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June 29, 2005: Sisters Weekend - Part 2

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Saturday night we had two shows scheduled. The first was the Folies Bergere at the Tropicana, which we decided was mostly a big waste of time and money, with the notable exception of a little interlude in the middle put on by this self-deprecating man who did amazing feats with juggling balls, and who had the ability to reduce the entire audience to tears from laughter. And after the Folies were over we wandered around aimlessly for a little bit, and then headed back to the Excalibur, to stand in a line of extremely rowdy women so we could go see the Thunder from Down Under. This was in a room where the acoustics were almost painfully loud, and we were in the back of the room, and by the end, with the constant exposure to smoke throughout the day, plus the noise and the smoke from the stage, I had a splitting sinus headache. But still, this was definitely worth the money, because, well, wow. And if some of us maybe got to pet one of the performers at some point during the show, well, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and that is all we need to say about that.

I knew I wasn't going to get much sleep over the weekend, but still, that didn't stop me from tossing and turning and even doing a little swearing all night Friday night, before finally giving up. I'd brought along my lace shawl I'm knitting, because I figured I'd have lots of time to work on it in the wee hours of the morning, and I wasn't wrong. I think I finally gave up on Saturday morning at about 4-ish, and dragged a chair into the bathroom so the light wouldn't bother my sisters, since knitting in the dark isn't something I've mastered. And Sunday morning I gave up and dragged some extra blankets into the bathroom and I was so exhausted I managed, somehow to fall asleep on the floor. I think eventually we are going to have to figure out some sort of solution to the no-sleep issue for our trips, because the older we get, the less able we are to shake it off. But this year, ah well.

Saturday and Sunday we spent, mostly, walking. Saturday we wandered between all the casinos that were fairly close to the Excalibur � the Luxor, Mandalay Bay, the MGM Grande, and New York, New York. The Luxor is the one shaped like a giant pyramid, and we all decided that having a room on the top floor would not be very desirable in that one � it felt more and more claustrophobic the higher you got in that hotel. Mandalay Bay is big and fancy, but it amused us that of all the casinos, this was the only one where we couldn't find a quarter slot machine anywhere. I guess if you're going to gamble in Mandalay Bay, you are supposed to be rich enough to be using dollars.

We saw the lions on exhibit at the MGM (and a pair of lion cubs wrestling, all wide-mouthed and wide-eyed) with each other. We wandered the M&M store down the street, just to see what the big deal was � four floors of paraphernalia decorated with M&M characters, and an entire wall of every color of M&M they have ever made. I paid an exorbitant sum for a pound of dark chocolate peanut M&M's (which are absolutely divine and which I can find absolutely nowhere around home), and we watched a goofy 3-D movie all about how the red M&M had lost his M.

On Sunday we drove down the strip did a lot more wandering. We saw the gardens and the arboretum and the amazing musical fountains at the Bellagio, and came rather swiftly to the conclusion that the Bellagio � a hotel where all the restaurants seemed to sport signs saying that gentlemen had to be in coats and ties and where all the shops were the sort where one might pay an entire car payment for one pair of snooty shoes � was lovely, but absolutely out of our price range.

We wandered around the Mirage and saw the dolphins and the white lions and the white tigers, and a few other cats lolling around in the shade and being very lazy, which is typical behavior for any cat, no matter how large and striped they might be.

We got airbrush tattoos for the sole purpose of taking a picture of all of us with our new body art and sending it to my mom without telling her they were temporary, just to shock her. We allowed ourselves to be talked into getting pictures taken where they cropped our heads off and put them on top of three showgirl bodies, and I have decided that this was a far easier way to lose weight and get in shape (at least for a picture) than silly exercising and diets. We went back to the midway and won more stuffed dragons (because they really were pretty cute), and ate at Coldstone Creamery for lunch.

We did so much walking over the weekend � from casino to casino, and all around inside them. By Sunday afternoon we were all pretty much dead � too much walking, and not much sleep � and the constant noise of people and slot machines, plus the constant and pervasive cigarette smoke, was really starting to get to all three of us. So we ended up going to the airport early. Three hours early, to be exact. We�d hoped maybe there�d be earlier flights to take, but none were to be had, so instead we found a quiet spot near the gate, and collapsed right there on the floor. My sisters read books and I worked on the lace shawl, and between the three of us we managed to finish off a majority of the junk food we still had (although I did tuck the remainder of the dark chocolate peanut M&M�s in my little sister�s bag when she wasn�t looking).

And then it was time to go. I put my very last dollar in a slot machine as my older sister and I headed for our gate (alas, it was a lost cause), and we boarded a plane that, while just as crowded as the one we flew in on, was mercifully free of obnoxious men in red shirts. We landed at Sacramento and as I walked off the plane I took a deep breath and there wasn�t even a hint of cigarette smoke anywhere to be found, and that, more than anything else, made me glad to be finally home.

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