After seeing the city in so many movies we had big expectations of Las Vegas. We were expecting glitsy nightlife, lights, fast cars, beautiful women, suits and more. Our first impressions however, were not so glamorous. We landed in the middle of the day, and the city seemed like a scaled up version of Logan. There were wide roads, huge blocks and cars, but not all of the cars were limousines or sports cars. The iconic Vegas landmarks were there, but they seemed much smaller in real life, especially in daylight, and they are spread out over a really long stretch of road.

We were originally booked into a hotel called the Stratosphere Tower, one of the major landmarks on the Vegas skyline. However, due to shifting plans, we had to cancel our booking and when we tried to rebook the prices had risen considerably, thus Sophie and I had to resolve with the fact that we would now be staying at the humble Howard Johnson Inn instead. Despite this disappointment, the place was, needless to say, at least as good as anywhere we’d stayed in South America. We dumped our bags, and after a short snooze, set out to explore the town.

The first thing I did was drag Sophie, kicking and screaming into the first burger place for a real American meal. Supersize? Hell yeah. It wasn’t really that different from an Australian burger place, except this one was full large American stereotypes. The supersize drink cup was huge, evidently the populace has yet to cotton on to the fact that that the drinks are refillable. On the other hand, I guess the huge cup saves a trip to the drinks dispensers, or three.

Unsurprisingly, the lunch left left us feeling a bit sick, but we walked it off over the course of the afternoon. If you are ever visiting Vegas, don’t try and do it on foot. Blocks are huge and everything is miles away. When someone tells you that a place is just down the road, they mean that it’s a short drive. Nobody walks anywhere in Vegas.

That evening, after recovering from an afternoon of walking, we went out to hit the pokies! We walked down the strip, observing the flora and fauna as we went. Most people were increadibly, average looking. Most guys were middle aged, white men wearing shorts with belts and buttoned shirts. There were also some black dudes walking around with their baggy jeans around their knees, and of course there was the odd limo driving past with either drunk girls screaming or drunk college boys hooting. It’s easy to get drunk in Vegas. If you can’t find your way to one of the bars offering one dollar beers, just drop in at your local pharmacy. As well as the usual pharmaceuticals and a range of groceries, they have a full selection of booze, and the beers come in huge one litre cans, often with an alcohol content of 8% or more.

We eventually made it into one of the big casinos. It was lit up with millions of lights on the outside and on the inside, even more. Apart for being huge though, it was not too different to casinos in Australia. We worked our way from casino to casino down the strip, but although quite impressive on the outside they were much the same inside. I think we got about halfway down, which is actually a very long walk, before we got tired and bored and caught the bus back up to our hotel.

The next day we got an authentic taste of Vegas, when we met a guy on the street while looking for directions. He claimed to be an out-of-luck high roller, cleaned out and on his way out of town. He said he had some tickets to one of the Cirque de Soleil shows that he could give us if we were keen to go. He made a quick call for us, and bam that was it! We’d be going to see Love that night! Soph was over the moon! I was excited but had the nagging feeling that it was too good to be true. And then came, “Ah by the way, I’m broke and need to get to the airport, would you mind giving me some money for a cab…”. Uh Oh, I thought, suspicious, but at the same time really hoping it was all true, it was Vegas after all, anything could happen. Luckily I only had five bucks in my wallet, which I started explaining was all we had the the moment, when in jumps Soph, “Thats ok! we can draw some more!” Ugh. So in the end, after a quick chat to Soph we managed to limit damages to 25 bucks. Needless to say, when we rang up later on in the day, the tickets did not exist. Not a great financial loss, but a big disappointment, especially for Soph who really wanted to see the show. That’s Vegas.

After two nights we’d seen enough. We picked up a rental car, packed it with all our luggage and headed out into the desert, next stop would be Zion National Park, Utah.