So, it was wonderful. First, I went to Las Vegas. Here's what you need to know about Vegas: It's soooo far to anywhere. I know I'd heard it before, but now I can attest from personal experience. It's crazy. Also, things are going on 24hrs. Here's what I did...
Arrived Saturday night (temperature: 103 F) and took a very long shuttle bus (which doubled as a very cheap tour) to downtown. It's not the strip, but it's very cool! The Fremont Street Experience is like a giant block party going on all the time...
The next morning I headed to the strip and checked into to my beautiful hotel, The Wynn Las Vegas.
They had a room available, so I settled in, then went shopping! (Really, I am so predictable.) I needed black sandals - and they have a FABULOUS Macy's. I also picked up the tickets for the night's show: O by Cirque du Soleil. After a bit, my friend Jim arrived and we had our first buffet experience! Delish! Although I did get distracted by the canteloupe, while Jim said I needed to focus on the "high ticket" items. Then we headed to the beautiful Bellagio for my first ever Cirque du Soleil experience. It was amazing. The show's main feature is a stage that moves up and down in a tank of water so people appear out of the water or dive from multiple stories above into it. My favorite part was these big swings that they got going really well and then dove from them into the water.
Afterward we watched the fountains at the Bellagio - Viva Las Vegas by Elvis.
The next day we tried to sit by the pool, but it rained! So, we were walking through a casino and saw that Wheel of Fortune was filming! After standing in line for a couple hours, we saw Pat Sajak and Vanna White! Crazy! Let me just tell you, the set looks much smaller in person. I thought it'd be huge, but really, it's not. The episode will air September 24 - and the final puzzle will blow you away!
The weather continued to get crazy - by the time I got back to my hotel room the words drowned rat applied to me.
The next day, Jim & I met for a tasty breakfast buffet, then he had to leave. I managed to get in some quality pool time before setting out on the trek of my life.
I walked more than 5 miles in one afternoon and I was pooped by the end! First, souvie shopping at Bonanza. They say it's the world's largest gift shop, but I don't think it's true. It is big, though! I got a couple fun things, then headed to the other end of the strip (remember, it's like 45 miles...) where I ate a SO GOOD veggie burger at Burger Bar then waddled to M&M World before picking up a crepe to-go in Paris. During all that walking (I wish I could describe how tired it made me) I bought a ticket for the late show of Blue Man Group. In one word: Bizarre. I enjoyed it even though I was wedged between two large guys that I didn't know and one had the leg-jiggle-thing, which means he burns more calories than me, but I thought I was going to have a blister on the side of my leg by the end from the constant motion. Grrr...
The next morning, I hauled my tired body to the airport, slept on the plane, then headed for Eastern/Central WA. Specifically, The Gorge Amphitheatre for Creation 09. I camped about as far as you could get from the stages, so the first day I only went over twice - too tired. (Man, I'm a wimp!) I had a pretty good time, although I learned something: This woman was not meant to camp alone. It's not nearly as fun if you don't have someone to share the experience of wrestling with the tent, swearing at the campstove when it blows out, and moving with the shade throughout the day.
I survived, although I left early - but not before hearing two really great concerts.
The first was Group 1 Crew. They've got a sort of Black Eyed Peas thing going on, but the part I was impressed with was that when they spoke it seemed fresh, and real. Like they meant what they were saying, and it wasn't just a memorized little blip between songs. It was almost like a mini-sermon, and I enjoyed it. Then, Newworldson. Let me tell you, those guys know how to do a good concert! They were one of the only groups that got enough applause to warrant an encore, although they weren't allowed because of "policy" or something silly. The drummer used a mic and mic stand as percussion instruments and it sounded really cool. They did a mixture of music - swing, reggae, rock. I loved it.
On that high note, I took my tired, sunburned body home. And when I went to work on Monday I felt like maybe the work problems weren't that bad, because there is life outside of my little tiny sphere. (Oh, and the sun still shines somewhere, if not in the Pacific Northwest - that was reassuring.)