Thursday, August 28, 2008

We saw Baby Tigers!

When we arrived at Siefried and Roy's Secret Garden (& Dolphin Habitat), they made us stand together in a big group so they could explain that the animals are part of a research and rescue project. They do not make the animals perform regular shows (dang...that's why I bought my ticket!). Instead, "you MIGHT see trainers working with the animals at unscheduled (and UNANNOUNCED) times throughout the day". That was it. Then we were free to walk around and randomly catch the animals doing stuff.

Like this...

This was Sgt. Pepper and his friend (some other Beatles reference that I can't remember now.)

I don't know what was going on with this one. The lady kept flipping it over and pulling it out of the water. At one point she even got out a measuring tool. Our guess...the dolphin was about to pop out a baby. We didn't stick around for that. It was too hot to stand around for what may (or may not) have been live dolphin birth. We were on a hunt for baby tigers!

This was the only "awake" white tiger we saw and I was truly grateful for my 10x Optical Zoom camera. Any closer and I probably would have peed my pants.

This guy looked like my old kitty, Norm. But, like a gianter version with huger claws and teeth. Nice kitty...

BABY TIGERS!!!  These guys were wrastin' and runnin' around all crazy. Here's some video that I shot (hopefully...If I did it right):

This guy kept jumping up in the tree and then falling off. It was hilarious. Baby tigers are so dumb. I guess that's why they have to grow up and eat people...teach them a lesson. It's rude to laugh at baby tigers.  They don't like it.

"Oh,'re so I'd love to make a coat from your dirty, smelly, matted fur..."

Seriously, what's the appeal of these guys? I don't get it. Are they llamas? Are they camels?  This one looks sort of like a mountain goat. 

WHITE LIONS!!  A WHOLE MESS OF 'EM!!  (I mean...a pride.  It's a "pride" of lions, right?) I'm sure they could rip my head off, but they look SO much less intimidating all splayed out on the ground.

This guy even looked sorta one of Martha Stewart's Chow Chows. (that's right. I read Martha Stewart. I know all about her pets. She is my God.) 

This guy had his eye on an alpaca...and I think he also wanted to kill this little boy who kept "roaring" at him. I know I did. 

I am a very sleeeeeepy killing machine...

Pretty bird. A little too close to the killer jaguars and white tigers if you ask me.

We could not resist. You put a cardboard cut-out of Siegfried and Roy (straddling a white tiger) and you're gonna get this. could buy tickets to the NEWEST show in Las Vegas - Seigfried and TROY!!

Maybe most people just wanted to go to the gift shop. We saw a completely different opportunity that day. Sorry Siegfried and Roy. You asked for it...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Phantom of the Opera!!

So here it is, the whole reason we decided to visit Vegas in AUGUST!!! Seeing Jason go on as Raoul in Phantom of the Opera! And he was incredible!!!! He was on stage virtually the whole show - singing his heart out and completely blowing our minds. I mean, we knew he was a good singer - we'd heard him before - but every single one of us sat in that audience without words to express just how amazing he was. Production value was through the roof. It was (by far) the most thrilling theater experience I've ever had. (And I've seen CATS!)

Just poking around the front of the theater, trying to make it obvious that we know a guy.

It's just not every day that your next door neighbor performs on stage in Vegas! (as something other than a topless Jubilee dancer)

We're so excited we can hardly stand it. In fact, I didn't post any pictures of me because my smile was freakish. I was entirely too excited to smile normal. (I looked like a coked out Hollywood socialite, fresh from the plastic surgeon's wasn't pretty!)

Here we all got to pose with the super star after the show. can sort of tell how deliriously excited I am. Apparently I show a LOT of TEETH when I'm happy!!

Just checking out the Venetian - which was GORGEOUS! This guy is actually singing at the top of his lungs. The couple in the boat seemed un-impressed. Which made me wonder why they felt the urge to go on a boat ride in the first place. It's Vegas, baby...they're gonna sing to you!

