Monday, August 28, 2006

Viva Las Vegas! (August 25-27, 2006)

OK, so this isn't quite international travel, but when I saw the Eiffel tower and ate in Paris the first day, I thought it was blog-worthy. First of all - why Vegas? People know me and get puzzled ... a bachelorette party? Nope. A reunion with my best friends, Jane and Steph, from elementary school, and Steph is my cousin whose family owns a nice condo, hence Vegas to chill in luxury. Oh and to celebrate our birthdays which all occur in a 2.5 week time span!!!

Arrival: Steph and Jane picked me up at the airport at 1 am (re:4 am east coast time) after we were all delayed. I was sooo thrilled to see them! I hadn't seen Jane since Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Steph since my whirlwind 2 day visit to the bay area in April. Upon arriving at the condo, I knew this was going to be an excellent vacation - good company and luxurious living! (the bathroom alone will probably be bigger than my next apt!)

Day 1: the high life! After Steph and I were awaken in the wee hours by work phone calls, we groggely (is that a word?) ate at the Paris buffet (happy to get a few pieces of bacon from breakfast) and shopped, 10 minutes on the elliptical (yes! that's right. I went to the gym... 3 days in a row!), then got spa treatments - ahhh the luxury.

Are we in Paris?

It's always twighlight inside. Steph says because that is the good hour - you can stay in twighlight forever.

Steph gets food coma after devouring too many crepes.

So even though we don't gamble, we have to take a picture at least in front of the casino!

Where is the Macy's? It's behind the UFO. Only in Vegas ...

Then it was fancy girls night out so we got all decked out and hit the strip going to the new Wynn for a fancy Italian dinner (they gave us new napkins every time we went to the bathroom!)

Girls night out!!! Jane, me and Steph

Living it up! Taking the limo to the strip.

Steph and Jane in the Wynn

After dinner we head to La Reve, a Cirque-esque show on water.

The pre-show. I loved the intro where the acrobats were just swinging and diving off a tree-like structure and into the water.

Day 2: Shop and dance til we drop! So, instead of gambling we decided to invest in more solid things - CLOTHES! We went to the Vegas outlets and had pretty good luck over the course of 4 hours. Then after finding the coveted swiss orange chip ice cream at Swensen's we spent 15 minutes on the elliptical before preparing for night 2.

There's Steph always putting on make-up :)

Our second night on the strip. We went to the Rio buffet where the crabs upsetted us but the gelato redeemed everything.
The beautiful calming water show at the Bellagio.
Although we got several free passes to clubs (it's great to be in a group of girls in vegas), we were on the VIP list to Pure though so we finagled our way to the front and the big bouncer dude asked "3 girls?" We nod and he waves us in and we get the special stamp .... which means we get to see the Pussycat Dolls (Vegas version)! haha. a pleasant surprise. The show was about half an hour and while the singing was sub-par, the show as a whole was amusing.
now this is the Vegas you imagine, right?

Everyone has a pussycat doll in them.
At the Pure.
After dancing a little bit to awful music and trying to rest our feet in the special section, we left. The only place we could sit to rest and recoup was in front of the penny slot machine. So we GAMBLED a whole 1 cent! It lasted us a good 5 minutes and we lost it of course, but the sitting time was priceless. We called it a night.
Day 3: Relaxation! Steph and I dragged ourselves out of bed at the early hour of 10:30 to return to the Spa for massages and facials (yes, poor us). Then Jane and I hit the workout hardcore before retiring to the poolside for lounging and lunch and more lounging. Perfect. This is what I'm talking about when I say I'm going to Vegas! Then we lounged up in the condo where we reviewed our purchases, re-packed and watched the emmy's red carpet and commented on all the various outfits. For our final dinner we went to a local thai restaurant that was fabulous and rekindled my love for Thai food.

Contrary to what the pictures about show, we really did a LOT of relaxing and also a lot of shopping!

Then Steph and Jane drove me to the airport and we said our goodbyes and promised to reunite again, at home in the bay area of course (where Jane and Steph reside .. and yes, i will eventually return someday) and of course in Vegas!!! It was the perfect weekend. Nothing like old friends who just know you. And we had a fine balance of of eating (ok, maybe a bit too much of that), relaxation, working out, going out, shopping, and just being together. Thanks so much for an awesome weekend there girls. Can't wait to do it again!