Friday, February 23, 2007

Vegas, Baby!

Again this year, I attended the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas. Since Mark and I hated to miss Becky's birthday again, we took her with us this time. The NBA All-Star Game was in town, so the New York New York and MGM Grand mascots wore "East" and "West" jerseys and the casinos and streets were even more crowded than usual. Because the MGM Grand was overbooked, they put us into a studio at the MGM Signature condo-hotel. We had a gorgeous room with kitchen, flat-screen tv, internet connection, and huge bathroom with whirlpool tub and tv! From these swank digs, we explored the MGM Grand, the Strip, and Fremont Street downtown.
Sunday night, we got dressed up and went to the Bellagio for Cirque du Soleil's "O." It wowed the two of us for a second time, and Mom enjoyed it every bit as much as we'd hoped. We then took in the Bellagio conservatory. Most of the major casino/hotel properties had beautiful Chinese New Year decorations, but the Bellagio conservatory was the most elaborate. Sadly, we didn't have the camera with us, so you'll have to take our word for it.

Monday we went to the Flamingo's hotel's wildlife habitat. It was a rare rainy day in Vegas, but the birds didn't seem to mind. There were flamingos (naturally) and other exotic birds, but one of Mark's best shots was of this mallard duck. His buddies had all flown over this waterfall in chase of a female, but he stayed behind, enjoying the rush of water.

We also saw Caesar's Palace and the Mirage volcano before catching the double decker bus to Fremont Street. This street downtown is the home to the original casinos, and has an overhead canopy with milllions of LED lights that forms the world's largest "big screen tv," with shows hourly. This was something Mark had to see.

Tuesday, we explored Circus Circus, where Marcus Hook met up with one of his old pirate buddies, and somehow they knew it was Mom's birthday. Then we got dressed up for Mom's birthday dinner at Postrio at the Venetian. We had an amazing meal and caught up with my classmate Sara, a veterinary ophthalmologist who lives in the area. After dinner, we took a gondola ride through the Venetian. Our gondolier, Gino, serenaded Mom with "Happy Birthday" in Italian. It was a whirlwind trip, but we really enjoyed sharing it with Mom.