We’re back from our west coast wanderings, a little lighter in the wallet, heavier in the gut, and out of spinal alignment (I’ll explain later). It was a super fun trip that had us planning our next one before we even boarded the plane home. Here are some of my favorite moments.
1. A common enemy
She came in the form of a US airways flight attendant who smiled sweetly while she chided us about coming late. “Do not check passenger in! It REALLY says that!” Then, still smiling, made an example of Danny for not removing his baggage tags from a previous trip. “Everyone! Please remove any past tags from your luggage!” She turns to us, “If these were left on here guess what the chances are they wind up in Vegas?” She stopped, honestly waiting for an answer. “Ummm,” Danny mumbled, “50/50?” I was pretty steamed at Danny too, until she called me “difficult” for boarding in Zone 4 when my ticket says zone 5 (I’ll mention here that it’s a twelve row plane). And so we began our trip on a good note, bitching about our common enemy.
2. Cirque du Soleil
I’m not a gambler. I don’t get it. This is possibly because I have never won anything and even if I did I would take it and run before I had the chance to amass a huge pile of it. I’m that family member on Deal or No Deal who BEGS the person to Take the Money!!! No matter what the amount is. So, Cirque du Soleil is what makes Vegas worth it for me. We saw Ka and O, both of which were amazing and left me wishing I could fly.
3. The Bellagio Spa
This was by far my most decadent splurge (remember this trip was replacing Japan folks). After trekking a mile to Slots of Fun in the desert heat, which feels exactly like a hairdryer blowing in your eye, and scarfing down a .99 cent hot dog over a dirty trough, the Bellagio Spa was like a dream. I felt like a C-list celebrity at an A-list resort. I hung out for a bit on posh couches with a glass of champagne, then I was led back into a low lit slate hallway that felt more like an ancient temple than a hotel on the Vegas strip. Wall sconces lit floor to ceiling fountains and Koi swam in pools tucked into corners. I got a soothing facial treatment and a hand and foot massage all to the magical pipings of a pan flute.
4. Six Flags Magic Mountain--this park is clear
We were on a mission. Ride every single roller coaster in the park. It was a pilgrimage really. If you’re a roller coaster junkie, it doesn’t get much better than Magic Mountain. I know every place says their ride is the tallest, fastest blah blah blah on earth. But after riding the ones at Magic Mountain, I really believe them. The newest one, the X2, features seats that rotate 360 degrees for a head-first, face-down drop. The Déjà Vu dangles you from ski-lift style chairs for a 20-story dive then through a vertical loop, a 110-foot butterfly and up the second tower to repeat it all—backwards. We accomplished our mission and then some. We threw in a Log Jam ride for good measure and rode the Tatsu twice. However, soon after our victory we realized we are 30 and not 18 and are still suffering the neck and spinal consequences of excersizing every demon at Six Flags.
It somehow escaped me that Los Angeles would have mountains. I’m not sure how I didn’t know that, but seeing the sun set over them in Santa Monica was among the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in my life. Throw in Pacific Park on the pier and you have a favorite vacation moment. Danny and I, despite our fear, got on the Ferris Wheel, mostly for the view. I know what you’re thinking (okay I don’t but just go with it.) The same Danny and Steph who willingly jumped out of an airplane and rode twelve terrifying rollercoasters in so many hours are scared of a…Ferris Wheel? Yes. Jumping out of a plane is not as scary as a roller coaster. A rollercoaster is not as scary as a Ferris Wheel. Discuss.
6. Soap Plant Wacko La Luz de Jesus
I could have spent all day and all my money in this place. Here are a few of the things I bought there: A cat butt magnet set, a Chicken Chucker that launches rubber chickens up to 15 feet, a “Lookin’ Good for Jesus” coin purse, and Liberace post cards.
7. The Hogwarts Express.
We got to take this on a green screen as part of our WB studio tour which in my opinion made the entire thing totally worth it. We also got to see tons of Harry Potter movie props. I practically drooled on the Marauder’s Map and nearly passed out by the Skiving Snackboxes. AND I got to put on the sorting hat (!!!) I was Slytherin. I know, I was disappointed. All my friends are in Gryffindor.
7. The Earthquake
We were in town just long enough to get rumbled around by faults deep in the earth. We were in the airport food court enjoying our California Pizza when it happened. It took us a second to even figure out what was going on. I thought the booth was being shaken and moved by the hyper kids on the other side and I was about to turn around in a huff when I realized it wasn’t just the bench shaking but the GROUND. I got the sensation of sliding a bit, like we were all on ice. And then it was done. I was surprised later when it was all over the news because it was such a small moment. Most people just looked around and said, “was that an earthquake?” and kept eating, including us.
Disasters natural and otherwise are par for the course on a Seguin-Gimenez vacation. Danny loses everything from cameras to cash, reads airline tickets wrong causing us to miss flights. (This time I got off easy, he only lost the credit card twice and left all his clean shirts at the Bellagio.) If Danny doesn't lose anything, it will rain the entire time and everything will be closed. But we like it that way, makes it more memorable.
So where to next???? Maybe a white water rafting adventure? Nah, too scary.