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Old 14th September 2018, 10:25 PM   #31
yflyer
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One mode of transport was not welcome on the beach footpaths and bike paths, though: electric scooters...



Unlike Singapore, where electric scooters must stay off the road, and use only bike paths or pavements, in some parts of California and LA, the rule is the exact opposite: electric scooters must stay on the roads...



There was a lively debate going on in the newspapers about how to treat electric scooters...especially since in LA, many scooters were rideshare scooters (Not unlike the bikesharing schemes seen in Singapore...)



It would be interesting to see how LA deals with this new mode of transport...

Last edited by yflyer; 15th September 2018 at 11:42 AM..
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Old 14th September 2018, 10:29 PM   #32
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By then it was time for lunch...

We headed to "Here's Looking at You (HLAY)"...



This was a casual place, not very large...



...and served food which could be called modern American / Fusion, but which really defied classification...

The day's menu (The lunch/brunch menu is different from their dinner menu)...



Day drinking cocktails (What a great concept!)...



We ordered one each of the white and pink Sangria coolers...



We began with the grapefruit brulee, shrimp skagen, and the heirloom tomato...



These were all wonderful...ultra fresh and full of flavour...all very original dishes, beautifully conceived...

For our main, we shared their fried chicken sandwich...



This was some of the most tender chicken breast I had ever eaten...



Dessert was the strawberry and crema...very refreshing!



A very nice meal and a place I would want to return to, to try their more elaborate dinner menus...

Last edited by yflyer; 20th September 2018 at 08:17 AM..
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Old 14th September 2018, 10:49 PM   #33
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In the afternoon, we headed to Walt Disney Hall for a self-guided tour of this arts complex, designed by Frank Gehry.



This is a stunningly beautiful building, with a graceful metal roof, housing a world class concert hall and orchestra. The complex is open all day, and a self guided tour (With audio handset) is available for visitors who are interested in learning more about the architecture and design of this remarkable building.



On this self guided walking tour, which took us to different levels and spaces both inside and outside the complex, we were given a layman's overview of how's and why's of the design.



The tour also pointed out many elements of this brilliant design which we would have completely missed if not for the tour, and also included a glimpse of what lay behind the billowing metal facade, and the rationale for why it was built that way...



Ironically, the tour omitted the interior of the concert hall itself, with it's amazing acoustics. The resident orchestra, the LA Philharmonic, and their superstar conductor, Gustavo Dudamel, were on their summer season, and were playing at the Hollywood Bowl instead of the Disney Concert Hall.



We would just have to plan another trip to LA to listen to the orchestra and see the concert hall itself, inside this remarkable building...



We took a walk back to the hotel for our 4pm late checkout, and then headed to LAX for our flight to Las Vegas.

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Old 14th September 2018, 10:56 PM   #34
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Our 45 minute flight from LA to Vegas was on an American Airlines.

We booked the LAX-LAS-LAX sector on a separate ticket (And separate airline/alliance) from SIN-LAX-SIN for two reasons: Fares on this sector are very competitive. I could get very low fares for this segment of the trip. Lower, in fact, than if I had booked a SIN-LAX-LAS-LAX-SIN on UA. Also, this gave us some flexibility to tweak the LAX-LAS flight schedule if needed, without having to trigger change fees for our cheap SIN-LAX-SIN ticket. For this sector, my ticket was a paid ticket, while Mrs yflyer's was a QF points redemption on AA at a very reasonable number of points. I did not have to worry about missed connections because we were spending several days in LA before and after Vegas.

At the gate, an AA 737-800...



This was an aircraft with a very clean, new interior.

2-2 Business Class Cabin...



3-3 Economy Class Cabin, with leather seats and the Boeing Sky Interior (BSI)...



The seats were comfortable, with good seat pitch...



...and slimline IFE boxes, but otherwise unobstructed legroom...



Recline was fine...



Individual air vents above each seat...



2 Bathrooms in the rear of the aircraft...


Last edited by yflyer; 17th September 2018 at 10:31 AM..
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Old 14th September 2018, 10:57 PM   #35
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Widescreen IFE...



A bright and vivid screen with a very good selection of on-demand movies, TV and music...



Regular 3.5mm miniplug headphone socket, and USB charging port...





Wifi internet was available, with a range of time based, or even monthly plans...



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Old 14th September 2018, 11:03 PM   #36
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We pushed back on time and taxi'ed to the runway...



...only to have to taxi back to the gate to have fuel offloaded because the aircraft had been fueled for a different sector, and too much fuel had been pumped. The excess fuel had to be pumped off. (We remained onboard the whole time...)



