Exchange Wk42 (Holiday Edition) – Las Vegas & San Diego

After leaving Carson on the 29th of May, I flew to Las Vegas where I stayed through to the 1st of June. Then I left to visit my friend Kyra in San Diego where I stayed until the 5th of June.

For the next few blog posts, there will be a map of the places I’ve been so far. The gold pentagon is Philadelphia (start location), and all other locations visited will be red pentagons where the number represents the order I visited these places.

🏰 Las Vegas 🏰

When people think of Las Vegas, they associate it with alcohol and gambling (which is a fair assessment), things I don’t resonate with. However, there is so much more to do in Las Vegas, and I had so much fun!

Firstly, the hotel I stayed in was awesome and very reasonably priced. I stayed in the Excalibur, a castle themed hotel. It is hard to describe the sheer magnitude of this hotel. On entering the lobby, you go straight to the casino floor, which was just a collection of hundreds of slot machines with some blackjack tables in the centre. The hotel also had a pool area, two towers for accomodation, a buffet, an arcade, and a mini shopping centre with restaurants and souvenir shops. Something that surprised me was that since the same company owned all the hotels in the area I was staying, they were all connected. On my first day I was looking for the buffet and took a wrong turn, and ended up at a completely different hotel which was Egyptian themed.

The view of the Excalibur from outside.

View from my window. The black pyramid in the centre of the photo is the hotel I accidentally walked to.

Some of my highlights from Las Vegas included going to the Pinball Hall of Fame (the largest collection of pinball museums in the world), going to the Hunger Games exhibit which had original costumes from the movie, and going to the Mac King Comedy Magic Show.

In the Hunger Game exhibit, they even had the dress for Lucy Gray Baird in the upcoming movie ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes’.

Photo with Mac King. The comedy magic show was really fun! Mac King did excellent illusions, from supposedly eating a goldfish, to transporting to the other side of the room.

On the 1st of June, it was time for me to fly out of Las Vegas to head to San Diego. My flight wasn’t scheduled until later in the evening, so I decided I’d do some gabling as it’d give me something to do in the hotel before heading to the airport. I had allotted a very small amount of money which I was going to use on the slot machines. Aside: I don’t condone gambling if it comes with the purpose of gaining money, but I think it’s okay in small amounts provided it’s for entertainment. Anyway, it turns out the slot machines aren’t actually that fun, so after playing for a tiny bit, I decided to head to the airport early.

The Las Vegas airport was unlike any airport I’ve ever seen. They had slot machines at the terminals for people to play whilst they waited for their flight!

Anyway, this is where my trip to Las Vegas turned sour… I was waiting for my flight with Frontier which was delayed. Then, everyone started boarding (I decided to wait until the end), before they soon returned to the terminal coinciding with an announcement that the tyre of the plane needed to be changed. Finally with the tyre changed, we were invited to re-board. However, shortly after, a new announcement was made that the flight was being cancelled because of a mechanical issue!

I rushed to the Frontier support desk because I knew that I needed to be one of the first few people before future flights filled up. On getting to the desk, I was told that the next available flight would be in 24 hours! Needless to say, I was not very happy (I of course wasn’t rude to the person at the desk). I called Dad for help because it was hard to see what my options were from the airport, and we found a Greyhound bus departing around 11pm for Las Angeles, where I would then take a new bus to San Diego. It goes without saying, I doubt I will be flying with Frontier again.

Anyway, the Uber to get to the bus terminal was going to cost 30 USD despite being very close to the airport. Because of this, I decided to take public transport. After riding on the bus for a short while, I looked at my phone and realised that we were not going in the right direction, and on talking to the bus driver, I was on the wrong bus! This was very stressful, especially considering that my phone was almost out of battery. After getting on the right bus, I finally got to the bus terminal.

The only problem was that the bus was broken so we had to wait around an hour for a new bus! Finally we took off, and I got to Las Angeles Union Station around six in the morning, and then I got to San Diego at around ten in the morning. I was very tired (it was hard to rest on the bus), but I was so glad and excited to see Kyra and her mum waiting for me.

🍓 San Diego 🌊

I was so excited to see Kyra, and loved meeting her family who were all so kind. On saying hi and getting something to drink, I quickly retreated for a midday nap – I was soooo tired! After a good rest, later that night we head into the city to watch a game of baseball where the Padres played the Cubs. Sadly, the Padres lost the game, but it was still so fun to explore a different baseball stadium.

On the 3rd of June, we caught up with our friend Julia from the Christian Union who had just moved to San Diego. We had a fun afternoon walking along the beach and looking through different shops.

On the 4th of June, we head to North Coast Calvary Chapel for their morning service, where the topic was on “The Spirt Heals”. They had a neuroscientist there who talked about how God healed him of his tumour, and that there was no other biological reasons as to his healing. The speaker and his wife even co-authored a paper where they explored spiritual healing, a paper which has stood up against peer review.

That night for dinner, Kyra’s parents cooked this beautiful tri tip beef which they got from Cardiff. Locals call it “Cardiff crack” because of how delicious it is. I was a huge fan!

On the 5th of June, Kyra and I went strawberry picking. We collected a massive haul, which Kyra used in a salad for dinner!

After we went to the Encinitas strip malls where we had lunch, browsed the shops, and later had ice-cream!

Sadly, on the 6th we had to wake up nice and early for me to catch my flight to Houston. It was sad saying goodbye but I had such a great time catching up with Kyra. Also, surprisingly, my Frontier flight came on time (I had already booked it before the drama earlier)!

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