So what can I say? When I was downsized from Booz Allen, and in my final year of the MSW program, Wayne and I went to iMac/iWorld in San Francisco. However, prior to that, we decided to jump back to Las Vegas for the first time since 2007 (so, 6 years later). We decided that we would approach the city from the surface view only - taking nothing for real, and expecting nothing.
To our surprise, we really enjoyed ourselves! Great food, inexpensive prices, NY shows. Really a wonderful time. I have an earlier blog post regarding that trip earlier in your reading material :)
When I started law school, the pressure was super intense. Not just on me, but also on Wayne. He started having those school related dreams where you've skipped class the entire semester, and then were headed into the final.
The first real respite we had was Thanksgiving in Las Vegas. We did it on a whim, and had a wonderful time. Then it was back for first semester finals. We spent the holidays in Palau (diving, what else) that year, but Palau is a little far for a three day weekend.
Thus was born our red eye flight in/red eye flight out of Las Vegas. We were flummoxed by the casino resorts. Smoke, lights, bells and whistles. Too much. Then we were advised to go to the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to eat at the Wicked Spoon buffet. Immediately we were hooked - you can almost completely avoid the casino floor, and the noise is fairly contained. The second floor can get a bit jammed, but you can circumvent the noise in several manners.
We love Las Vegas, and although they often get the front desk wrong, we really enjoy the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
With that in mind, on October 24th, Wayne and I joined Mom and Dad on our first ever Southwest flight and went from SAN to LAS.
I originally had fabulous ideas about going to a dinner theater the first night, but to be honest, I slept so poorly in the Home Away vacation rental, I had no energy. So we checked in, and went to the Todd English P.U.B. for lunch. While at lunch (they have the most magnificent brown butter lobster roll), our waitress informed us that Todd English is parting ways with MGM, and the restaurant is about to be renamed "The Pub." Sad day. Ah, well, we shall see what happens.
We all agreed that there was no room for dinner, and met up in Mom and Dad's hotel room to watch the sun set and see the colors of Las Vegas. And have a little scotch.
The next morning we met at The Henry for breakfast before heading off to the Valley of Fire. The Valley of Fire is famous for its 40,000 acres of bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops nestled in gray and tan limestone, and it contains ancient, petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years. There are a number of hiking trails (not accessible in the summer unless you are part camel and withstand the heat), and because of the play of light off of the sandstone, it is our favorite park for photography.
We took Mom & Dad down Mouse's Tank Trail, which contains petroglyphs. Mouse’s Tank is named for a Southern Paiute Indian renegade (“Little Mouse”) who used Valley of Fire as a hideout in the 1890’s after he was accused of killing two prospectors and other crimes in the area.
And then it was back to the Cosmopolitan for lunch at China Poblano - a Chinese/Mexican tapas restaurant that is quite good!
Dinner was with an old friend of Dad's, Bruce Homis, with whom he used to officiate basketball and umpire. Much as I expected, Bruce did not remember me, but that's ok. He and Dad reminisced and enjoyed themselves (we ate at the Italian American Club), and we met Bruce's lovely lady, Judy.
From there, home to the Cosmopolitan again for the final scotch and a trip to slumberland. We all left our respective ways the following morning after breakfast at The Henry again, and all arrived at our houses at relatively the same time.
We still love Las Vegas.
Thank you to my family for helping me to share 50 - the 40s were fantastic, the 50s can only get better!