A Little Vacation and then Some

I believe I last left you before I went and shopped for A’s Birthday present; he wanted a watch from fossil. I usually don’t spend this much on him at this point in our relationship but then I got to thinking about how in Muslim culture they don’t celebrate birthdays ever. So, A never had Birthday presents or cake growing up and since many of his friends are also Muslim he won’t get even a birthday beer from them or even a present from his mother. With this in mind and being blessed with a little more income this year I bought him a watch with a compas surrounding it, half red and half blue. He really loved it and the cinnamon buns I bought him as cake ( how can there be no cake or cupcakes at the mall?). I sang him happy birthday and later I went home happy he was so pleased with his birthday goodies.

Fast forward to the end of the next week, I am packing for Las Vegas in my little suit case. I can not condense my liquids to 100 ml so I (and my mom) eat the cost we now pay $25.00 plus tax, and check our luggage. On the way back I bring a small duffle bag of clothing carrying my purchases of clothing I made but I can bring that on board the plane.

Getting to Las Vegas took horribly long but once we landed it was easy taking a cab too Treasure Island Hotel (Ti) and I was glad the cab and check in was so quick because my stomach really hurt towards the end of the flight. Turns out I just needed something to eat and drink. It was an early flight and international so we had to arise at 6:30 am or so quite early for me who was having trouble walking straight due to my sleep medication.

Once we were in the hotel we checked everything out about the hotel and ate supper at a restaurant in Ti. I had breakfast, eggs Benedict. I was so hungry that even the fact that there was thick creamy sauce — which I abhor — all over my eggs, ham, and English muffin, didn’t stop me from digging in. I’ve never had eggs Benedict so I did not know to ask for no hollandaise sauce. 

The next day we did most of our shopping at the Fashion Show mall. I have found a new sports apparel store I love by Calvin Klein. Everything was thirty to sixty percent off and I ended up buying both in blue-purple a jacket and a shirt. I went to Lululemon also, hoping to find a couple of size 12 yoga shirts and came out with one top and a pair of yoga crops, deciding I’ll buy a top later in the summer. After a trip to Banana Republic where dresses happened to be forty percent off, I collapsed in our room and rested. We had eaten lunch at Johny Rockets at the mall and were fortunate to find a CVA right beside the escalator to the mall where you could get decent priced food and snacks. Too bad they didn’t have a wine opener because I was crushed when I couldn’t drink my bottle of shiraz merlot. 

Day three I spent the morning lying in the sun by the pool and relaxing. We had breakfast at Starbucks and ate lunch from CVS. I don’t recall supper but we went to an amazing show called Rock of Ages. It’s based on late seventies rock so it was really fun to see people get into it and the staff even handed out lighters that had an electric bulb on the end that lit up. We visited the Venetian earlier that day too but I don’t think we spent much time there. Just enough to find where we had to go at night and pick up our tickets.

Thursday we spent shopping at Caeser’s palace and there are lots of good stores in there but mainly I was interested in Victoria Secret. Caesers has the best one in my opinion. The afternoon I spent lounging by the pool as long as I could. If you are wondering why I spent most of my nights in that’s because I can only handle one major activity in the day and I don’t think mom would have appreciated club music or being hit on by some American guy who can’t keep his hands to himself. When I go with A that’s what I’ll have to do with him. 

Friday we checked out around 11:00 am and then gambled at the slot machines. My Mom had been doing this all week when I rested and/or walking further down the strip. We had burgers at Kahunavilles outside for lunch and the pool area was full so we sat outside in front of the hotel. The hardest part was keeping it together during the time I usually rested. But we took a cab to the airport early at 4:00 pm and waited to check in and go through security. We also did last minute shopping at the Duty-free store and had supper at the airport. It was 8:00 pm Las Vegas time when we got on the plane and 12:30 am in the morning Edmonton time when we landed. I slept most of the way. My brother picked us up. It was a three hour flight.

I was so exhausted I slept through the next day and most of the next. Today I finally feel as if I am myself again. I would have extended the trip a bit more to purely rest one day then a couple more days to see another show and more of the strip again. Having three hours in a day to do something is not conducive to travelling. 



