Missing family

I have been traveling with my boyfriend around the world since October 1, 2008.  Lil Dave (the monkey) is writing a blog about all of our travels.  So check it out!  I should have posted that last year but didn’t.

I decided to write about my thoughts on backpacking.  I’ve had a lot lately.

I knew I would miss my family.  But, I seriously miss them A LOT!!  I miss playing with my nieces and nephews the most.  Ivan calls his parents on Skype a lot and writes them e-mails.  So, I know it’s partly my fault since I don’t call my parents nearly enough.  I do write e-mail though to my brother, sister and sister-in-law.  It’s just hard being away from them.  I know they’re doing good.. just wish I could see them!  I recently took a nap this afternoon.  I dreamt I was back home and visiting my family.  It felt so good to see them!  I’m going to try to call more – so I won’t be so homesick.

I feel out of the loop with everybody.  I have no clue what people are doing lately.  I try to write some people – but it’s hard writing everybody.  I just wish they would fill me in more on what’s happening.  I know when I get back, I’ll hear many stories.  And I know people will ask what I did on my RTW trip.  I just encourage everybody to read the blog.  That really shows what I’ve done.

Spinning, Good Food and Games

The girls from work wanted to do the Stripper 101 class at the V Theatre on August 2nd. The people who were planning on going were me, Rainee, Marie, Michelle and her mom Debbie. Rainee had to cancel at the last minute since she was going out of town. I invited my friend Alisa. She had to cancel as well. I tried to get Charisse to go, but she couldn’t make it. Michelle invited her friend Tabby. Tabby and Marie cancelled because they both didn’t feel well. Stripper 101 is a class where an instructor teaches you lap dance moves and moves on the stripper pole. I met Michelle and Debbie at the V Theatre at the Miracle Mile Shops located in the Planet Hollywood Casino & Hotel. I picked up the tickets and then went to the store to get a Monster energy drink. I was tired, so I needed something to wake me up. The tickets came with a free drink. Michelle and her mom each ordered a slushy margarita drink. We had to a sign a liability waiver. We went inside at 6 pm. It’s located in the back room. We walked in the back of the V Theatre. At the time there was the Fab Four Live show going on. The room was dimly lit and all the chairs were facing backwards to the stage. I thought it was weird that there wasn’t much light in there.. but it’s supposed to be dark like a strip club. All the girls straddled the chairs. The room looked full. There was a few bachelorette parties and Debbie was celebrating her birthday. The instructor’s name was Kindra. She worked in strip clubs for 10 years, so she had a lot of experience. The first part was learning different moves on how to give a proper lap dance. Michelle and I kept laughing because we were supposed to be sexy and touch our bodies. It was hard to hear the instructor since the show was loud. Also, a few Mexican women kept talking loudly. The instructor was funny. She was great at showing us the moves. There was a good move that had a roll, a snap and a hip dip. I forgot the name, but I remember how to do it. We got pictures taken if we wanted to do it. Debbie and I declined to do the individual picture. We wanted to do the group picture though. Michelle took a nice individual picture. The room was pretty loud. All the girls were having a great time. The next part, we learned two moves on the Stripper pole. The first was the squat spin. It was actually easy to learn. The second move was called the Fireman’s Spin. Basically, you have your hand high on the pole and you go around the pole. Then, you throw your outder leg onto the pole and it makes your legs spin down the pole like a fireman. It’s sooo much fun! I kept doing it because I enjoyed spinning around so much. It made you dizzy though! Kindra told us we would get a certificate with our Stripper name on it. She gave us a list with suggested Stripper name. We checked out the list. Debbie picked Elektra. I liked Jasmine. Michelle came up with Vixen. Kindra asked how many x’s she wanted and she picked three. We also got to pick up a page with general notes of the class and a fortune cookie. It was a great class. You get to learn, laugh and be sexy. It’s a really fun class. It’s perfect for bachelorette parties.

How did the fortune predict I would have fun at the class?

How did the fortune predict I would have fun at the class?

