odd to only bring out one meal but didn’t think much of it until a few minutes later the waitress showed up with a roll of sushi as an apology for my late food. My bento box included salmon and it had been burnt. So they were currently redoing it and the roll was an apology with no charge. It was amazing, as was the bento box when it arrived. I definitely could have gone back for more. Our rating ★★★★★
Chili’s - Because of the service from the first time we went we decided to pop in here again. It was after our show, we were tired, and Kevin wasn’t feeling well. So we wanted something quick, simple and easy. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. It was probably the worst service and food we got the whole trip. We ended up walking out leaving cash on the table because we were too tired to continue waiting. Our second rating ★★

Monday

Started bright and early, 5:30am. We ate breakfast, packed a bag and headed to the hotel lobby to wait for a shuttle. The shuttle picked us up and it was off to the Grand Canyon.

 

The Grand Canyon Adventure

We booked this through expedia and while it was a little complicated because I had to call to confirm and then call to verify what was picking us up, it wasn’t as frustrating as the hotel. Our tour was through Sweet Tours and we were shuttled to their location and then handed a breakfast package and shuffled onto a large bus. Our last countryside tour was in Cuba, where we got to drive our own jeep, follow a bunch of other jeeps and explore the land. It was so much fun. This was definitely not that. For one we were stuck in a bus with 80 or so other people for hours. A grand total of 6 hours just driving to and from. The first stop was to

Hoover Dam

I am not sure what I expected when seeing the dam but ice cold winds and shoving people wasn’t one of them. The introduction video called it the 9th Wonder of the World. But I wonder how a man made thing that destroyed an ecosystem and is potentially the cause of soon-to-happen drought can be something to be proud of. The information we were given was fascinating, the reason for building it, how it was built, and it’s uses now. I wish we had been able to finish the video that was talking about the dam. We didn’t get real close, in fact we were over a mile a way. Up hundreds of feet on a pedestrian bridge filled with dozens of other tourists. It’s a little strange to have to go through security to get to this but that’s the way it is. We had only 15 minutes to look at it, which wasn’t enough time to read through all the information available on the hike up. (Note: our Hoover Dam selfie can be found on day 316)

 
 

The Grand Canyon

This was stop two and the main event for the day. Within this section we were given a map and our tour guide was extremely helpful in planning out what we were going to do. We had only three hours to see the canyon which isn’t a lot of time. Her recommendation once we arrived was super helpful. Upon arrival we change to the Reservation shuttles, our guide recommended that we skip the first stop as it was a ranch location that showed you cattle and horses but not the canyon. We followed her advice and skipped this stop. The second stop was the Sky Walk.

 

We paid extra for the sky walk and at first I was frustrated, because you are not allowed to bring your cellphones or cameras onto the walkway. You also have to wear booties over your shoes and it just seemed like a full on tourist trap. It is a tourist trap, however a worthwhile one. Getting to see the canyon walls from the sky is amazing. Being above the flying birds was super neat and not something you get to experience often. Standing on glass looking towards the bottom of the canyon, thousands of feet below you is a weird experience. We both were fine when not moving, but it was a weird sensation to be moving and looking down through the glass. We decided to again pay extra and get a professional photographer. It’s a little pricey but I think totally worth it for the photos we got.

We spent an hour on the sky walk and then headed to the last stop on the shuttle, deeper into the canyon. Again we followed our tour guides advice and got food the second the shuttle landed. I’ll talk about the food below but I am glad we got it first. We were hunger by then and it was better to explore more on a full stomach. By this point we only had an hour and a half left in our time and after quickly eating decided to follow the trail and explore. The biggest frustration with this is that all our hiking gear was at home and we were in our city shoes. Nor were we fully dressed for the cold breeze and Kevin was starting to hit full cold mode. So we didn’t travel as far as we would have liked. We snagged some pictures and ended up finding a comfy rock to sit on and enjoy the view. Eventually we headed back to the shuttle and hopped into our bus to head back home.

Like the aquarium mentioned in part 1, all of what we saw was built for tourism and not about education. I do wish there had been more educational information. I would have loved to have learned more about the Native Reservation on the Grand Canyon and their relationship with tourism. I would have also loved more information on the dam and how it’s effect the ecosystem that was there before it was built. These are all things I can google and with time I hope to learn more.

Overall this tour was fantastic and I am so glad we took the chance to see it.

