Saturday, February 24, 2007

Vegas Vacation, Part Two

OK, where did I leave off? I don't think I finished Day Three. Eugene and I had dinner at a nice restaurant in our hotel. Then we walked around the Strip for a bit. We wound up at the Belliago again so Eugene could view the Ansel Adams exhibit for himself. I wandered around and played video games while I was waiting for him. We finished the night by playing The Simpsons and eating sorbet.

Day Four

Wouldn't you know I'd wake up feeling sick again? I've heard of some women having morning sickness throughout their pregnancies, but I'm still inclined to think it was too much food. It wasn't as bad as before, but I skipped breakfast with Eugene and spent the morning resting. By afternoon, however, I was feeling better and decided to go around a bit. The weather was gorgeous, so I'm glad I was able to get out. I took the monorail to the Mirage to see their dolphin/big cat exhibit created by Siegfried and Roy. The trainers there interact with the dolphins, but they don't put on a scheduled show the way zoos or aquariums do. I watched them for a bit, both above and below water, before checking out the other animals. They were quite active for the middle of the day; in particular, there were two beautiful white lions, both male, that scratched trees and played with each other. I'm not the photographer Eugene is (and my camera has significant shutter lag), but I still got some shots I was happy with. There were also white tigers, black panthers, and leopards. I picked up some stuffed animals and gradually made my way back to our hotel to meet up with Eugene.

We took the monorail over to the Hilton (I think it was the Hilton) for dinner and the Star Trek exhibit. By the time we found a place to eat, it was a bit late, but we were still able to see the exhibit. Mostly it was a timeline of Star Trek's future history and artifacts from the show. There were also exhibits devoted to the aliens. The experience ended with a simulated shuttle ride; the premise was that the Klingons had kidnapped us from the 21st century in an effort to seize one of Picard's ancestors, and the Next Generation crew had to return us to our time. They had some neat effects; the ride started with us lined up in front of some doors, then the lights went out. When they came back on, the doors were gone. Unfortunately, due to my pregnancy, I had to skip the actual shuttle ride, since the motion was too violent. That just meant I went down to the gift shop right away. I picked up something for the baby and an autographed of Nimoy; Eugene bought a tribble to add to our stuffed animal collection. We then went to Quark's for chocolate fondue. An Andorian was wandering around, but he left before we could take a picture of him. Eugene still found ways to take pictures of Oscar with aliens.

Day Five

Today was the highlight of our trip: a visit to the Grand Canyon. Eugene skipped the last day of lectures for this. We set this up through a tour group that picked us up from our hotel. (Unfortunately, Eugene forgot his jacket on the bench; we weren't able to recover it later.) We met up with others at another hotel before boarding a bus to take us to an airport outside of Vegas. From there, we flew in a puddlejumper to the Grand Canyon. En route, we passed over the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. In setting up this excursion, I'd tried to take my condition into account and find a trip that wouldn't strain me too much. One thing I hadn't thought of, however, was that small planes are more subject to bumpiness than bigger ones. The flight was a bit rough; I was holding onto the seat with one hand and my belly with the other. Baby A didn't seem to have any problems, however.

When we finally landed at another small airport, we picked up lunchboxes and boarded another bus. It took us to a spot on the South Rim. We had about 45 minutes to walk around, take pictures, and visit the gift shop. It was colder than I expected; there was still snow on the ground. I felt bad for Eugene, but he wouldn't have fit into my windbreakers. The views were amazing, however. After we were done at that spot, the bus took us to a second stop at Bright Angel Lodge. We took a few more pictures and bought more things at the gift shop. Eugene replaced his jacket; I bought some Native American crafts. By this time, the sun was setting, and we had to go back. We did see an elk, but I wasn't able to get a good photo from the moving bus. The flight back was much smoother.

We arrived back at our hotel after 8:00. We didn't finish with dinner until about 9:20, so afterward we hoofed it over to a restaurant we'd noticed earlier in another hotel. This restaurant, the Chocolate Swan, has been featured on the Food Network, so of course we were determined to sample its wares before leaving Vegas. The treats were well worth it!

This was our last night in Vegas, so after our chocolate, it was time to pack. I'm amazed we got all of our stuffed animals into our suitcases!

Day Six

We had a mid-afternoon flight back to Chicago, but we got to the airport well ahead of schedule. Given how busy security was, that was probably a good idea. I did get my first pregnancy comment from a stranger, so I'm definitely showing. (At least no unwelcome belly rubs were involved.) Other than that, the flight was uneventful. We arrived in Chicago before the storm, luckily. It's not the best welcome back, but at least we weren't stranded anywhere.

We're poorer in cash but richer in memories. I doubt we'll be taking any more vacations like this for a while, so it's good we were able to take one now.

I have too many pictures to post on the blog, so you can view some of them here.


Russ said...

Looks like you two had a great time! Glad you made it back before the weather kicked in.

The Dear Nyer said...

Wow, it sounds as if you had plenty to do and see while Eugene was "working" :) I am glad you two had a nice time together.

Sheila said...

Sounds like a great trip! I can't wait to go to Vegas in July. Looks like there's so much to see and do! Love the pictures too!

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