We checked out our pictures. Michelle’s individual picture was really cute. The group picture wasn’t good. We didn’t end up buying any pictures.

On August 3rd, Maria was having a birthday party at my parent’s house. Maria is the daughter of my brother and sister-in-law. She was turning 2 years old.

Maria is such a girl!

Maria must put on her make-up

My mom cooked a lot of food. There was chicken and pork BBQ and of course, her famous shrimp tempura. Kara brought salad (she makes awesome salad!), 10 layer dip (my brother made it) with chips, strawberries with cream and chocolate chip cookies. Charisse made brownies. Kara’s mom, Karen brought her delicious signature dish baked ziti. There was so much food! I ate so much baked ziti. Karen knew I loved her pasta and told me to save some for later. I’m glad I did! I ate way too much food! Everything was so good, I kept eating more. There was a lot of people there that I haven’t seen in a long time. My brother’s friends Scott & Stephanie, Dennis & Kelly, Rocco and his wife and Joseph came. It was greating seeing Kara’s family – her mom Karen, dad Richie, sister Dena and grandma Mimi and Uncle Kim.

Me, Kara & Karen

Me, Kara & Karen

Maria & Maya chilling on the pink chair

Maria & Maya chilling on the pink chair

There was a bunch of kids in the house at one point. The kids always seem to entertain themselves by playing games and running around.

The adults were playing board games. They played Apples to Apples for awhile, which is always fun.

Playing Apples to Apples

Playing Apples to Apples

Maria opened her gifts and wanted to play with the toys.

I played one round of Apples to Apples. My brother, Arsenio asked if we wanted to play another game. He brought Balderdash and Sequence as well. I suggested that we make two teams and play Cranium Wow. Cranium is so much fun because there’s a variety things you do. It’s a long game though. I like when you draw with your eyes closed, sculpt different things and act like characters from popular culture. It was cake time. Maria didn’t blow out the candles though.. Kara did it for her. She had a cute Dora cake. The kids were all playing the Wii at this point. I had a great time at the party.  There’s more pictures from the party on Flickr.

I was at work on Monday, August 4th.  I came back from break to get my iPod.  I usually take a nap on my break so I listen to Ocean Surf to help me relax.  Brandon says there’s a surprise for you.  He covered my eyes and took me to the surprise.  It was a fruit basket.  I’m like who is this from?  It was a lovely gift from Ivan.

How sweet!!  I took it home and shared it with my parents.  The fruit was soo delicious.

Jam-packed Weekend

I met Alisa and her sister Beazus at Stratosphere on July 24th at 11 pm. It was Beazus’ birthday.

We were going to the nightclub Polly Esther’s. Alisa’s sister was in town for a few days. I invited Charisse. I told her to bring a friend if she wanted to. She was running late, as usual, since she had to pick up Victoria. Alisa had a friend who had a hookup with the club. Charisse told me she invited Joseph and he was going to be there soon. So, I thought we were going to get in for free and the wristband (for the $40 all you can drink for the whole night). Alisa met up with her friend (I forgot her name) and she had a friend with her. Alisa’s friend had a friend at the door so he waved us in. I told him my cousin Charisse and her friend were coming as well. He said it’s fine for her to come in for free. We went inside. I love the Brady Bunch display where you can be Alice in the middle square.

Alisa’s friend was talking to her friend about the wristbands. We went to get money for the wristbands since we would have to pay. We figured we’d get one $40 wristband and then just buy drinks for the other people. We go back inside the club. It turns out the wristband was going to be $20 each and we had to buy five of them since we told them how people we had in our party. Joseph (the guy who changed my tire) met us at the club with his friend. He was going to buy one wristband. I was a little peeved because I thought it would be free or we’d only have to buy one. The guy who was selling it was being a jerk. Alisa kept apologizing. I know it wasn’t her fault since she didn’t know. I was just mad at the situation. We find out that we only have to buy two wristbands since Joseph bought one. Alisa and I bought one. So, Charisse finally arrived with Victoria. We told them that we’d buy them drinks and they could just pay the tip for each drink. We were at the bar waiting to get served. The lady at the bar ignored us and kept helping all the men. I was mad. I said just coz we’re not a guy, this stupid lady (I know I said something more colorful haha) isn’t serving us right away. I was in a bad mood. It was great to finally have a drink. I got a Blue Hawaiian. I just needed to relax.

