by Dannielle Cresp on January 24, 2013
I thought it could be fun to share some of my favourite things that I photograph along each stop of The 27 Adventure at the end of each stop. I have fallen in love with taking photos again and I’d love to make a series that I can look back on, and one I hope you will enjoy too!
I will be doing different letters of the alphabet for each city and trying to get creative with what each one stands for. There are 10 stops on this trip so there will be 3 letters for some cities and 2 for the others.
A is for Air
Helicopter Tour of the Grand Canyon & Las Vegas Strip
B is for Bright City Lights
Walking the Strip at night to see the neon lights
C is for Colossal
Seeing the Hoover Dam up close
Next will be Salt Lake City. Look out for that early next week!
by Dannielle Cresp on January 23, 2013
By Monday I was ready to move on from Las Vegas. It isn’t that it was bad, just that I had seen everything I wanted to see and I found the way people can yell at you (when they’re trying to sell something) on the street really overwhelming.
I spent a lot of the day in my hotel room trying to pack, but mostly just feeling restless about the fact that I was leaving for Salt Lake City in the morning and I still hadn’t been successful in finding any winter boots. All I took from Australia were canvas shoes and ballet flats. So not appropriate for the -6°C that was expected for SLC. I had looked in Nordstrom a couple of days before, but I couldn’t see any on display and wasn’t sure if it was ok to ask. (Different cultures, different rules)
I decided to try it again, but this time I didn’t cross the MGM bridge (oh the yelling!) and crossed at the Monte Carlo, and took the bus to Fashion Show Mall, had some lunch and looked in so many shops for winter boots. It’s hard to shop for winter boots when it’s really warm out, there’s just no stock as they’re getting ready for spring already. I was about to give up and freeze my toes off, when I decided to try Nordstrom again. This time someone asked if I was looking for anything and I sheepishly asked if they had any winter boots. She said she could check out the back to see if there were any online returns in my size because it was too late in season for those kinds of boots.
As it turns out, there were new ones out the back in my size and they were on sale!! They fit me perfectly and were just so me! I love the checks and the bright shoelaces and that they were the shorter version. I also loved that I didn’t have to fret over colours and options because these were it. Meant to be! It felt great and there was a big weight off my mind about freezing my toes off!
I think that the bus along the strip is one of the best parts of Vegas. It sounds silly, but the Strip is long and it’s great to be able to hop on and off at the hotel/attraction of your choice. They are clean and are frequent and helped me to feel more confident about getting around.
Overall, my time in Las Vegas was great. I loved the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam and the Strip was fun to see once I got my bearings. The first stop is always hard as it’s such a difference to home. But I wouldn’t want to give up that week for anything.
by Dannielle Cresp on January 22, 2013
I planned Saturday as a slow one, and I’m so glad that I did. After all the excitement of the Helicopter flight on Friday and a bad jet lagged sleep, I was glad to take the bus out too the Outlet Mall and see if there was anything there that suited me for Alt Summit.
It was nice and calm and I enjoyed just being able to do my own thing at a very slow pace. It helped me get over the jet lag and ready for my early Sunday morning wake up for the bus trip out to the Hoover Dam!
You may not know this, but I have wanted to see the Hoover Dam for YEARS! Ever since I sat and watched a TV show on engineering marvels with my Dad. I had wanted to see it last time I was in Vegas, but it just didn’t work out. This time it was a must!
Seeing it from the air on Friday meant that I got to see it all, but seeing it up close was just fantastic! As part of the tour I booked we went into the power plant on the Nevada side and learnt how it was constructed and also got to see how it works. It was really interesting. But I have to say – my favourite part was being able to walk across it and see both lake mead and the Dam wall.
They aren’t fussy about you taking photos, in fact they encouraged it, which makes it so much better! I loved the Art Deco architecture and the fact that they haven’t tried to update it, but have just maintained it. There seemed to be a lot of love for the structure, not just because it is actually a power generator, but like they cared for it because it was so important to the landscape and to the history of the place. I think it’s nice to see that it’s heritage has been protected and that it’s treated so well.
One other cool thing that I didn’t remember from the show that I saw, is that you cross from Nevada into Arizona when you walk the bridge and they are in two different time zones. I’ve never walked across a state border before so I thought it was kind of cool!