Hoover Dam rating ★★★
Grand Canyon rating ★★★★★
Sky Walk rating ★★★★
Tour Guide rating ★★★★
Tour Company rating ★★★★

Food

Sweet Tours - second breakfast. It was twinkie muffins. Imagine a twinkie in the shape of a muffin and with no filling and you got this with a banana and some cinnamon crackers. It was weird. Neither of us tried the cinnamon crackers, though I did eat all the muffins (they were mini, there were four, and I did it in two days). Our rating ★★★
At the Canyon - our tour guide told us they had great mashed potatoes and they did. It was a good meal for sure. That said we’ve had a lot of good potatoes this trip. The corn on the cob was the bigger surprise, it was a very good piece of corn and it wasn’t smothered in butter. Our rating ★★★★★
Rice & Company - this was a weird meal. Kevin was in full cold mode by this point and got a nice hot bowl of ramen, while I got a sushi roll and some poke both of which were served cold, as is expected. While the food was good, it felt very pricey for a roll and poke. Kevin’s bowl of ramen was massive and he did not manage to finish it. We split two pots of tea and it was a perfect meal to end the day. Our rating ★★★★★

Tuesday

Kevin in full cold mode was tired so we spent most of the day in the hotel room. Not the best way to spend our last day however we did have plans that night.

The Event - Maverick Las Vegas Strip Helicopter Tour

It’s official I want to learn how to fly. It’s been something I’ve been thinking on for the past year. So when I saw this on expedia, I decided to book it. No point in dumping money learning how to fly only to discover I hate it. This was an experiment to see if it’s something I would actual want to do. Flying in a helicopter was amazing. It was not long enough and I didn’t manage to snag the front seat but my goodness was it amazing. Part of me wishes I had known further in advance that they also did tours of the Grand Canyon but I am happy with what we managed to do. It was a blast. The pick up ride was fantastic and even took us to our secondary location which was far out of his way. Our rating ★★★★★

The Show - Penn & Teller

This was our last thing before leaving and it was quite the show to go out on. Having never been to a professional magician show and having only seen minor things that Penn & Teller have done, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But this was an excellent show. Our seats were on the mezzanine, which I was thankful for because they called up over 50 people to be on the stage during the performance! We arrived about 50 minutes early, took our seats and had a chance to listen to some Jazz while we waited for the show to start. The music was two people, one on a piano and the other on the bass. The person on the bass was not who we expected and it was quite a nice surprise. Like the Mystere show mentioned above, the show started before it actually started. So if you get a chance to go, go early.

The closing moments was when Penn & Teller headed out into the reception hall and took selfies with all the guests as we were leaving. For me, this makes me very uncomfortable, so I did not approach. But Kevin did, he managed to get photos with both of them and they turned out pretty awesome. He also said it was weird to hear Teller talk, as that is not something he does during their performances. Our rating ★★★★★

Food

Mon Ami Gabi - was a place we walked by on Monday and intrigued we went for breakfast. We both got the biggest crepes we have ever seen, two spread over a plate, covered in sauce. By the end of eating, the crepe left was a little soggy but it was really good. I also got a strawberry mint drink, which was delicious! Our rating ★★★★
Carnival World Buffet - our last buffet was at the Rio where the Penn & Teller show was. This buffet had the best selection for food we saw, the biggest selection of dessert and tons of variety. It was pretty pricey but worth it, if you are going on an empty stomach. ★★★★

Wednesday

Our last day in Sin City. We woke up, ate breakfast, and packed. Eventually headed to the airport. We did not explore much of Vegas on this day, because to be honest we were kinda done with the city. A part of me understands that Vegas is very much a night life city, but it also made me wish we could have gone to matinee shows. We could have packed for more into our stay if we had found any, that said I am not sure the cost would have made that something we wanted to do. As we aren’t big drinkers or party people, shows are the only attraction in the city to go unless you are here for shopping. Overall we spent just short of three grand on activities, hotel, and the flight down. As well as a grand on food. That’s a lot of money for 7 days. Seeing my bestie was the best thing and also something I needed but the expensive was definitely not. I am glad to have experience Vegas as an adult and now can happily cross off Nevada and Arizona from my travel list. Mostly likely we won’t be back.

Have you ever been to any of the shows I mentioned here? Would you go on a helicopter ride? What’s your thoughts on Vegas?