Thursday, March 06, 2008

My Las Vegas Adventure

A couple of weekends ago I hopped on an airplane and flew to Vegas so that I could celebrate Mary, my best fiend's, 60th birthday. (fiend, not friend) Her sister, Kathi, had planned a festive weekend stay at the brand new Palazzo Hotel for the 4 of us. (Mary, Lucille, Me & Kathi.) If you happen to be a millionaire I highly suggest that you immediately book a room at this luxury hotel. The lobby is about the size of Grand Central Station. Our room was on the "concierge" floor which meant that we could go in to an exclusive lounge and partake of whatever food or drink they happened to have on display. We had drinks, desserts, fruit, juice, soda, coffee, lattes, candy, cookies and the fanciest of fancy nuts..(have you ever seen a bowl of mixed nuts that included pistachios AND macadamia nuts but excluded peanuts? I felt like such a hick but this totally impressed me.)

Our room had a beautiful view of the strip but I think we were more impressed with the fact that our curtain was raised and lowered with a remote control! We had a room with 2 queen size beds and in the step down living room there was a pull out bed. We had 3 televisions, one in each room and one in the bathroom! We had 3 phones, one in each section of the room and one in the potty. I've never had a phone call that was so important that I had to take it while in the potty but maybe that's just me.

I arrived Friday night and due to a comedy of errors my friends who were supposed to arrive many hours before me only landed mere moments before I did. I took a shuttle from the airport to the hotel and for some reason the driveway to the hotel was temporarily cordoned off and we couldn't pull in. The shuttle driver had to drive around the block and that took an extra 45 minutes. I am not exaggerating. Once we got inside and got checked in to our rooms we all took off to parts unknown. Kathi and Lucille wanted to gamble and Mary and I wanted to shop. As soon as we got to the lobby Kathi and Lucille hit the casino. Mary and I shopped and walked until I was certain that we were half way back to LA. We found a gondola ride in the middle of all the high end stores. Mary said she wanted to go on the gondola so I bought us a couple of tickets and we were suddenly on an adventure in Italy!

Our gondolier was named "Nicolai". He. Was. A. Cutie. He was born and raised in Italy and still had a very strong Italian accent. He was gracious and funny and charming. That was all well and good, but when he started singing "Bella Notte" from "Lady and the Tramp" I thought I was going to have to peel Mary off of the floor of the gondola. I have a video of him singing but you're going to have to settle for a picture because I lost my camera cable and I haven't figured out how to post a video from my camera to the computer via a card reader.

The gondola ride only lasted about 15 minutes but it was worth every penny. I pity anyone who went on the gondola and didn't get Nicolai as their gondolier.

After the gondola ride we went in to an art studio and I saw several pictures painted by Ron Wood. For those of you who don't recognize the name Ron Wood is in this fledgling little band called "The Rolling Stones". Perhaps you've heard of them? He is a very talented artist and I consider myself privileged that I've gotten to see his work in person. I also got to see art work done by Frank Sinatra. I am happy that that man had a day job because his artwork was never going to create a sustainable pay check. He did simple paintings with squares and circles, all done in primary colors. Uh, yeah. Moving on...

After our marathon hike through the underground shopping mall and the gondola ride we had had enough and headed back to our room and went "for to night night". (as all of my nieces and nephews have said..)

The next morning we got up bright and early because one of us is an early bird. (Those of you who know me...know it is not me who is the early bird.) We went to the concierge lounge and planned out our day. Kathi told us that on the way in to town last night Mary had seen a bill board for Terry Fator. He is the ventriloquist who won last seasons version of "America's Got Talent". Ever since seeing him on TV Mary had wanted to see him in person. We all pretended to contemplate this as an activity but the big secret was that we already had tickets for this show. We sort of told Mary that we were sure it would be expensive and that some of us didn't even really know who he was and we really just dragged our feet. Then we let the cat out of the bag and let her know that we had tickets to the show and our tickets were in the 3rd row! Mary was so excited that I think she cried.

We had many hours to spend before we had to get ready for the show and we decided to head across the street to the Mirage and see the white tigers. I had been there years ago and the tigers were in a huge glass enclosure where you could just walk up and watch them for as long as you wanted...for free. We found out that this is no longer the case and if you want to see the kitties you have to pay. I balked at the idea of paying to watch 3 white lions sitting around doing nothing and then I found out that there was a lot more than 3 lions in "Sigfried & Roy's Secret Garden".

