Monday, February 13, 2012

Vegas Wedding


We are at our usual spot behind Paris Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada (map). This is the gritty underside of the Las Vegas Strip, just a block away. From here we can't see the replica Eiffel Tower, but we can see most of Montgolfier's Balloon, and we can also see the Spa Tower at the Bellagio across the strip and about 2/3 of a mile from us.

Our good friends Stephanie and Martin were married in their suite in this very tower yesterday afternoon, and we could see Odyssey from their window. It was a short and very personal ceremony and we were really happy to be there. Including the happy couple there were just eight of us, plus the officiant and photographer. After the ceremony we had a short limo ride around the strip, stopping for photos at Caesar's, New York, and the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, all in homage to decades of tacky Las Vegas weddings. The newlyweds also decided on a brief stop at Odyssey for a photo op here as well, much to the amusement of the limo driver and photographer. Of course there were also plenty of photos at Bellagio and including Paris in the background.

After photos we all went to see "O," the Cirque du Soleil water extravaganza that has been running at Bellagio since the resort opened over a dozen years ago. This is a spectacular show and I have always wanted to see it. The reality of our life on the road, however, is that we never had enough of a commitment to specific dates here in sin city to order tickets ahead of time. Unless you are a hotel guest at the Bellagio, last-minute tickets are all but impossible to get. Martin and Steph treated all of us to best-in-house seats center orchestra for the performance, which we enjoyed immensely.

In keeping with the circus theme, we all ended up at Circo restaurant in the Bellagio for dinner last night after the show. This is an upscale Italian eatery and the food was excellent. We then tried really hard to stay up past midnight to celebrate our friend Linda's birthday today, as the whole group had an 11am flight back to the bay area this morning and we knew we would miss them. Alas, after a long day we pooped out around 11:30pm and made our way back to the bus.

That, by the way, turns out to be a walk of just under a mile by the shortest route, as it is impossible to get anywhere in Las Vegas in a straight line. We ended up walking down service alleys most of the time, which are straighter than most -- if you go through a building, you will be forced to take a circuitous route through the casino floor, a carefully crafted strategy in this town. Most of the time we had a walk of over a mile back and forth to the bus, so we really got our exercise over the last two days.

We landed here Saturday afternoon after a pleasant drive from the Hacienda in Boulder City. We did stop off at the truck wash next to the TA on Blue Diamond, where $50 got us a decent but not perfect hand wash, undercarriage spray, and spray wax. The bus is cleaner than it has been in months, and we got most of the salt and hard water off it that had accumulated in Florida. We were secured in quarters here by early afternoon, and the presence of three other rigs and a handful of trucks gave us some confidence that parking was still tolerated here.

We met up with the wedding party right here at Paris Las Vegas for cocktails before settling on Spago over at Caesar's for dinner last night. I typically find these celebrity-chef venues to be over-hyped for what they are, but Wolfgang Puck's restaurants always satisfy and this was no exception. Fortunately the portions are reasonably sized.

That was good, because we all met for brunch yesterday at Jasmine in the Bellagio, and, as we are fond of saying here aboard Odyssey, buffets are all you can eat, not all you should eat. It might have gone without saying that we all stuffed ourselves -- I had breakfast, lunch, high tea, and dessert all in one sitting. It was excellent, though, probably the best Sunday brunch in Las Vegas.

Outside of the ceremony and the limo ride, it feels like we've done nothing but walk, eat, and drink since we arrived, and not enough walking, at that, to offset the amount of eating and drinking. So today we have had a day off -- we pretty much have not left the bus since we got up. At some point we will stumble outside and find dinner -- someplace casual this time, maybe at one of the smaller venues off the strip, such as Ellis Island right across the street from this spot. We pretty much don't have any dinner items left in the bus, since we'd been expecting mostly to eat out with friends here.

Speaking of which, our good friends Ben and Karen will be arriving in town this afternoon, and we are scheduled to connect with them tomorrow. They are here until around the 22nd, but the schedule is fuzzy, so we're not sure how things will shape up beyond tomorrow. We're not really comfortable staying here in this spot for that long (although there is a rig here that looks to have been here quite a while), so one thing we may do is hunt around for a parking spot a bit closer to where they will be staying.

Photo by fensterbme, used under a Creative Commons license. We'll post photos from the wedding when we get them from our friends.

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