Well, it is a place I have been more times than I can count. When you work in events, life will take you there a time or two. Or a hundred. And that’s no joke. From a planner’s perspective, it’s cheap. Therefore, Vegas is one of the top destinations in the world to hold an event or trade show.When fiancé and I were dating, I had to take a quick jaunt through the desert over Thanksgiving weekend to meet with a vendor. He got a chit so he was able to go with me. In all my years of going to Sin City, it was the best time I had there.
We walked a lot. We ate a lot. We laughed a lot, and it was on the dance floor of Pure Nightclub we said I Love You for the first time.
This was hours before our first I Love You
Fast forward six months, if you will. As it so happened, one of the largest shows I manage overlapped with my birthday this year. I joked, “Why couldn’t they hold this event in the wine country?” It’s definitely more my style, but it was okay. Fiancé had a trick up his sleeve. When he and I first started dating, the first chit he secured was for my birthday! I was so happy to find this out and over the moon that we would spend my birthday together. He would come out on our Harley and we’d take the bike to do some rides then we would ride back to San Diego together. I looked forward to it for so long!The time came and I left to Vegas on a Saturday. Fiancé was meeting me there on Thursday – my actual birthday. It felt like it would be an eternity and I am always like an excited little kid my birthday week just counting down the days until I can celebrate!
I was in what we call our “war-room” – a makeshift office away from the office when, on Monday, I got the following:
Elated, I jumped out of my chair and immediately went up to the suite and hugged and kissed him! I was so excited. He had texted me earlier in the day he would be out metal detecting and I figured I hadn’t heard from him since he was in the mountains. The stinker!
While it was hard to know he was there in the hotel while I was working 15-16 hour days, it was awesome to know I was ending my nights with him, and he was able to go to a work event with me at Tao Nighclub on Tuesday night.
The crowd as seen from our “cabana” upstairs
On Wednesday, he went to dinner with me, a co-worker and a handful of people from one of our agencies. They loved him, naturally. Circo was nice, but the server took himself way too seriously and the food was disappointing given our expectations. Still, all of us had a great time and it was even greater because fiancé was there.
He was the first to wish me a happy birthday when I opened my eyes on Thursday. I am so grateful for that. After wrapping the event, I headed up and we changed for dinner and a show.
Dinner was at Nobu – a favorite of mine back home in Miami. The yellowtail sashimi with jalepeño was to die for. The drinks were pretty tasty, too. After a fair share of edamame, sushi and other delights, they brought me out a little treat and then we took off to The Venetian to see Rock of Ages. The first bit of the show was a little slow then it really picks up! What a fun time! We laughed. We sang. We laughed some more. I definitely recommend it if you’re into 80’s music.
Aw thanks, Nobu!
Waiting for Rock of Ages to get started
We strolled back to the hotel, soaked a bit and ended the night with some fabulous desserts my AV guy and his wife had surprised me with that morning from Jean Philippe Patisserie. Hey, it was my birthday. I could have dessert more than once! Did I mention they were FABULOUS?
These were even more fabulous than they look! Confession: we ate these for three days straight.
The next day, we got up and lazed around a bit then headed to the hotel salon for pedicures. Don’t tell anyone I gave fiancé’s secret away! The Color Salon was nice, but for what you get the pedicures are overpriced. We did the White Tea and Ginger. The woman who did my pedicure seemed to rush and barely massaged my feet or legs. I would not recommend this particular place. We headed back up to the room, put on our riding gear, grabbed our helmets and I was anxious to hit the road!We stopped at some of the Harley Davidson stores to get our pins, poker chips and a bunch of other stuff. We always go a little crazy in the Harley store! Then went out to RedRock Canyon. This is a great short ride off the Strip! After riding a bit, it was time to head back. We had stopped for Mexican food earlier in the day, so we weren’t too hungry for dinner. We spent some time in Memorial Day traffic (YIKES!) and had to rush a bit to get ready to see Absinthe. You lose time when you are out on the bike! I had read a lot of reviews and the show was very hyped up just about everywhere. When you arrive, if you have VIP tickets you receive a small bottle of champagne. We grabbed our beverages and squeezed our way through the magical phone booth into the tent for the show. I would say it didn’t live up to my expectations, though it was funny and the acts were very good, it felt as though they tried a bit too hard to be crass and shocking. It’s not an awful choice, but definitely don’t see this show if you are shy (they pick on people in the audience – all in fun), conservative or easily offended. I would have chosen one of the Cirque de Soleil shows such as Zumanity or Zarkana over this one and recommend others do the same.After Absinthe concluded, we decided to head to Gordon Ramsay’s Pub for a nightcap and a small bite then up to our room to unwind.
