waking up in vegas.

i went to Las Vegas this weekend.

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yes, that is correct. 

now, it’s true that i have never before considered going there. however, a good friend told me it was a lot of fun. because she has a similar value system as i do, i began to entertain the idea.

this was a few months ago. 

i will admit that prior to this consideration, i had looked at Vegas as a city in which celebrities and rich people congregated, or as a backdrop for movies [i love ocean’s 11].

but on thursday, i boarded a plane and flew there. and it was very warm. 

don’t get me wrong, i love seattle. the majority of the time, i don’t even consider living anywhere else.

but that slump. those of you who live here know what i mean. it’s about mid-March and everybody who lives in the great northwest starts to feel waterlogged and vitamin D deficient. we drink more coffee than usual and are a little crabby. 

thus, spring break.

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the seattle-tacoma international airport is beautiful. i underestimated it until i travelled around a bit. on this day, a small folk quartet named “the side project” was performing covers and originals. they were quite talented! i bought one of their cd’s.

my friend and i have a tradition: when traveling together, we create “people-watching BINGO.” 

each box is the description of somebody that we might see/hope to see/would find entertaining to see on our trip.

examples: “person with purple hair.” “a home-school family.” “kim kardashian lookalike.”

[spoiler alert: in this instance, we found all but 3].

we had a short layover in Portland and i found a piece of artwork that i LOVED, by a local artist named whitney nye.

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it seemed like a fitting precursor of what was to come.

arriving in Vegas, we were greeted by warm air and friendly customer service. do people who live in warmer weather just like their jobs more? it’s very hard to say.

my friend booked a room at the MGM Grand, which sounded very fancy to me. it was. 

 

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we ended up on the 27th floor, with a view that took my breath away.

 

 

 

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optical illusion: things that look rather close are actually quite far away. 

i wore flip flops for our first excursion exploring the city, and my feet were none too pleased with me. 

first dinner: Serendipity 3, with a fantastic waiter named Carlos who treated us so very kindly. we decided to splurge on frozen hot chocolates [i know, it’s a conundrum] the size of our faces. and, of course, we had dessert before dinner.

because YOLO.

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he surprised us after dinner with second dessert: truffles. 

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turns out these are Oreo cookies topped with chocolate mousse, then dipped in dark chocolate and drizzled with white chocolate. another gentlemen at the restaurant explained that they are typically reserved for “high rollers,” the folks at casinos who spend $100,000 or more. 

i don’t know if that’s true, but man . . . these things were yummy. and they sure tasted rich.

we left Carlos a nice message thanking him for treating us like royalty.

apparently the LINQ is a brand-new shopping area right across from Caesars Palace. it was lovely! very classy and sophisticated. 

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at the end of it is the “High Roller,” a newly built ferris wheel structure standing 55 stories high. it is the tallest ferris wheel in the world, edging out the one in London by a few feet [you know that was intentional].

side note: a gentleman who claimed to be a reporter from USA Today interviewed me and wanted to use a picture of me for an upcoming article about the new LINQ and High Roller. stay tuned. 

finishing our first night: water and lights show at the Bellagio. 

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the city is truly beautiful at night. 

 

DAY TWO

mostly consisted of laying by the pool. 

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finding a spot next to the lazy river pool in the hotel: brutal. these vacationers aren’t messing around. finally, we snagged spots in the sun and it was truly wonderful. 

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[i really love the sun. honestly, i could be outside in it all day. maybe i do live in the wrong state, after all . . .]

the most common question i got when i told people i was going to Vegas was, “are you going to see any shows?”

the Blue Man Group. that’s the show that we went to. 

honestly, i didn’t know what to expect. but i was pleasantly surprised! it’s one of the longest running shows in Vegas [our taxi driver said something like 15 years], and i can see why. the performers were witty, it was perfectly timed, audience participation was involved, it was family-friendly but not cheesy, and the musical talent was undeniable. 

i sound like an ad. 

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that night, after the show, i decided to try my hand at gambling. 

man, those slot machines are more complicated than they look. 

so here’s what i learned: 

1. you don’t actually put coins in the machines. i don’t know how long we tried, but it doesn’t work. even if it says the bet is $0.05. 

2. there’s complicated rules as to which button you push and at which time. i was impressed at how complex they were.

3. the ATM always has a line. 

4. i am easily mesmerized by pretty colors and bright lights, and then forget what i’m supposed to be doing.

so, i didn’t win big. i do have two vouchers in my wallet, one for $0.10 and one for $0.26. i decided against waiting in line for the cashier in attempts to get them paid out. the chances were very high that she would laugh at me. 

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DAY THREE

the hunt for eggs benedict led us across the street to New York, New York. we made plans to ride the roller coaster later. 

today’s biggest and best accomplishment, by far, was our successful use of the monorail. despite it’s promise of saving both feet energy and car energy, it was remarkably cumbersome to access. we ended up walking quite a lot anyways. by this point, i knew that my feet would never forgive me. 

the reason why i say the monorail was our biggest accomplishment: while riding by the High Roller ferris wheel, i was able to see people inside the individual pods.

now, if you will remember, we were told two days prior that it would not be opening for weeks. 

curious, we ventured down, over, under, and across [as i said, cumbersome] to see if my eyes were deceiving me. 

they were accurate. 

turns out that although the High Roller was not in commission as yet per se, it was being opened for a few hours on a beta testing basis. individuals received a free ticket [FREE!] in accompaniment with a survey that was expected to be filled out. they would use this feedback to perfect the experience before opening to the public in a few weeks.

WHAT? score!

needless to say, we were ecstatic. 

these giant pods, which can hold up to 40 people at a time, had about 15 people in each. they moved slowly and continuously throughout the ride. 

eventually, when at the top, we would reach a height of 550 feet. 

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a panorama of an individual pod.

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about halfway up, south-facing.

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at the top. 

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north-facing.

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needless to say, we were very excited and very grateful! it was an experience i’ll never forget.

to celebrate our good fortune, dinner that night was in the Venetian. while eating next to the canal, a bride and groom floated by us in a gondola, and i couldn’t help but wonder if this was real life.

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the answer is, of course, no.

Vegas is not at all “real life.” and i think that’s why its so popular. i was thinking about it while walking through massive hotels and down streets filled with strangers. 

i think that’s why people like it so much. 

it’s a place where you feel like you’re in a dream. and all of the pressure and weight of your reality does not exist. it’s pretend. and make-believe is very, very appealing sometimes. 

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after all, i rode a roller coaster at midnight.

it doesn’t get much more awesome than that. 

so, this morning i woke up in Vegas. tomorrow, i will wake up in my own bed [which i am currently very excited to crawl into] and resume the duty of going about my normal, day-to-day life. am i bummed? naw.

vacations are awesome. and living in a dream is nice. but i have a lot of important things to do and it’s time to get back to them. 

and i am happy to come home from a fantastic vacation with no regrets and a clear conscience. 

Vegas, it was grand.

back to reality.

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and YOU: take a vacation sometime. it’s fun!

 

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