Our Honeymoon Journal
     Entry 22 - 11 September 2000
Las Vegas is a strange oasis in the desert. The 11th was very warm and sunny.  Click here to see what the weather is like today.
  Sightseeing in Las Vegas

Vanessa There was quite a lot of noise.We woke to the sound of construction work filtering in through the open window. Chris had thought that it wouldn't be worth using the airconditioner over night, as the desert air was so dry and we didn't need it made any drier. Instead, we left the window open to catch the breeze. When I say open, I mean open the tiny crack that was all the window would move. Still, the little bit of fresh air that it did let in made a big difference and it was well worth it, even though it also let in the noise.
  Breakfast was at the Treasure Island Buffet. There was a reasonable selection to choose from - hot dishes such as bacon and eggs, cereals, fruits and of course, lots of the sweet sticky muffins and buns that Americans seem to love so much for their morning meal.
  Our day's sightseeing in Las Vegas began with a quick trip to the casino downstairs. I had a go at the one-armed bandits, but my luck was no better than Chris' had been. We lost another 75 cents between us.
Chris Big time gamblers, that's us! I doubt we'll be in the high rollers anytime soon.
Vanessa The casino was an interesting experience, but I'd rather spend our money on a sure thing, like paying to see attractions and buying quality souvenirs. Yesterday, as we had driven in, Chris had noticed a shopping mall just up the street from the hotel. We went outside and walked to it, only to discover that it wouldn't be open for at least another hour. Disappointed, we returned to our hotel room, collected our camera gear and went back downstairs to take some photos of Buccaneer Bay.
  Las Vegas is famous for its casinos and many of the casinos are famous for their themes. There is Caesar's Palace with its Ancient Rome theme, the Luxor with its Ancient Egyptian theme and the Excalibur with its Medieval theme. The Treasure Island Resort and Casino complex is no exception and it has a Carribean Pirate theme. This theme is carried throughout much of the decor in the public areas on the ground level. The most obviously themed area, is however, out the front of the building where up to five times each night the HMS Britannia and the pirate ship, the Hispaniola, battle it out in Buccaneer Bay in an amazing theatrical experience, complete with lots of pyrotechnics. The whole front of the Treasure Island Casino/Resort is a huge set of a waterside Carribean pirate village, complete with docks and the two ships. We'll say more about the actual show later.
  Being fairly early in the morning, there weren't many people about so we had a good view of the set and we could take our time appreciating the detailed work that had gone into it. Needless to say, we took lots of photos. We knew we wouldn't have a chance for taking any photos at night because of the crowds gathered for the show, so we made the most of the current opportunity. Satisfied, we took our cameras back to our room and then it was time to do some shopping.
  The Aussie dollar was at an all time low!Instead of walking back to the mall, we picked up the car and drove to the large Belz Factory Outlet. We wandered around for a couple of hours and made a few purchases, but none of them were really what you'd call a bargain. Most of this was due to the poor exchange rate of the Australian dollar.
Chris Part of our purchases was a new suitcase. We had picked up so much stuff along the way, we needed another case to carry it in. Also, one of our other cases had broken its catch, so we bought a strap to secure it. It seems when you do a bit of international travelling, suitcases can take a real beating.
Vanessa Towards midday, we returned to our room at the hotel, dumped off our purchases and headed out once again. This time it was to the Hilton Hotel. We were about to embark on the Star Trek Experience!
  Yes, I admit it. I've been a fan of Star Trek for many years. I had read about the Star Trek Experience in a magazine a number of years ago when the attraction first opened. I never dreamed at the time that I might have the opportunity to actually see it. When we were planning our honeymoon and we discussed what we wanted to see in Vegas, it was top of my list.
Chris As a fan of science fiction and fantasy, I also like Star Trek, but not as much as Vanessa. I think there are better examples of the genre around. Still, the Star Trek Experience was a novelty that I also wanted to see.
Vanessa As it was lunch time, we made a direct route to the inhouse restaurant - Quark's Bar and Restaurant. Determined to make the most of the experience, Chris ordered a Joseph Sisko's Bayou Shrimp Linguini and had a Raktajino (a frozen cappuccino mocha thickshake) to drink. I was, unfortunately, still feeling a little off colour from the stomach bug I had picked up and so I had a much less adventurous pink lemonade and a child's meal of deep fried Tribble with chips. It's true what they say, Tribble does taste a lot like chicken...
