Goodbye to Uni, hello to America

Trip Start Jun 30, 2012
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Trip End Aug 22, 2012


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Flag of United States  , Nevada
Saturday, June 30, 2012

29th June After saying goodbye to mum and dad (they picked up all my uni stuff), I began my first leg of my journey to America. I decided to stay in a Travelodge right beside Heathrow airport - however in order to get there I had to take 2 trains and the underground - which wasn't too easy with all my luggage. Before setting off I decided to phone both grans and update them on the past few days.
30th June I woke up at around 7am a little earlier than I had hoped, but with my tv not working I decided to head straight to the airport, where a bus 200m away from my hotel took me to terminal 4 where I needed to be. After arriving at 8am I had 4 1/2 hours to kill at the airport before my flight - but they went by pretty quick. I was surprised how quickly I checked in and got through security as Heathrow is usually associated with long lines. Once on the plane I tried to locate my seat. I found that my seat was located right at the back of the plane in the central aisle, this meant I couldn't look out of the window during my flight which was rather annoying. I was also starving, despite eating loads before my flight, my hunger pains weren't helped by the fact that I was seated right by the ovens. As I was located at the back of the plane I was also served last too. In order to pass the time I listened to some albums provided from the inflight entertainment and also watched the Black Swan (weird) and Family Guy. However my life was complete when I managed to reach the highscore in the inflight trivia game. The plane touched down in Minneapolis where I had to pass through visa inspection and recheck in my bags. When going through security I had to go through one of those naked all body scanner things. As I wasn't given my ticket to Las Vegas when at Heathrow I had to check in at the gate. However when I got there I was told that I didn't check in (definitely did so don't know what happened) so they gave me a seat request provided there were some spare seats - luckily there was. I had to laugh when the lady called me back to the gate counter to collect my proper ticket and asked could coolio come to the desk. Fortunately I wasn't placed at the back this flight on this occasion. The flight was about 3 hours long, the previous flight lasted 9 hours whilst I had a connecting time between the flights of 2 hours. I arrived in Las Vegas and was confused where to go for baggage reclaim - instead of placing the baggage right outside of the gates they decided to put a mini casino - typical Las Vegas. I had a bit of a panic after they didn't check me in properly, I wondered if my bag would have arrive but luckily it did. I managed to find a shuttle service which took me to my hotel - Circus Circus. One of the girls on my shuttle happened to be staying at Circus Circus so after settling into our room we decided to meet up for dinner (late one though 9.30pm). My McDonald's gift card from last year came in handy as there is one in my hotel. After dinner and our gander around the hotel I decided to head to the observation tower at the Stratosphere hotel. The tower is huge and possesses some amusement rides. I decided to go on insanity (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNHUwD6C7kM) usually I see these rides at the fair and they don't impress me, however this one appeared quicker, plus it was 860ft up in the air and hovered over the Las Vegas strip - it was such a thrill but my stomach didn't enjoy it as much. I then headed back to my hotel to go to sleep after 26 hours of being awake.
1st July I woke up at around 5am and struggled to get back to sleep, so I decided to lie in for a bit. I then decided that I better get up as I had planned to visit the hotel strips today. After getting breakfast at McDonalds I headed down to Sahara bush station (the internet said this was the nearest bus stop) - I somehow managed to get stuck in a massive carpark, however after speaking to a security guard he redirected me to the nearest bus station which happened to be on the opposite side of my hotel. I then took the bus to the far side of the strip ( Circus Circus is pretty much the end of the strip). I then proceeded to visit all of the main hotels before taking a trip to the Wynn shopping mall, I didn't buy anything. After visiting a few other hotels I headed back to my hotel room and spoke to my family. A little later the maid came in which was awkward as she couldn't speak English - I then realised after about a 100x of her repeating herself she was asking me if I wanted my room cleaned today and I then said no. I then tried to purchase some tickets to Cirque de Soleil, however they must have been selling them on relatively fast as when I returned the tickets were a lot dearer - I will try again tomorrow. I then went to the hotels gym and went on the exercise bike and treadmill. The hotel contains multiple amusement rides so I decided to check them out - I am planning on visiting them later. Yesterday I noticed a sandwich deli which serves pulled pork and pulled beef - I became addicted to these sandwiches last year so I couldn't resist a pulled beef sandwich for tea. After tea I decided to head down to another shopping mall but didn't really like any of the shops there. I decided to head to the shops as it was still fairly light, and with these shops being next to the Bellagio I waited for the sun to go down, so I could watch the fountains which look better at night. The fountains changed height and direction in time to the music which was played in the background - it was very good. However the announcer stated that the next performance would be in 15 minutes time and with an early morning the next day I decided to go back to the hotel. I was glad I went when I did as the traffic became very busy and it took me an age to get back to my hotel.  
