----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire: Return From Hedonism

The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire

Meet Astera (aka: me), a star in her own mind. Our plucky little heroine has embarked on not one but two difficult, low-paying career paths: writing and acting. Witness the menial jobs! The unreasonable demands! The quirky friends and family! And the glimmer of success just ahead! Through it all, Astera maintains her core beliefs: 1) She is destined to be fabulous 2) Everything is more fun with a cocktail.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Return From Hedonism

I have returned, and I am none the worse for wear, although I am a bit lighter in the pocketbook. The only person who won money on this trip was my underage brother. How unfair is that? But I only gamble in moderation, so I only lost about 80 bucks.

It was a fun trip, although it was quite obvious that the company had a bit of an off year. No trips to the spa, no big expensive group dinners, no late-night partying. Well, okay, some late-night partying, but not as much as last year. And we still got to see a couple of shows. We saw two Cirque du Soleil spectacles--"O" at the Bellagio and "Ka" at the MGM Grand. "O" was just as stunning as when I saw it several years ago, but as for "Ka"--save your money. Honestly, it was no good at all. It was just boring. Cirque du Soleil is, of course, famous for its daring acrobatics. This show had fantastic set design, but very little in the way of acrobatics or gymnastics. It was mostly like interpretive dance. Yawn. Many in our party slept through the whole thing.

Here are some things I would highly recommend: Diego, a Mexican restaurant in the MGM Grand, flying America West instead of Southwest, and feasting upon the buffet at the Bellagio. At Diego, they make delicious margaritas and prepare guacamole at your table. I know that it's a gimmick, but here, the guacamole is actually an art form. It was so delicious! As for America West, it's still a low-cost airline with few frills, but you get an actual seat assignment in advance, thus eliminating the ridiculous lines that people form an hour in advance of their scheduled flight time on Southwest. So irritating. And on America West, you can upgrade to first class for 50 bucks. Bigger seats, more legroom, free drinks, and a more delicious snack. In coach, you only get roasted peanuts. In first class, you get sesame sticks, pistachios, almonds and cranberries, all in a little foil pouch that's specifically designated "first class." Also, you get to speed through check-in and the security line. The buffet at the Bellagio is a bit pricey, but it's worth it. I am always suspicious of buffets, because while they may have a lot of food, it's rarely good food. The Bellagio is the exception to that rule. They had sushi, fish, soups, salads, pastas, Chinese food, roasted meats and a vast array of desserts. And on Saturdays and Sundays, they have breakfast foods, too. De-licious.

We had a wonderful room at the Bellagio that directly overlooked the dancing fountains. So pretty. On Friday morning, we woke up and looked out over the "lake" to see snow! Craziness. Also, I loved the deep soaking tub, but I wish it had the Jacuzzi jets. I think you have to stay in a suite to get those.

Perhaps the most amusing part of the weekend was our trip back from "Ka" to the Bellagio. We were part of a big group and someone had arranged ahead for a car so that we wouldn't have to wait in the massive cab line. Well. The car turned out to be a bright yellow 30-person stretch Hummer, complete with leopard print, disco music and a light show inside. My mom was with us, and she loved it! I felt slightly dirty after riding in a Hummer, though. They are not cool, people. They're just big, dirty, gas-guzzling behemoths. Don't let the dazzling light show seduce you!

That's about it for the Vegas experience. We saw some very cool emerging technology at the CES show...more on that later.


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