Here are some more of the photos that I took. I took hundreds, but here are just a few of my favourites.
It was a gorgeous 18°C with very little wind. I’m so glad that I finally got a chance to see it. Lake mead is just beautiful close up as is the Dam itself.
There’s a few more photos on my Flickr too.
by Dannielle Cresp on January 21, 2013
So it finally arrived! The day that I had been hoping for since I decided that Las Vegas was going to be the first stop on this adventure. A Helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon & Las Vegas Strip.
I was really apprehensive about it. Not so much the flying part, but the ‘would I be able to see anything?’ part. When I booked with the money that my Dad and sister gave me for my birthday and Christmas (and some of my own), I realised that there are two seats on the aircraft that don’t get their own window view. I opted to pay the extra $50 and request a front seat upgrade, but it’s only granted (and you only pay) once everyone is checked in and they have weighed everyone to see where the weight balance needs to be on the helicopter.
I waited nervously, but at the last minute the receptionist called me over to pay and let me know that I had got my seat!! Yay!! A bus came and took the 6 other passengers and myself across the airfield to the helicopter, where the awesome and very friendly pilot was waiting. I didn’t catch her name, but she really knew her stuff and made me feel very safe. As it turns out, I got what I think was the best seat in the helicopter, in the front and by the door so I got a clear view from both the front and the side.
There was only a moment of freaking out, and that was on take off when I realised that my camera was set to Pop Art (blurry photos) and it took me a couple of minutes to realise that the top setting had flicked to Art in my handbag, facepalm! Once I got it back to normal, I was happy just to enjoy the ride.
To put it briefly, it was amazing!! We flew out over a gated community and over Boulder City before doing an S bend over the Hoover Dam and out to the Grand Canyon. The way the canyon looks is just stunning. It’s really hard to put into words, except that part of it reminded me of the movie “Cars”. I took about 300 photos and some video. (I don’t know how to edit the video yet, so I’ll save it for another time, but I’m so glad I took some as it still feels so strange to have happened.
If you’re ever planning a trip to Vegas, or want to see the Grand Canyon I can highly recommend this. You are in the air for around 1.5 hours and cover so much distance. My tour included flying over the strip, which was cool, but the real beauty is the canyon.
I’ve added just some of my favourite photos here, but I’m also adding more to my Flickr account if you’d like to have a look there.
by Dannielle Cresp on January 20, 2013
I’ve been avoiding blogging because I just don’t know where to start. That last week before I left was tougher than any other, and it didn’t feel like it was in an exciting “let’s get going” way, but in a “am I making a huge mistake” way.
There have been lots of tears. Most of them hidden when no one could see me, except at the airport where I completely lost it. Thankfully, it’s not totally inappropriate to cry in an airport. It was so hard to say goodbye. Not to Melbourne, but to the people I love. I know I need this change of scenery but it doesn’t make the change any easier.
The flight was as good as a 14 hour flight over the ocean can be. I flew with Virgin Australia this time. The food was ok and I watched a lot of movies. I didn’t sleep until 10 minutes before the plane landed (the landing woke me up), but that’s the way it goes. I don’t recommend watching Pitch Perfect when lunch is being served though, that spew scene is a bit much when you’re trying to eat. Ha! I did get to watch the sun rise over the pacific as we were coming into Los Angeles, it was the colour of a Tropical Frosty Fruit!! I have also realised that 10 hours is about my limit for a single flight. I wanted off after then.
I think I may have got the nicest immigration officer of all immigration officers. He was polite cheerful and told me I was smart to get the visa for multiple entry to the States. That just made things so much easier. I thought, for sure, that they would yell at me. My checked baggage made it too, which is always a relief.
It was all so quick I had to find a way to stay awake so that I didn’t miss my connecting flight to Las Vegas. Twitter saved the day as there was a chat about taking risks for the year ahead with Jessika of Oh My Handmade Goodness, which was a whole lot of fun. I fell asleep after the safety demonstration and when I woke 45 minutes later I was surprised to see that we were still on the tarmac at LAX. There was some delay, but as I slept through it, I have no idea what it was. I did get the gorgeous views of the trip and flying out over the pacific and across the mountains on the way to Vegas, but I was so tired that I didn’t have my camera on me to capture any of it for you.
