Welcome to the blog of science fiction author Eileen Rhoadarmer--where science fiction and Mommyhood collide!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Vegas, Baby! Vegas! and Moab, Baby!

My husband and I just got back from an adults-only, recharge the batteries vacation to Vegas and Moab!  This is the reason for my long absence, as I didn't have time to schedule posts before we left.

It was the first time our son has spent the night at another house without us--in fact, it was the first time we left him with somebody else for more than a few hours--yet this didn't stop us from making this first time last for five nights (mostly because this snuck up on us and we didn't have time for a dry run.)  Luckily, our son is very easy-going, and he's very familiar with his grandparents, so we got through the trip without any nervous breakdowns--on any of our parts. It was bittersweet, watching my mother-in-law drive away with my son in her backseat, and I did come close to crying (though I tried not to, so he wouldn't get upset) but I knew that I was heading off for some much-needed time alone with hubby. I wondered whether, seventeen years from now when I watch my son head off to college, I'll remember the day we first left him with somebody else and feel a familiar pang of seeing my baby go away.

Being away from him for a week has really made me appreciate how big he's gotten.  I swear he grew while we were away! ...although maybe it's just that it's easy to think of him as a baby when he's not present.  He learned some new words while we were gone (truck, beep, stick, all right, and Grandma and Grammy.)  It was uncanny to talk to him on the phone and receive appropriate responses:  "Hi son."  "Mama."  "Yes, it's Mama."  "Hi."  "Are you having fun with Grammy and Grandpa?"  "Uh huh."  "Are they feeding you cookies for breakfast?"  "...laughter..."  Since when can he carry on a conversation?  Since now, I guess.

Despite the separation pains, I was very glad we chose to leave our son behind. I couldn't help but feel sorry for most of the kids we saw on the Las Vegas Strip--especially those conked out in strollers at 11:00 at night. It was nice not to have to worry about keeping track of him and keeping him out of trouble, plus (apart from the m&m store) there wasn't anything we did that would interest a small child. There are some places in Vegas that are more family friendly (and we made note of them for when we have older kids:  New York, New York has an extensive arcade along with the roller coaster, and the Flamingo has got an awesome pool) but Vegas really is an adult's playground.

In the novel I'm working on, I'm imagining a Vegas-like resort orbiting the Earth, and I was joking to my husband (after consuming part of a monstrous Eiffel Tower drink) that we needed to stay longer so I could do more research.

A special we took advantage of is the Buffet of Buffet's pass from the Harrah's line of resorts. They offer a 24 hour buffet pass good at any of their buffets. The price is $45 full price or $40 if you're a member of their gambling program, but we got an even better deal. It was included in the hotel price, and averaged us about $30 per person (based on the price of the room without the buffet pass.) And for that price, we actually got four meals out of it.

We started with a late breakfast at the Paradise Garden Buffet in the Flamingo, which had a good breakfast selection and offered views out the window to their wildlife habitat. For lunch, we went to the Spice Market Buffet at
Planet Hollywood, which was, by far, the best. (Technically, we got there just as they opened for dinner at 4:00 (I told you our breakfast had been late) so I don't know what their lunch spread would be like.) They had an excellent array of foods from several ethnicities, all well-labeled and well-organized, but the best part was the crab: Alaskan King Crab which was cut up the center, so there was no tedious cracking and extracting to get to the delicious meat. It's safe to say that we stuffed ourselves silly.

In fact, we weren't all that hungry come dinnertime, but we didn't want to miss out on getting the best value for our pass, so we headed over to Le Village Buffet in Paris. This buffet didn't really impress me much. It was decent, but not worth the 30 minute wait to get in (someone who got there at a more "normal" dinnertime told us their wait was 45 minutes.) The part that annoyed me the most was that very few things were labeled, and with a nut allergy, I can't afford to eat the yummy-looking tortellini that looks like it might have pesto sauce without knowing what it really is. They had crab too, but it wasn't opened like the crab at the Spice Market, so we were glad we'd already had some for lunch. The best part about Le Village Buffet was the crepe station, where we got delicious crepes made to order. It was quite a food-filled day, and it made me understand why gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. In fact, I felt almost hung over for about a half hour the next morning, which was odd considering that 1) I've only had one hangover in my life (and yes, I've had too much alcohol more than once, I just don't get hung over) and 2) that I'd barely had any alcohol that day.

But we weren't quite done. Since our breakfast was late on Monday, we had an earlier breakfast at the Emperor's Buffet at the Imperial Palace before leaving the next morning. They were spread for brunch and didn't have as many options, but it was good for a quick meal. We both ate much lighter the second day, because we just couldn't deal with that much more food. Buffets are nice once in a while, but considering that we tend to eat too much at them because we want to sample everything, having four in the course of 24 hours was just too much.  It was a good deal for the money though, and a good way to sample the various hotels and restaurants.

It was fortunate that the second leg of our adventure was to Moab, UT where we spent a day and a half exploring Arches National Park. I think the hike up to Delicate Arch (THE arch, the one on Utah's license plates) probably burned off most of the extra calories. It was bizarre to be in two cities that are polar opposites. We arrived in Vegas at about midnight and it was almost impossible to squeeze the car through the crowds walking past the parking entrance off the Strip, and the casinos were hopping. I have to wonder what time everybody starts going to bed in Vegas. After 13 hours in the car, we were in no shape to find out for ourselves.

In contrast, it was also almost midnight when we arrived at our hotel in Moab (we got a late start driving because we stopped to visit with an old friend of mine who lives in the area) and the streets were dead. I got the impression that the man who checked us in had been asleep for a while before we buzzed him. It was quite different.

We spent a full day hiking around Arches, seeing some awesome sights. We also went back for a short hike the next day. I wish we'd had a bit more time and a chance to get more off the beaten path (away from the rest of the tourists) but I'm sure we'll get back again within a few years. Once our son (and possibly another child) gets old enough to do some hiking, Moab would be a good, shorter road trip to take and see some neat sights.

We were sad to see our freedom disappear, but it was good to get back to our son. One or two phone calls each day just isn't enough when I'm used spending nearly every waking moment with him in earshot.  He was very happy to be home (he danced all over the driveway and tried to play with everything) and we were all happy to see each other again.  According to my parents, he was calling for us more frequently during the last day, so it looks like we timed the end of the vacation just right.  He even asked me to sing more when I was putting him to bed, and that warmed my heart!

1 comment:

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