A Travellerspoint blog

Vegas!

sunny 22 °C

Today I departed Los Angeles for Las Vegas, Nevada. It was the start of my second Contiki tour – the 26-day long Grand Southern tour. I had the same tour manager, Camille, and met many new faces by way of speed dating on the bus – it was fun! I drove through the Mohave Desert and saw many Joshua trees. On my way to Vegas I stopped over at Barstow Station.

After a few hours on the bus, I arrived in Las Vegas! I was shaking I was so excited. This was my dream! After settling into my hotel at Harrah’s, I crossed the street and walked around and through Caesar’s Palace and walked a bit on The Strip. I also collected some stripper playing cards from people handing it out along The Strip – who knows when I might need them ;)

Later that night I had a driving tour of the legendary Strip. I finally saw the Vegas I had seen so many times on television and in the movies – the myriad flashing, neon, multi-coloured lights, the gigantic, ostentatious casinos and the crowds of people – it was everything I expected and much more!

After touring The Strip I went to Fremont Street and watched the famous light show – it was certainly incredible!

Tonight was the night before my birthday. The group went to the Playboy Club at the Palms, but I had to wait for 1 hour until midnight to enter. When I did, when it hit midnight, I rushed to the bouncer and showed my passport – I was in! I was 21!! I met the Playboy bunnies and then partied like crazy at another club at the top of the tower – I had wonderful views of The Strip.

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Disneyland!

rain 17 °C

My week got better and better because today was Disneyland! It didn’t start off too well because it was pouring, but I wore my raincoat and jumper so I was prepared. To begin with I caught a train around Disneyland to get a feel for all of the areas and then I started with Mickey’s Toontown, the home of Mickey and Minnie. I went into Mickey’s house and got a photo with him, got a photo with Goofy and then went into Minnie’s house and got a photo with her too – it was fun, I felt like a kid again!

It was about here when I got separated from the rest of my group but after an hour of frantically searching for them everywhere I fortunately bumped into them. I also had more luck: the weather cleared and the sun came out! The first ride for the day was a rollercoaster ride on Matahorn Mountain and then I found Nemo in a submarine – it was good stuff! Afterwards, I went up to Space Mountain and rode a rollercoaster in the complete dark – it was exhilarating and great fun! Next was a much tamer ride, the teacups, to my surprise it wasn’t as bad as I though – quite fun but I would only do it once! The other rides included the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Pirates of the Caribbean and a Haunted Mansion.

I absolutely adored Disneyland – I don’t know if I had had so much fun in one day in my life before!

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Universal Studios

sunny 19 °C

Today was a day I had been anticipating for a long time – Universal Studios! As soon as I entered my first stop was the studio tour. Television shows such as 24 and CSI are filmed at the set (I thought CSI is filmed in Las Vegas!) and movies including War of the Worlds, Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Back to the Future to name a few. I also drove down Wisteria Lane, the set for Desperate Housewives which was really cool. I absolutely loved the studio tour – it was my favourite part of the entire day!

After the studio tour, I went on some rides. First one The Simpsons ride. It was a virtual 3D ride which was really fun. Next, a Jurassic Park adventure ride which was wet and fun, The Mummy high speed roller coaster, which was adrenaline rushing, and a Terminator 2 show. Universal Studios was really fun – a place where movies come to life!

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Walking tour, Hollywood and beaches

sunny 18 °C

Today was the first day of my first Contiki tour – LA explorer. I went on an interesting walking tour around Little Tokyo, the Historic District and Civic Centre, taking in the little known facts about LA, such as that it has a huge art and music scene. I checked out the Million Dollar Theatre, historic Bradbury Building, where Blade Runner was filmed in, took the shortest railway in the world (only 45 seconds long) known as Angels Flight it was build back in 1901, and checked out the modernistic Walt Disney Hall which looked like the sails of a boat.

After the walking tour I ventured back to Hollywood, drove past Marilyn Monroe’s house, drove through the rich and famous Beverly Hills and saw Rodeo Drive, one of the most expensive shopping strips in the world, a Louis Vuitton pen was valued at $20,000 – that’s one expensive pen!

My first main stop was Santa Monica Beach in Santa Monica – my first (real) beach this year! The beach was totally huge, it went on and on and on. The pier was really cool, it had its own amusement park, but best of all, marked the end of the famous Route 66, which is also seen in the movie Forrest Gump.

After the cool and chic Santa Monica was the wacky and weird Venice Beach just down the road. The beach had a massive skate park, a set for the television show American Ninja Warrior (a show similar to Wipeout!), Muscle Beach (a gym for highly muscular men and women to pump iron) and markets galore. I also saw a street basketball game and many stores selling bongs and pipes and signs reading ‘marijuana doctor’ because medical marijuana is decriminalised in California. The majority of Bay Watch was filmed here too.

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Los Angeles

sunny 18 °C

Today I arrived in Los Angeles. Unlike San Francisco, LA was warm – I could walk down the street in a shirt and shorts! One thing I didn’t expect and didn’t know about LA was the Spanish influence, it was first settled by the Spanish in 1542. Many advertisements, signs and notices are written in both English and Spanish and an announcement on the train I caught was spoken in both languages.

That afternoon I ventured to Hollywood. I walked along the Hollywood Walk of Fame – it was really cool! I didn’t know this but the artist receiving the star pays for their own star. I also went to Madame Tussauds which was impressive – the mannequins were really life-like. Finally, I saw the iconic Hollywood sign from a distance.

Posted by mccardj 15:43 Archived in US Virgin Islands Tagged la hollywood Comments (0)

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