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Before I know it, I’m being strapped into a harness suspended from cable wires. After a tension-building countdown, I launch from the platform and soar underneath the colourful laser light show.

At the bottom of the ride, I bump into an Elvis busker singing Viva Las Vegas, naturally.

Impersonators are a dime a dozen here but this guy has the voice, hair, costume, dance moves and even real sideburns down to a tee.

After his song I flip him a few coins, hoping karma may bring some winnings my way.

In an authentic Elvis accent he replies, “Thank you. Thank you very much. I hope you win your jackpot.” “Thank you.

Thank you very much,” I drawl back. “I need all the luck I can get.”


A grand flight

For those (like me) who gamble away more money than they care to lose and need to regain their mojo, the Grand Canyon is the perfect place to escape the crowds and bright lights.

Thankfully, there isn’t a casino in sight.It’s easy to see why the Canyon is the most popular natural attraction near Vegas.

More than 450km long, 1.8km down at its deepest point and almost 30km across in some places, this natural wonder of the world will impress even the most jaded of travellers.

The rising of the Colorado Plateau combined with six million years of erosion has created one of the planet’s deepest gorges, which can be admired from the air (via plane and helicopter) or after a long drive from ‘the strip’.

Sitting in the comfort of an air-conditioned chopper I enjoy a bird’s eye view of the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, extinct volcanoes and the Grand Canyon.

The sight is, of course, magnificent, and I find the sheer scale of the place, with its ancient rock formations and intricate patterns heightened by the bright sunshine, utterly mesmerising.

During the flight however, the effects of sleep deprivation – jet lag and late Vegas nights – are taking their toll.

I slip into a series of micro sleeps, awaking each time I headbutt the window.

As we disembark the chopper the pilot reassures me that I’m not the first person visiting Vegas to fall asleep during the world’s most amazing flight. Sin City certainly takes its toll.

Entertainment galore

After my day of clean living, I’m back in town and ready for another night out.

The choice of entertainment can be overwhelming: magicians, singers, comedians, strippers, live bands, dancers, musicals, circuses but I go for a Vegas institution – a celebrated burlesque show. 

The setting for X Burlesque is the intimate 180-seat theatre at the Flamingo Casino.

Edgy choreography, creative props and six beautiful dancers combine to form one of the sexiest shows on the strip.

The show allows for a lot of up-close-and-personal interaction with the dancers, who venture out into the crowd and perform on a stripper pole in the centre of the room.

There is nearly a riot when the girls, dressed as flirty flight attendants, invite one lucky “passenger” to go on stage and join their “mile high club”.

Every male in the audience jumps off their seats hoping to be chosen.


Talkback


Vegas, where everyone's a sinner: Dive into a world of glitzy casinos, glam showgirls and Elvis impersonators
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