Posted by: lylescott89 | May 27, 2014

Vegas 2014: Monorail, Stratosphere & Ka

Ka!

Ka!

Hey kids,

Tuesday morning in Vegas began pretty much like Monday morning did; at 5:30 AM.  I had the blackout shades down and it was as dark as it could possibly be, but there I was awake once again.  This had to stop and I was determined once again to get some much needed sleep.  I did get back to sleep, but it was not the most comfortable of sleeps as I tossed and turned quite a bit.  I finally gave up the sleeping effort and opened the shades around 7:30.  It was another beautiful morning with not a cloud in the sky.

I think it was around 9:00 AM or so when I met up with Bill and Willy for breakfast.  We went to Starbucks (since there were at least three of them in the hotel) where I had some delicious coffee and a classic sausage, egg & cheddar sandwich.  Yes it was off my diet, but I really had no intention of dieting on vacation.  I did intend on working out, but we did so much walking I just never had the strength to make my way to the fitness center.

Our plan for the day was to buy an all-day pass for the monorail and start by going to the end of the line at the Stratosphere.  As many of you know there are several attractions at the top of the Stratosphere, none of which interested me in the least, but there was on in particular that Bill & Willy really wanted to try; the Sky Jump.  The Sky Jump is a controlled decelerator descent from the 108th floor of the Stratosphere.  I was more than happy to watch, but the idea of jumping off a particularly good tower seemed a tad bit ludicrous to me.

Stratosphere

Stratosphere

I think the monorail ride was much more my speed and I enjoyed the trip down to the Stratosphere.  The monorail itself goes behind the strip and it was only 12 bucks for unlimited rides for 24 hours, which we thought was a very good deal.  It was fun to ride and see all the hotels from behind and pass the convention center and various other landmarks.  When we arrived at the final stop we were still a short walk from the Stratosphere.  The neighborhood on the north end of the Strip was decidedly different from the south end where we were staying.  It was older and kind of run down, but there was also a lot of construction going on in an obvious attempt to revitalize the area.

We arrived at the hotel and went to the Sky Jump office to check in.  There was no line so Bill & Willy were able to quickly sign up and begin their preparations for their fall.  I should add that it costs $109.99 per person to take the 855 foot plunge off the tower.  If I were to jump they would have had to pay me to do so and it would have cost them a lot more than that.  Once they got ready I took the elevator up to the observation deck where I met up with them as they waited in line for their turn.  They had these lovely blue jumpsuits to wear, but they did not get to keep them.

Willy went first.  I watched as the guide attached the cables to him to ensure he would not fall in an unintended way.  Then Willy walked out onto this small platform and after the guide counted down 3, 2, 1 jump, off he went.  He just got smaller and smaller as he fell.  From my vantage point I could not technically see if he landed safely, but no one was screaming so I was sure he was fine.  The apparatus was pulled back up and now it was time for Bill to go.  He looked substantially more nervous, but he made the jump as well.  I was scared just thinking about it.

After they were done I went up to the next level of the observation deck which was the outdoor area to wait for them.

X-Scream

X-Scream

As expected it was quite windy outside and since the weather was perfect the wind was very refreshing.  I took a boatload of photos and I could see all the way down the Strip.  I could also see Sapphire, which is not particularly vital to this story, but I could see it nonetheless.  I checked out the other rides at the top and they all looked terrifying.  The one that freaked me out the most was something called X-Scream.  Basically this was a big see-saw that hung over the edge of the building.  People (braver than I) would get into this big car that sat on a track.  When the trackway went up they would head down off the edge of the building to what appeared to be certain death before braking very sharply at the end.  Then they would just hang there before doing it again.  Fun?  I don’t think so.

After a little while Bill & Willy arrived and delighted me with the stories of their jumps.  We met up with this guy that was filming something about the Stratosphere attractions and he interviewed them about their experience.  He was nice.

Eventually we decided food was a necessity and chose to dine right there on the 108th floor.  There was a place called Sandwich Carvery 108 and since I had a coupon for a free drink and chips with a sandwich it seemed like a good idea.

Before the Jump

Before the Jump

I ordered the pepper crusted NY Strip sandwich.  I watched as the nice lady carved the meat and then placed it on the roll.  She then told me to add any toppings I would like.  It was similar to the Subway concept except that I got to put the toppings on myself which meant that I’d get all the damn onions I wanted.  I added melted cheese, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos & pickles.  I probably threw on more than that, but at this point I don’t remember.

After lunch we took the elevator down to the bottom of the tower and made our way back to the monorail, passing by a lovely little wedding chapel along the way.  Before we left Bill asked if I would mind coming back to the tower that night.  I asked why and was told that he and Willy could jump again with a 50% discount if they jumped within 24 hours.  I said it would be fun to go back at night and plans were made to return after the conclusion of that evening’s performance of Ka.

