Barstow Holiday Inn is on one of the remaining bits of the original route 66, but I didn’t get any kicks. I did a fair bit of research for options for my onward journey. I even looked into another cruise when I discovered that the “Pride of America” sails around Hawaii every week, so I could catch it while I’m there. Trouble is they make you pay for a whole cabin so it’s not cheap on your own. Anyone for Hawaii?
I ran my late checkout to the wire as usual, then headed for Vegas, and the five star ph tower. It’s the posh bit stuck on the back of the already quite fancy Planet Hollywood. So even though I was in one of the cheaper rooms I still got huge windows and remote operated blinds in a very swanky room.
I headed over to New York, New York’s decent sports bar and got chatting to the girl next to me who, would you believe it, works on the Pride of America! Unfortunately she’s not been there long so didn’t know anyone who could get me a discount. I went to the “Rok” nightclub in the hope that they would play “rock” music, but it was just like the other clubs in Vegas, playing RnB and Hip Hop.
A couple of guys from New York – the city, not the hotel – said Tao at the Venetian was the place for Thursday night. As for Wednesday, I headed back to ph in the hope of catching “red light vegas” in the casino, but there’s another band on weeknights who were pretty tame.
After the incredible Hard Rock Hotel, the ph towers pool is pretty naff. In a swanky place you expect more than a 3 foot deep rectangle surrounded by breezy decking. Still, it was fun talking to the various groups of guys on stag dos.
The ph does have an awesome buffet though. I’m unable to eat like an American, but “all you can eat for 20 dollars” does compel you to fill to bursting!
In the evening I found another sports bar and spoke to a guy whose name I’ve forgotten, and Dorjon, who proudly showed me his licence to carry medicinal cannabis in the state of California. Apparently more than 500 thousand people have them now. I then made my way down the strip towards Tao, checking out various bars and stopping for a beer anywhere that had a live band or pianos. Most of the “duelling pianos” places were packed with drunken holidaymakers requesting the same old Elton John, Billy Joel and “Sweet Caroline” so I kept going. The queue for Tao was ridiculous, and the people reminded me of what to expect inside so I crossed over to Treasure Island. Woody was there again, beating all-comers at the bull ride.
I staggered back down the strip, bemoaning the lack of rock music in this town when I discovered 4 rough looking blokes playing a set in “O’shea’s”. It was still covers, but they knocked out some Offspring, and Rage Against the Machine so I finally got chance for a mosh!
Friday, and another game of “messaround” with the post office when I tried to send some winter clothes home, but I won’t bore you with that. Then, despite various suggestions for where to stay from my friends on facebook I decided to return to my favourite place in Vegas, the Hard Rock Hotel.
“Weren’t you here 2 weeks ago?” said the girl on reception.
“Ah yes, but I’m travelling around the world and I ….”
…and thus I blagged myself a corner suite with awesome views of the pools and the strip. It’s incredibly black in true “Hard Rock” style, even down to the black ironing board and iron! It’s also massive, with a massive comfy bed, a massive TV, and a massive shower you could play squash in.
I could get used to this.
Friday night and I take up gambling. Black Jack’s the game and there’s a whole dollar on the line! Well there was nobody to talk to while I waited for my food so I played the machine set into the bar. It’s not exactly a thrill, but it passes the time and when dinner arrives I’m 25c up!
Duelling Pianos at the HRH is far better than the ones on the strip. Mainly because there’s only me there! Several groups of people come and go through the evening, but I get to make lots of requests, and because we don’t have a large crowd we get a wide range of music. A few piano standards, some rock songs, some country, even some Pink Floyd. I even get to hear some original tracks from two of the performers, who are great. So I’d encourage you to check out BonnieMizell.com and Todd Dunnigan at roamingroyalty.com.
Lucky Lee is also performing and blitzes Jonny B Good before giving a great rendition of my anthem from Whitesnake.
Time to hang out at the pool and work on my tan for the big party tomorrow. Even without a party the pool’s a rowdy place. Pounding music and 50 dollar minimum booze spend if you want a lounger! I talk to a couple from Boston who recommend tonight’s gig in “The Joint” (where I saw Tiesto). It’s “Widespread Panic” whom I’ve never heard of, but they’ve been going 25 years and their fans are extremely devoted.
Not for the first time on this trip, I’ve got a ticket and no idea what to expect!