Las Vegas was never on my list of places I most wanted to visit but when three of my closest friends suggested last July that we replace our annual Christmas shopping trip with a trip to Vegas in November, I immediately found myself saying yes! It wasn’t the destination that captured my attention but the opportunity to travel together and enjoy several days of “girlfriend time”.
When we booked the trip last summer, we had no idea how perfect the timing would be. After an unusually long autumn, we woke up to winter on Saturday morning. We drove on icy roads through snow and slush on our way to the airport, happier than ever to be leaving Alberta behind! As the temperature here at home plunged to around -20ºC, we enjoyed daytime temperatures in the +20s in Vegas!
We packed a lot of living and a lot of laughter into the next few days and proved that four Christian women can have a fabulous time in “sin city”! The laughter started Sunday morning when one friend, who shall remain nameless, discovered that she’d forgotten to pack her pants! Not all of them, fortunately. Just the ones that she intended to wear to church that morning. It continued until we arrived home and she found out that the pants had actually been in her suitcase the entire time!
We stayed at the Excalibur Hotel, a fairytale castle near the south end of the Strip.
On Sunday afternoon, we strolled the Strip enjoying the sunshine, eating lunch on an outdoor patio and taking in the sights.
We stopped at the Bellagio Hotel to enjoy the conservatory with its multitude of flowers and floral statues, see the world’s largest chocolate fountain and watch the outdoor fountain show. We visited a few shops along our way. Can you imagine four storeys devoted to anything and everything related to M&M candies? That’s Vegas where everything is over the top!
We took in two shows during our three day stay. We saw the Blue Man Group at the Monte Carlo and The Tournament of Kings back at our own hotel. How does one possibly describe the Blue Man Group? Hilarious! Fun! Unforgettable! Or, according to their own website, “an energetic and innovative combination of music, comedy, and multimedia theatrics.” The Tournament of Kings was a delicious dinner served medieval style with no cutlery while the audience, seated around the outside of an arena, watched the non-stop action of knights on horseback engaging in competition.
Shows in Vegas are over early in the evening leaving patrons plenty of time to spend at the casinos. I’m not a gambler but I had lots of fun playing the penny machines and when we left for home on Wednesday, I was ahead by a whopping 55 cents! Pretty cheap entertainment!
We shopped til we dropped at Vegas’ two factory outlet malls. Even with our Canadian dollar at an unhealthy low, there were plenty of bargains to be had and one friend was heard to say, “I had money left over so I had to buy more!”
Though there are many strange things to be seen on the Strip after dark (a large hairy man in a wedding dress is probably forever etched in our memories!), we really saw the underbelly of Las Vegas on a late evening visit to Freemont Street. With a zipline overhead and live bands playing, it’s billed as a premier entertainment destination but it felt to us like a carnival gone wrong. There were many, including the scantily clad dancers atop one of the outdoor bars, who would have frozen some pretty intimate body parts if they’d been on an Alberta street but I think we were most disturbed by the two young beauties wearing huge glittery angel wings and very little else who were selling themselves to passersby. Sad.
This trip was more than just our annual Christmas shopping trip in a new location or a girlfriend getaway. It was also a celebration! When we started planning it, I was two-thirds of the way through 30 rounds of radiation. Now, with that ordeal several months behind me, we were celebrating survival and on our final evening in Vegas, my friends treated me to a very special celebration dinner.
The destination didn’t matter but the company did! I am so blessed!