Mom and dad - who have been to actual Venice, but found this experience equally delightful.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Out and About in Vegas

Bright and early, The Westhoffs and the Claycamps headed out to see more of Vegas in the daytime:
We found a pretty fountain in front of our hotel for pictures.

A nice lady asked if we would all like to be in the picture. Then we accidentally purchased a time-share from Tahiti Village. Note to self: When someone begins a conversation with, "are you guys married? Is this your first time in Vegas?" it's not going where you think it's going.

M&M world, right across from our hotel. We didn't go in. In fact, I don't even think we crossed the street the entire time we were in Vegas. Hmmm...that MIGHT have been worth it.

MGM Grand - with REAL lions inside!

New York, New York. I became sort of obsessed with this hotel. I don't know why.

More New York, New York.

...and more New York, New York. (It must have been the architecture. And the roller coaster. And the huge statue of liberty. And the fact that it was all condensed in to one digestable city block. Real New York is sort of overwhelming, I guess.)

The Strip to the North (maybe?).

(which would make this) The Strip to the South (possibly?). It was hot. I was disoriented. And I suck at geography.

Excalibur! All I could think about was the Last Comic Standing challenge where they had to dress up like jesters and entertain a crowd of flag-waving, "mead" chuggers. I had to go in.

How did they KNOW?

Ryan got sucked in to some sort of moving sidewalk situation. As he pointed out later, they make it MUCH more difficult to LEAVE the casino. This one took him inside, seemingly against his will.

I won! I think?

If I could upholster any door in my house with red patent-leather, I totally would. But I don't have any doors this gigantic. And on the other side, there probably would not be any naked dancing girls. (I said, probably)

It's my love of typography...I couldn't help it.

Jason's house

On Sunday afternoon, Jason invited us over to his house for a cook-out and pool party. It was so sweet. He even made brownies for us. We got to spend some time with Tom and Marci too (Jason's parents) before they headed back to KC. After lunch, Jason showed us the Wii and I think that might have been a highlight for me. Just to watch Marci bounce around and cheer when her little player hit the ball. And! What a natural! I don't have pictures of the Wii sporting events, but here are some pictures of Jason's sweet digs. (A far cry from that roach-tastic apartment in Manhattan where his toilet flushed itself the whole time you were in the shower.)
The living room.

The dining room (with many yummy things set out for eating.)

The newly remodeled kitchen.

A super-crooked picture of the open-bar window situation. (in the cooler months, those windows slide open so you can serve food and drinks to your guests outside.)

The office (where we played Wii)

The zen garden between the living room and office. So cool!

So we didn't actually go swimming, but Jason also has a swimming pool. A much needed accessory in Nevada. MAN it's hot there! Did you know it's a desert? Whose idea was that?

The Fremont Street Experience

Fremont Street was awesome. I call this section "The Lights of Old Vegas" because we could see how amazing it would have been back in the Sinatra days. Men in suits with "dames" on each arm. Fewer street vendors making spray-paint art. We could also see how it would be really cool at night, but we got there around 5:30 and did our best to stall. The light show started at 8:00. Unfortunately, we were all starving and we wanted to have dinner on the strip.

I'm sure it's really nice...everything in Vegas just screamed "classy".

See that? Hot dog AND a beer for only $.99! Lady Luck, indeed!

This is Vegas Vicky. She represents the world's oldest profession (making men believe you really like them so they'll give you money).

This is Vegas Vic. This is where he hangs out when he's not eating IHOP.

Troy and Ryan were in the "Old Vegas" spirit. They found a kiosk with hats. Unfortunately, they were fresh out of EXTRA ENORMOUS size.

Whitney got in the spirit as well.

My sexy husband and the largest hat he could find.

Mom, Dad and the Golden Nugget.

It's true!

I was actually really disappointed that we didn't stop. It's the world's largest gift shop! How could that NOT be awesome?

The Stratosphere, as seen from the back seat of our mini-van.

Where Tupac got shot.

The strip...again, from the back-seat of a mini-van. I'm sure people would pay big money for this photo. It's so clearly awesome.

The Flamingo

Sunset over the mountains. And it was still 100 degrees...but pretty.