The stars aligned. It wasn't over our actual anniversary, that's coming up in May, but Ian had the vacation days, spring break had kids out of school, my parents were willing to take them all, we had points for the flights and Ian got a great deal on hotel. We left Saturday evening, returned Wednesday morning and the between times were just for the two of us.
We had few actual plans. Ian purchased tickets to Penn&Teller and we had a date with the Sunday afternoon Washington Capitals game, but otherwise our days were wide open.
No chores, no cooking, no laundry, no squabbling, no errands, for three solid days.
The spa tub in the room was the icing on the cake.
Oh, and the food.
Wow, Las Vegas has some great food. From our first meal at midnight (after a 7 hour delay in our arrival... our flights were purchased to arrive at 2 p.m., the airline changed them to arrive at 6 p.m., our flight was then delayed for 2 1/2 hours while we sat on the Dulles tarmac with no food), to our last one on a "Paris" patio across from the Bellagio fountain, we were surprised by the quality of the food. Even the Del Taco we had one lunch was surprisingly good.
Yes, we spent a lot of time on food. On Sunday game day, we occupied a booth for three hours at the Sporting House Bar & Grill.
Donning our Caps jerseys proudly, we heard many times a "Go Caps!" as we passed people, or "You from Washington?" Sadly it was the one game in the series the Caps lost to the Rangers, but no one picked on us for that either. In fact, I wonder if there was a single true New Yorker staying at the New York, New York casino? I doubt it, it would be like a Parisian staying in "Paris" and that's just silly. Like everything in Las Vegas, New York, New York is a fantastical, condensed and somewhat mocking rendition of the real thing.
So what did we do with the rest of our time? Aside from the Penn&Teller show (which we highly recommend)...
...and our copious amount of eating, we walked. We walked a ton. We visited as many of the hotels as we could, from the Mandalay Bay to Treasure Island. Our feet hurt and had blisters. Granted, I hadn't picked the best shoes because I didn't want to pack an additional pair so I picked comfortable yet dressier. Not a good choice. Eventually we took some trams to give our feets a break. We also picked up tickets to three activities ("Bodies" at Luxor, "CSI: The Experience" at MGM and the "Shark Reef Aquarium" at Mandaay Bay) and Ian got himself into a poker tournament. Of course we lost some small bills in random one-armed/buttoned bandits.
What we didn't do? We didn't go to any risque' shows. Zumanity plays at NYNY but was dark our available nights. We didn't take up any of the corner pamphlets on their offers. I didn't strip down to a bikini with a sheer cover-up then strap on 4 inch heels and head to the street. We didn't drink alcoholic liquids out of hollow plastic guitars equipped with straws. We didn't dress up as the cookie monster or storm troopers. We didn't take up smoking. We didn't get tattoos.
Wow, it sounds like we didn't take up Sin City on any of its "fun opportunities"! My goal for this trip was to spend some quality time with Ian, and I think that was a mission accomplished. I did require one romantic outing and gave Ian three options. See the "Phantom of the Opera," take a gondola ride at the Venetian, or something else I'm blanking on but was equally sappy. We took the gondola ride and met Marco, our gondolier. He had a definite accent but I couldn't figure if it was affected Italian or heavily Americanized Italian. It turned out to be the latter. He's direct from Naples, came to the U.S. for school at UNLV, got his Bachelor's in Music and has been gondoliering for the last 10 years. He was sweet and took his serenading job very seriously. Sap that I am, it was a highlight for me. I'm sure Ian has different highlights. Probably that picture of him and Penn up there. But that's what it was all about, we had time and plenty of patience to do whatever the other thought would be fun. CSI was great for both of us and it was one of the times the kids came up. They would have really enjoyed seeing the scene, collecting data and reaching their conclusions.
All of it was peripheral to spending time with Ian. We needed that time together and were lucky to have it. He's an amazing person and I love him dearly. He is my rock.
And next time, for probably our 20th Anniversary, it's my turn to pick.
We're going to an island and spending a week on the beach. At least there any little bikinis and frosty drinks will belong, right?