  Lots of stuff from the movies as well as the TV series!After lunch, we wandered through The Promenade's gift shop. I have never seen so much Star Trek paraphernalia in all my life - not even at a convention! Most of the stuff, however, didn't appeal to us, so our next stop was at the History of the Future exhibit. This is an award winning thematic display, rounded off with a theatrical, interactive ride - The Voyage Through Space. The display was really well done - basically it is a museum of costumes and props from the various Star Trek TV series and movies. Chris found interesting a timeline of the events in the Star Trek universe. The interactive Voyage Through Space experience at the end supposedly lasts 22 minutes, but it felt a lot shorter than that. It was quite well done with live actors interacting with video clips and the tourists. The sets were very authentic looking, but the "shuttlecraft" simulator ride at the end was a bit rough for some people. (I overheard one lady complaining about it to her friend.) Overall, it was a good "experience", but we felt it wasn't worth the $20 we each had to pay for entry!
  Feeling a bit tired, we went back to our room and rested for a couple of hours before dinner. Again we ate at the Treasure Island Buffet. The smorgasbord items were slightly different from the night before.
  A bit before 8.30pm, we went outside to see the Buccaneer Bay show, but the crowds already gathered to see it were enormous! We could hardly move and we were so glad we had taken the time in the morning to take the photos. There was no way we could have taken any decent shots with so many people milling around. Actually, there was no way we could really see the show, either. We decided to go for a drive to see some of the Las Vegas sights at night and then come back for one of the later shows. There were two more that evening, about 90 minutes apart, so we knew we wouldn't miss out.
  Chris drove us along the length of the Strip. The place really does come alive at night. The darkness hides the dry, dusty pavements, the graffiti and torn bill posters.The ambulance made it through the heavy night time traffic. Your eyes are naturally drawn to all the clean, colourful bright lights. There were people everywhere and the traffic was heavy. We also drove past the Fremont Street Experience, but the crowds there were so huge, we chose to give it a miss. On the way, we had to stop for an ambulance to get past. It was escorted by a police car with its siren blaring.
  We made it back in time for the 10pm Buccaneer Bay show. Even though we got there about fifteen minutes before it was due to start, the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds had once again already filled the pavement and raised wooden viewing areas. We managed to find a spot where we could see at least a part of the show. As it was a warm night, about 30 degrees of dry heat (we scarcely noticed it), the light poles provided their secondary role of spraying the crowd beneath them with a cooling mist of water.
  The show began. Actors, dressed as pirates, yelled at each other and pretended to unload their ill-gotten booty from their ship, the Hispaniola. They were interrupted by the appearance of the HMS Britannia, which "sailed" around the corner from Skull Point to drop anchor at the free dock. There was a lot more yelling between actors as the "British" naval officers ordered the pirates to surrender. Of course, the pirates didn't surrender and the fight began.
  The fight would have been quite spectacular if I could have seen it properly. I was very annoyed by an extremely rude German-speaking tourist. He was standing beside us at the start of the show, but as the show progressed, he pushed his way in front of us. He was quite tall and there was no way I could see past him. My view quickly became limited to his broad back, his shiny bald pate, and the top bit of the HMS Britannia's mast. Once again, I was glad I hadn't bothered bringing the camera.
  I can guess that the mock fight included cannon fire, as there was the sound of loud explosions, lots of fireworks, gouts of gas flames and stuntmen on both sides falling from masts into the water. Smoke billowed and the masts toppled. Finally, the pirates let loose one last cannon and the Britannia suddenly listed and began to sink!
  The show was over - it had lasted for about 15 minutes. The crowd quickly dispersed.
Chris I actually had a reasonable view of the show, given the number of people around. Being slightly taller than Vanessa probably also helped.Vegas at night is a must see! The show was essentially as Vanessa described. For free entertainment, it was a good production.

I think it could be possible to be well entertained in Las Vegas by just visiting the various free displays many of the casino/resort complexes have. For example, during our short drive around the Strip, we saw the volcano display at the Mirage and the dancing water fountains at the Bellagio.
Vanessa Determined to eke out a little bit more of the Las Vegas evening, we crossed the road to some shops with the idea to buy some postcards. We were very disappointed by the two shops we went into. They had postcards amongst the souvenirs, but they weren't very good quality. We walked the length of the block and then crossed the road again and went back to the hotel. I was feeling very tired by this time.
  Chris took some more photos of the view from our window and then helped me sort and pack our gear. Tomorrow, we drive to Los Angeles!