VIVA LAS VEGAS
I never thought I would like Las Vegas, back in a time when I didn’t understand casinos, the games, the way it all worked, and just how glamorous they could be.
This wasn’t our first time in Las Vegas, but in some ways, it seemed like an age since we were there last; yet, when the iconic strip rolled by outside the windows of the Bellagio limousine, the rush of familiarity melted the time away.
Inside the lobby of The Bellagio, everything was exactly as I remembered–Chihuly glass gleaming above, piano music spilling over from the corner bar at the entrance to the casino, and the casino itself, hardly changed at all except my eyes were drawn to the Blackjack tables instead of the flashing lights of the jangling slots.
A quiet glide to the 22nd floor brought us to our penthouse. With the push of a button, the heavy cream curtains drew back revealing the stellar view of the surging fountains below.
As I walked across the marble-floored entryway, I knew that spending a week in this room would probably not feel like enough. We hadn’t even unpacked yet, and I was already dreading the day we would have to leave Vegas. I try to live in the moment, but odd as it may sound, I somehow find the future always pressing at my back.
GORDAN RAMSAY’S PARIS
That evening, we dressed for dinner at Gordon Ramsay’s Paris where we planned to rendezvous with a couple who happened to be in Vegas, too.
Unfortunately, K’s tailored suit pants (that he had failed to try on before we left) were alarmingly too short, which led to a scene of frantic frustration and a mad scramble through the suitcase because anything—practically anything—would be better than having to wear those ridiculously short, ankle-length pants.
Once he settled on a dark pair of jeans to wear, we were able to laugh over the vision of him walking through the casino, in slow motion, confidently waving and nodding to dealers and pit bosses while his cuffs swished around his ankles.
We were exhausted from the long day, but laughter combined with the sparkle and din of the casino was like a shot of adrenaline. Our dinner in the soft red glow of the curving booth was delicious—particularly the sticky toffee pudding served with liqueur-filled chocolate covered spoons.
Although we had planned some non-casino activities to break up our time in Vegas, each day, we slowly eliminated each and every one, preferring to spend our days casino-hopping and relaxing in the room.
The days blended into nights, and I quickly grew accustomed to donning evening wear and heels that carried me from table to table, the hours slipping heedlessly by—time merely an…almost…meaningless number left over from some blurred past.
Having only somewhat recently learned how to play Blackjack, the feel of the large purple chip in my hand was thrilling—I carefully let it fall into the depths of my beaded bag, loving the satisfying clink it made with the colored varieties already lingering there.
One week in Vegas—the dealers all seemed shocked by the thought.
“That’s a long time to spend in Vegas…what else do you have planned to do?” they would ask.
I would say that we had additional activities planned, but I knew it was mostly nonsense. We didn’t even finish watching the “O” show. We did, however, take time to tour the Faberge exhibit.
Our tapas at La Cave, decadent sides at STK, mole and margarita’s at Javier’s, melt-in-your-mouth steak and fish at SW Steakhouse, and late night dinners at Mon Ami Gabi served as the restaurant standouts for the trip.
Although the view from our room was stunning, and the Bellagio fountains were clearly visible below, they lost so much of their strength and impact from that aerial vantage point.
Dining on the terrace at Mon Ami Gabi reminded us once again of the scope of the fountains—the booming elegance of the surging water, swaying to the music clearly heard above the din of the strip.
Although I wasn’t exactly sure how I would enjoy spending 7 days in Sin City, the trip was rewarding—monetarily speaking as unbelievable as that may sound—but in more subtle ways as well.
What I thought would be memories of noise, smoke, and chaos are actually memories of quietness—a sense of calm–late afternoons spent drowsing on the chaise lounge in the window, watching the planes take off and land, one every few minutes like a silent, silvery parade.
Mornings spent nestled in the emerald green cushions, sipping coffee and catching glimpses of those passing planes.
Standing in the darkened room in a black dress and bare feet, sipping the last remnants of a cocktail, wondering at the flashing scene below me…wondering how many days before I was the one on the plane, and someone else was inadvertently seeing me go.
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