Two Idiots Abroad
Two idiots (Simon Jakowicz and Glenn Goodhall) spending 90 days traveling around the United States, departing on the 12th September 2013. Follow our adventures as we journey from the concrete jungle - New York to the city of angels - Los Angeles.

Neon City

By: Simon Jakowicz on 24th Nov 2013

Now, I was going to call this blog "Viva Las Vegas", but that would've been far too obvious. We landed in Vegas around 10 nights ago and spend the first 4 days mostly travelling out into places with far less civilisation, hookers and blackjack tables. The night we landed we checked into Hooters, had a little wander down the strip and went swimming.

Boom, day 2 we went out and rented another car, this time we got a brand new Ford Focus, only 3,000 miles on the clock and we headed straight for Death Valley. I done all the driving this time as Glenn done the mega drive from Seattle to Yellowstone. Death Valley isn't the place to go if you want a theme park or to see a dolphin show, but I would say it is one of the best drives on this earth and certainly the best place I have ever driven. 5 hours went in no time, blasting down the endless straights and then weaving through the hilly and bendy parts. All round amazing sights and on a scorchingly hot and clear day. We stopped at the Badwater Basin salt flats which are around 300ft below sea level, we even tasted the salt for some reason. We both brought back some red rock from the red rock mountains as souvenirs, you can't have something much cooler, than a bit of Death Valley on your sideboard.

The next day we done another 5 hour round trip to the Grand Canyon, the first wonder of the world we have both seen. We paid around $70 each to go on a tour of how the native Indians live, see 2 viewpoints of the canyon, go on the skydeck and get some local food for lunch. The first stop on the tour was a place called Hualapai Ranch, we got to see an old prison cell and an old hanging platform and noose. We then got to go on a horseback wagon ride through deadly snake lands. We were told if bitten, death was certain, with the nearest anti venom being hours away and at $20,000 a vial. Not to mention the venom in most of the 20 snake breeds in the area can completely destroy your nervous system beyond repair within 20 minutes. Luckily we are both still alive to tell the tale. We also got to see some apparent dinosaur fossil... which was nice, for lack of a better word. We got our free lunch which was bbq ribs, rice and salad and then headed to the first viewpoint of the canyon - Eagle Point. It was starting to get dark so we managed to get some amazing pictures of the canyon during sunset. It was unbelievable, how they literally let you go as close to the edge as you like and if you fall, well that's your problem, until you hit the canyon floor of course. We also got to go on the skydeck there, this is a glass floored horseshoe which hangs over the edge of the canyon with a 4,000 feet drop to the bottom of the canyon. I managed to scare off the only other two people on the skydeck, by jumping up and down…. admittedly not very high. The glass had been tested and managed to hold 16,000 pounds of weight, so I felt confident it could support me. No pictures are allowed to be taken on the skydeck as they want to sell you their own pictures for stupid money which was really shit. We then went to the second viewpoint - Guano Point, the sights were incredible, but by this point the sun had set and so we were unable to get decent pictures. We were also only given 5 minutes tops to explore here, mountain lions are known to be in the area and so it’s not safe at night. We then went to the gift shop and bought quite a lot of souvenirs. My favourite souvenir here was probably a dream catcher, made by the native Indians, it looks super cool, I don't really believe in Neverland or any fairy tales for that matter, so it probably isn't going to catch my dreams, but I don't need wizardry for that.... just number 29 to come in on roulette, when I put my entire savings on it.

The next day before handing the car back, we went for a drive to the Hoover Dam. The Hoover Dam is the largest dam in the world, by the amount of water that is held in its reservoir - Lake Mead. We parked up and had a walk along the memorial bridge, it rather high and from it you can see over the top of the dam, as well as seeing the valley, that the water flows in to. We then drove across the top of the dam and Glenn jumped out to get some pictures for us, while I circled around. Not thinking it was a big deal I went into a employee only area, within seconds security charged out of nowhere and gave me a right telling off, I done the typical British thing and practically told him to keep his knickers on and that I didn't know why he was making such a fuss. All I wanted to do was turn around without going 5 miles down the road. You do get the impression, that as soon as someone has a uniform over here, they think they're the dogs bollocks. Where in reality, they were abused as children, made to eat crayons and now are just mentally unstable ass-holes. Rant over.

Some of you know, Jem also joined me and Glenn for a week in Vegas, so the next day I went to the airport to meet her and we spent our first night in a premium suite at the top of the Bellagio, facing the fountains and the strip. It was quite expensive, especially as it was a Saturday night, but it was a lush room, we could watch the fountains and hear the music from our room and even have the music play through our tv. The shower cubicle was double the size of any large cubicle I've ever seen. We all went to a sports bar to eat and then had a look round some casinos.

