Sin City

They don't call it Sin City for nothing. Even I was a sinner, I confess. I had a bad attitude. I kept chiding myself for it and tried to look on the bright side. The bible says "In everything give thanks", but I couldn't do it. I just couldn't be thankful for the accomodations, for starters.

Let me tell you about it. Tom had to be in Vegas for a conference in between business trips to Arizona. So, instead of facing the weekend home alone, I decided to pack up the girls and meet him there. We had decided to stay at the Tropicana. It is conveniently located on the strip, and even though it is probably one of the oldest hotels left, it was really something in it's prime (or so they say..... In fact, Tom remembers his folks really loving it there.) That didn't sound so bad, and for around $70 a night, it was pretty reasonable. After dragging our luggage through the casino, up the elevator, down a long hall, down another long hall, past a few cigarette smoke smelling rooms, we arrived at ours. It was big! And it had a balcony! And.... no sheets on the beds. And the beds were a bit small. That's okay.... except the carpet is really dirty.... and so are the bathrooms... is that soap scum on the counter? And HAIR? Tom calls the front desk, "My wife says this room is just not acceptable". (He blames it on me. The gall!) "Do you have anything else"? They reply, "Well, we would be happy to upgrade you to a delux room for just $30 more a night." Apparently the $70 rate did not cover maid service. Tom did kindly remind me that I was a bit spoiled. After all I had just stayed a night that very week at the Ritz Carlton in Pasadena, CA. My expecations were a tad high. So, with my chin up, we packed up and went back down the long halls, down the elevator, through the casino (everything funnels through the casinos in this town), up another elevator, down another long hall, and to our new delux room. The room was clean. I'll give it that. The beds were hard as rocks. And small. So was the TV. Oh well. I tried to remind myself to see the world through the eyes of a child. They were delighted. The hotel had a POOL!!!!

It is good to look at the world through the eyes of a child. They were wide-eyed with delight at the whole experience. When we sought out the closest restaurant, they didn't mind at all that their $10 kids meals were greasy and tasted like cardboard. The pool and the M&M store. That is what life is all about.

See Sarah looking up adoringly at her sister? She wants to be just like her and copies everything she does. 2 seconds later she smiled at me and held up her bag of M&M's. My shutter timing wasn't so great.

I couldn't hope noticing how everyone dresses in Vegas (or doesn't dress, rather). The skimpier, the better, apparently. I didn't notice this until I was looking at these pictures later, but even the green M&M is showing a little too much leg.

I would have had an adorable picture of Abby just like this too, but seconds after this picture is shot, Abby's bag splits open and M&M's cover the 4th floor of the store. Oops.

Good thing Mom and Dad are really nice and let her get more. Nothing tastes like pink and purple M&Ms.

Posing with Daddy and the M&M's Nascar.

Notice the robotic alligator in the picture above? It isn't a great picture, but this is Sarah trying with all her might to make distance between her and that alligator. She didn't like it a bit when it snapped it jaws. Her reaction generated quite a few chuckles from the crowd.

However when we saw the very real lions (yes, this close...that is his nose) through the glass, she didn't even cringe. They were sleeping and looked all soft and cuddly.

I had made reservations at the fabulous Thai restaurant that Tiffany and Tawnya and I discovered, and I was really looking forward to eating there again. It was the one that got me hooked. But even that wasn't quite as good as I remembered it. Maybe my taste buds have refined (after all, since then I've hit nearly every Thai restaurant in Salt Lake, and my favorite one at least 4 or 5 [or ten] times) or maybe they were just having an off night. In any case, I was really starting to wonder if it was all me.

Now that we are back home, I've reflected on the trip and I've decided that I AM thankful for these times that really make us appreciate the finer things when we have the opportunity to experience them. They make the sweet times sweeter. And no matter where we were, I was happy to be with my family and see their joy. Tom moved over to the Mandalay Bay where his company was putting him up during the conference. He sent me an e-mail today with some pictures to assure me that there is a good side to Vegas. Marble counters, fluffy beds, clean carpet... isn't he sweet to remind me that Vegas isn't all bad? Or is he rubbing it in my face? :)

Mike and Amanda, we thought several times about looking you up, but the weekend passed in a quick flurry and we didn't get it done. How I wished we would have now because we surely would have left with fond memories. Next time we won't the the opportunity pass us by!