Thankfully, the process did not take too long and we eventually took off. By then, it was night time...



A very short 45 minute flight to Vegas. The distance between Los Angeles and Las Vegas was less than 500km. It is so close that a number of LA residents actually drive to Vegas, rather than fly. Apparently on weekends, the line of headlights on the freeway between Vegas and LA are visible from the air...

Our flight path was shown as the green line on the map...



...but where was that yellow line pointing? For some reason, the screen gave the destination as Miami...



This was an interesting glitch in the flight path display: Although we were clearly flying to Vegas, the IFE flight path computer clung stubbornly to the belief that our destination was Florida...


Last edited by yflyer; 17th September 2018 at 10:36 AM..
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Old 14th September 2018, 11:09 PM   #37
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Beverages were served on this short sector...



Either juice or water...



It was a short and uneventful flight...with the lights of the nearby Las Vegas Strip visible to those onboard as we landed at McCarran International Airport.



LAS must be one of the few airports where there are slot machines in the airside areas...



...and the Baggage Claim as well!



We made our way to our hotel, the Signature at MGM...

To be continued!

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Old 15th September 2018, 10:33 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yflyer View Post
...only to have to taxi back to the gate to have fuel offloaded because the aircraft had been fueled for a different sector, and too much fuel had been pumped. The excess fuel had to be pumped off. (We remained onboard the whole time...)



Thankfully, the process did not take too long and we eventually took off. By then, it was night time...
curious. wouldn't they pilots have known there are too much fuel on board before taxiing?
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Old 15th September 2018, 11:27 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reddevil0728 View Post
curious. wouldn't they pilots have known there are too much fuel on board before taxiing?
Good question. Some pax near where I was sitting wondered the same thing, and so did I.

I am not versed in the technical side of aviation, so I won't go into any kind of armchair root cause analysis.

But from a passenger point of view, I thought the incident was well handled. When the crew detected the discrepancy (And I am glad they detected it!), the pilots were very transparent in announcing over the PA why we were taxiing back to the gate, what had happened (The aircraft had been prepared to fly a different, longer sector, and extra fuel had been loaded -- more than what was needed for LAS), and the aircraft was headed back to the gate for the excess fuel to be pumped off. The pilots gave (accurate) updates on how long it would take and, of course apologised for the inconvenience.

It showed that processes and checks were in place, and I never felt worried for my safety. A good outcome. I was particularly impressed by how open and transparent they were about describing the situation, and this added to my confidence that this was being well handled.

Of course I would have broken into cold sweat if it had turned out that they had loaded less fuel than required, and detected it so late in the process, given that this was just after the 35th anniversary of the Gimli Glider...

Last edited by yflyer; 15th September 2018 at 11:40 AM..
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Old 15th September 2018, 11:32 AM   #40
reddevil0728
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yflyer View Post
Good question. Some pax near where I was sitting wondered the same thing, and so did I.

I am not versed in the technical side of aviation, so I won't go into any kind of armchair root cause analysis.

But from a passenger point of view, I thought the incident was well handled. When the crew detected the discrepancy (And I am glad they detected it!), the pilots were very transparent in announcing over the PA why we were taxiing back to the gate, what had happened (The aircraft had been prepared to fly a different, longer sector, and extra fuel had been loaded -- more than what was needed for LAS), and the aircraft was headed back to the gate for the excess fuel to be pumped off. The pilots gave (accurate) updates on how long it would take and, of course apologised for the inconvenience.

It showed that processes and checks were in place, and I never felt worried for my safety. A good outcome. I was particularly impressed by how open and transparent they were about describing the situation, and this added to my confidence that this was being well handled.
might be the reason why the IFE shows Miami
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Old 15th September 2018, 11:57 AM   #41
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Continuing with the TR...

The Signature at MGM is one of many MGM properties on, or close to, the Las Vegas Strip.

The Signature comprises three identical high rise towers...Tower 3, where we stayed, is pictured below.



This is a condo-hotel development, one block away from the Las Vegas Strip, but connnected to the MGM Grand and the Strip via a fully air-conditioned and travellator-equipped walkway. The buzz and energy of the Strip was just a short walk away.



The rooms in this hotel were very new and elegantly decorated. Ours was a very spacious room with suite-like proportions...



...and equipped with sink and microwave oven/cooking facilities.



Large bathroom with separate shower stall...



...and jacuzzi-equipped tub...



