Day 5 – The Grand Canyon by bus, by helicopter, and by foot

• Started the day on a high – leaving Las Vegas

• Took a ~3 hour bus ride to the Grand Canyon via a brief stop and photo op at Hoover Dam (where they literally do a security check of the bus to make sure noones carrying luggage big enough to blow up the place – post 9/11 US is pretty paranoid), and a drive through a Joshua Tree forest which is a plant that looks like someone went a bit hard on pruning a tree and tried to cover up the missing foliage by sticking cactuses all over it.

• Arrived at the grand canyon and realised why they call it a GRAND canyon, cause damn… she’s a big old hole in the ground. Photos just don’t do it justice, and I don’t really know why I wandered around taking a billion photos cause you really cant get a sense of scale properly from a photo. It actually is a very impressive bit of geography and I’m super glad we went. It almost made wasting money on accomodation in Vegas worth it.

• Because we’re such high rollers(…) I had gone a bit silly and booked the tour that included everything… so we got a skywalk, and a helicopter ride as well as entry to the canyon itself on the Hualapai reservation. In hindsight this meant the day was kinda rushed, because by the time the bus pulls in and you sign in for the chopper, then jump on the shuttle to the skywalk at Eagle Point, then jump on the shuttle to Guano Point (literally named after batshxt cause it was mined there), then jump on the shuttle back for your flight time… it’s pretty rushed. Time actually worked out pretty well in the end though we had to skip the included lunch which was fine cause we’re sure doing a lot of eating as it is.

• Skywalk and especially the photography is a total waste of money, but we kinda figured we’re almost certainly never going to get to come back and the money goes towards the local people who keep the place maintained / send their kids to school and what not so we ponyed up for photos. The photographer was like “would you like to do silly photos?” and I’m all super mature and was like “no thanks, lets just be mature about this” but then a few seconds later we were doing to “omg oh noes I’m going to fall!” photos and pretending to be scared (FYI I am not an actor) on the glass floor and all sorts so I am not quite as mature as I thought.

• Then we got on the chopper ride and that was completely rad. Definitely recommend that bad boy. The guy flying was about as stereotypical as you can get for a pilot with the aviator sunnies and all so that was neat. He called Erin ma’am and me sir and had his shirt ironed and tucked in and stuff so you know he’s legit. Also he made hilarious jokes about “Anyone’s first time in a helicopter? Yeah? Mine too” HAHAHAHH. Pro tip: The western run of the canyon is the only place the helicopters are allowed to fly inside the canyon, so go there! Worth every cent even if its a pretty short flight.

• On the way back we stopped for a drink and we found classic America – a 44oz (1.3 litres!) of soda for like $2.99, in a polystyrene cup, with a plastic straw. I got a Dr Pepper cause its the best soft drink flavour ever made and if you disagree you are wrong, but it turns out even my rather large tumtum is no match for American soda portion sizes and I literally couldn’t finish it. You win this time, murica.

• Unfortunately we then had to return to Las Vegas, and had to get dropped off a 20+ minute walk from the hotel because the traffic is so bad the bus would have taken longer than that to drive here anyway. No idea why traffic was so bad, probably everyone realising they’re in Vegas and trying to leave at the same time I’d say.

• Small redemption arc continued with a trip to PF Changs for some totally legit and authentic Chinese food, finished off with a delightful discovery – banana spring rolls! With pineapple and coconut ice cream, and a caramel sauce. If Australia has any room for another fast food chain, I am volunterring PF Changs cause they can take the place by storm off the back of that dish alone. Also they had cocktails of which I had a few.

• Unfortunately we are still in Las Vegas for another couple of nights but things are looking up as we are getting closer to the time we get to leave. Tomorrow is explore the strip day, so potentially the redemption arc and will continue and I’ll change my mind about this place after all. Could be a massive plot twist coming… especially if that lotto ticket Freddy the bus tour operator talked me in to turns out to be a winner. Damn near a billion (with a b!) on offer, yes please!


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