Viva Las Vegas!

Usually around Thanksgiving Break, I’m rushing to finish my homework and trying to go to earlier classes so I can be home as soon as possible. This year was a bit different. Yes, I still rushed to get my homework done so I didn’t have to do anything in LAS VEGAS! This year for Thanksgiving, I had the great opportunity to go Las Vegas. One of my aunts turned 60 just this past week, so my cousin wanted to do something grand. Her solution = Las Vegas. To make the whole vacation even better, my aunt didn’t know that I was coming, until I surprised her at McCarran International Airport in Vegas! She was shocked to say the least. Ok, I am going to give you the rundown on my vacation! Hope you enjoy it!

DAY 1

So on Thanksgiving Day, I woke up at 2:30 AM. You heard me right. Don’t worry though, I went to bed really early so I wouldn’t be exhausted. So after getting ready an hour later, I said goodbye to Michigan. I drove to Gerald R. Ford International Airport at 3:30 AM. I brought one of my best buddies with me so he could drive my car back. Joey, if you’re reading this, I just want to tell you that I am eternally grateful. At around 4:15 AM, I arrived at the airport. Then, I did the usual. Check-in, security, wait, board, then TAKE OFF at 5:30 AM! My itinerary was ridiculous, but the cheapest flight is what I wanted. I went to Chicago, followed by Houston, then Las Vegas. Here are some pictures during my two flights!

Chicago
Here is the city of Chicago early morning.
Sierara Nevada mountains
Flying over the Sierra Nevada mountains!

After arriving at the airport, I only had to wait a half hour at the gate my family was arriving through. Then, BAM. SURPRISE! From this point, my vacation began! We got our rental car, and the first stop we made is to Jollibee, a Filipino fast food chain. You all have no idea how important this was to me. The last time I ate Jollibee was this past summer in the Philippines. I never knew when I would eat it again. I am so thankful for the strong Filipino community in Las Vegas.

Here is the "Ronald McDonald" of my favorite FIlipino fast food chain restaurant!
Here is the “Ronald McDonald” of my favorite Filipino fast food chain restaurant!

Ok anyways, after that, we checked into our hotel!!!! Guess where? (It starts with a “B!”). After settling in and taking some time to relax, we hit the famous Las Vegas Strip. We went to the Monte Carlo, Aria, New York New York, Paris, Bellagio, Paris, and Caesar’s Palace. Check out my slideshow below to see some pictures!

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Because I was up at 2:30 in the morning, I hit the hay pretty early, and that was at 9:00 PM. Not to mention that Nevada is in the Pacific Time Zone, which meant I gained an extra three hours to my day, added to my exhaustion. I had to get a great sleep because I had to be rested for Black Friday shopping!

DAY 2

I had set my alarm for 5:00 AM. so we could be walking around shopping at 6:00 AM. Usually when I am home for Thanksgiving, I don’t sleep and stay up with my cousins and hit the shops at midnight! This year was an exception. We went to the Premium Las Vegas Outlets North, which had a bunch of stores, and was I thankful! I got some pretty sweet deals at Nike, Lacoste, and Tommy Hilfiger. I got A LOT of my Christmas shopping done! Of course after shopping was eating and resting. I also worked out around noon. I can’t break my cycle! The athletic area was phenomenal to say the least! So after my workout and rest, we walked to The Venetian for a gondola ride. IT WAS SO COOL. The Venetian made it seem like I was in Rome!  Las Vegas actually made me feel like I was in so many countries at once! At Caesar’s Palace, I felt like I was in Greece. At The Venetian and The Bellagio, I felt like I was in Italy. Paris made me feel like I was in… PARIS!

Here I am smiling at The Venetian before the gondola!
Here I am smiling at The Venetian before the gondola!

After The Venetian, we went back to our hotel to rest (of course). We took a lot of naps just because we had really busy days! My family and I got spiffied up and we went to Todd English’s OLiVES restaurant at The Bellagio! It was super fancy, so I’m glad I dressed up for the occasion. I had the Sea Scallops, and boy were they the best sea scallops I’ve ever had! They are my favorite seafood. After dinner, we relaxed some more.

At around 9:15 PM, we headed our way to the Cirque du Soleil “O” theater at The Bellagio! “O” is an aquatic acrobatic performance put on by Cirque du Soleil. Have you heard of them? Even if the answer to the last question was “YES,” watch this YouTube clip of it. I WAS IN AWE THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE SHOW.

After the show, it was bedtime. We had so much planned for day 3 that we needed sleep!

DAY 3

Ok, you know the drill. Wake up, eat, shower, and then get going on our day. Today was another special day because we went to the Hoover Dam near Boulder City, Nevada! Boulder City was only about 45 minutes away from The Strip, so why wouldn’t you go to the Hoover Dam? After the drive, we went sightseeing. I’ve only seen the Hoover Dam in pictures, so seeing it in real life, TWO THUMBS UP! Here is the dam’s little “synopsis.”

It was built in 1931 and finished in 1935. It is located on the Colorado River near the border of Nevada and Arizona. Once the dam was completed, the Colorado River backed up (of course) creating Lake Meade (which is technically called a reservoir). Then in 2010, the Hoover Dam Memorial Bridge was completed, which was another link between Nevada and Arizona. Look at my slideshow below to see my pictures!

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After visiting Hoover Dam, we ate at a Filipino restaurant, shopped some more, and then relaxed of course. After dinner, around 6:15 PM, we headed to The Monte Carlo for the last performance of the vacation, THE BLUE MAN GROUP! I was so excited for this. I’ve heard so many great things about them, but have never seen them! Their show was simply amazing. What a great experience!

After the show, it was back to our hotel to pack and get ready for our long day of travel the following day.

DAY 4

Yes, this is a long post. But at least it was exciting, right!? Anyways, this was the shortest day we had. It was simple; wake up at 3:00 AM, check-out, return our rental car, then fly home. This itinerary was much more simple. Las Vegas – Chicago – Grand Rapids. I did have one big bummer though. My flight for Grand Rapids was delayed for an hour. Then another, and another, and another. You read that right. I was delayed in O’Hare for 4 hours! Myself, along with the rest of the plane were so upset. All we wanted to do was be home! United Airlines truly felt awful about our delay, so they reimbursed the passengers on my flight with money (which we deserved, and was a professional gesture!).

Las Vegas was a great place to visit, but I would never want to live there, too crazy! I just wanted to be home on Sunday. When I did get back, my awesome friend Betsy picked me up from the airport, then it was time for HOPE! Followed by studying and seeing my friends!

It is now the last week of class. It is crazy to think about, but it’s reality. I just have to finish this week strong, and get a head start on my studying. Next week, it’s CHRISTMAS BREAK! Stay tuned for another post this week!

Thanks for reading all! Make sure to follow me on twitter!

Published by Marvin Solberg

Greetings! My name is Marvin Solberg and my hometown is Traverse City, Michigan. I am a Hope College senior studying nursing, and aspire to obtain my Ph.D. in nursing research with the ultimate goal of becoming a professor. At Hope College, I am involved in Student Activities Committee (SAC), Student Blogging at Admissions, Ballet and Hip-Hop Club, Hope College Immersion Trips, and I am a nursing teaching assistant (TA)! I love God, my family, and friends. There's truly no place like Hope College; I call it my home away from home!

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