Vegas has been on my bucket list for as long as i can remember, but even though i've lived only a handful of hours away for the past few years, i never had the strongest desire to go. so when Ethan got time off after his last deployment, we decided it was now or never.
it's been almost 4 months since that time, and i figured it's about time to share the pictures.
we spent the afternoon of our first day just driving there, and we got to our hotel and checked in around 4pm. we stayed at the Flamingo which was PRETTY AWESOME.
|that pink fuzzy blanket was my fave.|
|the view from our room.|
|happy to be starting our vacation:)|
we didn't waste any time beginning exploring. after throwing our bags in our room and checking out the view, we immediately began touring the grounds around our hotel. there was an awesome pool area, waterfalls and waterslides, and, of course, real pink flamingos.
after checking out the hotel, we hit the casino to grab some humongous alcoholic beverages, then headed straight to the strip. Paris was the one place i wanted to go to, and that was our first stop.
the inside of Paris was honestly my favorite thing we saw the entire trip. (pictures to come.) the ceiling was painted like the sky, and the hallways inside were lined with some kind of stone to make it feel like you're walking on a real Parisian street. it was slightly magical.
the rest of our evening, we walked all over the strip. most of our time was spent exploring the inside of the Cosmopolitan and the Aria, but we did get to see the outside of MGM, New York, and watch the Bellagio fountains. (there were probably other landmarks we saw, but i don't remember.)
it was only 10pm when exhaustion hit both of us hard. the party in Vegas was only getting started when us old folk headed to sleep;)
our second day started off in a terrible way, with some crazy man banging on the hotel door next to us at 3:30am, threatening to murder the person inside. he spent about 30 minutes cursing and raging in the hallway. i called security, but i don't think anything came of that. it happened again around 5am, when the same insane man came back with a pack of his buddies, got into the hotel room he was trying to get into earlier, and cursed and laughed and made the most obscene comments about women while we lay in bed next door. THAT was pretty terrible, and i actually felt slightly terrified.
needless to say, once he shut up, i was exhausted and proceeded to sleep in late. Ethan and i got huge breakfast at a cafe inside our hotel, then headed straight to the pool, where we spent a few hours laying by the water, and drinking margaritas under the palm trees while the DJ blared hip-hop music for the whole world to hear.
i have to admit that that was easily one of my favorite parts of the trip. it felt like the quintessential Vegas experience--the one you see in movies and on the covers of magazines. and it honestly felt pretty dang cool;) the only bummer was that Vegas was not at all hot enough at the beginning of May...barely 75 degrees, and not nearly warm enough for a swim. so we dipped our feet in, drank margaritas in the water, and enjoyed a little bit of the hot tub.
later in the afternoon, we decided to head back out to the strip to do some more exploring. we saw more of Paris, checked out Rio, and then walked REALLY far just to see Mandalay Bay and the Luxor hotels. (outside of Luxor seen below.)
during this time, we were exploring the different hotels to find a cool place to go to a nice dinner. but by the time, we headed back to our hotel to get ready, both of us were completely sweaty and exhausted. my feet were killing me, and i could've gone for a hot bath and room service, instead of a fancy dinner.
BUT, we pushed our way through it. Ethan put on a suit, and i put on a fancy dress, and we walked a torturous number of blocks to go back to the gastropub we had seen on our walk earlier.
we both ordered beer, and comfort food, and watched soccer on the TV, mostly eating in silence.
looking back on the pictures from dinner, i'm really surprised that we looked as happy as we did! maybe we were just happy to be sitting. or eating. or both! the beer WAS fantastic, and the chicken pot pie i ordered was to DIE for. so, not a total failure;) but, i'd be lying if i said my favorite part of the evening wasn't going back to the hotel, taking a hot shower, and falling asleep watching crime stories on TV.
the next day, i think, was my favorite day. for breakfast, we headed to Paris, which was nothing short of magical.
i don't remember what we ate, but i remember the coffee was divine, and the conversation was lively and relaxed.
after breakfast, we checked out of our room, and then headed back to the pool, where we spent a couple more hours wading in the water, and soaking up the sun and tequila;)
this was our last picture of the trip before we walked the several blocks back to my car, and headed home.
while i'm fond of the pictures of this trip, i can't say that i loved Vegas. or that i even LIKED Vegas. i can honestly say that i really did enjoy our last day because it felt relaxed and effortless. breakfast, the pool, a tad bit of exploring, frozen hot chocolate...all good things:) but the best way to describe our entire time in Vegas would be that it was an experience.
people have always told me that i'm young and that i HAVE to go to Vegas because it's so fun and alive and there's so much to do. but for me? Vegas was sweaty and crowded and exhausting. there were boobies on pamphlets galore, and half-naked men on billboards, advertising for sex and cars and gambling, and a lot of other bullshit that i frankly don't care about. the Bellagio fountains were nothing to write home about. casinos weren't filled with young, glamorous people, but with the pungent smell of too much cigarette smoke, and old people with big bellies, where they would rest their drinks, drool hanging out of their mouths, as they pushed button after button on mindless machine. it didn't feel glamorous, or like i was part of something bigger than me. mostly, it just felt like i was suffocating. yes, some of the hotels were amazing, but i'm not easily impressed by man-made things. i don't know why. maybe i should be. but i wasn't.
part of me felt bitter coming back to work my first day because everyone wanted to know how Vegas was. and i had always had a feeling that i wouldn't like it that much, and i would tell these people that. but they would tell me, "no, you just have to experience it first-hand." aaaand, i did. and i was right. i didn't like it that much. it made me wish that people would listen to me. it also made me realize that just because something is popular does not mean it's for you.
i wondered if maybe it's because i'm a nature girl. and oh, i am. but i love cities, too. cities make me come alive in a big way. like, i love San Francisco. i love the chilly air, the hippies on Haight and Ashbury, the crooked streets with the colored houses. i love the scarves people wear, and their different colored hair, and pierced up faces. i love how artsy and hipster-y it feels. i love San Diego, and how relaxed it feels. how it's the quintessential beach town where you can stumble upon the best hole-in the-wall cafes for breakfast burritos and coffees, and how people do yoga on cliffs overlooking the beaches. i love the Gaslamp district at night...the city lights and the smell of the ocean and how everyone seems to be talking to each other. i love how it feels very big city and small town all at once. i love Philadelphia. the cobblestone streets and the colonial-style buildings and the feeling of history.
but Vegas was different. it didn't feel cultural or refined. it felt fake and showy and numbing. and i don't miss it. and i'm not the only one, either! the night Ethan and i got back to my house, we had barely unloaded all the bags into my room before he pulled me into his arms, and just held me. i smiled and asked him what got into him. he pulled back, and with the biggest smile on his face, said, "i'm SO. GLAD. we're HOME."
sigh. just one more reason this man and i are so good for each other.
all in all, i am glad i went to Vegas. after all, it's one more thing crossed off my bucket list!
would i go back? maybe. but next time, you probably won't find me doing very much exploring. instead, check the pool. because that's where i'll be...with drink in hand;)
until next time Las Vegas...
|sunset on the drive home.|