First stop for pins and poker chips!
Taking a break – do not forget to apply a lot of sunblock out here!
Waiting for Absinthe to get started (permission granted to use photo)
The next morning, we decided to ride out to Hoover Dam. Along the way we stopped at another Harley Davidson dealership for more pins and poker chips. Some people collect magnets. Others collect salt and pepper shakers. Harley Davidson owners collect pins for our vests and poker chips from all the dealerships across the world. That’s “our” thing.Hoover Dam was quite a sight! I am so glad we rode out there. Along the way, we met other people with Road Glides and motorcycles. We also stopped in and got some pins in the gift shop to remember our time there. Before we knew it, it was time to head back and get ready for dinner.American Fish was our last dinner in Vegas. Being that this is a Michael Mina restaurant, I had high expectations. The restaurant was lovely, but the meal itself was a bit of a disappointment. I think the chef tries to do too much with the spices and sauces and in that, really overlooks letting the actual food do some of the talking.After dinner fiancé and I strolled back to our hotel stopping along the way to buy some things for the girls. It was so fun to pick a few little trinkets out for them. I always think of them while traveling in hopes that someday we’ll be able to show them the world as my parents showed it to me.We stopped and hit a slot and I won a whopping $68.00! Hey, it covered gas, pins and poker chips haha!
There was packing to do, but we were a bit tired. It could wait til morning. And it did.
At Hoover Dam, on the Arizona side with Lake Mead behind us
I was very happy just looking at bridge from afar. A spectacular sight!
Posing and as close to that bridge as I was gonna get!
With my big win!
Our last morning, we packed up and were both ready to head home. Along the way back to San Diego, we stopped at Calico Ghost Town, explored a bit and had lunch. And of course, grabbed some pins! While there we met fellow HOG members (Harley Owners Group) from Belgium! I love Belgium and the Belgians and though my French is horrible and they didn’t speak English, we had a few laughs and took some pictures.
This is actually a different shirt and jeans than I had on at Hoover Dam LOL!
Making a new friend
We stopped at a couple more Harley Dealers and got back home around 1800 hours. We both sat on our reclining sofa and said, “Ahhhhh…” Sleeping in our own bed was wonderful that night.It’s hard to believe it’s already been three weeks since I had the 16th birthday doctors said I wouldn’t live to see. That has so much to do with why I countdown each year and celebrate birthdays with such fervor and glee. I always remember to give thanks because so many would have given anything to be in my shoes.There were flowers and cards in our suite, treats from the hotel and my co-workers, birthday songs and fabulous meals. Fiancé hit the nail on the head with my gifts, but the best gift was having him there. And that’s why there is no place in the world I would have rather spent my birthday than Vegas, baby.
This post has been added to the Sunday Traveler line-up. For great travel tales click here.
Military Jargon Alert! A chit is is a voucher used in the Navy/military for various reasons. In this context, it is used to get “liberty” – or time off. In certain areas if a sailor is going more than 300 miles outside of where he is stationed, it requires extra approval. The approval goes through a chain of command, and should always be turned in as early as possible to get the ball rolling. It is considered “denied” until final approval is given and signed off on.