Miles From Milan

Vegas: 12 Years On (Part 1)

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Finally we’re here. 3 hours from Houston and 12 years on from when I was a child. I finally get to experience Vegas as an adult. I wonder how much has changed? I thought to myself numerous times before I arrived. For those who haven’t been to the US,  unless you're on a road trip, it's probably not worth the drive between States; from Houston to Vegas it takes approximately 21 hours, hence flying is a smarter option. We flew with Spirit Airlines (an American budget airline flying only to the US, Mexico and the Carribean) with a return ticket of $80. Spirit is their equivalent of our Ryanair or EasyJet, and good deals can be found if booked in advance. I booked my flights in late August and flew mid-September.

Stepping out the plane, I immediately felt the dry desert heat on my skin. A different kind to Houston which was humid and less hot. Vegas was 38 degrees in the afternoon but bearable without humidity.  I wanted to be outdoors sooner given that in London we never experience such temperatures.

McCarran Airport was as busy as ever. I remember it from 12 years ago as the only airport I’ve been to with many slot machines around, the first thing you see when you get off the plane, as if the airport itself is a casino. ‘I want to try my luck’ said my friend, V, dropping a few dollars into the slot machine. We stared blankly at the machine, and multiple spins later, it was all gone...Great! The airport had a number of bling gift shops but what caught my eye was the jelly pizza and sushi candy. We’re definitely in Vegas. I remember those sweets and will never consume anything like that again. They’re like large Haribos you'll never find in the UK.

American pizza sweets

The airport is very close to the Strip and we only traveled 10-15 minutes by car to get to our hotel. Uber is everywhere, including designated pick up points across the Strip. I gazed out the window and saw Mandalay Bay, where I stayed during my last visit. Sadly, the deadliest mass shooting in the US also occurred here last year.

Mandalay Bay
Aria hotel and casino

Memories from the past came flooding back. Vegas hasn’t really changed too much, although there are a number of new hotels like Aria, The Cosmopolitan, Vdara, Trump, and Encore to name a few, which weren't around a decade ago. I was here for 3 days and tired to explore as much as possible.

Circus Circus Hotel

Our driver dropped us off at Circus Circus. This was one of the original hotels of Vegas (as you can imagine it is very old - 51 years to be precise) and a hotel that I had stayed in when I was a child. I remember that my sister and I would spend hours in the Adventure Dome until we got so bored of it. This is a family-friendly hotel which has circus acts throughout the day, a large arcade and theme park. This hotel is also one of the cheaper ones on the Strip so it’s perfect if you’re on a budget. The hotel hadn’t changed at all. The interior actually looked outdated compared to the other hotels but nevertheless I still enjoyed my stay here.

To be continued…

In part 2 I will share a few important tips which everyone should read before they travel to Vegas...Stay tuned!

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