On day eight, we left LA and took an obvious detour on our way to San Diego. LAS VEGAS. You can guess who masterminded this side trip – – just a mere five hours in the opposite direction we were heading. Each way. But really, who complains about Vegas!? Mid-week rates are especially low, and we got a great deal at both the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino and the Hard Rock Hotel. But for the room and amenities, the Hard Rock wins hands down. The room was beautiful and the pool… well, I’m sure you’ve all heard about the pool. If not, just Google “Rehab at the Hard Rock.” To my sincere disappointment we arrived in Vegas on a Monday, so no Rehab party for me. I had to settle for Michael re-telling his stories from a couple years back. I’ll have my own stories someday.
And guess where we stopped for lunch on our way east? Again, if you know us, this was HUGE. This place is the one and only reason I will miss Bellevue, WA. Din Tai Fung Dumpling House serves the greatest juicy pork dumplings on the planet. And sauteed broccoli with garlic, and Shanghai rice cakes with shrimp. We were stoked they had a location in Arcadia, CA, just northeast of LA. On each visit, we order enough for a four-person family. And each visit, we just about finish it all. No shame in our game.
Useless knowledge learned from this Vegas trip? Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville sells flip flops. For the same price as a nice steak dinner. As the Vegas gods would have it, the strap broke on my sandal right in the middle of the strip. But now how many people can say they have shoes that not only have a colorful parrot on them, but an almost tempurpedic-like cushion as well? I’m a lucky girl.
Here are photos from our stay at the Hard Rock Hotel on day nine (not a whole lot to show you from the MGM). To toot my own horn a little, I proudly sat at my first Blackjack table on this trip. Typically a “slot slut,” (ah Vegas trip ’05) I have never felt comfortable playing at the tables. But I held my own! With help from Michael and a number of very kind dealers. Will wonders never cease.
I was craving sushi that night, but since I was ballin’ on a budget this trip, places like Nobu and RA weren’t really in my price range. So we decided on a little sushi place across the street from our hotel, Kaizen Sushi, which had gotten pretty good reviews. The restaurant had a cool set up and the sushi was decent, but the sushi/asian ceviche appetizer we got was a-mazing. I’d go back just for this.
After dinner, there was some more gambling. And whiskey. And me playing tourist in a city I hadn’t been to in years.
It might have been the most tame Vegas trip either of us had been on, but then again, nomadic life for the entire week prior had us pretty exhausted and eager to get to our new SD home. So on the morning of day ten, we were headed toward our final destination.
Timing is everything. Not a half hour after we’d pulled into town, our moving truck arrived. After hours of unloading, and dealing with some unexpected hassles, we were able to sleep in our own bed on night ten. That was happiness.
Ten days, four states, 2,000+ miles. We made it. And we can’t wait for visitors.