When we first got to the Mirage Mary and I were accosted by a giant ravenous bronze lion. We thought he was going to bite off our arms but he just wanted to play.

And now here are the pretty kitties we saw:

There was also 3 dolphin pools.

This was a baby dolphin. It had a pink belly.

Ok, this stymied me. Exotic white tigers & lions and then around the corner...


There was also 1 snow leopard. I took several pictures of him but my camera would only focus on the fence. The fence on his enclosure was made with much smaller links than the fence around the other cats. I wasn't able to shoot any pictures through the fence. All I got were some very lovely close ups of the fence with a blurry cat behind it. :(

After we had spent hours looking at the cats and the dolphins we headed back over to the hotel and got ready for our night on the town.

We started our night with a very nice dinner in the Italian restaurant in the lobby of the Palazzo. After dinner we told Mary that we needed to hurry up and get in to the taxi cab line so that we would make it to the show on time. While Lucille and I kept Mary distracted in the taxi line, Kathi was looking around for our next birthday surprise for Mary. When it got there Kathi hollered, "Mar, our ride is here..." When Mary turned around Kathi was standing next to a beautiful white limo. Once again Mary laughed until she cried.

Lucille, Me, and My best fiend, Mary

2 things about this picture in regard to me:
1. I am not pregnant nor did that blouse fit skin tight. I have no idea why it looks like that.
2. I have no make up on. That would be because I left my make up bag in my car at the airport.

My obesity and lack of make up aside..we had a fun trip in the limo. The limo didn't come equipped with nary a beverage or even a radio...but a limo ride is a limo ride. Somehow we managed to keep Mary from standing in the sun roof as we rode down the street. But as soon as the car stopped she popped right up and posed for pictures. (sorry, I can't find that picture.)

When we got to the theater Kathi and I stopped in the bar and ordered drinks. I got a diet coke and vanilla vodka and it was served in a plastic dixie cup. I. Hate. That. When Kathi and I got back to our seats we gave Mary her drink and then we sat down. I put my drink in my cup holder and .2 seconds later Mary shifted in her seat and hit the straw in my drink and voila! I was wearing a diet coke and vanilla vodka. It pooled in my lap before I could jump out of my seat, and then when I stood up it collected in my shoe. It was the Josh Groban concert all over again. (Last year for Mary's birthday I took her to see Josh Groban. Mary stayed in our seats when I went to the bar to get our drinks. I got her a margarita and I had a plastic dixie cup of wine. I gave her her drink and I sat down but before I could sit down all the way Mary readjusted and hit my hand and I spilled pretty much my entire cup of wine. In. My. Shoe. What didn't land in my shoe was all over Mary's white pants.)

The Terry Fator show was fabulous. ( ) He has several different dummies he uses and they all do vocal impressions of famous people. He sang every type of song you could think of and never once did I see his lips move but more amazing...I never saw his adams apple move either. The singing was good, the banter was funny and I wanted to see more when it was over. The theater we were in is the same theater that Elvis played in when he was in Vegas which was surprising because the theater was quite small.

We only had the limo for the ride to the Hilton so we had to catch a taxi to take us back to the Palazzo. The taxi ride cost almost as much as the limo ride. It was ridicules.

I had to catch the shuttle back to the airport at 6:00 AM so I opted to go up to the room and pack up my stuff so I wouldn't have to do it in the morning and disturb every one.

There was so much more fun to be had in Vegas so I was very sad to have to leave so early. Maybe we'll do it again next year....



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont know which picture I like the best, the baby dolphin or the sleeping lion.
Sounds like I missed a really good time, poor me!

6:25 PM  
Blogger Margaret said...

For the record, being the person who has to pick the peanuts out of the nut mixture has the crappiest job ever.

I would have been fascinated by no peanutes as well.

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Amanda said...

I'm so glad Mary had fun! I'd like to go to Vegas for my birthday again this year too. I don't want to give up Canter's or Nana's Strawberry Shortcake though. Can I have it all?

11:04 AM  
Blogger Kevin Charnas said...

"Fiend", I LOVE. I also LOVE all the pics.

1. Nicolai shouldn't have been wearing pants. What the hell?

2. You DO NOT LOOK fat. Honest. And I happen to LOVE your face without make-up. I love that I can now put a face with "Tami W". :)

3. The drink collecting in YOUR SHOE??? awesome.

I'm buying the kayak and I'm on my way. With traffic, I'm guessing that I'm going to be at your crib around...5pm.

12:56 PM  

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