Friday 16 May 2014

Las Vegas: Day Three

Due to our late evening the night before, most of us slept in later then initially planned. I was up before the Amanda’s, so I went across the hall to see what was going on. Our initial plan was to all go out for breakfast, and then have a few of us go to the gun range. No one was really hungry yet, so we changed it to the gun range and then breakfast. It ended up just being Amanda G, Uncle Beau, Mom and I going to the range. We were slow to get moving, and got a bit lost on the way so we got there later then we planned.

The place we decided on was the “Las Vegas Machine Gun Experience”. They had a wide range of packages, one of which was a package in support of breast cancer called ‘Shoot for the Cure’ where you got to shoot a .22LR Rifle and a .22LR pistol, and received a pink tee-shirt! (plus, 10.00 went to a breast cancer charity so it was for a good cause!) This package seemed perfect for Amanda and I who were a bit intimidated. Mom and Uncle Beau went with the Nines package, and that included a 9mm sub-machine gun, and a 9mm pistol, plus a tee-shirt.

When we first walked in I was overwhelmed. There were guns all along the wall, hunting equipment throughout the store, and a number of people coming in and out. I am not quite sure what I had expected, but this wasn’t it! The woman behind the counter was quick to sense my apprehension – and Amanda’s – and reassured us that it was perfectly safe, and that children under twelve shoot there all the time. Not to get all political, but I didn’t find that fact reassuring – I found it horrifying. In my opinion, there is a huge difference between some adults visiting the gun-range on a vacation, where they are trying something new for the first – and likely only time, and children under twelve handling guns and shooting targets. But that is just my opinion, and one that seems not to be shared by many.

We signed the waivers – which in themselves were a bit scary and then met our range officer Darius. He was fantastic – very funny but detailed in instructions and guidelines. We were taught the proper way to hold and handle the weapons, as well as the policies and procedures. After going over everything, he got us set-up in our protective ear and eye gear and led in inside.

Going in was terrifying! It was jam packed with people, and all you could hear was the loud pops of the various guns/machine guns being fired. There were shell casings everywhere – and as someone completely inexperienced with shooting, I hadn’t expected this. He led us over to the booth we were going to use, and I somehow ended up being the first person to go. I started with the pistol. I had some trouble holding it at first, but with the help of Darius, I got the hang of it. We all took turns, and the overall process took about an hour. Within about 15 minutes of getting there, the place emptied out and it became much quieter and calmer. I found myself relaxing more when it was just our group inside the range.

Amanda's face sums up how we felt going in!

Darius got a bit flirty with Amanda!
We all enjoyed the experience, but that’s exactly what it was – an experience. None of us developed a deep love of shooting, or plan to take this up as a hobby. Instead it was a something to try while on vacation. We did have fun, and I am glad I tried it, but it’s not something I plan to do again.

After we finished, we picked up the others and went to Caesar’s Palace. We spent a while wandering through the shops at the forum, and had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. It was too late for our initial plan of breakfast, so lunch worked well. Plus, Amanda. G had been dying to visit the Cheesecake Factory, and have the avocado egg rolls. Caesar’s Palace is one of my favorite casinos and I love the overall ambiance and décor. We wandered into a few of the stores, and went up and down the curved escalators. While they are pretty amazing, being on them ins a strange experience! I’m not used to curving around while going upwards!

We went back to the condo and Amanda. S, Mom and I went to the pool for a couple of hours. We ended up at the adult one, which wasn’t as relaxing at the day before. It was crowded, with a ton of rowdy 20 year olds spilling their drinks in the water. We decided that the next day we would ensure we got up early to get our seats at the family pool!

That night Honey, Amanda, Amanda and I had tickets for the Britney Spears concert! And we were all super excited. It was my second time seeing her – I had been to one of her concerts when I was in High School. It was Amanda. S’s second concert ever – and her first one had also been Britney Spears. Aunt Honey wasn’t sure initially if she was going to come, but I just got her ticket and made her- I think she’s glad I did, as she really enjoyed it.  

Dad and Uncle Beau dropped us off at New York, New York and we walked down the strip. Amanda had a chance to see NYNY, MGM, and more of the strip. We made a stop at the M&M store which is always fun, and had a blast taking some photos of us with the characters. As we walked down to Planet Hollywood where the concert was, two different men called out to Amanda. G calling her ‘white chocolate’. It was so random and hilarious, that for the rest of the trip we referred to her that way!

We got into the concert about 40 minutes before it started, and it was packed. There were so many women there dressed either like Britney from a video, or in extravagant outfits. All of us felt under dressed, and under made-up in comparison. We spent some time in the lounge looking at the costumes on display, and the merchandise for sale. I bought a shot glass, and Amanda. G got a hat. Aunt Honey and I both got glasses of pink champagne which were $20.00 each! Apparently, the Britney residence is bringing in a ton of money for PH – especially in drink sales.

The concert started right on time, and was amazing. I don’t think concert is the right word for it, as it is very much a Vegas show. The technology, the AV aspect, the special effects and props were all incredible. I believe that for most of it she lip synchs, but that doesn’t matter! The sound, the dancing, and just the overall experience was awesome. It was one of the best shows that I have ever seen, and it was fantastic! All of us were singing and dancing along and had a wonderful time.
One thing that made us laugh was the handful of bored husbands/boyfriends who sat the whole time playing with their phones! If I ever managed to get Brian to attend a Britney show with me, that would totally be him!  My only issue is the same one I always have at concerts – as someone who is by no means tall, when everyone stands up my vision becomes limited. Venues need to start elevating their stages more for us short attendees! But regardless it was a great experience, and one I highly recommend to people visiting Las Vegas.

After the concert Dad and Uncle Beau met us outside (it’s a miracle they found us in the swarm of thousands of Britney fans!). We wandered through Planet Hollywood, through the shops and walkway, and then drove over to the Bellagio. We wanted both Amanda’s to see this, hotel/casino, and it was one I am not even sure if I had been to before.

We walked through the gorgeous gardens beside the lobby, which are magical. All these gorgeous flowers, and large visual art pieces. My dad pointed out that this was where his friends had had wedding photos done, and I could definitely see the appeal. The colours and variety are just stunning! As we walked through the casino, the ceiling was just as amazing – with these umbrella's hanging down. Brian has always said Las Vegas is a place he has no interest in, but I find it a beautiful place. Everything is just so thought out, and well designed that it can be breath taking.

We made it outside just in time to see the fountain show, which was fun. It’s a very Las Vegas tourist experience that every visitor should have. We walked along the strip to get back to our car, and headed back to the condo. It was near midnight at this point, but the Amanda’s and I invited Aunt Honey and Uncle Beau back to our room to play Cards Against Humanity. We stayed up until almost 3:00am, eating snacks and playing the game in our PJ’s. It was a really fun way to end the day! I’d take that type of evening over some loud crazy bar/club any day!

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