We danced a lot. It was a mix of pop, hip hop, 80’s and rock. The DJ was playing some good songs. Beazus met a cute guy and they were chatting all night. Victoria also met an Irish guy. It was a great night. Alisa, Charisse, Beazus and Victoria are all so fun. Alisa’s friend was so standoffish all night. She looked really manly in her shirt. Charisse had a hat on. Random people kept wearing her hat.

Charisse & an Australian guy wearing her hat

Charisse & an Australian guy wearing her hat

I kept trying to take the hat back. I was thinking I hope she doesn’t get lice. Hahaha. Charisse was trying to find Victoria outside of the club. Joseph and I went to meet her. We were thinking about getting some breakfast. It was 4 am in the morning. We went to the Stratosphere cafe. Thank goodness for 24 hour cafes. I invited Alisa and her sister to go. Beazus actually needed to get to the airport by 5 am. Charisse, Joseph and I went to the cafe. We were waiting for Victoria and the Irish guy to come. We weren’t sure if they would make it or not. We were just chatting and trying to decide what to order. Victoria and the Irish guy arrived. I ordered some pancakes and bacon. I was craving some bacon for some reason. We had a great time chatting about life. Joseph really likes to talk. He had some great, interesting stories to tell. The food was really good. I didn’t get home until 6 am.

I met up with my friend Robert on July 25th to have dinner and go watch a movie. I hadn’t seen him since October 2007. We met at the Cannery Casino & Hotel. We at the the Italian restaurant called Vino’s Ristorante and Deli. We chatted and got caught up with each other’s lives. We both ordered the Chicken Vesuvio. It was so tasty! We hurried to get our tickets for X-files: I Want to Believe. Originally, we were going to watch The Dark Knight at the Imax. But, I forgot to buy tickets early and the theatre was sold out. I liked the movie. It had a good plot and some action. I think I missed some stuff because I was confused on Mulder and Scully’s relationship. Robert thought there would be aliens. I wanted a spooky movie, but it was a little twisted.

I went to Alisa and Jay’s house for a BBQ on Sunday, July 26th. I got to meet Alisa’s dad and her parents-in-law. There was also her friends and Jay’s friends there. We were watching great shows on the Travel Channel. It reminded me how I’d love to see the Angel Falls sometime in Venezuela. The food was really good. There was a great 3 layer dip with chips. There was also beef ribs and burgers. I ate so much food. It’s great to hang out to chill and chat about life.

Speedy Monster

Ivan and I went to the Las Vegas Mini Gran Prix on May 31st. We rode the Sprint Kart Speedway cars first. These cars were pretty fast. Ivan slowed down so I could catch up. I ended up passing him and it was hard for him to catch up. It was fun.

speeding along

We wanted to ride again. So, we headed to the Go Karts. These cars are similar, but may be a little slower. It seemed like that everybody was running into the sides or crashing into other people. When this happens, they slow down all the cars. I was trying to squeeze past a lady. I was driving right next to the side of the track. The lady was trying to turn and I think I hit hurt her car which made her car turn. It made everybody slow down and they had to put the lady’s car in the right direction. It was fun driving go karts.

We booked the Hard Rock Hotel for two nights starting on Sunday, June 1st. It’s really cool because if you’re a hotel guest, you get free entry and a line pass to their popular Rehab pool party. We asked front desk to give us a room in the new tower. The clerk told us that the room wouldn’t be ready until later on and she would call us when it was ready. We went to the pool. It was around 10 am. The pool was already filled with some people and all the chairs were taken. We did find a space on the floor right by the pool. So, we placed our towels down and then headed to the bar. They had a Rehab cup where you can get any drink inside. We got two Strawberry Daiquiris. The drinks tasted really good.

