Travis Smith: my resume, bio and photos back to the main blog page

Stop One: Las Vegas

posted at 11:36 pm
on Dec. 18, 2010

Comments: 0 so far



Previous entry:
Best Friends Forever

Next entry:
Stop Two: Washington, D.C.

‘It’s like a dream ... when you try to see the world beyond your front door.’
—Bare Naked Ladies, “Pinch Me”

Getting off the plane in Las Vegas at Christmas time must be like getting off the plane in Heaven. There is the quiet jingling of silver bells, it’s warm but not too hot, there’s tinsel everywhere, and everyone is expecting wonderful, possibly undeserved, presents.

This was the first leg of our journey.  We could have rushed to Susie’s parents’ place in D.C., but we thought that there might be cheap flights via here, and we also didn’t want to plunge into family waters without first remembering what it was like to just relax.

We rented a car without GPS but the car we got had one—thank goodness. It turned out to be extremely useful even just getting to our friends’ houses.  And it was a nice inadvertent perk from Advantage, our rental car company that was in all other ways rude, slow and unhelpful.

We stayed with Victor and Clara, a couple that we met years ago in Paris. Clara was in Paris to learn pastry cooking at the Cordon Blue Academy, and Victor was there to chill and learn French.  He brought Clara’s “homework” to French class, and Susie decided “This is someone I want to be friends with!”

We’ve kept in loose touch ever since.  They’re about 15 years older than us with no kids, and have always been a little bit of an example of what we’d like to be like: fun and balanced and supportive of each other, and full of travel lust.

They’re currently getting ready to move to Spain for a year, and two cities in the year after that; they say they’ve been in Vegas for too long.

We stayed in their place for two nights; the bedroom was as chilly as I remembered it. For people who live in Nevada, they oddly love Arctic-type temperatures.

The next morning, we went to the Vegas strip and explored several of the large hotels: Wynn, Encore, the Bellagio and the Palladio. Absolutely stunning examples of excess, and completely mesmerizing.

Pervious times I’ve been in Vegas, I’ve been a little put off by the money and the gambling and the glitz.  But by this time, somehow, Vegas has surpassed its own fakeness and become something more than just gilt. It has transformed from being “too much” into a whole new level of amazingness.

It’s like, if you see someone who’s stands out in a group of people because he or she is dressed in something sparkly, you think, hey, that’s gaudy. Gross., But if you see someone in a dress made entirely of electric lights and 10,000 diamonds, you think: wow, that’s amazing! Well: Vegas is amazing, now, absolutely amazing.

For lunch, we ate delicious French food at a restaurant called Morels, a restaurant where morals were flouted; the dining room walls had huge murals of naked people in passionate embraces. It was almost embarrassing, but a little champagne helped calm my nerves. And making out with Susie in the hallway to the kitchen was nice, too.

The Christmas lights were up everywhere, making the regular neon seem almost seasonally appropriate.

For the final night, we dropped in on another friend, Susie’s cousin Ginger and her husband, Doug. They have an outstanding house, that’s out standing on the edge of the desert at the edge of Vegas. It has a hot tub I was sorry not to be able to use, and two cute kids and one cute dog and one extremely ugly dog. Seriously.

We went for EXTREME sushi and sat up and chatted, and I updated their Mac. That was super fun. I wish more of my friends would let me update their computers. 😊

We also played Carcassonne; Susie’s addicted to that game like ants are addicted to sugar.

In the morning, we drove back to the airport via the strip, did a few more Gowalla checkins, and boarded the plane for Washington. Woot!

Oh, I should say: I won $10 and lost $25. So, the stop in Vegas did *not* pay for Christmas the way I hoped it would.



Previous entry:
Best Friends Forever

Next entry:
Stop Two: Washington, D.C.


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