June 22, 2006

A Quick Trip to Cultural Las Vegas

So I was just sitting at home today eating my leftover, meatless tostado, wondering why three days ago I thought that installing my own cable box was such a good idea because now it's not working properly. (It's not hard. Cable in. Cable out. Plug in. Now someone has to come look at it, and I should have just not been such a cheap ass because it's somehow still going to cost me $40 anyway--you just watch.) I was considering starting John Irving's Until I Find You, but I'm still kind of savoring Coupland's Eleanor Rigby that I finished yesterday.

Then my dear friend and former co-worker, Jodi, calls. Yea! She wanted to go to lunch, but wouldn't you know it? I'm eating as she's asking. But I can still go for ice tea and dessert, right? So, a little while later she picks me up and we go to our favorite place for cheap eats--seriously two people can eat prime rib for less than $15.00--drinks and tip included! But this was only lunch, so that's less than $10.00.

After we finished, Jodi got a wild hair to go to the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens at the Bellagio. I've heard their seasonal displays are beautiful, but I generally avoid The Strip. In fact, when I do go there, I often feel like I'm on vacation visitings some strange, gawdy, touristy hell. Crazy, huh? Considering I live a straight shot 1o-15 minutes from The Strip, depending on traffic... So, uhm, yea. We go from a way-off strip cafe in low-budget casino to the Bellagio.

And it was beautiful! This season's theme is a sort of rail journey through America. It's very woodsy and folksy. It smelled nice. All green and blooming. Oh! And the building reproductions were just amazing! I could have just wandered around there all afternoon, but there are a lot of tourists with cameras, so that takes away from of the magic.

The Conservatory is right off the main hotel lobby which features Dave Chihuly's Fiori di Como. Now, flowers and plants are nice, but I could look at some pretty, shiny glass--especially Chihuly's work--all day. More like gawk is what I'd do, though. So, while people are busy relaxing and checking in at the lobby, I am just standing there trying not to look like such a dorky, gawking tourist. I don't know why, though. Probably because others weren't. I don't know why. It is just so...so...I can't even describe how wonderful his work is, and Fiori di Como is freakin' huge!

After I did some nonchalant gawking, we wandered on down to the art gallery to see what was going on there. Ansel Adams: America. Jodi wasn't too thrilled by Ansel Adams, but she decided it might be enjoyable after all. I was quite pleased because I love photography, and he's like a god! It was inspiring to see his wide range of work, and now I really want that new digital camera I've been hinting about for my birthday. It was kind of funny--I'd look at some of the pictures and think, "I've been there." One picture I thought, "That looks like Mono Lake." In fact it was Mono Lake. Oh how many rolls I've shot at Mono Lake, and none of them look half as beautiful. Man! He had the magic! In the end, Jodi did enjoy the exhibit. It's very meditative.

This lovely, relaxing, cultural afternoon might float me through some boring days this summer. And I am just pleased as punch that I learned something new in this crazy city that I usually hate to admit I live in.

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