I am currently in Las Vegas, supporting Miss SD at the Miss America pageant. And eating. And blogging.
Well, Las Vegas is kicking my butt so far – my one word description of how I feel this morning is “puffy.” Got in last night a little after 1, and was probably asleep by 1:30 but then I was awake at 7:30, so I am hoping a nap is in store this afternoon.
I am pretty happy that the only thing I seem to have forgotten so far is the pair of tights that I generally wear with the skirt and top I wore together on Tuesday night.
I slept poorly Monday night into Tuesday, I had pageant on my mind and when I did sleep I had weird pageant dreams. So I was ready to get up and get on the road. I still had some packing to do, and rounded up a few additional things. I got done in time that I decided I had time to go to Jack and Grill for breakfast. I read my paper and had Huevos Rancheros – hash browns were not crispy enough, eggs and chile were good, but then I turned out to not be that hungry, but I did enjoy the home made tortillla and eggs. This would come back to haunt me when I was hungry on the plane.
Got to the airport and parked at Wally Park and got on the shuttle just fine. I had much more luggage than I usually have traveling for business – way more jewelry, support garments, and then at least two outfits a day. So I had one suitcase at 48 pounds and then a duffel bag full of shoes and etc, which was also heavy, so it was a relief to check those in. I thought I was still full from breakfast so I just grabbed a bottle of water for the plane.
From my observations at the airport: Travel would be much more enjoyable if all of my fellow travelers would 1) shower 2) not wear excessive smelly cologne or perfume and 3) appropriate underwear, please. That is all I am going to say about that.
The flight was fine, uneventful, and I had an empty seat next to me, which is practically unheard of in these days of full or overbooked flights. And then I started to get hungry, so I had to buy some Chex Mix. I don’t really get my money’s worth out of Chex Mix because I only like the Chex and the bagel chips, but oh well. And then it all got loose in my carryon bag, I have not even dealt with THAT yet.
Landed in Vegas – I had not rented a car in Vegas before, I was not aware you had to ride a bus for 15 minutes to get to the “on-airport” car rental facility. Got my car from EZ-car rental, I don’t know how much I will use the car this week but for $128, that covers a couple of taxi rides, and I have to pick up Ken at the airport on Friday, so hopefully it is worth it. The rental car place is just minutes from the hotel- the confusing part was finding the valet parking, which was kind of off on a side street.
I had read online that the hotels were now not letting you check in until 4:00 unless you pay like $20 extra – so I ditched my luggage with the bell captain, and headed in to see what rehearsal was going on at the theatre. The contestants were about to run through the opening number, so I got to see our Miss SD! She looked great. Found our pageant producer and watched the rehearsal with him and he gave me a rundown on the talent rehearsal he had seen that morning.
When it was 4:00, I checked in – I had also read online that it can be to your benefit to tip the front desk person who checks you in, because they are so rarely tipped, sometimes it can get you a good room upgrade. I think this was extremely correct in this instance – I think if the hotel wasn’t so booked up I would have had a mini suite, but since the pageant is here the hotel is pretty full. But for $20 and the simple fact of being nice and pleasant to the young man who checked me in, I got a room that is bigger, has a south strip view, and would normally cost $50 more a night. So that was well worth it. My luggage was up there shortly after I requested it, and I changed into LESS LAYERS and questioned my wisdom of bringing more sweaters than I originally packed.
The room was great – especially the bathroom, which is about the size of our bedroom at home. It has both a lovely glass walk-in shower AND a huge soaking tub. Now, we could probably fit a tub like that in our house, because it is deep rather than long, but it would be very bad for our water bill. Two full counter with sinks, lots of space.
Now by this point I was starving. Looked quickly on my phone for restaurants in the Miracle Mile mall adjacent to the, and decided that cioppino sounded good. It WAS good – kind of expensive at $31 but I don’t get to eat cioppino very often, so I seized the day. Made sure to concentrate on the good stuff first (the good stuff in my opinon) – mussels, clams, calamari and shrimp, and broth! Ordered it with bread instead of pasta, because the bread comes on top, the pasta sits there and soaks up all the good broth, and then you don’t get the broth. So that was actually a pretty quick meal and I had time to run up to the room and take a quick bath to rejuvenate a bit before pageant.
