Friday, January 15, 2010

More fireworks...

Seven different hotels had seven minute displays, this is just a little taste of what we saw...

New Year's Eve

Just to give you an idea of the huge crowd that was on the strip. This was with about an hour to go before New Year's, and it got *much* more crowded as it got closer...

Bellagio fountain

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Las Vegas - Part 2 ***Long post ahead***

I've been more than a little lax in my blogging as of late, and haven't gotten around to writing the second part about our Las Vegas trip. My bad. We really didn't take *a lot* of pictures, but I'll share some of the better ones. I decided to make this post REALLY long, because if I split it up who knows when I'd get around to getting it done.

When last I left off, I mentioned how we were given another room (our third) which was quite the improvement...if I do say so myself.

After all the crap that we went through on our first day, we decided to take it easy for the rest of the evening and just did a little bit of touring up and down the strip.

The next morning (Tuesday), we went to the Hoover Dam. I had been there before, but Josh hadn't. We wanted to go to the Grand Canyon during this trip, but we didn't end up doing it. We were told by the tour organizer that the road to the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon was snow covered and closed, and since the weather was so craptacular, we decided to just go to the Hoover Dam instead. Oh well.

We saw the new bridge that was being constructed, that will eventually bypass the Hoover Dam. For those of you that have been there, you know that there's only a two lane road (one lane in each direction) that goes over the Hoover Dam. The problem with that, of course, is that it leads to HUGE traffic jams for those that live in the area. We were told that it's not uncommon for there to be a five to six hour traffic nightmare every afternoon. Imagine going through that on your way home? Ugh.

While we were standing on the Hoover Dam (keep in mind that the road surface is the top of the dam), we looked out at Lake Mead. If you look closely at the picture, you'll notice the difference in the colour of the rock. The brown represents the actual colour of the rock. The white represents where the level of the lake used to be. Pretty neat, huh?

Anyways, after that we headed back to Vegas and went out for dinner at the hotel. We decided to keep things kind of low key that evening because we were going to a (free) comedy show. It was one of the comps that the hotel manager gave us...and man am I glad that it was free because it stunk. Seriously, smelly.It was hosted by J.J. Walker. For those of you who remember the show Good Times, that's who I'm referring to. He is SUCH a hack. I'm sorry but anyone who introduces himself and then says "Good evening, ladies and germs", shouldn't be doing comedy anymore. Seriously. His jokes were dated, and he just wasn't funny. At the end of the show he was signing t-shirts with the Dyn-o-mite logo on it. Just sad.

Wednesday was spent walking around the strip, which is what we did for a majority of our time there. Since Josh had never been to Vegas, I wanted to show him all the hotels, as well as seeing the new hotels myself. For most of the time, we didn't take the camera with us. So sad, too bad. ;)

Wednesday evening we went to the Bellagio hotel. If you ever get a chance to go to the buffet there, I *highly* recommend it. They have every kind of food imaginable. Seriously. After dinner we watched the fountain in front of the hotel. Four times an hour, in the evenings, there's a 'show' set to music.

Thursday was spent walking around the strip some more and we went to the Fashion Show Mall. We didn't buy anything, but we walked our feet off. I have to say I was more than a little disappointed with the shopping on this trip. Sure, there were things to buy if you wanted to shop at the boutiques, but I didn't feel like spending that kind of money. ;)

Thursday night, being New Year's Eve, we went to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse for dinner. Oh my, the steak was *amazing*. As the restaurant was a little ways away from our hotel, we took a cab there. The ride to the restaurant was uneventful, but on the ride back to the hotel we had He was hilarious. He was telling jokes and had us in stitches, talking about how he was born in Cameroon and so on. He asked us if we had kids (gotta love when people get nosey), and we told him no. Josh did say, however, that we have a cat. He told us that we needed to have kids. He told us that he has seven kids; five biological and two adopted. At that point I did something I never do, I told a stranger about little one. He wished us well and told us that he had adopted his best friend's daughters (his friend was killed in a car accident).

