Friday, July 27, 2007

Catching up, day three...

Paul had scheduled us to go to Hoover Dam and take a cruise of Lake Mead today (it's still Thursday here while I'm posting this) but when we got up we decided we needed to pace ourselves a little more slowly. Matt and I begged for a "day off". So we headed to the little village and hit Starbuck's for breakfast and newspaper reading. Paul struck up a conversation with who turned out to be a wonderful woman who has a condo in the village. She lives primarily in L.A. but is here to work in peace on her expanding business venture. She owns An Empowered Woman, "A forum designed for women to empower each other through sharing our personal stories, challenges, and victories.". How great is that? Well, if you really want to know, check out her website at and see. We got to talking about blogging and such and she asked me if I could help her get her blog up and running and streamlined. I said, "Oh ya'"! So I'm going over to her condo tomorrow morning to do just that. In a short period of time she shared some amazing stories about her life and what she's doing. I think I found myself a little Oprah!!!! Then we headed back to the hotel for a swim. I took a wander around the grounds and voila! I found the above natural flora!!!! And below, not in its natural environment but still beautiful, these plants and flowers.
And all around here there are huge bushes of Lantana, my favorite. Just as I found in Savannah because it doesn't freeze here or there, the Lantana can grow huge. They are very cold sensitive and are the last to come out for sale and the first to die in Maryland so this is such a visual treat for me.
After our swim we decided that our slower pace would be "just" a trip to Circus Circus for the buffet and their Adventure Dome carnival type venue for Matt. Whew!!!! It was...ummm...hell on Earth for the filter-challenged wiener that I am. The buffet was very good and calm and quiet and not crowded. But the Adventure Dome was the forum for the largest gathering in history of ill-mannered children and teens on Earth. I was literally trampled by a group of about 10 very large teens running through an isle which I was crossing. I was hit by at least two, I had no where to go, I was surrounded. It was crazy. There is a youth basketball tournament going on here right now and, mind you, all ethnicities are well represented so this is not stereo-typing of races but of teens. Since folks are visiting from all over the country and the world, I found it to be a negative study of a cross section of our youth in the world today. I know, they said the same thing in the 18th century. Walking around bumping into anyone in their way cussing up a blue streak on their cell phones. Sorry, my lips are pursing and I think I just aged 50 years. Matt had fun but it was a little overwhelming for him too. I left Paul and Matt there for the last little while and got a TATTOO. Yes, there will be photos. Come on, can you really come to Las Vegas and NOT get a tattoo? It's the ultimate souvenir. You'll never guess what it, not the picture below, silly.
So, we've been there, done that. It is checked off the list. Tomorrow afternoon is the M&M giant video game arcade which my new Oprah-esk friend says there is a lounge area for parents to hide and lots of security so the kids can play without being under the microscope.
Then tomorrow night is the whole reason for coming here, Cirque du Soeli Beatles' Love!!!! Oh boy, we can't wait. Then, hopefully it's off to the Grand Canyon on Saturday so I can see it before I turn 50!!!! Yippie!!!
P.S. I hope I didn't sound like too much of a bummer. I'm glad for all we are experiencing, just being honest. It makes the trip to the Tidal Basin at the peak of the cherry blossoms blooming look like an intimate dinner party, that's all.

Day Two, Part Two, The Siren Calls...

During our nap the glizt and glitter must have worked its way out to our subconsciences and lured us to the dark side 'cause we woke up and decided to go to the strip. I got the bug the worst first when we entered the shops in Paris and I stopped to look in a shoe store. Jimmy Choos, etc., never do I look at such things. I tried on a pair of glittery spike heals that I did not want to take off. Then I got to having too much fun holding up my foot and making Matt take one on and put it back on as if I were Cinderella. We were all baffled... ...and, OF COURSE, here's a photo of the shoes I bought. I know, they are very cute and very comfortable, but I'm telling you I was from then on looking at for the perfect gown and Burka bag to go with those other shoes to wear who knows where.
But the dark side wanted a piece of us all and called us to our first ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT BUFFET. Yes it's true. That's the purest sign that you've fallen in the black hole of Las Vegas!
The highlight of the buffet for me was when Matt and I discovered that they had soft-serve ice cream and SOFT-SERVE FROZEN YOGURT MACHINES. This one is for you, Sis, I still got it! I had to take several photos and even a video I'll share later of me making the perfect curl of frozen yogurt in a cup which I learned to do with my sister 30 years ago this month on the Monterey Peninsula when we first moved there and ran one of the first frozen yogurt places in the U.S. for, unbeknownst to us at the time, big time drug dealer owners and fellow Texans. But that's going to be another whole long post celebrating our 30 year legacy on the Monterey Peninsula later.
And then, not quite as exciting as serving yogurt are the beautiful fountains that go off every hour at the Bellagio. My husband tells me it was featured in the last scene of Ocean's Eleven. It is fantastic, symolcast music and all.
One need only to go to one destination to visit the world, we spent some time in Paris...
...seeing the classic sites.
Mom, I found your car parked outside of Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. I told them to give it back, they are looking into it...
We were worn out and not just a little sensory overloaded. Matt was out like a light by the time we pulled out of the strip.

Nevada, Wednesday, day two.

Still on the high road early in day two we headed about 60 miles out to the Valley of Fire State Park~hence the sign. Amazing miles and miles of these red rock formations off and on.
We wound our way in the car on our self-guided tour stopping where the signs said to. Of course the photos can't do it justice but just giving you an idea...
Around many a corner there were handsome men tucked into nooks and crannies.
And interesting little natural vignettes.
The handsome men would sometimes pop up along the side of the road...
...or be high on a cliff.
Off we go back to town for a belly full of In-n-Out burgers and to the hotel for a nice rest then...

Viva Lost Wages! Tuesday, day one.

Here's Paul taking a photo of me taking a photo of him on the shuttle on the way to BWI. And Matt on the shuttle. Yes, that's dark on the outside, we got up at 4 a.m. to leave. That's a true dreamy look in his eyes...excitement mixed with, "What the heck time is it?".
But as soon as we arrived at our hotel Matt found
...and mecca two.
Beautiful hotel, lots of beautiful flowers everywhere inside and out.
With beautiful boys lounging around them.
This is the little, new village just a mile from the hotel where we had dinner the first night at an Irish pub. There are lots of great boutiques, Starbuck's, and the like.
One view from our room...
...another view...
...and a view of the outside of our digs.
Swimming, dinner, lounging, like we're not in Vegas at all. Actually we are staying about 20 miles outside of the city. It's quite peaceful.