Several of us from the pageant met up down around the bar in front of the Planet Hollywood theater. It is always great to see everyone again. Found out as we were headed in that we weren’t allowed to use cameras in the theater (THAT is new, I believe) so I zipped up to my room to drop mine off. Sorry, Miss SD fans, only pics from the visitation afterward, hopefully the Miss A organization will post some from last night’s competition soon.
As the pageant has evolved over the years, the format has gotten shorter. They used to have production numbers and the whole shebang, and televise for 3 full hours. Well, tastes have changed, and American Idol happened, and so the talent portion has been cut to 90 seconds for each girl – when I competed, it was 2 minutes and 45 seconds. So that is quite a change. It is somewhat to the advantage of dancers, who can “leave it all on the table” in 90 seconds, and be really energetic, and to the disadvantage of vocalists and instrumentalists, who don’t have as much time to develop/grow a piece and show variation.
Miss New Jersey, Dena Blizzard (One Funny Mother) MC’d the preliminary competition, and she is outstanding. Very fine comedienne, good improv. She noted that there were some available seats in the front and she would be monitoring twitter, with her twitter handle “onefunnymother” and letting people whose tweets she liked move up to the front. Well, a good way to NOT get moved to the front is to tell her that she needs a spray tan and you could set her up. A good way TO get moved to the front is to tweet that you think she is a HOT cougar but you need to move closer to see.
Half of the talent competition was the first event of the evening, then swimsuit, then on-stage question, then the other half of talent, and then evening gown. In the first half of talent, I particularly enjoyed Miss Indiana’s baton routine, and Oklahoma’s tap dance. She had some really incredible spins.
Then swimsuit – I had South Carolina and TX circled as my two two swimsuits, but all of these girls looked fabulous.
Talents I particularly enjoyed in the 2nd half – Arizona with lyrical dance to Man in the Mirror, Florida’s ballet, Utah’s Chopin piano piece, and Alabama’s aria from La Traviata.
Evening gown – lots of white gowns tonight. Some bold moves – I liked Oregon’s dress that was like a mini skirt with a chiffon overlay with a slit – hard to describe but striking. NY had lovely, almost Grecian and very simple gown with a one-shoulder short off-the-shoulder sleeve that was stunning.
The preliminary winners announced at the end of the night (they only announce swim suit and talent) were Miss South Carolina in swimsuit and Miss Oklahoma in Talent.
Then we adjourned upstairs to the visitation, where you gather your state in a group and get to visit with your girl about a half an hour before the contestants are called back to rest for the night. It was great seeing Calista and she is having a great time. She has found a group of contestants she really enjoys spending time with, and they eat their meals together and have crazy conversations. We had 17 people there last night for the picture, with a few more folks who went home right after the show because they had been up traveling all day, so we had a great crowd!
Meredith, Miss SD Outstanding teen, and Calista. Look at those arms on that girl, she is in SHAPE.
After the visitation, we all decided we wanted drinks and something to eat – well, this is Vegas, we should be able to find that, right? Well, I wanted to go to Cabo Wabo and have a toasted coconut pina colada, and they were closed – this is kind of their off season, since they have an outdoor patio, so they shut down about 11:00. We wandered around, sent out explorers, and texted and called each other, and finally ended up at Planet Dailies in the hotel, where we could have a beer or some wine, and sandwiches or salads – my turkey club was not my idea of “exciting dining in Vegas” but it sure hit the spot at that point. Tonight I will try to do some research and see where we could go – but since it is only Wednesday, again, places may not be open that late. I will do some investigating and see. Some places in the casino are a little smoky, so I am trying to avoid that – it is something that you are just not accustomed to, with smoking indoors being banned in so many places now.
Notable fashion trends – since Miss USA won Miss Universe with a big bun on the top of her head, I am seeing a lot of that type of hairstyle. Also sighted last night, a skirt screen printed with Elvis. The King is not dead. He is on your torso. I do not recommend.
Oh, something else that I wish I would have remembered – a bigger bag that would fit my netbook better – I could buy a bag here but I have so many…actually it does fit in my purse pretty well, surprising. But I am dragging the netbook around to rehearsals, etc. It works very well – except for the lack of free wireless in the hotel. Trying to time things the best so that I get the most out of paying $14 for 24 hours of wireless in my room – so I am trying to get my blog post all set and the pictures all edited before I upload.
Thinking of my DH Ken and wishing he was here with me, he has grown into quite a pageant aficionado over the years and has judged several pageants, so he always has an opinion on things.