It was Andrey's birthday this past weekend, and, as is tradition, about 30 of us gathered in Sin City to celebrate. And celebrate we did. To some of us, that meant staying out until 6 a.m. dancing at nightclubs or watching others... uh... dance on a pole or two. But to me, celebrating meant cocktails, a little dancing and then an early, by Vegas standards, bedtime of about 1 a.m. so I could be up by 9:00 every morning to work out at the Mirage gym and lounge in their spa facilities. Then we'd all spend several hours at the Mirage pool, as evidenced in the above photograph. Add in the fact that the July desert heat turns Las Vegas into a serious sauna, and you have a giant spa.
I did gamble a bit, too. I like the slot machines but really just regard them as expensive video games, as opposed to truly trying to win any money. To that end, I only play the penny slots, so I can minimize my expense. At one point during the weekend, I was up about $21 in my "video gaming," but when all was said and done, I had lost about $14. Ah, well.
One the highlights for me this year was definitely Friday night when Frances, Katya and I went to see The Beatles LOVE. It was amazing, to say the least. I was in tears throughout most of the show, which would be embarrassing, but I discovered that one of my fellow Andrey celebrants saw it last year, and he cried, too. So no shame necessary.
Saturday night was Mafia Night, and we all dressed as gangsters and their molls, representing mob culture from about the 20's to the present day. Here, Irina, birthday boy Andrey and I are decked out in our mobster finest. (To be honest, my costume looked a lot like my normal clothing, and that's because it was. Not that I'm any sort of a gangster in real life, but I have a couple of dresses that look 40's/50's-ish, and I figured one of them would suffice.)
On Sunday night we celebrated Andrey's birthday officially with a delicious dinner at the Palms Casino. A bunch of us went dancing after that, but Tom, Irina, Bill and I decided to hit the Imperial Palace for more gaming (lots of penny slots at the IP, my friends). And then Monday arrived, and I flew home in the late afternoon. But not before a last visit to the gym/spa, more pool time and a few more spins at the penny slot machines.
I could get used to a life of exercise, poolside cocktails and fabulous food and shows. However, since I don't gamble for real, I'm going to have to work a few more years before I can even dream of being able to afford such a life.
(Photos courtesy of David Piechowski. I brought my camera with me but really didn't use it, opting instead to take a few pictures with my mobile phone and upload them onto Facebook immediately. You can see them there, if you happen to be my "friend.")