Last weekend my wife and I spent a long weekend in Las Vegas courtesy of my friend, American music promoter and reality TV star David Gest.
Last year, together with our three children, we had attended one of David’s charity events in London where my son Scott had won a raffle prize of a long weekend break in a suite at the luxurious Bellagio casino hotel on the famous Las Vegas ‘strip’.
Being very generous and, under US law, still below the legal age to gamble or buy alcohol, Scott gifted the prize to mum and dad. Thanks son!
Known for its magnificent outdoor synchronised dancing fountain show, and one of the hotels featured in the 2001 remake of the classic casino heist film Ocean’s Eleven, the Bellagio is also the venue of the internationally-acclaimed Cirque du Soleil production O, an acrobatic extravaganza of water, fire, music and dance.
The raffle prize also included tickets to this Tim Burton-meets-Alice In Wonderland show that I can honestly say is one of the best I have ever seen.
Whilst in Vegas I thought I would take the opportunity to visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, the family-run business made famous by the History Channel hit series Pawn Stars.
My jeweller wife has a pawnbroking side to her business, while I never know what will be brought to the auction house on our valuation days.
But although our businesses have lots of jewellery, art and collectables for sale, I doubt I will ever have a 1915 Indian Big Twin motorcycle for sale at $120,000!
A short cab ride from their shop is the iconic Stratosphere Tower Hotel and Casino which, at 1,149ft is the tallest freestanding observation tower in America.
At the top of the tower are three fairground-type attractions – Insanity, a four-armed cradle dangling over the edge, the Big Shot that shoots riders skyward and X-Scream, which is like a seesaw rollercoaster sending passengers out over the edge of the tower.
Suffice to say my face and knuckles were white and my dear wife filmed it all for posterity.
She was struggling to hold the camera still due to her uncontrollable laughter!
With so much to do 24/7, Las Vegas can leave you feeling like you need a holiday.
After such a full-on weekend, I think I might go camping in the New Forest...
Antiques expert John appears on shows including Cash In The Attic and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is and also runs Nesbits auction house in Southsea. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (023) 9229 5568.