Following my husband's death in 2008, I moved from Tennessee to Florida to look after my parents. Now I'm living in a retirement community, making friends and trying new things. The most fun I've had has been ballroom dancing. So far, I've taken intro lessons in all the dances and now I'm starting intermediate. I hardly have time to read anymore but I manage four or five dances a week!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Las Vegas

Just got back from my first visit to Las Vegas.  I'll just admit up front that it's not my kind of town.  I'm not a gambler and I'm a real wimp when it comes to the heat.  Yeah, I know, I live in Florida, it's hot here too, BUT when I walked outside in the sun in Vegas it felt like someone was touching my skin with an iron.  That's just too hot, dry or not.

We stayed at the Stratosphere which was nice enough but it was at the far end of the Strip - too far for me to walk, even at night, although it didn't seem to faze the younger generation.  Geez, it didn't cool down at all at night like it does here in Florida.  Every time we took a taxi somewhere it cost $20.  That adds up quickly.

Anyway, the purpose of the trip was my Uncle Henry decided to have a family reunion to celebrate his 80th birthday as well as his son's birthday (Don) and another son's wedding anniversary (Andy and Marie).  That's Henry in the black suit, Don is standing and Bob (the third son) is in the blue shirt.  There were 27 people there including friends and slightly extended family members (me).  It was fun seeing the children of my cousins and catching up on what they've been doing.

Most of the time everyone scattered and did their own thing.  One day we visited the Aria hotel and casino.  My neighbors who are walking the pups while I'm gone have a son who works there and we had promised to say hi.  We loved that hotel.  It had a quiet elegance that was not as nerve jangling as the other casinos.  And they had a great ventilation system that handled the smoke.  Yeah, I hated having to walk through a smoky casino to get anywhere.  Blech!  Anyway, when we found Randy at a craps table he got really nervous and indicated we should move away.  Turned out he was working a table that had been reserved by a "whale" which is what they call the really big spenders.  The table had been roped off and the guy didn't want any women within his line of sight while he was playing.  He had a 3 million dollar credit limit.  Whew!  No wonder they were catering to him.  We also went to the Aria to have lunch with a couple we met on the plane from Orlando.  They were a lot of fun.

On our second night there we went to a show where the performers imitated famous entertainers.  It was an uneven performance but we did enjoy the Elvis, Charlie Daniels and Michael Jackson impersonators.  In fact, the Charlie Daniels impersonator was a fill in for another performer and I thought he was the best of the lot.  LOL  And except for the Britney Spears act, the music was all good.

There was a vendor in the hotel who did temporary tattoos and Dennis convinced me to get one.  *shaking head*  I still can't believe I did that.  But I went along because, hey, you do stuff in Vegas you wouldn't do anywhere else.  Right?

One of the "rides" at the Stratosphere is a bungee jump from the observation tower.  Keep in mind the tower is one of the tallest buildings in the US and Sally, Bob's daughter, decided she wanted to jump, so her mom and dad paid for it.  Den and I kept her company on the tower until she jumped, the rest of the gang watched from the 8th floor pool (outside) and I think her mom cowered somewhere until it was over.  Carla has a severe fear of heights and when we saw her a few minutes after Sally's jump she was white as a sheet.  Pictured with Sally here are Jeff and Eric (two of Don's sons).

On the last night, we all got together for a dinner at Fellini's in a private dining room.  It was very congenial although a bit cramped.  The food was excellent although there was way too much.  The wait staff was excellent.  Henry was sure that starting the dinner at 5:30 would give us plenty of time to get to the show which started at 9:30 but we ended up having to rush.  The show was incredible - a perfect ending to our stay in Las Vegas.  It was Cirque du Soleil's Mystere.  As all of Cirque's shows are magical, so was this one.  The acts were astounding, the music hauntingly beautiful, the comedy hilarious and the ending blew me away.  When Den and I were talking about shows to see, I mentioned that I would love to attend a performance of those large Japanese drums.  And that was the finale to Mystere.  What are the odds?

So now I can say I've been to Vegas.  Oh, and yes, I did gamble a little.  Den talked me into it.  I played the penny and nickel poker machines and in the end came out ahead by $2.40.

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