And the joys of renting a car in a foreign country!
10.01.2015 34 °C
My flight from New Orleans to Atlanta didn't take very long, but after the 3 hour flight to Phoenix and the 4 hour drive to Flagstaff, I was knackered!
I picked up my rental car at Phoenix airport - sounds simple enough but I'd had to cancel a previous rental agreement because the US Customs decided that my international drivers permit was not important enough to actually deliver and even now, after 6 months, it still hasn't been delivered! But my friends in NOLA advised me that rental companies barely ask for it, so I took the risk by booking with another company that wasn't asking for an IDP and I was away!
Now in Britain, we drive on the right side of the car. In China and in America, on the left side. Now I've driven a car in China, but having sat in taxis and friends cars, I was familiar with the right hand drive, automatic gear box stuff, plus Michelle had been kind enough to let me drive a little in New York so I was confident that I wasn't going to die!
Oh my god, how I had missed driving! Being on the wrong side of the car meant nothing, I was driving again and I had forgotten just how much I enjoy driving! Then I realised just how long roads in America are and just how far away everything is and well, my newly rekindled love of driving soon died out! So as soon as I reached Flagstaff, I checked into an over-priced and totally not worth the money or my time motel, but salvaged the experience by having the scrummiest Greek food at Alpha and Omega on Route 66 for dinner before having an early night, ready for the Grand Canyon in the morning and the big old drive to Vegas!
I got up around 6 am, showered, had a little breakfast, checked out of my room and head out towards the Grand Canyon.
The roads in the US are so long and wide and seemingly never-ending!
I eventually got to the Grand Canyon, paid my $25 car fee and parked up near the visitors centre.
I followed signs towards Mathers Point and was subconsciously picturing what I was about to see.
I was wrong.
My mind could not produce the sheer magnitude and vastness of the chasm before me.
I was literally speechless, I don't even think a 'wow' uttered forth from my parted lips, more of a squeak peeped out.
It is truly an incredible sight to behold. I felt so insignificant against that backdrop, and oddly serene.
There's something comforting and calming about looking at the Grand Canyon that even I have difficulty describing.
I walked along the trail for a while before getting on a free shuttle bus that takes you to other points along the rim, all equally stunning.
I nice Korean lady offered to take a picture of me on my phone standing precariously close to the edge but feeling unafraid of the abyss below me.
I felt nothing bad could happen at the Grand Canyon, with so much beauty surrounding me.
I stayed and walked around for about an hour and a half, then in true me-as-a-tourist fashion, got in my car and drove away as hordes of cars desperately tried to find parking spaces.
My advice to anyone visiting the Grand Canyon would be to arrive early, that way you will be blessed as I was with minimal people and maximum parking options!
~ ~ ~
I began driving to Vegas and it wasn’t until I saw a sign for it that I realised the Hoover Dam was on route, so I stopped there for 20 minutes ($10 for the privilege to park!), took a few snaps and then left as there were no more tours that day.
I think one man was hoping to recreate the dam at home, at least I can only imagine as such given the number of photos he was taking of roughly the same area!
By the time I reached Vegas I was almost out of gas and had been driving on and off for about 8 hours!
Things are not as close as they look on maps!
I found my hotel and had a much needed early night.
The next day I didn’t really do much; I went to a 50’s Diner for pancakes at 1pm and then chilled out in my room watching T.V. I obviously needed the sleep because another early night later and it was Tuesday!
I’d booked tickets for Cirque du Soleil on livingsocial.com - a great website for discounted tickets and needed to collect them from the box office at Treasure Island so I got in the car and made my way down the strip.
Vegas is like Disneyland on crack.
It’s bright and gaudy and you forget that you’re in the middle of the desert until you acknowledge how thirsty you are!
I parked (for free!) in the Treasure Island carpark, got my ticket, and then went for a walk.
It is hot in the desert!
I went into Paris to get the monorail and was accosted by various people trying to sell me above and beyond expensive skin care products before eventually finding the monorail.
They’re very sneaky in Vegas, putting the thing you need miles away through a vast array of things you might want in shiny glass cabinets and brightly dressed window displays….!
I resisted temptation however, paid for my $5 one-ride monorail ticket and went back to Treasure Island.
I went back to my hotel for a 2 hour nap then headed out again to watch Cirque du Soleil.
It was INCREDIBLE!
Everyone should go and see at least one of their many shows.
I was totally blown away. The physical endurance and ability those performers had is nothing like I’ve ever seen before; simply breath-taking.
I was going to walk around for a bit after the show, but the streets were heaving and I wasn’t in the mood for hen and stag do drunkenness so I headed back to my hotel!
The next day I went to Denny’s for brunch then did some laundry, called my bank who had once again blocked my bank card and the chilled out in my room.
Vegas as a solo traveller is a little boring but I suppose it’s what you make of it.
Meeting friends tomorrow so hopefully my opinion of Vegas will be improved…
I went for a late breakfast before going to the airport to pick up the girls and dropped them off at the Paris Hotel and Casino, gave them some time to wind down and get settled then met them in their hotel room to decide what to do.
We went casino hopping and had quite a bit of luck!
We saw the fountain show at the Bellagio and walked up the strip for a while, admiring all the varying types of people and groups before admitting defeat and needing sleep so I said bye to the girls at the MGM Grand and went back to my hotel, ready for the next league of my journey!