Sundays at the pool

The pool has a big pool. This area has sand at the bottom of the pool. Then there’s a long lazy river. It doesn’t have jets that pull you along it though. We just walked around in the pool. We rented a raft. We both laid down on the raft and floated around the lazy river. It was great. Rehab was crowded but not as busy as I’ve heard and seen in pictures. A lady from the hotel called to inform us that the room was ready. We went to check in. The room turned out to be a nice pool view. There must have been no new tower rooms so they upgraded us to the great view. We could hear the music and see the pool from the room.

Great view of the Pool at the Hard Rock

Today, Tiesto was playing at the pool. We didn’t get to see him on Memorial Day weekend. So, it was cool that we got to see him this weekend. It didn’t seem advertised much. We only saw it in the Las Vegas Weekly. He was great. We had a good day at the pool drinking and floating around the pool.
Ivan and I went to Origin India for the second time. It was convenient since we could just walk there. We got the Aloo Mattar Tiki for the starter. It was good. Next, we got Chicken Haryali Kebab for one of our main courses. We also got the Chicken Makhani, which is a chicken in a creamy tomato curry sauce. I like the Chicken Harylai Kebab. But, the Chicken Makhani was really good. I love curry! I got stuffed fast. It was a good dinner.

Sadly, it was Ivan’s last day in Las Vegas on June 2nd. I’m so sad to see him go. We just have the best time together. I met him at the Hard Rock pool for the Relax party. We swam around a little. The waterfall was on today. We went down the slide twice. That was fun! We just hung out in the hotel room talking and watching tv. We ordered Room Service. We were planning on heading to the casino area to get a drink. But, we were both too tired.

Ivan was leaving on June 3rd to head back to England. I didn’t want to see him leave. I was supposed to leave for work around 6:45 am. But, I couldn’t bring myself to leave. So, I was late for work. It turns out that his plane was delayed four hours. He called me from the airport and I was going to pick him up from the airport after work. He decided to take a cab to my work. We chilled at the Treasure Island pool. Then we went to go eat at Todai. We had lots of sushi. Then I took Ivan took the airport.

I came home and all my nieces and nephews were at the house on June 4th. It’s such a treat to see all of them at once. They were having a Wii party for my niece Maya since she’s getting her tonsils out on Thursday, June 5th. My parents got a Wii. We were playing tennis, bowling, Mario Cart and Mario Party 8. We had Pizza Hut for dinner. We had pizza, chicken wings and the new pasta dish. I was playing with the kids playing Hide n’ Seek. They had a game called Monster. One person is the Monster and chases everybody else. If the Monster touches you, you become a monster too. I think it’s just an excuse to run around. I was picked Monster. I touched somebody. I was going to run behind the couch and hide. Then, I would jump out and catch them. That was the plan anyway. But, I was going too fast and slipped.. I got two rug burns on my knee. I had to stop and get some band-aids. We decided to play Pirates. We pretend the big leather couch is the pirate ship. We sail the ship to a deserted island to find treasure. We scour the island looking for gold, pearls and other treasures. Then we try another island to get gold for the treasures. We can buy food with the gold. It was a fun night.

Berry Mix

Ivan and I went to Isla for dinner at Treasure Island on May 23rd. We started off with the Chipotle Adobo Guacamole. It has pumpkin seeds in the guacamole. It’s pretty tasty. We each got a Margarita. Ivan got the Strawberry Margarita on the rocks while I had a blended Raspberry. My drink was smooth and delicious. Ivan got his favorite dish at Isla the Chicken Breast Mole Poblano. I got the Roast Pork Pipian. My dish was alright. Ivan enjoyed his dish. We were thinking of getting dessert. But, then Ivan said he was too stuffed to eat anymore.

We went to go see Mac King for the second time at Harrah’s on May 24th. He’s a great magician. I am still amazed at how he makes goldfish appear out of nowhere. He’s very funny and entertaining. He does a lot of tricks like cutting a rope and card tricks. It’s a great afternoon show and cheap.

