|I travel to the amazing city of Las Vegas in the United States, to celebrate the wedding of my good friend Oliver and his (now) lovely wife Jessica.It’s taken a little while to get this page done. I would like to thank Sarah Williams for providing the photographs, as I didn’t have a camera with me on the trip.|
|We stayed in the famous Riviera hotel.It was the hotel used in the film Casino.Like all the hotels in Vegas, all its facilities were open 24hrs a day.|
|Like most international trips, it was about 24hrs door to door.Upon arrival, it was important to drink lots of water, and get some rest…But we didn’t !.
We went straight out to a bar, and stayed up for another 10 hours, drinking into the night (this would set the theme for the entire holiday).
At the back of this picture, is Martin. He was quiet and laid back throughout most of the trip.
One night, we visited a night club (I was a bit nervous going through a metal detector !), and he came to life, we couldn’t keep him off the dance floor !
|The only truly awful thing about the trip, was my clothes !.I have to confess, that for several months during 1998, I owned and wore THIS shirt !.Oliver and Jess had organised the trip, when I arrived, I found that I would be sharing a room with John Davis (left) who Oliver worked with in London.
He was a cracking bloke, and we had loads of laughs throughout the week.
On the right, Matt, was there with his girlfriend Fiona.
|Most of the people on the trip were in couples and John and I frequently had knocks on our door, and invitations for a pint, whilst wives/partners watched the tv etc.Nicky and Sarah, lived in a shared house in the centre of Manchester. On nights when everyone went out “coupling”, we all went out together.We all went to see a comedian and wondered why table next to the stage was free, but thought nothing of it.
The comedian came on stage, realised we were Brit’s, and used us as a foil, for the rest of his act !. Painfully embarrassing.
|Also on the trip was Scott, one of Oliver’s oldest and closest friends.It was a pleasure to meet him, as Oliver had told me lots about him.He came with his then girl friend (and now wife with 2 children) Victoria, who was from Canada.
On one occasion, during an evening out, I was telling everyone about a really famous film mistake in a James bond film made in Las Vegas (a red car is jacked up onto its right hand wheels to enable it to drive through an alley. When it comes out of the other side, its on its left hand wheels !)
The next day, amazingly, it was on the television, and everyone saw it ! (how strange is that ?)
|In the daytime, we wandered around the “strip” there were some amazing things to see (The mirage hotel has an underground zoo with white tigers.There was also an amazing water show, in the man made lake in front of the Belagio (featured extensively in oceans 11, it had only just been built at the time.This was one of the many amazing eateries we found there, based on a submarine, it was owned and built by Steven Spielberg.|
|Many of the hotels were enormous.The Venetian, and the Paris, have since been completed, but were still being built whilst we were there (at the time, the 5000 room MGM Grand, was the largest hotel in the world.
The New York New York, had a theme park complete with roller coaster on the roof.
Of special interest, was the treasure Island hotel, which featured a pirate show, every hour.
|There was all sorts of activity, with people swinging from ship to ship, sword fights and stuff like that.You can see how popular it was, by the backs of peoples heads in this picture.|
|Once again, a truly gruesome shirt, worn by me.When wearing it, people looked at me as though I should be picking cotton !.
The food in Vegas was superb, with buffets costing the equivalent of about £3, and you got all you could eat with up to 300 different dishes, from Thai Green curry, to pancakes.
My favourite food here, was steak, which was delicious, and cost next to nothing.
We sit down for the evening, at a steakhouse inside the hotel.
On my right, is Oliver’s excellent uncle Pete, who was a great laugh, throughout the whole trip.
|Just to show the size of the portions, this rack of ribs, is too big for the plate, and cost a few pounds.The steak I normally ate, was the thickness of a 20 cigarette packet and 8 inches in diameter for £5.
They take customer service very seriously in that country, and it was a delight to be looked after so well.
|You wouldn’t go to Egypt, without riding a camel.Sarah gets started on the slot machines.
They even provided plastic cups for storing coins.
|Oliver puts a few “bucks” onto the roulette table.I am not a massive fan of gambling, so I set myself a budget of £30 (which I lost in about 15 minutes !).|
|Oliver’s brother Dale on the slot machines.We found out that the longer you gamble on a machine or table, the more perks you get.
If you played the slot machines for long enough, you would get drinks, cigarette, and even sandwiches (which sometimes cost more than the total you had “lost” to the slot machine).
|The night of the stag and hen Party.Unfortunately, these are Sarah’s pictures, and so only feature the Hen do
The girl on the right, is Matt’s girlfriend Fiona.
|They went to see a Jazz band at the amazing Bellagio hotel.|
|Here, hearing of her impending marriage, the lead singer of the band gives Jess some “attention”.|
|The stretch limo “thing” just had to be done !.We were picked up from outside our hotel, and driven to the New York, New York hotel further up the strip, for the wedding ceremony.|
|The bride, resplendent in her beautiful wedding gown.|
|Oliver is my friend.He has always had a bit of a cynical edge to him (as most of my friends do, which perhaps says something about me !).
I have seen Oliver happy many times, although usually, this is because of a particularly good kebab, or the first pint of a Friday night.
On this occasion, he really was happy and contented, and I knew that they would be happy together.
Jessica’s sister Andrea was her maid of honour, and Scott was Oliver’s best man.
|The next day, Jessica’s family hosted a farewell Barbeque for the visiting UK guests.At first I expected to see Jessica’s step father operating the grill, and Jessica’s mum putting the burgers onto the buns
However being Americans (and thinking a bit bigger than everyone else), it was actually cooked and served by outside caterers in a holiday apartment that belonged to a friend of theirs.
It was nothing short of spectacular.
We flew home the following day, and it snowed in Las Vegas for the first time in 14 years.
Oliver and Jess now live in Chicago.
I remember the young mouthy engineer from IBM, and I knew then he would amount to great things.
I have had many chances to go back to Las Vegas, but I never will, I wouldn’t want to spoil the memory of such a special trip.