Viva Las Vegas

I am not sure how many more wild wedding weekends I can handle. Two down, one to go. This wedding involved Scott’s good friend, a long-lasting friendship from grad school.

Last Friday I got on a plane and headed West. To the land of make-believe. Las Vegas.

I love going to places that have terrain.

Going to Vegas is like going to another world. I may be watching too much Dr. Who – because all I could think about was how alien the whole town is. Even the buildings have Dalek armor.

Vegas is overwhelming. The sights, the sounds, the sleaze, the smoke and oh goodness, the people. I do give the tourists of Vegas major props – you see all sorts, all completely comfortable in their own skin (which is odd, given how superficial the entire Las Vegas strip is). The young, the old (the really, really old), the silly girls, the too-much-testosterone boys, the skinny, the obese and of course the well-endowed.

This was not my first trip to Sin City. So, while it is always an experience, I didn’t feel the need to tour all of the resorts with my jaw to the floor by all of the excess. Which is not to say I didn’t have a good time.

Here are the highlights:

Brunch at Mon Ami Gabi. An amazing appetizer of warm brie with peppered honey, roasted garlic and hazelnuts (I have serious plans to re-create this dish in my own kitchen) followed by a fantastic light and fluffy waffle.

A leisurely stroll through the Bellagio (to pick up our tickets to see Cirque du Soleil’s “O”) so that I could gawk at the blown glass in the lobby. Where we returned that evening so have our minds blown. The Cirque du Soleil performers cannot actually be human (and supports my Dr. Who hypothesis that Las Vegas is actually an alternative universe).

Sunday was the wedding. As always, it is lovely to see two people choosing to spend their lives together and who have asked you to share that experience with them. It is especially lovely to see how much love and excitement TJ and Michelle were exuding. The noontime ceremony was followed by a most excellent, hours long meal at Wolfgang Puck with good food and better company.

The couple treated us well. Later that evening we boarded a couple of party buses, well stocked with champagne, and headed to Fremont Street or ‘Old Vegas’ if you will. It was definitely a different side of Vegas, one that I had never explored before. It had a retro feel to it, a hundred times more grittier and I was glad to have had seen it. Lacking the luster of the strip, but definitely not lackluster. I took a turn at the blackjack table and with guidance of Scott managed to not lose my shirt.

Monday brought yet another round of goodbyes, each harder than the last. With the afternoon to myself, I made my way out of town to the Valley of Fire. It felt good to leave civilization (if you can call Vegas that) and explore the natural world.

It is no less alien, however.

The desert is completely foreign to me. Yet another alternative world (perhaps one that Dr. Who might visit – can you tell I have a serious addiction to this show?).

Here, I walked around with my jaw dropped to the ground, awestruck by my surroundings.

My photos cannot even come close to bringing this place to justice (although I did refrain from any post-processing). The rocks are flaming red. It’s name, Valley of Fire, is not unjustified.

The colors. The terrain. The fresh air. Oh my.

It was a good weekend … exhausting, but well worth it.


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