Howdy everyone! I hope my previous mobile post wasn't too terribly distressing for anyone, but I'm happy to report that I'm alive and well in Las Vegas. The weather in Toronto really threw us a curveball this morning, but we got here okay. Better late than never! It was snowing fairly aggressively this morning, and by the time we got checked in, through security and to our gate it was starting to look nasty:
We ended up getting on the plane an hour after we should have departed, and then had to wait for de-icing. In the end we got de-iced and onto the runway, but took off 2.5 hours later than we should have. It was a frustrating delay, but at least we made it without further incident to Las Vegas.
It's really beautiful weather here today. Of course you can't count on having nice weather in Las Vegas in January, but we seem to have lucked out. Granted, 14 degrees Celsius isn't exactly beach weather, but after what we've had in Toronto it feels like August here! It's sunny and (relatively) warm.
It's amazing to see Vegas again. I was so young the last time I was here, and I really didn't come away with a very clear impression of the place. What's become very clear to me today is that everything here is MASSIVE! The sheer scale of all the hotels on The Strip is phenomenal. It's like every undertaking in this city is on a completely different level from anywhere else in the world. I managed to get a quick picture of my hotel through the shuttle bus window on our way here. I am actually writing from a room near the top of the pyramid you can see slightly left of centre in this photo:
I've actually had a difficult time getting good photos of the hotel. It's an incredible structure, and includes what I've been informed is the world's largest atrium. The term "world's largest" seems to be the ultimate goal of all things in Vegas. Unfortunately the dim casino lighting, combined with massive open spaces doesn't make for very good photography with a simple point and shoot camera. Most of my photos have come out either dark, blurry, or both.
I'm loving the Egyptian theme of this hotel, and the lengths they go to in order to maintain the theme:
I really, really wish I'd been able to get a decent photo of the view from the hallway outside of my room. We're staying in the pyramid, and all of the rooms are lined on the outside of the pyramid, so every hallway has a view out into the centre of the pyramid with the illusion that there's nothing below you until you hit the main floor. I may make another attempt to photograph the atrium using my tripod to get a decent shot.
The view outside was equally stunning though:
We're getting a beautiful view to the south, though I almost wish that our room was on the other side of the pyramid so that we could get that view out over The Strip.
We've spent a bit of time today just trying to get settled in, but with only a few days to play around in the city we wanted to make sure we got out there and had some kicks this evening. We had a fairly early dinner, having not yet adjusted to the timezone difference, and then proceeded to The Gun Store. For those of you who aren't familiar with The Gun Store, it's a (as the name implies) gun store here in Las Vegas, but what makes it special is that they have a huge gun range with a wide selection of weapons available for rental. They employ a large staff to supervise tourists like us who just want to come out and play with a gun that we wouldn't normally get the opportunity to use back home. So, given the lack of availability of guns in Canada, this was an exciting chance for us to do something really unique.
They offer package deals for people who want to try to shoot a gun, but don't know what they want. However, they will let you put together your own package, which is the route I took:
The selected firearms are as follows: H&K G36 (as seen in a videogame I used to play,) H&K MP5 (just a classic machine gun featured in many movies,) Walther P99 (the most recent choice of weapon for James Bond,) and the PS90 (as seen in sci-fi TV show Stargate: SG1.)
I started with the pistol, moved on to the G36, then the MP5, and finished with the PS90. I don't know if it was just a bit of practice, or if the PS90 is just an incredibly easy gun to fire, but I did really well on my last round with that. I was firing at a target with a life-sized torso silhouette, surrounded by several smaller silhouettes which were smaller than my hand. After I did well firing at the main target with my first 10 rounds the range instructor who was monitoring us challenged me to fire at one of the small ones, and even said that if I could hit one in the head he'd give me another 10 rounds for free. Please keep in mind that at this range I can barely make out the head from the chest, but here's how I did:
So yeah, I ALMOST got it with that neck shot, but no clear headshots in there. Still, I was pretty pleased with myself for getting all but one shot on the target.
What was really funny was that after we left I actually found a spent .223 shell casing in my pocket. I was getting showered with the things at various points in the evening. I really want to keep it as a souvenir, but I'd be afraid to even put it in my checked baggage when heading home.
Needless to say I had a BLAST at the range tonight. It's the first time I've ever held a firearm, and it's not unreasonable to suggest that it will be my last, but I had a great time while I was at it.
So, it's been a fairly eventful day, especially given that such a large portion of it was spent in transit. I'm probably not going to last too much longer tonight, even though I still haven't even gambled a single quarter the whole time I've been here. It's been a long day and I'm feeling pretty worn out. Still, I'm looking forward to getting a good rest tonight and really getting in to things tomorrow.
I hope you're all doing well, and I'll check in again tomorrow night.