I came home from walking Wales two weeks ago today. It was an astounding trip in every way, the landscape -- walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Trail, above and alongside the sea - was so beautiful as to be surreal, the people lovely (I especially like that every Welshman calls every woman, "Love"), and the company, Deborah Reed, the very very best. I do not exaggerate when I say we laughed for hours every day, and have a meeting of the mind and heart in ways seldom found. I adore her forever. Bonus: she introduced to Helen Smith, who was the very best hostess, putting us up in her lovely home in London, where we ate and drank and gabbed and dried our dirty hiking clothes outside on the line, after washing them in Persil, which smells so wonderful I am considering having some shipped from the UK.
When I arrived home, Din said, "I need to get away for a few days." I had barely landed when we were taking off this past Tuesday for Las Vegas, a quick trip bought on Hotwire for a ridiculously low price. The hotel, the Vdara, has no casino and thus is calm and quiet. Perhaps because it was a Tuesday, the gal at the lobby desk upped our room to an executive suite, essentially, an apartment, with a kitchen, a washer/dryer, and two bathrooms, one about as large as a New York City studio. From the bathtub, one can look over the city and to the mountains, which I did, not caring if people in the high-rises next door could see me naked.
"Who cares?" said Din. "People are funny about that stuff."
"Exactly," I said. "It's not like they haven't seen breasts in Vegas."
"Well, not real ones," he said.
We did see many unreal ones, including a pair, on a linebacker-shaped woman, so large they were crowding up into her neck. We saw her on one of our several walks along the strip, walks that are accomplished these days along a series of walkways connecting the casinos and malls, walkways crammed with people taking pictures and other people selling water, with people scavenging for change and other people playing violin for same; people handing out nudie flyers and working girls and girls dressed as working girls and tourists drinking drinks out of 24-inch colored plastic cups shaped like phalluses. There are many languages being spoken as from every wall ads flash for shows and luxury goods and loose slots and big steaks. Every building's surface is plastered with a famous someone's face, 70-feet of Gordon Ramsay, Donnie & Marie, Celine. There were no birds anywhere. There are many homeless, some of the men looking like castaways. And every few yards there is the smell of sewage, drifting up from the sidewalk in hot waves, bathing you, coating you, so that you soon feel you have been rolled in the sweat of others, and even the swimming pool offers little refreshment, because in the pool are dozens of people, drinking the big drinks and farting out the buffet they ate for dinner and the other one they had for breakfast.
We had buffet too, once. It came with the room. I advise against it.
So much for the icky part. There is also the beauty, of downtown Las Vegas, in the process of being revitalized by Zappo's Tony Hsieh. We ate at Eat, and it's wonderful. Ditto, La Comida. We saw my beautiful former sister-in-law Sandra and her husband, and had a very good meal at Lotus of Siam, and yesterday, met Rodney Muirhead and Elizabeth Montes for lunch at Milo's, in the Cosmopolitan. Get the Greek yogurt dessert, which is not like the Greek yogurt you get at the market, it's so extraordinary we all spooned and oohed and aahed and made the waiter tell us where it's from: Four Brothers. This, too, is something I am considering having shipped in.
The best thing about being in Las Vegas was being with Din; that is always the case anywhere and every day. The second best thing were the motels on East Fremont.