Trip Report: Las Vegas, June 8-12, Part 2


I was up very early Thursday morning because I had booked a tour of the Grand Canyon through Paradise Tours. I was told to be at Excalibur at 645AM. Many people come to Vegas with plans to see the Grand Canyon. I lived in Arizona for a number of years and never saw the dang thing, so I figured I might as well do it now. My friends were not expected to arrive until later that afternoon.

I opted for the South Rim because everything on Trip Advisor said it is what I would expect to see. The distance is much further than the West Rim, but South Rim has better views, according to most of the opinions.

Vegas in the early morning hours is always very interesting. I didn’t realise how close the hotels (Luxor and Excalibur) were (I did not want to use the indoor walk way thing) and I ended up walking a little further than necessary. No matter. I was afforded a view of a middle aged man in a loin cloth and cod piece. I swear to goodness. He was sunbathing, of all things. Yes, it’s very normal for a person to sunbathe in a place like Vegas that has ample sunlight, but people typically do this by the pool or a rooftop, not in the parking lot. He was reclining almost spread eagle in the parking lot between Excalibur and Luxor. He was reading the paper with his t-shirt pulled up to his neck. I don’t know why he didn’t just take it off. He had on a loin cloth thing like the men in that movie 300, only he didn’t look half as good as them. And it was EXTREMELY obvious that he was wearing a codpiece. The proportions were …unnatural. You couldn’t help but to stare, which I think was the point but then again he wasn’t in a well-trafficked area. It was just weird because he wasn’t a beggar. More than likely he was not a bum. He appeared clean and well-kempt, but why was he sunbathing in the parking lot? I don’t know.

I was picked up with no issues for the tour. I must say it wasn’t half bad, but I think I will never do it again. The bus driver, whom the company referred to as a tour guide, wasn’t really a tour guide but more like an impersonator with some really bad jokes. First, he looked and sounded like Chris Farley. Second, he kept trying to impersonate Elvis’s voice, but failed miserably. Every time he got on the microphone to give us some instructions, he ended with, “Thank you, thank you very much,” Elvis-style. It became so annoying that I wanted to puncture my own ear drums.

We went to Hoover Dam first where he kept making “dam” jokes. “There’s the ‘dam’ bridge, and the ‘dam’ visitors’ center.” I became ‘dam’ irritated by the end. The ride to the South Rim is very long, about 5 hours. There were no children on my tour. Indeed I saw very few children when I arrived at the Grand Canyon. Probably their parents know they couldn’t survive the bus trip. On top of all that, Chris Farley made us watch Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Seriously. I now wanted to blind myself. He said he selected the movie because he did not want to offend or alienate anyone with anything too controversial. I fail to believe that there are no other selections of G or PG rated films that would be appropriate for a wide audience. Couldn’t we just watch Hypno-Toad?

We only had 3 hours at the Grand Canyon. It’s funny that all of these tours promise that they allow the “most time” in the park. All of the tours give you about 3 hours. It’s not much time to see anything. If I ever come back to Grand Canyon, I’ll do so as a separate vacation or maybe I’ll spend the night. I am a keen hiker and I was disappointed that I was limited to the paved trail.

The ride back was TORTURE. Chris Farley asked us to be back on the bus by 345PM. He said he could get us into Vegas at 830, 845 if we all got back on the bus on time. One lovely couple decided that this time hack did not apply to them. They showed up at 415. The driver had already called his boss to ask permission to leave them when they came strolling up, laughing and giggling and cooing at each other. At first there was a concern that they were lost and/or injured but when I saw they were none the worse for wear I was mad. Too bad I would be wrong if I had thrown hot coffee on them. This same couple was also late coming back from the bathroom break. We stopped in Kingman for 10 minutes for a bio break. They were gone 25 minutes. It’s a mystery as to where they actually were since we stopped at one of the smaller gas stations and not the huge travel stations where truckers normally go.

As a result, we got back to Vegas around 915, and then when he began dropping everyone off he started Downtown. Of course, since I was at the Luxor I would be the very last person to get off. I should have gotten off the bus somewhere else and just walked. It was almost 10PM. My friends had arrived and were texting me like crazy. They were at Fireside having a good time and I was stuck with Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

After returning to the hotel I cleaned up very quickly. My friends were going to meet me at Flight in the Luxor for a round of drinks. As I walked through the casino area, I saw a man in Starbucks laid out on the floor. His eyes were closed and he was extremely still. The paramedics were there. Then they went to get a white sheet. I honestly thought the man was dead. So I did what anybody would do. I stopped and got out my camera. I was just about to take pictures of what I thought was a dead body, but then the man started to move. Turns out, he was just trashy drunk. He had stopped at the Starbucks to get his bearings and ended up missing the chair and ramming his head into the pole behind him. Oh well. I still have 3 more days to get a pic of a dead body. Macabre, isn’t it?

My friends and I met up at Flight and finished the night off with wine and beer. I was quite exhausted from the whole Grand Canyon experience so I called it a night around 1AM.

Tomorrow: Mon Ami Gabi, business in Spanish, cat fight at the Bellagio, and a pair of meth heads.


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