Paul and I left on Saturday morning. We decided to stop at Acoma Pueblo on the way, spend the night in Flagstaff, then drive the rest of the way on Sunday.
We love the drive down 40 through New Mexico and Arizona. It's so beautiful with wide open vistas and the peculiar colors of the desert. It was actually very green. My father, who lives in Florida, would laugh at that. Green for us is a sage color grass that covers the desert floor.
The drive back to Acoma was amazing. There were huge red rock outcroppings that looked like they'd just been dropped in the middle of the desert. In the distance you can see all the flat-topped mesas. This is Indian land -- you can't take pictures without permission (which means buying a permit). You can feel the energy shift as you drive -- yeah, this is also sacred land. Spectacular.
At Acoma we visited their new museum with it's display of pottery. Acoma happens to be my favorite of the southwest pottery with it's black, white and orange geometric designs. Then we took "condense" tour of the pueblo, which mean we got to go to the top of the mesa and visit the old church. Our guide, Gary (who's real name I can't pronounce) was wonderful and filled us in on the history of the graveyard (you should see the view from the graveyard!) and the church. It's not a pretty history, but I'm not going to get into it here. I will say, however, that the priest built his church over the Kiva, the pueblos sacred ceremonial place. So yes, we were on sacred ground.
We had a wonderful lunch at the cafe there -- steak and shrimp for $10. That came with potato, vegies and desert. It was really yummy. I expected less -- you know, like cafes at tourist spots. Instead we had the chef coming out to check on us and see if we were enjoying our meal. It was great.
By the time we left, all the angst and tension I'd been carrying around from the time Paul was diagnosed with prostrate cancer to the time I went home for my mom's memorial service, had slid away. Sacred energy is like that. It grounds you. It helps you find peace.
So on we went to Vegas.
We stayed at the Flamingo because that's where we got married and we got a great deal for a great room. I really like the Flamingo. Paul went off to play in some poker tournaments and I turned on my computer to a) grade final papers of my Axia writing students and b) work on the Dark Shadows script. Five minutes later my monitor on my laptop went down! AHHHHHHHH. The hotel wanted 75 cents per minute to work on their computers. The great flat screen TV in our room had the menu feature turned off so we couldn't hook my computer up to it (though we tried, oh how we tried). Finally I had to face the fact that I wasn't going to get any work done that week, and I'd have to grade two classes worth of papers and finish my script in 4 days after we got home.
Bette Midler made it all worth it.
I had two role models growing up. Both were very strong women who went after what they wanted even though life seemed against them. Both of these women taught me to dare to dream and to actually go after that dream. One was Barbra Streisand. I got to see her in concert. I couldn't talk about it for 3 days without crying.
The second was Bette Midler. She sang The Rose. I cried. I love the movie, I adore the song. I even wrote the song into a Touched By An Angel script for Della Reese to sing. I love Della and her voice, but The Rose is a difficult song to sing. It's basically the same thing over and over. The singer has to make it interesting. No one does it better than Bette.
Her show was a bit like a vaudville act. She did her Delores the Mermaid and Soph the oldest Showgirl. Hilarious. But my favorite part was when she just came out on the stage alone and sang. God, what a voice. I cried.
Favorite line: When I started out my audience was on drugs. Now my audience is on medication.
Favorite moment: Bette sitting on the end of the stage playing the ukulele and singing to close the show. Of course she came back and did Wind Beneath My Wings. I cried.
Okay, so then we signed up to go to a timeshare presentation so we could get Phantom of the Opera tickets for $40. They had several shows you could chose -- one of the was Donny and Marie. I wanted to go to them but Paul nixed that! Just like he nixed Tom Jones (he wasn't there that weekend anyway). So we chose Phantom. At noon the day of the show Paul entered at tournament. At 7:30 I went to see Phantom by myself because Paul was still playing!
Phantom was amazing! The special effects, the voices, the dancing. I was totally entranced. When I got out of the show, Paul was waiting for me. He won the tournament! Whoo hoo. Worth missing a show for, especially since he'd seen it in London many years ago. We had dinner -- well they had dinner I had dessert -- with a husband and wife from London who were also in the tournament. They were great fun and we exchanged info.
Somewhere inbetween all this I went down to have dinner in the Flamingo by myself and met an older man in line (72) who was also alone. His friend had gone off with a women he'd met on the Internet. So Jack and I had dinner together. He was very interesting. From Nebraska (I don't think I ever met anyone from Nebraska before) he used to raise race horses. He never did the big circuit, but he did reasonably well. He also used to do long distance trucking. He'd just lost his wife in October and this was his first trip away since then. She'd been ill a long time, like my mom. And like my dad, he took care of her at home.
While we were sitting there, Paul called. He and his friend Pete (magician, poker player) had just lost their money and was on their way back. I told them they could join Jack and I in the cafe. "Jack?" Paul told Pete that I pick up strays. Hm. I guess. I just find people interesting.
Some tips. When going into restaurants, ask if they have specials which aren't on the menu. At the HardRock, the restaurant there has the 777 deal - Steak and grilled shrimp for $7.00. Yummy. Not every place has it, but many do. You have to ask.
Blueberry Hill has great breakfasts. It's not on the strip, but it's worth the drive.
On the drive home we saw antelope, deer and elk. It was a perfect end to a perfect trip. Except, of course, for my monitor. I think the universe just decided I needed a vacation.