Day 11 – Monochrome/Architecture 

You aren’t a treasure and you aren’t an island

Built among these gaudy towers

You are mid-level in the sky,straight, and brown

You’re speciality is a pirate show

Once good enough for every age, but now I hide my child’s face

At least your close to the fashion show mall. 

Writing 101 – Loving Las Vegas

Vegas 2Some people may not agree with me when I say I love Las Vegas. They will point out the “fakeness” of the large hotels and the smoke in the casinos but I have many memories in Las Vegas and I do not think of these minuet details when I think of it.

When I think, of Las Vegas I think of majesty of these huge impressive and monumental hotels that can hold thousands of people enthused  to have a good time. I think of the warm spring temperatures and the dry heat that sweeps through my bones and makes me want to lie outside on a lounging chair for as long as my pale skin will allow, and enjoy the splash of the water in the pool. I think of the way palm trees and beautiful foliage surrounds me and captivates me in this desert paradise.I don’t think of the fakeness, rather I think of all the work and all the effort needed to create such massive and beautiful places for people to vacation in, the classy rooms in each hotel each with a unique yet concrete style, the shows, and the shopping.

My favorite place I ever stayed in Vegas was in the Venatian and anyone whose ever been in the Venatian knows the beauty of Las Vegas hotels, the frescos and paintings of italian masterpieces adorning the roof and walls of the hotel, the canal going through the hotel with bright blue water ways where tourists can take a gondola ride through the shopping and restaurants leading outside into the Vegas heat and sunshine. When I went to the Venatian our room was gaudy and fantastic, so luxurious. Beds with gold curtains, and massive red head boards; a sunken living room with a couch and chair that looked out on the balcony on the Vegas sites below; a large bathroom with a water closet, makeup table, double sink, large glass shower, and a big tub where one could sit back and relax after a taking in a show at a hotel.

You see, for me Vegas is a place that crackles with electricity, with energy, and vibrancy. It is a place that has become a part of me, an affordable getaway where as they say  ‘ what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.’

The first time I ever visited Las Vegas I was 22-years-old and Vegas was freedom for me after a long and difficult journey through my universityVegas 6 studies. It was a place I found independence. I went to Las Vegas with 6 friends, 5 girls and 1 guy. We went to Tony and Tina’s Wedding and since we were the only people all dressed up as if we were actually going to a wedding, we became part of the show, our entire table. We took pictures of everywhere and everything especially on a 1 day and 10 hour tour of the Grand Canyon a truly magnificent experience in itself.

I will never forget those dusty red gradiated cliffs that when you looked down made you dizzy and overwhelmed by the glory of nature, that a giant glacier and river had carved a path through these cliffs and now we looked upon the layers of sediments and glorious desert color scheme as if it was a giant quilt in the burning Arizona desert. We spent the night before the Grand Canyon playing Sociables, a card and drinking game, so that we all arrive hung over and in desperate need of sleep on that 5 am tour bus. We all passed out on the way to Arizona and I never sleep on tour buses.

Vegas 4We spent days shopping, at the Fashion Show Mall, through the Venatian and Caesar’s Palace, through Planet Hollywood, and at the outlet mall downtown. Roland, the only guy with us, was sick of shopping by the time the trip was coming to an end. We lounged by the pool and ate succulent and delicious food at many restaurants and we took a limo ride through the strip all dressed up to the nines and visited Old Vegas. We saw a colorful and energetic light show and walked through the old casino’s as some country singer who is now famous, put on a lively performance. We walked so much and my friends went on the rides on the Stratosphere, careening near the edge of this freakishly tall building and spinning around over a part of the strip in mid air. We made friends and took pictures at the Stratosphere and with male strippers at the Rio. We wore carnival beads down the strip and drank gigantic drinks mostly full of tequila or vodka.

Later, my friends and I would return to Las Vegas and later I would go with my parents a couple of times and each time in Las Vegas I have discovered something new about the Vegas strip that blows my mind. A club with an indoor waterfall at the Wynn called Tryst, free champagne all night at another club, and M&M factory, The Phantom of the Opera done Vegas style, Cirque de Soleil to the songs of the Beatles, the Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon, the 25 cent slot machines at the Casino, how to play Black Jack, and so many memories of good times with friends and family it’s no wonder that this place is more real to me then the nature of many places. I don’t care what you say because baby, I love Las Vegas and if I could be somewhere now that is where I’d like to be.

