Day 1: Arrive in Vegas late in the evening. Wait for ages for airport shuttle, unsure why I am doing so as I am saving approximately $5 by not taking a cab. Discover that the MGM Signature suites are much nicer than I would have imagined given expense account restrictions. Meet up with colleagues, wander several hotels aimlessly attempting to find restaurant open past 10:00 p.m. Eat at a Chinese buffet on a facsimile of a New York street. Less said about meal the better.
Day 2: Meet colleagues in lobby, go en masse to breakfast event. Walk into hotel ballroom to find group of Elvis impersonators performing. Amusing, but perhaps too much for 8:30 a.m.? As is the illusionist? Would have enjoyed food rather than performers. Rest of day spent inside under fluorescent lights. Severe dehydration sets in. Gulping water incessantly. Feet hurt, but day is productive. In evening head back to hotel to jacuze. Bliss. Love hotel robe. Head out with colleague and walk Strip, stopping along the way to admire Bellagio water show, which was special, despite cheesy music. End at the Venetian, find other colleagues at blackjack tables, both on winning streak. Head up to Bouchon for dinner. Vow to order something light to counteract effects of terrible food during the day. Trout with cauliflower sounds promising. Is delicious, but sauced with brown butter. So much for purity. Wine is perfect, colleague is loving her martini and mussels. Salad is oddly amazing as well, considering it is made of up only of lettuce and herbs. Discover gondola rides are closed for the day so head back to beds to collapse.
Day 3: Early breakfast event, this time serving food! Big breakfast sets me up well for the day, or as well as can be expected given poor quality of sleep the night before and the lingering dehydration. Another day spent inside under fluorescent lights. Certain my vitamin D levels are heading dangerously low. Dear friend with considerably less restrictions on her expense account arrives in Vegas...take her up on generous offer to share fancy room at the Wynn. At end of day I switch hotels. Arrive at Wynn and find that she is as exhausted as I.
We sprawl out on lovely bed
and chat for a bit. I resolve to track down pillows and purchase them for my own bed at home. We each head out to dinner with our respective colleagues, she for steak downstairs and I for fish at the Mandalay Bay.
Dinner is convivial and tasty, particularly those oysters! And, as often happens when groups of colleagues get together, gossip is exchanged, stories are told, accents are made fun of. We eventually get down to work, discussing and preparing for next day. Get back to room, find friend in a deep sleep and follow suit.
Day 4: Up very early and after a shower and a bit of time in front of the vanity,
which I also vowed to replicate in some future living quarters (love sitting down and putting on makeup!), I was out the door in a jiff. Head back to fluorescent lights. Morning goes well and by midday I, along with rest of colleagues, was on verge of collapse.
Some began taking leave (flights beckoned) and presently I follow suit. Head back to hotel room to catch up on work that had been neglected during the week in the plush seating area in the room.
Couldn't resist doing so in a fluffy bathrobe. Not often that I get to return phone calls and emails in such luxury! As much as I am loving room and incredibly helpful and friendly staff at hotel, I am tired of being tired and thirsty so am not a bit sad when the time comes for me to leave for airport. A brief detour to visit my dad, sister and post-operative mom in Bay Area is exactly what doctor ordered. Get on the plane, fall asleep, wake up in San Francisco. Thrilled to see mom in good spirits and then, that established, fall into bed at 9:00. Delightfully deep sleep.
Day 5: Freezing. Light fire, close ingenious heat saving curtains by entry hall (they keep the heart of the house warm as entry has way too many single pane windows),
and eat breakfast. Go grocery shopping as the food supplies have run a bit low. My dad had apparently been living on...well, I don't know what he was living on...while my mom was in the hospital. Relax, start dinner, sister comes over after work and family dines together. And then sits by fire. In bed by 10:00. Again, deliciously deep sleep.
Day 6: Mom: Maybe you and your dad should have a day out today? Me: Oh no, we can stay here and hang out. Mom: No really, go. PLEASE. Dad and I make way over to San Francisco to check out fabulous Richard Avedon exhibit at SF MOMA. Become obsessed with the portraits of his father for some reason. And portraits of prominent figures circa the bicentennial. Donald Rumsfeld used to be quite good looking! Swing by Ferry Building for Acme bread, some herbed fromage blanc from Cowgirl Creamery and Blue Bottle coffee and then head home. For a nap. Take out Indian for dinner, a quick drink out with sister and her boyfriend (officially become re-obsessed with Lambrusco), and then home for bed by 11:30.
Day 7: Eat wonderful breakfast prepared by dad. Bacon, mushroom shallot and parmesan scramble and my favorite Acme bread toasted with butter. Peruse Sunday papers, putter around house preparing for imminent trans-continental flight, eventually head off to the airport, excited for New York but not for the dehumanizing airplane experience. Back to reality.