Monday, October 7, 2013

Viva Las Vegas! (Day 1 & 2)

Where to start? A year ago we decided to save our money and go on a vacation somewhere, alone, just the two of us to celebrate being together for 15 years. We wanted it to be somewhere fun, neither of us had been to, that had plenty to do in one spot so we didn't have to spend a lot of time traveling while on vacation. We went through a few options, and finally decided on Las Vegas! A few weeks later, I asked Nathan if he would marry me again with Elvis while we were there :) He agreed! If we are going to Vegas, we have to do it up right and that means an Elvis wedding! So, we saved and saved and planned and planned and finally made all our arrangements! We do not travel much at all, in fact we have not went on a real vacation since our honeymoon over 7 years ago. We haven't even went to Branson in 2 years! We just have been busy or the funds haven't been there or it just wasn't the right timing. So, we really wanted to do this vacation right!

We dropped the kids off at the sitters on Monday - and that went tear free! We had really been prepping Noah so he would understand best he could. He hugged us and said "I love you, now go" - it was funny and sad at the same time. We then went to Fayetteville for lunch before heading to the airport. Getting through airport security was a little tricky. While we were waiting in line to go through security, Nathan pulled his license out. It had a big crack in it and it was all scratched up. He said that is how it always looks towards it's expiration (which is next month) because it is in his wallet while he works on equipment all the time. Well, the last number of the expiration date was rubbed off so it was not considered a valid ID - so it had to be approved by the TSA. They said they needed to do an extensive search on him and his bags. Well, he had my bags and I had his - so we had to switch, which I am sure didn't look suspicious at all and they searched him and his bag. Thankfully, that was it and we were off to our gate.

About an hour before we were supposed to take-off, they made an announcement that the plane we were supposed to take had not even left Vegas yet due to electrical errors in the Vegas airport - meaning it would be at least 3 hours from then before we could leave. I was disappointed, but I knew Nathan would freak. He HATES to sit and wait anywhere for anything and doesn't have the best patience. Luckily, there was a restaurant that helped pass our time, along with everyone else on our flight. Between that, Facebook, and people watching it really wasn't that bad. Thankfully, we didn't have any plans in Vegas for night one other than eating dinner.

It was so strange. I was fine leaving the kids - didn't cry, I was sad, but fine. But, when we took off I all of a sudden felt like crying - it was like it didn't hit me all the way that I was going to be all the way across the country from them for 4 days until then. I managed not to cry, and my awesome husband caught on that I was getting upset and of course said all the right things. Then it got exciting! We started looking through the in-flight magazines for ideas of things to do and adding to our lists. The flight was fine and went pretty fast, a little under 3 hours and we were there! Got our bags and took a shuttle to our hotel.

Our last picture in Arkansas for the week!
We stayed at the MGM Grand - it is one of the first ones on the strip and it was amazing! We haven't ever been, so I don't know how it compares to anything else - but the lobby was amazing (huge with a big golden lion and fountain with flowers all around it), it had about 10 restaurants and bars, a shopping center, casino, 2 theaters, and so much more! We would think we had the quickest way from our room to the strip figured out and then we would find a whole other wing of the hotel we didn't even know existed! We were on the 14th floor with a great view of the strip. The room we had reserved was not available so we were upgraded to the Grand Tower. Our room was nice, nothing extra fancy, but we did not plan on spending much time in it so it didn't matter. It was clean and had everything we needed and more. Night one we just found a deli in the sports betting lounge area and had a quick dinner and played some slot machines and went to bed! We were still on Arkansas time - so we were two hours ahead and tired!

Our first view of Vegas as we landed!

Our home for the week!

My first Vegas slot machine :)
On Tuesday we just took off walking with plans to walk the strip and see how far we could get. We kept hearing that things are farther than they looked and that you can't walk the strip in a day, so we thought we would do one side one day, and the other the next day, depending on how far we got. We stopped at Hard Rock cafe for an awesome breakfast and took off. The first block we had our first timeshare experience. They were offering us all kinds of deals to look at their properties. The lady was very nice, and I told her we just had such limited time out there that I didn't want to waste it looking at timeshares. She said she understood and told us that people will be asking us that all day, everywhere we go, so to just say no. Boy, was she ever right. At least 2 times per block, or more, we would hear "hey, where you guys from" or "seeing any shows while you are in town" or "free show tickets" or "honeymooners?" - it was SO annoying. We figured out if we told them we were leaving today they would just walk away - it was a lie worth telling, trust me.

We made it to the Venetian this day and saw Obama on vacation since the government was shut down ;) and also rode the Gondola with a nice couple from England (they said they were skiing - aka: Spending Kids Inheritance - ha!). We were in shock from the number of international travelers. I really figured all countries had a Vegas of some sort, and I couldn't imagine traveling all that way for Vegas. We met more international people than Americans. We went on and were looking for somewhere to eat lunch - Nathan made the comment that everyone keeps talking about the shows so maybe that it the thing to do there (which is what I had been telling him everyone told me before we went - they are just expensive, like $125 per ticket expensive). The England couple was telling us all the shows they had seen there and they sounded awesome. So, the next timeshare person that offered the discount show tickets, Nathan listened to their speech. And, much to my dislike, he signed us up for a timeshare presentation that afternoon. I wanted the free tickets - but I knew the promise of the presentation only taking 30 minutes being bogus. I have always heard how long and boring these things are. But, we had already signed up and paid for our package - 2 different show tickets and $200 in slot machine credits for $70, so we did it. As soon as we got there, the times promised got longer and longer. Well, long story short, 5 hours after we met the timeshare guy, we were finally done! Yeah, we were not very happy, but we had our free tickets to the shows for that night so we wanted to hurry and eat and go. (We did not buy the timeshare by the way - even after they threw in the free Caribbean Cruise and trip to Hawaii - we just don't travel enough to make it worth our while - but boy did they try every trick in the book to get us to buy it, including saying our kids childhood will be better if we do - so annoying).

Gondola ride at the Venetian

Me and Obama ;)

This is INSIDE the Venetian - we both swore the clouds were moving :)
We went back to our hotel and had dinner real quick at Avenue 24 Bar & Grill. I had chicken macaroni and cheese and it was no good. Nathan had steak and it was good, so I shared that with him and had a lot of our appetizer - loaded nachos - they were delicious! We hurried up to the room and changed clothes and headed out to our first show - Zumanity! It was in New York, New York right across the road from us. Our hotel even had a walkway over the strip to get there, it was nice. This was a Cirque Du Soleil show, but it was definitely for adults. All of the women were topless and lots of lingerie was worn. I will admit - I didn't want to see this one. It just looked like too much for me. But, it was very good. It was hilarious and the stunts were awesome. It made the whole timeshare fiasco suck a little less :) Then we had to hurry down to Planet Hollywood for our other show - Marc Savard, a comedian hypnotist! We had heard several times since being in Vegas how good this show was. Well, it was just ok for us. It was funny - but it just didn't seem real. The people seemed to be faking it, but it was still entertaining. We then went back to our hotel, played some slots, stopped off at the bakery in our hotel for some cupcakes and up to our room for the night.

Headed to Zumanity and Marc Savard!

View of the strip from our hotel

Next up, our Wedding Day! Stay tuned...   :)

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