The Hotel has been a bit of a shambles, as I didn’t understand the authorisation process for the bill as the checkin agent said they would charge me per night and I understood that to be (on 2 hours sleep in 40 hours) that they would auth a bit each night, but that was not the case, and they left my account empty due to the misunderstanding and when I went to ask them to explain it to me again, the gentleman at the desk just said the same thing over and over as I got more confused.
I understand it now, but the language difference (even English to English) made me feel like they were speaking a whole different language, especially when you feel like you’re stupid because you just don’t get it.
Without remembering the time, I decided to take the bus out to the outlets on that first day and I didn’t arrive until dusk. It was ok as unlike in Australia, they didn’t close until 9pm, but I still find it unnerving being out after dark in a place you don’t know all that well. I was too over it to look in most of the shops, but I did go into Levi’s where I got the most helpful assistant who found me a pair of curve id jeans that not only fit my waist they also fit my short legs! Yes, they have different length legs for jeans here! (If you’re not from Australia, we only get regular length jeans, if you need anything else you have to have them altered. hence my excitement)
On the way back, I ended up getting off the bus one stop too early and had to walk for ages to get back to the hotel. It was ok though, I did get to see the strip all lit up. If you’ve never been to Vegas, the roads are so busy it’s not just a matter of crossing the street, but you have to walk up and down raised pathways/overpasses to keep the traffic flowing. If you were a pedometer person, you’d definitely get your steps for the day!
I managed to sleep a solid 9 hours, and was ready for my Grand Canyon Helicopter Flight, Friday morning. (that’s coming in the next post)
I always forget about the culture shock you get even when you visit other English speaking countries, and how intense and amplified every emotion is. Sometimes this makes for amazing experiences and sometimes spectacular meltdowns too. I’m glad I came, but looking forward to moving on too.
by Dannielle Cresp on January 17, 2012
You might not know this about me, but I’m a non-drinker and a non-gambler. So when I was asked to go visit Las Vegas with my cousins, there were many surprised looks from my family when I happily accepted. I’m so glad that I did!
I loved Las Vegas. It was happy, sunny, and like a parallel universe to the one I live everyday. The hotels are so huge that it can take 10 minutes just to get to the elevator and even longer to get out the door. There are so many things to see and do and the people watching is just the best. In fact there is so much on offer, that I think I’ll go back again, and see some of the things that I missed.
I won’t lie. We spent a day shopping and buying the brand names that cost a small fortune in Australia at sometimes a quarter of the price! I mainly bought presents for others and just a few things for me, but that’s the way I like it. We had a great time browsing through all of the things that we don’t get back home and enjoying the sunshine and warm air in the outdoor eateries. One of the things I really loved is how late everything stays open. 9pm is closing for most of the shops and some stay open later than that too. (Which is very different to the 5.30pm closing time at home).
I loved how some things were overstated and that the strip was so full of life. There is really something for everyone from roller coasters, to theatre, and even trips out of town to fly over the grand canyon and a trip out to the hoover dam. I didn’t get to do these things this time, but I have it on my list for when I eventually go back.
We had a night out in the casinos for the bachelorette and a day of walking the the strip to see the sites. We had lunch in Planet Hollywood and visited M&Ms world. I got to visit my favourite designer store, Kate Spade and got some pretty flats. And spent the afternoon relaxing in our swanky hotel room at Aria.
For me, I think it’s one of those places that need more than a weekend to do it justice. Especially if you want to do some relaxing by the pool too. It’s a great place to people watch and you never need stay in the same hotel twice.
I think if you go with an open mind, even the non-drinkers and non-gamblers can have a great time. Las Vegas even has In ‘n Out, a burger place that I love.
I went to it thinking I’d be totally overwhelmed, and left thinking that I must visit again some time. That’s what I hope for in a holiday destination and it delivered.
Visiting places you wouldn’t normally think of really takes you out of your comfort zone, and that’s something I’m trying to do more of. Las Vegas helped to remind me of that.
Have you been or would you like to visit one day?