Day 18 to 20: Death Valley to Las Vegas

So we survived the night in Death Valley. No snakes, scorpions or killer spiders. Unfortunately, almost no sleep either. I think I would have been more comfortable actually sleeping in a sauna on a bed of clothes pegs while being repeatedly kicked in the groin by a coyote. Something else I forgot to mention from the night before was the surprising amount of cyclists struggling along some of those gruelling hills, well into the night. We presumed they were mentally ill, but apparently it was for a charity event.

We packed up and left camp just after sunrise, swinging by Zabriskie Point and Dante’s View before driving through Pahrump on to Las Vegas. The most noticeable thing on the way as we crossed in to Nevada state was the abundance of massive signs advertising attornies at law for if you’ve suffered an accident. I wonder what percentage of accidents are as a result of trying to note down the phone number while driving. There were also an advert for a brothel museum and a “wanted for murder” poster – two things I don’t recall seeing the likes of along Epsom high street. (Nevada has some legal prostitution.)

Vegas itself, or at least the Strip along Las Vegas Boulevard, is quite ridiculous. A sphinx, statue of liberty, eiffel tower and a pirate ship are among the many sights that greet you as you enter. We checked in to the New York New York hotel, which boasts a recreation of the New York skyline, and quickly got in to the swing of it, Vegas style, by drinking in the street, smoking inside (which seems so bizarre this far into the UK smoking ban), gambling and gaining loads of weight.

OK, so we weren’t actually smoking, and did very little gambling. I actually bored quite quickly of the slot machines.  There’s also something very worrying when you see people so planted in their seats that they need the services of passing masseurs – employed by the hotel – to loosen their tight shoulders, probably weeing themselves in the meantime so they don’t have to get up and lose their machine.

The inside of the hotels are just as ludicrous as the outsides. Ours has a mock up of a part of a New York-esque city, with a number of restaurants and bars – including two Starbucks, a club, shops, and that’s not to mention the actual casino. That’s nothing though, the MGM hotel for example, has a mocked up rainforest, and a lion enclosure that contains real lions.

Anyway, I’m now trying to make these posts less tedious by summarising rather than going into too much detail, so in fact as I write this, we’re in our hotel room for what will be our third and final night in Vegas. I’ve just eaten a jalapeno pretzel dog, and Vic a cinnamon pretzel. We’re knackered from getting up at 5.45 this morning to get picked up for a helicopter ride into and around the Grand Canyon – awesome by the way. Another thing worth noting is we went to see a show called Zumanity a couple of nights ago – basically some acrobatics but with bare breasts (no real willies though, just a pretend one), and this afternoon when we got back from the tour we discovered possibly the only bar in Vegas that doesn’t use air conditioning to chill you to your very core.