Once we got back to the hotel, we went upstairs and changed...and then it was off to celebrate New Year's Eve with 400,000 of our closest friends. Yup, we brought in the new year on the strip. It was beyond awesome. Everyone on the strip was drunk, actually that's an understatement. They were FUBAR'ed. Actually when I went into one of the hotels, there was a gaggle of girls who were sitting on the floor of the bathroom in their mini skirts, texting the others in the next stall, playing paddycake with the floor and singing songs. If that isn't FUBAR, then I don't know what is.

There was a Bud Light truck in front of one of the hotels that was selling 67oz beer bottles (the equivalent of a six pack) for $14. There was a HOOGE lineup for those.

All in all, it was an awesome trip and I can't wait to go back...hopefully later this year. :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The big 4-0

Another month, another charm. This one was chosen by Josh's sister. Yay.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Las Vegas - Part 1

December 28th we got to the airport at 6:10am for our 9:30am flight. We got caught up in the whole fufura with the Christmas Day attempted bombing and the after effects being that we had to get to the airport extra early for a few new layers of security. It made for a LONG day. Not that I mind, in the long run, since it will make things safer for everyone. Though at the time, it wasn't great.

We had four layers of security to go through. First we had to put our bags through the X-ray machine (which is normal), then we had to go through the X-ray machines ourselves, then a physical patdown and then our carry-on bags were physically searched. In order to make things easier on ourselves, we decided to check-in everything except my purse and Josh's camera bag. All of that took an hour and a half.

Once all that was complete, we sat around to board our plane. We waited...and waited...and waited. Then we waited some more. The flight could not take off until everyone was on board, and they decided to delay the flight because some passengers were caught up in the extra security measures.

Fine, whatever.

We eventually took off an hour and a half late. I guess I should count myself lucky, the previous day's 9:30am flight didn't take off until 2:00pm. Ugh.

We finally arrived in Vegas (bay-bee) and went to the hotel. We were able to check in early, so we went right up to our room. I took one look inside and noticed that they gave us a room with two double beds - I had requested a room with a king size, so that was a problem. I went down to the front desk and told them what happened and I was told "requests cannot always be filled and if you want a king size bed, you'll have to wait until 3:00 when normal check-in is."

Fine, whatever.

We put our bags in the secured baggage area and went to the Flamingo Hotel for a bite to eat.

Check out the size of the koi in relation to the size of the duck. Insane!

After lunch, we went back to the hotel and got the keys to room #2. We walked in and this is what we saw...(notice the lovely stains on the floor).

Needless to say, a call was *immediately* placed to the manager. I told him all that had gone wrong since we arrived (and that I always stay at this hotel), and he apologized profusely. He also told us that he would "do something" for our trouble. He asked me "what would you like me to do?" I told him to "think of something and get back to me".

About ten minutes later, a bellhop came up to our room and transferred our bags to the new room. The manager called us in the new room and said that he was reviewing our reservation details. He told me "the price you are paying is astronomical and I'll reduce your room rate". He ended up not only taking $300 off our stay, but he also sent us free tickets to the shows at the hotel as well as several food vouchers.


I'll be posting more about our trip during the week...this is just a teaser. ;)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Blown away...

When I went to get the mail today, I saw that I got a package. Inside, was a thoughtful note and beautiful gift. Tears were shed when I read the note. My friend, Mary (aka Belen), sent me a necklace and pair of earrings. I've 'known' her online for years, but we've never talked on the phone nor met in person. I was secretly hoping we could meet when we went to Vegas, but it didn't work out. One day we'll have to fix that...

If you can't read the note, it says:


This is what I've been planning for months for you and never got around to with school.

I hope the necklace and earrings match something in your wardrobe and that they serve as a reminder that people from all over are constantly thinking of you and Josh and when you'll be holding your "Little Maple".

Much love from Nevada!
Mary Belen

The thing that makes this even more special is that the clasp is a gold heart. I don't know if she knew this or not, but gold hearts hold a special meaning for me. For our one year LIDiversary, I added a gold heart charm (the explanation is in that post). Also, everyday I wear this.