February 15, 2011

Viva Las Vegas

Having never been to Las Vegas nor been allured by its "charms" - I crazily booked a weekend for Valentine's.  Going with the lower cost package I thought myself a great deal maker and I admit I did great with the accommodations....it was the horrid flights thru Detroit that will mar my memories for years to come. 
But enough of that for now....Enter the magical world of Vegas.  

Meet the front entry of the Aria Resort on the Strip, one of the newest and hottest spots in Vegas and home to the show "Viva Elvis" by Cirque de Soleil.

Hundreds of beautiful red lanterns for the Chinese New Year greeted us upon our arrival in the lobby of this beautiful hotel.  Trust me, no expense was spared anywhere.  And yet, the welcome was warm and being the smart Wisconsin woman I am, the deal very good!

Our first night, we dined in the Italian restaurant, Sirio, one of several very fine and delish restaurants in the hotel.  Unfortunately, I was in the midst of the second day of a horrid cold and could only see but not taste the great food.  Todd tells me the Tiramisu was as glorious as it looked.  I can't remember much.  I made it back to the room, and passed out sicker than a dog.  
Todd managed without me and went out with our Vegas friends (soon to be LA friends) Mike and Sylvia whose fabulous wedding we attended at Lake Tahoe last fall 
Saturday morning burns brightly in my memory though.  I was feeling nearly human and very rested after 12 hours of sleep, YAY! And on the road to recovery.  

Mike calls and offers to give us the native tour of Vegas. So the next few hours are spent in a 1989 BWM convertible seeing the sights!  What a fab time!  As this was a typical trip for Todd and me, it is packed with things to do.  

After a fun day with Mike, we get back to the hotel for a bit of a rest.  Because Sylvia got us tickets to see VIVA ELVIS!!!!  of which she is of the Cirque de Soleil Props Department extraordinaire.   

 Okay, I know he's dead, but still, the excitement of the show brought back so many memories of actually seeing Elvis TWICE in concert back in the 70s in Madison with my Mama!

Note to Mama!  This time I got a scarf!!!!  (Remember my little voice on your tape recorder, saying "I'm so excited!!!"?)   

Wow, the show is not only a tribute to the "King" but all of his legion of fans and their fond, fond memories. 

Also, because this is Vegas, that same night after the show, we met up with M&S at the best restaurant in Vegas - way, way off the strip called Rosemary's Restaurant.  This is a Michelin recommended restaurant.  The detail paid to attention was amazing.  And the food was out of this world though every course. From the knowledgeable waiter(ess) to the sommelier who brought the perfect wines, to the delivery of courses en masse.  This is definitely a restaurant Raine, my future chef, needs to check out!

After that fab dinner, and a few miles back to the strip to Downtown Vegas we checked out Fremont Street (recommended by my Dad) which is now covered with a light show and no road traffic.  (I'm thinking Madison's State Street could benefit from this idea!)  Actually, we spent two nights down here where the bars and downtown scene were great, drinks were flowing and the people were fab.  

So to start to close this story....here's a shot of the entry to the Aria  - A whole wall of water blazing in a desert. This is definitely Uptown.  Vegas is totally over the top.  Adult Disney World. Consumer City.  All that is crazy about America.  But, I still love it!

So the original purpose of the trip, was to reward Todd for putting up with me for 25 years.  25 Valentine days - or as my east coast friends would say "Oh mouy Gawd".  I say the same thing myself...  Dang, I still love that boy!  

Did I mention how amazing the hotel was?  The details were every where including the floor - check out just one of the marble inlaid floors in the casino. 

So to end the tale.  The only thing that marred the trip was that we flew through Detroit both ways.  The way to Vegas was greeted with a three hour lay-over.  Okay, I can deal.  But the flight back Sunday afternoon....after a three hour flight from Vegas arriving at 9pm eastern time, walking a mile down the terminal because the tram was out of service, we find our flight delayed.  At 1am we finally admit defeat and get a hotel voucher to only wake up at 5am to get back to the airport for a fun body scan and a 7:30 am flight back to Madison. 

Okay, Todd and I both agreed that we'll go back to Vegas some day.  We'll take a week, see the Grand Canyon, Brice and Lake Mead and one more night at the Aria.....

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