We disembarked the monorail at the Venetian so we could wander around and enjoy the hotels in that area.  We had to walk through Harrah’s, which was no big deal, and made our way outside to the Strip.  Suddenly we were in the area which contained Caesar’s Palace, The Mirage, Treasure Island and The Venetian.  We said we’d walk around the Venetian first and then check out The Mirage and then Caesar’s.  Well let me tell you something.  Jumping out of a tower takes a lot out of a person and apparently so does watching people jump out of a tower.  By the time we were done exploring the Venetian we were all exhausted and ready to head back to the MGM Grand.  We said we’d come back another time to check out the other resorts.  (Spoiler alert: never happened)

Obligatory Observation Deck Photo

Obligatory Observation Deck Photo

After disembarking the monorail at the MGM we parted ways for the afternoon with a plan to meet up for dinner prior to seeing Ka.  Naturally I made my way straight to the pool for some cool water relaxation.  As was normally the case, the pool was busy but not too busy that it was not fun.  I could tell you all about how I relaxed at the pool, but there really was nothing more to it other than what I just said.

I had seen an Irish Pub called Nine Fine Irishmen at the New York New York and asked if that was an acceptable place to dine.  We all agreed and off we went over the pedestrian bridge to NYNY.  Since it was a lovely evening we chose to dine outside.  Our server was cute and friendly, which is really all one could ask for.  I ordered the Shepherd’s Pie; Willy went with the Fish & Chips while Bill went with Bangers & Mash.  I have to tell you that it was the best Shepherd’s pie I had ever had.  It was absolutely delicious.  Willy raved about the Fish & Chips and Bill seemed pretty happy as well.

As we were dining something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention.  I turned and looked and suddenly there were two gorgeous Hooters girls making their way down the street handing out flyers.  I knew sitting outside to dine was the right idea.

Nine Fine Irishmen

Nine Fine Irishmen

As they passed by our table I got their attention and asked if they’d pose for a couple of photos.  They obliged and we told them we’d see them the next day as we had our Hooters trip planned for Wednesday.  They laughed and continued back towards the Hooters Hotel & Casino.  It was at this point that I knew that I loved Vegas and had to make plans to come back here many, many times.

After dinner was over I perused the dessert menu.  As with any good Irish Pub, Bread & Butter Pudding was on the menu.  It was, by far, the most expensive bread pudding I have ever had ($9.00) but it was worth each and every penny.  I love bread pudding and although it is very bad for me, I cannot resist it.  From the first bite I was in some sort of heavenly bliss, much like when the girls from Hooters passed by.

After a quick stop at our rooms we headed to the Ka theatre for the 7:00 PM performance.  The place was packed and our seats were outstanding.  They were so good that there was a group of people that were already sitting in them.  The usher came over and cleared up the problem.  He told them that they had even better seats to which I offered to take to allow them to stay there, but they turned me down.  Oh well, I could not complain too much.

Describing any Cirque du Soleil show is not an easy task so I will not try and confuse you kids.  Instead I will tell you that the show featured spectacular, gravity defying acrobatics and a sensational musical score.  The basic story of the show is “the coming of age of a young man and a young woman through their encounters with love, conflict and the duality of Kà, the fire that can unite or separate, destroy or illuminate.”  If I had to sit through this show again I would not complain.

Hooters Girls Passing by…

After the show ended we returned to the monorail for the ride back to the Stratosphere.  If I thought that area was creepy in the day imagine how it would be at night.  Creepier.  We passed by the same wedding chapel we had been by earlier in the day, but this time we saw a happy (drunk?) couple heading inside.  I kind of wanted to offer my services as a witness, but I had sky jumpers with me and there was no time to waste.

We made our way to the Sky Jump office and they got prepped for their evening jump.  This time I decided to stay on the ground and wait for them.  I made my way to the outdoor viewing deck, plopped myself into one the lounge chairs and watched jumper after jumper until it was Bill’s turn.  The guy on the ground announced each jumper’s name before they made the terrifying leap.  I video recorded both Bill & Willy’s jumps from the comfort of my lounge chair.  Bill’s jump was standard, but Willy’s second of the day was outstanding.  He went flying off the ledge like Superman or something.  It was amazing and we were unsure as to how he got so much flight time.  When he reached the ground he told us that he was pushed (more like thrown) off the platform…backwards.  Take a look:

 

At this point it was late so we walked back to the monorail and rode back to the MGM.  All talk of stopping along the way and checking out different resorts was immediately put aside as we knew that Wednesday morning would come very soon.  I was pretty hungry, but I decided not to have anything that night.  We had plans for an early breakfast followed by the trip to Hoover Dam so it was wise to get right to bed.  What would the breakfast be like?  What about the dam?  What about Hooters?  Stay tuned.

Namaste

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