You know the feeling of planning and planning for an event and then when it finally happens, it feels surreal and you almost need to pinch yourself as a reminder that it IS real? That is how I felt on Friday morning as I was boarding the flight in Sioux Falls to go to Vegas for our Girls Weekend.
I would like to set the stage a little bit. The idea for the Vegas trip started being kicked around back in March. The last girls weekend that we (Kathy, Sherri & I) had been on together was November 11-12, 2004.... over 4 1/2 years ago! Although we did try to get together one weekend in March of 2007 in Minneapolis, Kathy ended up in intensive care due to a severe illness, so our trip was postponed. It ended up being postponed for 2 years and 3 months! As to why we chose Vegas? Well, I was just throwing out destinations and this is one of the ideas that stuck. We worked out the date for our trip fairly quickly and decided to go 4 days. Flights were booked by the end of April, but the question of where we should stay took much, much longer. With barely a week to spare, we settled on Mandalay Bay.
The main reason for Mandalay Ba was the beach... given the fact that all three of us are land-locked (2 in MN and 1 in CO), the thought of even a man-made beach is appealing. Being right on the strip - another reason. Plus the fact that the SUN doesn't want to shine very much in MN, I was certainly looking forward to some time in the desert.
I got a new beach hat and cover-up... had to try to look as stylish as my peeps. But I digress, back to the trip highlights. Sherri and I were on the same Alligent Air flight Friday AM, but were not able to sit together. The attendants were pretty fun and gave us the opportunity to do some gambling on the flight. To play, you put your seat number on the back of a 5 dollar bill. If your seat number was drawn out of the bag, then you got to have the whole bag of cash. I figured this was going to be the best odds I would ever have, so I marked my 5 dollar bill and added it to the bag of cash. I was so sure I was going to win. Turns out, the seat directly behind me won the $360 bag of cash. Rats! Lady Luck was still with me when I pulled a super dumb move exiting the plane in Vegas. I left my very, very nice SLR camera under my seat. I didn't realize it until Sherri and I were about to board the tram to get to baggage claim. Suddenly, my heart skipped a beat or two and I shouted, "I left my camera!" to Sherri and sprinted back to the terminal. Luckily, they hadn't started boarding the next flight, so the attendant was able to go back to my seat and retrieve my precious cargo. I figured that was my WIN for the trip and didn't do any more gambling. Zero, nadda... nothing!
I was, however, still willing to ask for a room upgrade at our hotel. Previously, I had called Mandalay directly and gotten 30% off of our room rate. When we went to check in, I also asked for a room upgrade and what do you know? A very nice man helped us to get a fabulous suite at The Hotel at Mandalay Bay. Two bathrooms, plus two rooms.... 750 square feet of fabulousness. We felt like royalty and it was so nice to have extra room.
One thing about my girls... they are simply a riot to be around. More than once, we laughed until we cried. Plus, as much as we try to stay connected, there are just things that are not shared unless in a face-to-face situation. So, it was like a three-day therapy session just to be able to talk. We kept our schedule very loose. Our mission was just to spend time relaxing on the beach, check out the strip, see a show (comedy was the preference) and hang out together.
Check, check, check, check... did all 4 of those things.
We went on a gondola ride at the Venetian. Santo was an amazing singer and made it a lot of fun.
I wish I would have worn my pedometer because we did a ton of walking on our first day in Vegas. I would bet we walked 10 miles if not more. We went to the Luxar, Caesar's Palace, Hurrays, Flamingo, Bellagio, Venetian and more. Of course I took lots of pictures and the good thing is that I didn't forget my camera anywhere else! Check out this cool looking Las Vegas chopper. It was sitting in front of the Harley Davidson cafe and I just so happen to be wearing my "Love & Pride" Harley shirt. What a coincidence!
On Saturday night after spending almost the entire day at the pool, we got all dressed up and went to a comedy show at the Flamingo. It was Vinnie Faborito and he worked the crowd so well. I was just glad I didn't get picked on. It was definitely adult humor so we all were shocked that one couple brought their 14 year old daughter to the show! What were they thinking??
The night-time view on the strip was spectacular especially with the nearly full moon in view. I need to work on my nighttime photography though.
I did get one thrill ride in on Sunday. I rode the roller coaster ride at New York, New York. Met a really nice couple from Australia while waiting in line, who held my place after I found out that the credit card machine was broken and I needed to get cash. That was one of the interesting things about Vegas... it is a people watching haven! People were friendly, nice and helpful.
This post has been taking me days and days to write and I don't think I am doing a very good job conveying the fun atmosphere of the weekend. But trust me... it was spectacular! I have lots of memories tucked into my brain and if I work at it, I bet I could make myself laugh until I cry again. Thanks for the awesome time, Kathy & Sherri!