One Man's Eyes

I'm an early 30's engineer with delusions of adequacy. From here, I'll share my perspective, usually through words, sometimes through pictures, of the view of the world from one man's eyes.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Las Vegas Trip - Travel Report...Part 2

Alright, let's do some more reporting. Sunday was a big "free time" day and we did a lot of walking around. We did a pretty good walk around at Caesars, including the pool. The pool area is under construction, but most of it was finished and there was always a good crowd whenever we looked at it. We never actually went in the pool. I must confess, I tended to avoid doing things that I could as easily do back home. Plus, we did something better than the pool....but that comes up later.
We walked around the Forum Shops. The Forums Shops are a pretty good size shopping mall attached to the hotel. There were several restaraunts and a number of fairly high end shops. The shops, like the hotel, are decorated with statues and columns. It also features a ceiling that is painted to mimic a partly clouded sky.
While the Forum Shops were nice, The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian were a whole order of magnitude nicer. The theme was similar, but was more elegantly executed and also featured a gondola ride that runs through the middle of the shoppes. We didn't get around to the gondola ride, but, that's just something else for the list of things to do next time.
Part of the purpose of walking around was to pick up tickets for the other shows we were going to see. To that end, we visited the Wynn and Treasure Island during our day of walking. The Wynn was a really nice looking hotel and immediately felt cleaner and more modern than Caesars. Treasure Island was nice, but felt like a cut below Caesars.
For dinner, we ended up at the food court at the Fashion Show Mall. The food court was a nice large area with plenty of choices and offered us a place to eat for some reasonable prices. I tried a place that made a proper Philly Cheese-steak and it was quite good. After we ate, we started to walk around the mall, but didn't stay long. While the outside architecture was interesting, the inside was pretty much a conventional shopping mall. We didn't come to shop for clothes and shoes on this trip, so it didn't hold our interest.
But, the night finished big. We booked a 7pm showing of Le Reve at the Wynn. I took the early show because of our plans for the next day. To put it simply, the show was fantastic. It was the most expensive entertainment that we went to on our trip, and was completely worth it. The music, light, stage, and performers were beautifully choreographed into a spectacle that was a visual and auditory feast. It is not a true Cirque du Soleil show, but it created by the man responsible for many Cirque shows. While it does feature a good bit of acrobatics, there is also a lot of dancing and synchronized swimming that combine to offer a truly unique show. We seriously considered going for another showing later in the week, but that didn't work out. This is one we definitely plan to see again in the future.
So, what was so big about Monday that made me choose an early show for Sunday evening? An all day trip to the Grand Canyon is what. Thanks to Tripadvisor, I found a small tour company, Grand-Adventures, that offered small groups on day trips to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Darrell is the owner and main guide. He picked us up at the front of the hotel at 6:30am. There were three other couples and another assistant, giving us a total group of 10 people. On the way, we made stops for breakfast, for a photo op at Hoover Dam, and a quick side stop at Seligman, AZ - the town that inspired the Pixar movie, Cars.
Hoover Dam was impressive and we were able to get some nice pictures. The water level in Lake Meade was down well below normal and you could see the large expanse of white in the rock that should have been covered by water. Seligman was also a nice stop and has made quite the effort to keep the Route 66 concept alive.
We arrived at the South Rim around lunchtime. We swung through the gift shop to collect some trinkets and then the group started hiking along the rim. We stopped in a clearing for lunch. The tour package included lunch. We had box lunch sandwiches, cheese, crackers, grapes, and cookies. There was plenty of food and Darrel and his assistant also carried plenty of water. And it was a good thing too, as we needed it. From my previous post, you can get to my Flickr pictures of the Canyon. While I took quite a few, I posted only a few standouts. The Canyon is deceptively big. Your mind literally cannot process the size correctly. We looked down onto the Bright Angel Trail and it seems to be just a few hundred feet down to the bottom. But, then we saw a group down at the bottom riding mules. It was only then that it hit me that they were very small and thus very far away. What seemed like a few hundred feet by itself turns out to be a few thousand feet in reality was the human element comes into view.
Overall, we spent about three hours walking along the South Rim, enjoying some impressive vistas along the way. I took my GPS watch to track our progress and we covered about three and a half miles during the hike. It actually turned out to be a pretty tough hike due to the thinner air. The rim of the canyon is actually 7000 feet above sea level and it is a big change from what we're used to.
After all than, Darrell drove us back and dropped each couple off at their hotel. We were the last ones dropped off at about 9pm. It was a long day and we were well exhausted. Darrell was great. He's really taken the time to put together a day trip that is interesting and manageable. If you are going to take a day trip, I very highly recommend Grand-Adventures.
And so ended the third day of our big trip. Tune in next time to see how we recovered from that adventure.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home