Instead of doing a day by day breakdown, I'll paragraph the rest into events. Along the main strip, the old strip - Fremont Street and local areas, there must be around 35 to 40 casinos I would guess. Glenn had an idea of collecting dollar chips from each. In total I managed to get 31 chips and I think I got one from every casino on the new strip. With the exception of the Polo Towers, I'm not sure that was even a casino though. There were other casinos near the strip which we didn't bother with and some in Fremont Street we didn't either. Overall I'm really happy with my collection and have gotten to see the majority of the casinos. My Favourites being Bellagio and MGM as that is where we stayed lol. Caesars Palace, New York New York, Monte Carlo, Planet Hollywood and Wynn are also really nice hotels and casinos which I would stay in for sure. I kind of glazed over MGM there, after the first night in Bellagio, me and Jem changed hotels to MGM Grand, spending 3 nights in a huge penthouse like apartment and then 3 nights in a posh health conscious room with all manner of mood lights and vitamin c infused shower water. Glenn spent 7 nights in Excalibur which was conveniently close for us all to meet up in the mornings.

Some casinos offer shows outside for their resorts for free. Treasure Island normally do some weird boat show, but that was closed. Mirage do a show where a volcano erupts and fire shoots everywhere, we got to see this on our last night and I got a video of the whole thing. It's pretty cool and the background music really makes you feel like, you're in some dramatic movie scene. Without a doubt the Bellagio fountains are the best though, they let the fountains off every half hour between 3pm and 7pm and then every 15 minutes until midnight. While staying at Bellagio we got to see the fountain plenty of times and then other nights we saw them from the ground. I never realised that each time a different song is played and the fountains are different. I got recordings of 3-4 songs, the fountains are so cool, shooting up to 400 feet in the air, you really have to see it for yourself.
One night we took a bus to Fremont Street. The whole of Vegas is kind of a tacky place but Fremont Street is double tacky. I don't know why anyone would stay on this ancient strip, the casinos all look old and have slot machine graveyards. The only decent casino was the Golden Nugget, it was actually really nice and if on the new strip I'd consider staying there. They have a wicked swimming pool which has a slide going through a shark pool. We got to see a pretty decent band outside on the street, performing covers of Weezer and White Stripes among over bands. We also got to see the totally awesome Fremont Street music experience where the inside corridor joining the casinos has the ceiling lit with abstract designs, as music is blared out. So worth seeing and again I got some video footage. While on Fremont Street me also went to the Heart Attack Grill, it was closed, but we did get to see the staff dressed up as nurses spanking someone while they ate. Which was slightly odd lol.

Glenn went to Vegas about 2 years ago and so had already done certain things that I and Jem wanted to do. The main thing was going to a shooting range. One morning me and Jem went to a place called The Gun Store, where we paid $100 each to have 10 shots of a p226 pistol, 25 shots of an mp5 and 25 shots of an m6. We were told, we wasn't going to be given any supervision as we had to pay extra for that, but we just wanted to shoot shit, so that was cool with us. As it goes they showed us the basics anyway and both of us done pretty well. The recoil on the m6 was quite extreme, so I'm happy with amount of head shots I got on the zombie shooting targets. Especially as neither of us had shot a machine gun or sub machine gun before. We were allowed to take pictures and videos but completely forgot. At the end we got a couple of pictures each holding the m6. We were also given a complimentary tshirt and were given our shooting targets as souvenirs. On the way back we stopped by, what looked like an abandoned warehouse, that had a "pinball museum" banner on the side. The warehouse was full of retro pinball and arcade machines which were only 25c to 50c a go. I changed up some dollars and played on a bunch including Tron, which I might add, was bloody confusing.

Whilst in Vegas we all went to 3 shows. The first was a comedy show in Planet Hollywood, there was a host and 3 other comedians. I found them all to be quite funny except for the host. As always you can never remember jokes from live comedy, but the head liner was really good. He took some criticism pretty well from some grumpy bastards at the back and got the audience involved without completely taking the piss like Frankie Boyle and Jimmy Carr. The next show was MJ Live, in a casino way off the strip called Rio, it was a right pain in the ass to get to, especially as we had been walking all day. The show was wicked though, a Michael Jackson impersonator and his sidekicks and dancers, performed snippets from 25-30 Michael Jackson and Jackson 5 tracks. I didn't think the voice was spot on, but it was close and the show was brilliant nevertheless. The last show was David Copperfield at MGM Grand, for those who don't know, he is a magician and the show was totally amazing. I've never seen live magic like this before and he performed his tricks right in front of an audience of hundreds with no gimmicks. None of us could work out his tricks, although I have a pretty good idea how he done one, where he claimed to go to the future. Anyone who ever goes to Vegas must see him, he is amazing and a good comedian at the same time, frequently making the audience laugh.

