So the weekend before exams (yes, I’m soooooo rebellious :P) I left Albuquerque to fly to Las Vegas and spend the weekend with my mother. I hadn’t seen her since I left Australia in August and was incredibly excited.

Friday 10th December:
I jumped on an airplane to Vegas, transferring at Phoenix, in the afternoon with the intention of landing an hour before my mother at our destination. Upon landing, I turned on my mobile phone to find missed calls from mum, who had arrived only minuted earlier!
It wasn’t easy tracking mum down, she was standing at the wrong luggage carousel waiting for luggage from Seattle, not Los Angeles.
After collecting our luggage we stood in the worlds LONGEST line (seriously, it was one of those snaking lines that doubled over 3 times and each section was well over 100 metres long) for a taxi to the Aria Hotel – our destination for the weekend.
We arrived, mother a little tired from jetlag and me starving hungry as always. I had endless energy and insisted going for a stroll to find dinner. Mum was a little reluctant but after popping a bottle of champagne (drink 1 – explained further down) she agreed on Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant in the MGM Grand. After pizza, some crazy mad salad and a seriously delicious chocolate souffle dessert (plus drinks 2 & 3) we wandered back to our hotel where mum proceeded to pass out and snore hilariously.

Saturday 11th December:
HOORAY! VEGAS! We were probably up before anyone else in Vegas, but hey we had places to be! We started the day with cake at a French patisserie (the breakfast of champions!) before a little shopping to prelude our plan to hit up as many of the strange, quirky and just plain weird hotels along the strip.
Our first stop outside the Aria was the Bellagio hotel, where we admired the amazing Christmas decorations consisted of artic animals made entirely of flowers. We then went outside to watch the water show the Bellagio puts on every half hour.
We then wandered across to Planet Hollywood where I knew I would find an Earl of Sandwich (a magical discovery from my trip to Disney World with Eloise & Eloise). Best. Sandwich. Ever.
As it began to get dark we realised we had only done 3 drinks since arriving in Vegas (a travesty if I ever heard one! and it had been a SHARED drink) and set about doing exactly what we had always planned to do when we finally got to Sin City.
Our aim? To down 21 drinks, or one at each hotel until we hit that magical number. The original plan was to do 21 drinks each, but after my third drink I was so giggly that mum announced maybe it was best to aim for 21 between us. I agreed, but only because drinks in Vegas are bigger than elsewhere and in many cases one could’ve easily counted as two.
So drinks number 4 and 5 took place inside the little restaurant half way up the tiny Eiffel Tower at the Paris hotel, from where we watched the Bellagio water show again (it was dark and is way more spectacular at night with lights added for effect). I was already tipsy by this point and there were a few drunk photos taken of the rather spectacular Eiffel bathroom…
Drinks number 6 & 7 were taken at a rather dodgy pokies bar inside the run down Flamingo hotel. More drunken antics followed when we stumbled across a sex shop with open legs for an entrance and proceeded to pose endlessly beneath them. Mum then spotted a naked male mannequin on a bed inside the shop and forced me up on the bed… More hilarious photos.
Caesar’s Palace was our next stop and by the time I was pretty far gone and was most excited when I stumbled across a giant wall of goldfish for me to make fishy-faces with. We also posed infront of the many recreated statues of David, Caesar, etc.
On our way to find dinner and drinks 8 & 9, we spotted CRIPPLE SANTA! (Santa Claus with a walking frame) at a restaurant and knew this was the place we were supposed to eat.
We were right too, the little restaurant we had chosen had spectacular pasta and we met an amazing couple who landed me the work experience I am currently completing here in ABQ!
After tossing a coin in the fake Trevi Fountain we wandered up the strip to see JERSEY BOYS at the Palazzo hotel. Drink number 10 occurred in the lobby.
Jersey Boys is the story of the Four Seasons and was an incredible show.
Afterwards, exhausted and ready for bed, we began the walk home only to find ourselves outside a champagne bar (the perfect place for drinks 11 & 12!) where mum drank champagne and I drank champagne cocktails.
We then journeyed back to the Aria and passed out, as we had to be up early for our helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon!

Sunday 12th December:
We awoke with enough time to get cake for breakfast again (hooray!), before boarding the little van that would take us allllllllll the way to the helicopter for our mini trip to the Grand Canyon. It was definitely the best way to see the spectacular desert attraction, as were were able to land directly inside one of the ‘rooms’ and explore an area that tourists who drive are not privy to. This was also the location of drinks 13 & 14. Hooray white wine! I wasn’t ready to leave the Grand Canyon when we did, although the flights there and back were just as astonishing, as we also hovered over the Hoover Dam and through the Nevada desert.
We headed for the Venetian, planning to stop for an afternoon snack at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon, only to find it CLOSED for renovations! Devastated and still hungry, we ventured into the Mirage hotel (after finding the Treasure Island siren show closed for renovations as well!) to have all-American style nachos and fried pickles alongside drinks 15 & 16.
A quick stop at the Mirage volcano show was in order before drinks 17 & 18 at the Mandarin Oriental (so classy) – our most expensive drinks of the trip at $16 each.
We still had a few hotels to hit: the New York New York, Excalibur (quick stop for a Maccas cheeseburger) and the Luxor. No drinks were drunk at these hotels.
We headed back to the Bellagio – realising we hadn’t had a drink there yet – and drank drinks 19 & 20 at a quirky little bar offerring 2 for 1 drinks. Definitely worth it, those drinks were delish.
Then we did some shopping at Caesar’s palace. Hooray!
I had decided drink number 21 (YAY! we made it!) had to be particularly memorable and insisted on dragging mum back up to the Paris hotel for one of those ridiculous daquiris in a hot airballoon shaped holder. She was reluctant, exhausted after another big day, although it ended up being a great night as we found a show called Duelling Pianos playing at a bar across the way from my drink stand. The show consisted of two grand pianos, placed opposite one another, with a man and a lady playing popular songs and ‘duelling’ for tips. They were incredibly entertaining and come highly recommended by one drunk little me.
Right before we called it quits for the night, we hit up the Blackjack table (21!) and mum sat me down, told them to go easy on me cos it was my first time and I had just turned 21… Well everyone started telling the dealer to give me 21, they were chanting it “21! 21! 21!” AND GUESS WHO GOT 21 ON HER FIRST ROUND? That’s right! MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
We played one more round, I lost that one but didn’t lose all my money… Actually I ended up still walking away with $13 (I’d won about $30 initially) ontop of what I had put down so I was pretty pleased with myself! What a way to end our Vegas adventure!
Afterwards, we stumbled back to our hotel bed as we had an early flight to catch!

Monday 13th December:
Up early, off to the airport, flying back to Albuquerque with mum! So excited to show her the little city that had become my new home. 🙂

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