I think my mom's 80th birthday trip to Las Vegas was everything she hoped it would be. Kellen, Rebekah, my brother John, and my sister-in-law Cheri were there to share the adventure with us. That's the really great thing about family - you can be in the middle of the desert and still have a great time.
My mom loves lobster, so for part of her birthday present my brother and I treated her to a lobster dinner.
We took in the bright lights of The Strip.
There was some gambling. My mom loves the penny machines.
We went to two shows. The first was Celine Dion. Celine is the cilantro of the performing arts world. People either seem to love her or hate her. I happen to love her voice, and thought the show was terrific. One thing Rebekah noted when we were all together was how thrifty we are as a family. She's right of course. Most of what we did was free, or cost very little. The shows in Vegas aren't cheap, but John and Cheri had managed to find a very good deal on the Celine tickets. I took this picture when we got to our seats. It illustrates our thriftiness quite nicely. In Canada there is an expression for the seats at the top of the hockey arena. They are called "nosebleed seats." I'm not sure what you call seats that are beyond the nosebleed range.
The Colosseum at Caesars Palace was almost full by the time the show started. It holds around 4000 people. I find it quite amazing that this show sells out night after night, year after year. The other show we saw was a ventriloquist named Terry Fator. He was very funny. I think he would have been even funnier had I not had an allergic reaction to something I ate at dinner and been so sleepy from the Benadryl I ended up having to take. He performed in a smaller venue, so our thrifty seats were close enough we could have gotten a nosebleed if he had used a puck instead of puppets.
We stayed at a hotel called Treasure Island.
It was in a good location, but one of its best features was the fact it had complimentary wheelchairs. That allowed us to take in much more than we would have been able to if my mom had had to walk.
If I was asked for one word to describe Vegas, it would be artificial. There is everything from a replica of the Eiffel Tower, to an exploding volcano, to soaps that look like cupcakes.
Of course, there were some real things as well. The palm trees were beautiful. I hadn't realized there were so many different varieties! We were fascinated with these huge moths. I'm not sure, but I think they might be hummingbird moths.
As we were walking through one of the casinos there was a crowd gathering, so we went to see what they were looking at. It turned out to be one of the Budweiser Clydesdale horses! When they saw my mom at the side in her wheelchair they led the horse over to her so she could pet it. You can see the Clydesdales in this Budweiser commercial from the last Super Bowl.
The first of two surprising things that happened to me while I was in Vegas was ending up on the Bud Light Facebook page.
The second surprise wasn't quite as pleasant. When going through security at the Las Vegas Airport on the way home they indicated I should go to the line for the full body screening. I asked how I could get in the other line - the one for the regular screening. They immediately shouted out "We have an opt out." A female TSA agent came over, escorted me to the side, put on gloves, and gave me a pat down. As she was patting me down she commented on how easy it was to do since I was wearing such plain clothes. I had on a long-sleeved Merino wool shirt (we were heading back to winter conditions in Spokane) and a pair of cords. It's about as fashionable as I get. Oh well. I'm glad I was able to make her job a little bit easier.
Now I am back home, and we are in the midst of a snowstorm. It's hard to believe that just a few days ago we were surrounded by sunshine, palm trees, slot machines and the bright lights of Vegas. I'm so glad we were able to do this trip with my mom. We might not have hit the jackpot in terms of gambling, but we certainly did in terms of having a great birthday celebration!