Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Case for the Vacation: Las Vegas, the Hard Way

Hello dear readers! I have returned, as promised, and not a moment too soon. I have to admit that there are a lot of things I'm glad to have missed - like, say, Master P replacing his son on Dancing with the Stars - but all I can think about right now is how glad I am to be back here.

First up, Vegas. What else can I say? BEST. CHRISTMAS. EVER. (Okay, so every Christmas gets better with my family, but bear with me on this one.) Not so much because of Vegas but because I got to spend it with my entire family... which I have to admit was far from relaxing, but worth every moment nonetheless. Especially when it came to shopping, which in our case meant hitting the outlet centers and the shopping malls for last-minute Christmas gifts.

As I am typing this, however, I am still recovering from a brutal bug that I seem to have caught during my trip; I already had a sore throat by Christmas (when we stayed up all night and ended up in Downtown Las Vegas for the Fremont Street Experience - which I think is quite pretty, BTW, and underrated) but didn't get worse until our flight back to Honolulu. For the next few days after that I was down with a fever and had to take meds for my flu-like symptoms. Seriously, it's so easy to underestimate health issues like this while you're traveling, but for some reason it was even worse for me due to the combination of the weather, the smoke-filled (and recirculated) casino air, the crowds (hello, lobby of the seriously overrated Wynn, where the overriding theme is "Steve Will Always Have More Money Than You") and the possibility of not getting enough nutrition from all those bambucha buffet meals.

(Then again, as my brother noted, all of us adults at the table seem to have made fewer trips than usual at the buffet. He thinks it may be a dietary thing, or something that comes with age - metabolism and whatnot - but my sister adds that this may be because half of the offerings on the entree line looked abysmal to begin with.)

The sad part was that all the poor, unhealthy habits did show up on my face eventually, and now my face is completely chapped. It is true: If you don't take care of yourself on the inside, it's definitely going to show up on the outside - and in my case, the face is always the first to go. As I bundled myself on that couch seat during the flight home, trying desperately to stay warm without coughing, I cursed myself for not bringing enough vitamins, forgetting the Airborne, and feeling like I haven't done enough to keep myself healthy.

(And, oh yeah, did I mention that I nearly threw up after one of the rides at Star Trek: The Experience? Not because the ride was horrible, though.)

That said, I can't hate on Vegas too much; even with the crowds and the second-hand smoke and me not getting lucky with the one-armed bandits, I still have a soft spot for the place. The bargain shopping is tops (Las Vegas Premium Outlets, especially - even L'Occitane has an outlet here!); watching Cirque du Soleil and hanging out at the Bellagio never gets old - really, that grown-up playground atmosphere is just a change of pace for me, and I can't help but love it. And any city that plays hilarious videos of Lance Burton and Carrot Top going through airport security while you're waiting in line can't always be that bad.

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