Two half days were spent shopping though two different premium outlet stores, we all bought a fair amount, although I definitely spent the most, getting clothes from Armani, Abercrombie and Fitch, Timberland, Coca Cola World and 2 leather jackets from Wilson leather.... ok now I'm just gloating. I am so going to need 3 new wardrobes for when I get home.

Another cool thing we all done was going to the top of the Stratosphere, the observation deck is about 800 feet up, so it isn't gigantic, but you still get a great view of the city, the strip and across Fremont Street. At the top of the Stratosphere there are 3 rides; insanity, xscream and big shot. We didn't bother with big shot as it didn't seem very scary. However we did go on the other 2, first up was insanity,which takes you over the edge of the tower and spins you around in a circle motion for a few minutes. I love these kind of thrills so I found it awesome. Jem completely shat her pants at the start... bless her, but got used to it a little by the end. Next was xscream, which is a small roller coaster track, which at speed, you are launched down and stopped just before you plummet to the neon lights below. The track also drops rather sharply like it’s broken (which none of us knew about), so we all got a bit of a shock.

Whilst walking down the strip, especially the end that we stayed, there are tonnes of people dressed up in cool outfits. Some we saw included, Master Chief, Spongebob, Michael Jackson, Minions, Mickey Mouse and my favourite Jack Sparrow, whom I got a picture with, he looked almost identical to the films and portrayed the character brilliantly too with his hand and arm gestures. Sparrow was also hanging around with Edward Scissorhands, who I also got pictures with.

We hadn't been out drinking in a while, so decided we should. One night we went to the Hakkasan nightclub inside MGM Grand, not before having a few drinks in our hotel room. We didn’t have to drink much for it to be a fun night, the music wasn't bad at all, although it got a bit samey after a while. Tickets usually cost $20 for girls and $30 for guys at the door, but awesomely Glenn got chatting to someone on to way to meeting us and got given 3 free tickets. They managed to get their money back on the drinks however, charging $10 for a beer and $16 for a disaronno and coke :( Everyone gets given a Hakkasan glow stick to wave around which we all decided to keep, technically I broke mine and Glenn found another which he have to me, he was definitely on a roll that day.

The only thing I haven’t really mentioned, which admittedly is quite big in Vegas, is gambling. Not because I lost all my money and have to come home, however I did lose more money than I won. Me and Glenn both gambled about half the nights we were there, I won $15 on a machine, the night before coming to Vegas and Glenn won $30 on the same machine, the first night in Vegas. After that we both mainly stuck to Roulette, although I dabbled a bit in Blackjack - which I had terrible luck on. Most days we went about $10-15 up and then eventually lost it all. Jem appeared to change our luck, the night before she was due to fly home she won $20 on roulette as did I. The next day she won $20, I won $30 and Glenn won $30 too. So Jem ended up leaving on a plus and overall me and Glenn calculated we were down $50-60 each.

Yesterday me and Jem went to the airport for her to catch her flight back home, me and Glenn then continued on our journey. We took a Grayhound bus towards LA and are currently staying just off Hollywood Boulevard.

That turned out a lot longer than I had expected, I hope I haven’t bored too many of you to death. Thanks for reading.


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Simon - 29th Nov 2013 22:26:57
@Big Bear - Thanks, yeah it's crazy, shame we couldn't eat in there. I did get to try the extra sugary Mexican Coca Cola that they sell, as the Coca Cola world sold it. I don't think they care about killing people tbh, On the door was a poster that said "Cash only - Because you might die before the check clears" lol

Simon - 29th Nov 2013 22:25:05
@Mum Nah me and Glenn have both said, we are both physically tired of the constant moving around. Woke up like 20 times one night in LA.

Big bear - 29th Nov 2013 14:00:57
Forgot to say great pictures and blog Simon, well written, fun to read

Big bear - 29th Nov 2013 13:42:56
Only the Americans could have a place called Heart attack grill, was the place anywhere near the hospital or undertakers lol.

Mel - 29th Nov 2013 12:37:51
I'm so pleased to hear that. Wouldn't want you to be away any longer the you have to be. xxx

Simon - 28th Nov 2013 14:27:35
Glad you like the blog and found it funny :) Done absolutely loads in Vegas, very long and busy days. Jack Sparrow was really good. Saw another impersonator in LA, although he looked nothing like Sparrow. Not long now, I think I am kind of ready to come home now anyway! xx

Mel - 28th Nov 2013 03:05:27
I love this blog it is so hilarious in many places, the funniest one yet. You have done and seen so much and the pictures are lovely. The Jack Sparrow impersonator certainly looks like him. I wish I was with you to enjoy all you have had the pleasure of seeing. The hotel looks and sounds amazing. Not long now and you will be back home and wishing you were still there. Love you xxxx