Florida, Vegas and San Fran – 2016

It’s three in the F**ing morning, and yet again, my intention to sleep in and actually get straight onto USA time has failed.

I’ll give you a brief run down of the last 36 hours, which began at 6am on Sunday, as the English sun shone through the windows on a crisp warm spring morning. We’d packed. We’d not argued about the 14 pairs of shoes she wanted to take, or the fact that once again security took over two hours to clear, as she couldn’t understand that make up is, in fact, a liquid.

Our upgraded flight status (thanks to air miles and severe negotiation) meant that we were taking the next 11 hour flight in Virgin Upper Class, which meant a bed, a bar, and as much comfort as you can get for a flight this long. It also meant that we started the flight in the Escape lounge….free breakfast, coffee and tea, and (yes, wait for it) alcohol.

Nikki will deny this to keep up an image she’s tried for so long to fashion, but I’ve got a photograph of Nikki sitting within striking distance of a fridge full of beer, and she’s drinking coffee. I know……

Anyway, onto the plane, and to a seat that converts into a bed. At least everyone else’s bed did. Not mine. I’ll copy the letter of complaint to Virgin later, but not only did by seat not convert, but my entertainment system had no sound, and they ran out of Jack halfway through the flight, using the excuse that, “You’ve drunk it all Mr Talbot”. Typical.

I’ve never been to Las Vegas before, but you pretty much fly into the desert, and there it is. There is baron land all around and then a city, with an airport in the middle of it. It’s like flying to Hanley and landing in Burslem. Near to B+M. We flew over the Grand Canyon (saving me a grand on a helicopter trip) and the Hoover Dam (saving me more) and even saw Lake Mead (which is a lake). A short taxi ride, and were at the hotel entrance, and a short train ride later, two hour flight, three day cruise and a rickshaw ride, we’re at reception. This place is bloody massive. It has five Starbucks. It has its own shopping mall, theatre, twelve pools, train station and casino. Just to give you an idea of the size, we’re in room 34,125. That’s room 125 on the 34th floor…and there is a room 1 and a room 175 on this floor.

Vegas is massive. There is everything, and it’s all oversized and opulent….even the beggars wear Armani suits. But, for all its money and brash nature, it’s bloody expensive. It’s London prices…$9 to $18 for a beer. To start a game of black jack there’s a $10 minimum, with a $50 buy in on poker tables. Slot machines are $5 a game on average. I’m moaning now aren’t I? And I know what you’re thinking…there goes old Scrooge, but you can drink in the street here, and I can get a beer at Wal-Mart for 49c, so why are they charging me an extortionate amount in the bar next door?

On the plus side, our room is luxurious. Remote control curtains, iPod docks in every corner, floor to ceiling Windows with a view over Vegas. The bog is behind frosted glass, which allows you to see out but not in….which is a bit weird. But, as legend dictates, no clocks and no opening windows. Oh, and no coffee facilities…..it’s 4am and Nikki is out searching for the closest Starbucks to get a mocha latte frappe twisty thingy with super skinny milk from a supermodels knockers. Which you can get……

We’re off to buy stuff today, and Nikki is doing the zip wire through the shops. Where they’ve constructed a device that projects a live sky into the ceiling and even makes it rain every few hours. That’s right. They put a roof over the shops and then soak everyone…..worlds gone mad.

I’m going to try and catch an hour now…….

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