2nd July I may have not been totally honest with the reasons I was going to Las Vegas - however going there was so worth it as today was the day I was going sky diving. The downside was that I had to wake up at around 5am as I needed to be at the MGM hotel by 6.45, the shuttles along the strip are very unpredictable in their arrival, so I decided to leave extra early. I arrived in good time and went to McDonalds for the 3rd time since I have been here for a quick cheap breakfast (healthy food is like a million dollars here!!!). I then had to fill in a form to sign my life away and after this was complete our shuttle headed down to Jean airport. Once we arrived we found out that there were only 2 instructors for the day, which meant there was a long wait between jumps as they set people off two at a time, I went in the 4th batch. We were then kitted out and off to the mini plane we went - I shared the plane with this guy called David from Manchester. We were given our briefing in the plane and were told what to do once we exited the plane and how to land. David went first and I then went about 10 seconds after him. We then plummeted for about 45 seconds of the 13,000ft drop before my instructor released the parachute. He then told me he would perform a few rotations - which was more like 30 - I felt very dizzy afterwards. My instructor then steered the two of us to this patch of pebbles where we landed on our bottoms - despite going into it quite quick it felt as though we were jumping into a long jump pit. The mini bus was waiting for us so after deattaching ourself from the parachute we headed back to base. I then received both my photos and DVD immediately after we arrived back at the base. Fortunately once I arrived back they decided to drive everyone who had jumped back to the strip - within our group there was still 2 pairs to go - they were forced to return on the later bus. 
 I arrived back on the strip at 11 which was very handy as the box office for the discount tickets for the Las Vegas shows (Tix4Tonight) had opened - I then waited in the queue and luckily they still had some of the cheaper tickets for Cirque de Soleil Mystere (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9JUn1B6oD4) which were going at around 40 ($65) which is very good for these shows. In order to validate my ticket I had to head down to Treasure Island where the show was to be set, I managed to secure some tickets which were meant to be $90, which are just off centre but pretty close to the stage. As I had been walking around for near enough the past two days I decided to relax at my hotel for a bit and try and catch up on some sleep - I couldn't though. Before the show I headed to what was meant to be the worlds largest gift store - it wasn't actually that big - where I bought some magnets. I then made my way to the 9.30 showing - the queue to the show stretched to about half of the hotel - however I still managed to get in pretty quick. The show began with this drunken looking man in a scruffy suit - I thought he was a warm up guy, but he kept popping up throughout the show. I noticed once more the difference between the British and American humour, as other members of the audience were creasing themselves when he was throwing and tipping popcorn over people, whilst I was sat stone faced thinking when are the real acts going to appear - they didn't disappoint though. The first main act was similar to a show I saw once in America with Chinese acrobats climbing and flipping onto different poles - I was especially impressed when they managed to perform a back flip - whilst maintaining the same position they were in on their pole. In between the main acts a grown man dressed as a baby kept appearing - it was a little disturbing as he crawled around on stage and gooed - it didn't appear to fit in with the rest of the show too. After he went off stage a guy came on with a metal cube which he managed to balance whilst being elevated into the air by a rope and performed a multitude of twists and turns. Once back on the ground he managed to spin it like a basketball - the frame looked very solid too. 
After that two men appeared and they managed to support each other in different ways such as a handstand position. The best part of this act was when one guy managed to balance the other guy with just the support of his left leg - they were both lying in a horizontal position. The next act performed a few flips on a bungee cord and kept narrowly missing each other. Preceding this act was a group of trapeze artists who managed to catch other acrobats after they performed a multitude of flips. The stage was then rearranged and the performers then performed back flips on a gymnastics type run way - at one point two people began from opposite directions and performed the back flips whilst just in time back flipping over the other.
 Next a see saw was introduced and the gymnasts managed to perform a range of flips on a fairly thin wooden plank. My favourite part of this act was when a girl performed a back flip and managed to land on a three man tower just behind her - she made it look so effortless. The weird man in a suit came on again and actually made me laugh as he pretended to perform a magic trip by placing one member of an audience in a box on the stage - whilst he moved into his place next to this mans wife and got a table a candle and some champers out. The show then finished with a large inflatable snail gliding onto the stage- the show was very good but I am sure the director must have had an acid trip making this show - it was so random. 
   
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