Travel There – Warning Tourist Trap
Now I am no stranger to Hop On/Hop Off tours. I’ve enjoyed them in other towns. I know it’s a little touristy, but the concept has worked for me many times. This time it did not. In fact, it was the biggest mistake I made on this vacation. It wasted my time, it wasted my money and it used up good will with my husband. Three strikes and you are out!!
Perhaps I look perky in the photo, because I was asleep by 9:45 the night before and stayed in bed until 8 AM. That’s not my usual routine, but I wasn’t quite over a nasty cold. The early wake-up call in the wee hours of the morning resulted in early to-bed. We had a Mickey D’s breakfast and were waiting at the stop at the appointed time.
Someone else was at the stop, too and who gave us a glimpse at the dark side of Sin City. A very drunk lady perched herself at the Big Bus stop and began to inventory the empty bottles in her shopping bag. The Big Bus attendant, there to collect our tickets, gently suggested she had to go elsewhere. She put her bottles back in her bag and careened down the sidewalk. Though we didn’t realize it at the time, about a block away, she had fallen in a heap. As our bus arrived we noticed a flurry of activity up the street as an ambulance pulled up. Driving by on the bus, we realized it was the lady with all the empty bottles in her bag.
Touring at Its Worst
I like the Hop On/Hop Off concept, because you get both a form of transportation and a guided tour in one purchase. I had visions of riding up top with scads of excited tourists, taking in the sights of the Strip while a well-informed guide filled me in on all the secrets. Not exactly what happened.
Looking at the sunny picture above, you’d think it was a perfect day for a double decker bus tour, but there’s a reason I have on so much gear. It was cold! As we waited for the bus to arrive, the sun went behind some clouds and was not seen again that day. Before we’d gotten to the next stop, the weather had deteriorated further and it began to sprinkle.
As I said, it was damned cold, there was precipitation and we were the only people on the bus, but our idiot guide insisted that we would be making the most of our travel investment by riding in the open air. Nope, that’s wasn’t going to happen.
The scintillating secrets shared by our guide sounded something like this, “Ok, there’s Harrah’s and across the street is The Mirage. Now we’re coming up on the Venetian with the Palazzo Towers. Over there is Treasure Island and now we’re coming up on the Wynn…” And no it didn’t get any better.
At the Convention Center we picked up a lady, but I’m convinced she was the bus driver’s wife. She rode for a few stops and then got off at one of the hotels, where I think she worked. She had on a uniform and she certainly wasn’t a tourist.
We passed the Strat and the Bonneville Transit Center. So far we hadn’t seen or learned anything new. Up around Fremont a few people got on, but they were soon getting off again. It continued to be me, Bill, the bus driver and the guide. I was beginning to believe the guide was operating in an altered state and I don’t think it was alcohol.
As we made the loop near Fremont and headed back toward the Strip, we started to get the same dialog he’d given us before, but in reverse, “The tall building on the side of the bus is the Strat. Now we’re coming up to the Sahara and over there is Circus, Circus…”
We Escape the Big Bus Tour
At Treasure Island, Bill had reached his limit. We got off and attempted a walking tour led by ourselves. I’ve got to hand it to my husband. Bill really was trying to be cooperative, but I was just pissed off, damp and hungry. We wandered around the Grand Canal and visited galleries and shops – a few of which I’ve included for your viewing pleasure.
We were both hungry, but nothing we saw looked the least bit interesting. So ,we went into the Venetian and ate at The Grand Lux – a restaurant we have in Dallas. I opted for Chicken Alfredo and drowned my sorrows in one of my favorite comfort foods.
Refreshed we went over to the bus stop at the Mirage to return to our part of the Strip. The Deuce was obviously not on schedule, but once we boarded the bus we got a taste of just how off schedule it was. We could have easily gotten to Paris faster if we’d walked, but the rain was pouring outside. Eventually, we discovered a car had turned over in front of the Bellagio and the entire Strip was in chaos.
It was still early evening with all of Las Vegas waiting for us. I’d planned for us to take the nighttime Big Bus, a part of the package we’d purchased and supposedly a real neon treat, but you could not have paid either of us enough money to get back on a bus, especially not a Big Bus. We went back to the room and I went directly to bed – again. I found out the next morning Bill did a little exploring on his own while I slept, but none of it sounded very exciting. There’s a reason Vegas was not at the top of my vacation wish list.
Day 3 was a lot better, so it’s safe to come back and check in with me next week!