Six years later, we're back

After a successful whale count yesterday, and less than successful nap, Wayne and I packed up our bags and headed out to the airport for the redeye to Los Angeles, where we waited for about 3 hours to catch a flight to Las Vegas.  The plane to LAX was one of the older ones, so far less comfortable, and we could tell that the flight attendants were the ones who had started with United vs Continental.  I have to tell you, the disposition, service and overall grace between the two is markedly noticeable, with Continental staff coming out far, far ahead.

There were incoming fronts, so the ride was extremely turbulent, and there was only about 3 1/2 hours worth of time where we might have been able to sleep, but weren’t.  So you had a couple of really tired puppies at the LAX airport, followed with being at the LAS airport.  But we got here!  And immediately, my hair went flat and straight!  Don’t know that that serves as a benefit....

For those who don’t know, the name Las Vegas comes from Spanish for "the meadows". The land was originally the home to the Navajo and other nomadic native Americans.  In 1829 a Mexican trader by the name of Antonio Armijo came across what he called a grassland meadow, hence the assignment of the name Las Vegas for that area. In 1855, the Mormons sent a small group of settlers to help the local natives plant crops and set up a safe way station between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, but by 1857 the way station was abandoned.

In 1905 the city of Las Vegas was established, and in 1931 two things happened that would forever change Las Vegas and help to shape the city's future path: construction began on the Hoover Dam, bringing thousands of workers into the city; and casino gambling was legalized. For years the city struggled as a small town until Bugsy Siegel opened his Flamingo Hotel in 1946. 

Today, Las Vegas is home to more hotel rooms than any other resort city in the world, and that number just continues to grow. The greater Las Vegas area is made up of the cities of Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas, Boulder City and a substantial portion of land that is managed by Clark County. 

Besides gambling, one of the biggest draws to Las Vegas for tourists is the entertainment. From the beginning of the casino era, some of the top talents in show business have performed in Vegas. Stars like Barbra Striesand, the Rat Pack including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr., Tom Jones, The Rolling Stones, and Wayne Newton have all thrilled audience and casinos alike with sold out shows and record breaking concerts. Just today, we walked past where performers from my childhood (Donny & Marie Osmond) are on stage, and we went past Caesar’s, where Rod Stewart is on until mid/late February.  You can find almost any type of entertainment here!

We planned this trip before I began my Treating Chemical Dependency class, centered around two things:  birthday dinner certificate from the Palm, and MacWorld.  Well, as part of the class, I have had to give something up for 15 weeks.  Since wine with dinner has been gone since pre-LSAT, I had to pick something else.  So I picked red meat and potatoes of all kinds.  So, no pork, steak, veal (not so much a problem) or lamb for 105 days.  And no potatoes, chips, fries for the same 105.  I’m now 15 days in, and doing well health wise, but this trip is going to be a challenge.

Take, for instance, lunch today.  We went to the Hofbrauhaus, which is an exact duplicate of the one in Munich.  This is the menu:

 What on earth is a girl to eat?  Well, after searching, it came down to chicken bratwurst

Blessedly, the chicken brats were good, and we had a good meal.  Since the plantar fasciitis was really kicking in, we took a cab back (yes, I have p.f. thanks to all the running I did just before the LSAT), had a bit of a nap, and it was time to see Love, a Cirque du Soleil show which combines the re-produced and re-imagined music of the Beatles with an interpretive, circus-based artistic and athletic stage performance.                      

It is a joint venture between Cirque and The Beatles' Apple Corps Ltd. The project arose from discussions in 2000 between George Harrison and his friend Guy Laliberte, one of Cirque's founders.  The loose story of the production traces the Beatles’ biography in broad strokes from the Blitz, through the band's founding and climb into superstardom, their psychedelic and spiritual works and their break-up in 1970. The finale is a joyous celebration of the Beatles' "reunion" that the show itself represents. Love traces this path without relying on literal or historical representations of individual people, but rather by fictional characters plucked from their lyrics. Sgt. Pepper, a central figure, encounters many familiar faces, including Lucy in the Sky, Eleanor Rigby, Lady Madonna and Mr. Kite. In an exception to this stylistic choice, the “Here Comes the Sun” scene features a character resembling Krishna. Similarly, several scenes include mop-topped, dark-haired figures of varying ages in black suits (even one scene where they are on roller skates!).

The show was absolutely FABULOUS, and different than we had remembered.  All in all very enjoyable.

I did almost slip at dinner tonight - we ate in Caesar’s at Trevi, and Italian “outside” eatery after we discovered Carmine’s was not yet open (but take heart, it will open in Spring 2013).  A young many was eating a plate of linguini with two fabulous looking meatballs.  I was discussing my food options with Wayne, and said that I could always order that -- and about 2 seconds later, realized what I had said.  Luckily, Wayne has my back, at least for as long as he can find me.                               

We limped back in the not so bitter or windy any more cold to New York New York, and fell asleep near midnight with the screams of people on the roller coaster finally dying down around a quarter past midnight. 

Good first day of passing the meat test in Vegas!

At the airport