The only very minor quibble I had with our hotel room was that while the king bed mattress was ok, it was no match for the Westin Heavenly Bed at the Bonaventure in LA, which must have been one of the most comfortable beds I had slept in for a long time. That bed at the Bonaventure really left me spoilt...



The Signature also has a reputation as quite a party hotel, with many groups of young people out to have a good time (That could be said of the whole of Vegas while we were there, actually..). The first night we were at the Signature, from the corridor outside our room, we could hear a loud party going on in the next room, with folks entering and leaving the room noisily way into the early hours of the morning. Fortunately from within the room, it was fairly quiet and we were able to sleep despite the activity going on just next door. Fortunately they checked out the next day, and not a sound was heard from our neighbours for the rest of our stay.

Here is one of several swimming pools on the facility. The distinctive green MGM Grand hotel, casino and entertainment complex can be seen in the background.



McCarran International Airport (LAS) is located very close to the Las Vegas Strip. From our hotel room window, we could see the runway and airport control tower.





The Signature must be one of the few hotels in Vegas without slot machines or gaming tables on the premises. Walking from the MGM Grand or the Strip back to the hotel, you could feel the atmosphere getting progressively calmer and more serene as you got further and further from the glitz, lights and noise of the Las Vegas Strip.

Mrs yflyer and I liked this hotel very much...the rooms were great and the location, not far from the Strip, yet not directly on it, was great as well, especially if you wanted a break from Vegas once back in the hotel room.

Last edited by yflyer; 15th September 2018 at 12:25 PM..
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Old 15th September 2018, 12:36 PM   #42
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Our flight from LA to Vegas arrived late at night, and by the time we had settled into our hotel room, it was 10.30pm on a Saturday evening.

But Vegas being Vegas, that was the perfect time to head out to the Strip...

By the time we got to Las Vegas Boulevard, it was an hour to midnight, but it might as well have been 12 noon...it was crazy busy, with both road and pedestrian traffic at rush-hour like proportions...



...in retrospect, Saturday evening on the Las Vegas Strip probably was rush hour...



Mrs yflyer and I were both quite hungry, so our first stop was Hexx...in the Paris Las Vegas Resort. (Yes, that is a replica of the Eiffel Tower in the picture below...)



The restaurant at Hexx was still serving dinner at that hour...



What was nice about Hexx was that many of the tables (Both indoor and outdoor) had views of the Bellagio Fountains across the road.

You could dine at Hexx...







...and then occasionally pop out onto the balcony to catch the fountain displays, which happened every 15 minutes...



After dinner, we headed back to the hotel to sleep, but we got the sense that for most of the other folks in Vegas, the evening was just beginning...

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Old 15th September 2018, 12:43 PM   #43
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For the next few days, Mrs yflyer and I explored the strip, usually starting by taking the covered walkway from the Signature over to the MGM Grand...



...and then exploring the Las Vegas Strip in either direction from there.



The iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" signboard is located at the south end of the Strip...


Last edited by yflyer; 17th September 2018 at 10:38 AM..
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Old 15th September 2018, 02:00 PM   #44
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There are so many casinos, hotels and entertainment complexes on the Vegas Strip that each one has to really work hard to distinguish itself from the others, not to mention maintain levels of service and quality.

While practically all of these mega-complexes has casinos, the intense competition has meant that each resort has to come up with their own unique selling point, whether it is performances, restaurants, activities or simply architecture...

The Mandalay Bay has it's own shark aquarium, as well as top restaurants, including Aureole and Border Grill...



One notable feature of Aureole is their vertical wine cellar, their Wine Tower...



...with their wine angels...

Further up along the strip, the Luxor, a huge pyramid, complete with their version of the Sphinx (With nose intact)...



Inside the pyramid, a whole casino complex, and hotel rooms lining the sides of the pyramid...


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Old 15th September 2018, 02:17 PM   #45
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The MGM Grand itself is a vast complex, with a large casino, hotel and the MGM Grand Garden Arena, an event, concert and sports venue which has seen many historic boxing matches (Including the infamous bout between Mike Tyson vs Evander Holyfield in 1997, and more recently Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather in 2015)...



Fans of David Copperfield can catch him live at the MGM Grand...



There are many fine restaurants in the MGM Grand, including the late Joel Robuchon's eponymous 3-star restaurant...



...and the more casual (But still very expensive...) L'Atelier du Joel Robuchon...



Across the street from the MGM Grand, was New York, New York...



...an over-the-top cop of the NY skyline...apparently such a good copy that the US Postal Service mistakenly used a photo of the Vegas Statue of Liberty instead of the real thing on one of its stamps...

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