A Las Vegas Getaway

English: The Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign
English: The Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The sights and sounds of the Las Vegas strip – thousands of people milling about, smoke in the air, the ping ping of the slot machines, a whiff of some chef’s tasty food, the pungent taste of tequila at the bottom of my margarita, a warm hot wind that does not cool you down, the slap of flip flops down the street, a sense of peace sitting by the pool, the rush of euphoria when you see that magic word ‘sale’ at Victoria Secret. These are all sensations I have come to admire for the week I get to spend in Las Vegas every couple years. Sensations by the end of the week I am sick of, but at the beginning and middle I crave. I love Las Vegas despite its tawdry side, there is a kind of excitement in Vegas different from anywhere else.

This particular trip to Vegas I spent exploring the strip with my parents. We stayed at Treasure Island, had transfers to and from the airport and hotel, and had suprisingly affordable food around us due to coupons and Half Price Ticket Booth deals. This is trip number four for me to Las Vegas and although I liked Treasure Island, its relative size, and location on the strip well enough, for a Vegas hotel it’s nothing special. But the bed’s were comfy, the rooms were clean, the view was nice, and we did not have to walk a mile through the hotel to get to our room (such as in the Venetian). The Venetian has much more laviciously decorated and spacious hotel rooms, but all in all – I was happy at Treasure Island. It was what I expected – and close to the Fashion Show Mall, The Forum Shops at Caesar’s, and the shops in the Venetian, all vital shopping areas for any Las Vegas tourist. And yes I did save money so I could go all out shopping in Las Vegas. My mom and I spent a portion of 4 out of 5 days in the above mentioned shopping areas and we never even made it to the Premium Outlets which are also a great place to shop. There were a lot of sales going on at this time of year and my mom and I found a variety of sale and regular priced items in Banana Republic, Anne Taylor, Loft, Ninewest, Clarks, Victoria Secret, Lululemon, and some other athletic footwear company. My favorite purchase was a clip from a little booth that will hold all my thick blond hair up in a french twist – an amazing feat my hair is really hard to pin up. My second favorite purchase were bras at Victoria Secret because you see they actually carry my size in the US locations, as opposed to the Canadian locations. My favorite purchase my mom made was this cream peplum lacey top from Banana Republic, she looks gorgeous in it.

Other than the shopping, which I obviously enjoyed to much, we saw the show Love, a Cirque de Soleil show at the Mirage that expressed the Beatles music. It was amazing, the lights, the dancers, the acrobats, the props, and the way they worked conversations from the real Beatles into the performance was fantastic. There were lights, smoke, dry ice, and an amazing scene with a large floating white fabric. Now that I have arrived home I went on Itunes and downloaded some of my favorite Beatles songs on to Itunes including – All You Need is Love, Hey Jude, I Want to Hold Your Hand, and Help. I was of course inspired by the show and highly recommend this Cirque de Soleil production. As not of high of quality, but still quite funny was the dinner theatre Tony and Tina’s Wedding. The italian mean was decent. the actors hilarious, the story a little weak, but still a good time. Not as good as the first time I saw it 6 years ago but still fun. On a sad note, to all you Vegas travellers, October I believe is the last month for the Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian. I have seen it twice there and it is amazing, had I had more time I would have loved to see it again, but I can’t wait to see what amazing show they replace The Phantom with.

The rest of the time my parents and I spent walking around the strip, relaxing in our rooms and in the morning by the pool, playing the slots, and attending some of the other things going on the strip including The Pirate Show at Treasure Island – which by the way, is no longer child appropriate due to the “Siren’s” or strippers large role in the show, this didn’t used to be. But we also saw a Claude Monet expedition at the Belagio as well as this other artist who sculpts Cirque de Soleil actors. The only thing I missed doing which I suppose would be next time I go with friends was a visit to to one or two of the clubs in some of the Hotels. Particularly, one I liked was Tryst at the Wynn, an expensive and Oriental themed hotel, which has a waterfall feature right in the club. I would also like to stay at the Wynn it was nice and quiet but of course expensive.

A trip to Vegas cost us around $600.00 including flight, and hopefully in a couple years I will be back. It is a great place to go with the girls or guys, family, or just ducking out of some work conference. So I invite you to visit and visit soon. It’s not too hot right now remember “It’s a dry heat…”