Ivan and me at CatHouse
Ivan and me at CatHouse

Ivan and I went to eat at CatHouse at The Luxor for dinner. We got the best seat in the house. It was a booth with the closest view to the one-way mirror that contains a girl in lingerie getting ready for the night. We started off with our favorite starter the Fromage Fondue. It was delicious as usual! We had the Mini Crab cakes next. It’s three petite crab cakes with a nice sauce on top. We had some drinks. We had the Pear Martini and the best drink on the menu, the Multiple Orgasm. For the main course we shared the Brick Roasted Organic Chicken. This is a big dish with two pieces of chicken on top of farro. It was really good. We decided to get dessert. We didn’t go with our usual the always tasty Red Velvet Cake. We tried the Creme Brulee with Berries. It was really good and light. It was a great dinner at my favorite restaurant in town. The only thing that irked us.. was that the waitress added a service charge onto the bill. Ivan asked about this and she said that it was so we wouldn’t have to figure out the tip. Of course, it was 20%. What a load of crap! Ivan was mad because it was her telling him what to tip. That’s just rude.
We walked to the Caesars Palace from The Luxor. We were both a little tired.
We went to go catch Dane Cook at the Coliseum at Caesars Palace. We were a little early but decided to sit down. We each got a fruity drink. There was a host who told some jokes. He was alright. There was an opening comedian. I can’t recall his name at all. He was good. Then Dane Cook came on. He was funny, but not amazing. Ivan was so tired, he didn’t get to enjoy the show. I think I enjoyed him better the last time we saw him at the Mandalay Bay Events Center last year.

Ivan and I went to Tao Beach on May 25th to see Bad Boy Bill. But it was packed, so we couldn’t get in. We decided to chill by the Venetian pool instead. We could still hear the loud music plus it wasn’t crowded. Ivan went to get a snack for us. We shared a BBQ Chicken wrap. He also ordered some fruity smoothies.
That night, we headed to Tao for dinner. We got the Lobster Dumplings and the Stuffed Shrimp for appetizers. Both dishes were good, but the Stuffed Shrimp were just heavenly. We shared the main course the Salmon with Udon Noodles. We also got a side of Eggplant. The eggplant is so soft and has a great sauce. The salmon was very good. It was a great meal. When you eat at Tao, they stamp you and this gives you a line pass to the club. It means that you get to go in the smaller line to gain access to the nightclub. We asked to get stamped. Since we had just come from the pool, we were in casual clothes. The guy said we couldn’t be stamped now because we weren’t in dress code. Ivan brought up that this was stupid.. because we were going to head home to change and them come back to the club later. Of course, they wouldn’t let us into the club anyway wearing a t-shirt and jeans. But, it was alright since we were able to come back later with the receipt and get stamped before we headed to the nightclub.
We stopped by the V bar inside the Venetian. Unfortunately, there was a DJ event at V bar so they were charging a cover. We went to the bar at David Burke. We had a few different drinks. They were quite tasty. We headed back to the nightclub Tao to see Erick Morillo. It was crowded. They had a DJ on.. he was okay. We were just waiting for Erick Morillo to come on. He finally come out at 1:40 am. We stayed to dance for about 30 minutes. Ivan was tired and wanted to head home. It was definitely a good night with great food, drinks and dancing.

We went to the Wet Republic pool at the MGM Grand in the afternoon on May 26th. We ordered some food. Ivan got the Lobster Wrap. I got the Grilled Chicken Panini. Each dish comes with potato chips with assorted nuts. We also shared the fruit bowl with frozen yogurt. My sandwich was decent. The different fruits were pretty good. DJ Jazzy Jeff played a set. He was good, but played too much r&b for me. We swam a little and chilled on these green chairs that are in the shallow part of the pool. Roger Sanchez finally came on at 4 pm. We only stayed 15 minutes of Roger’s set. We had to go across town for a BBQ.
Ivan and I headed to my sister’s house for a Memorial Day BBQ with my whole family. We brought some Asian Veggie burgers and had those with bagels. I also had some chicken bbq, steak, salad mixed with cranberries and walnuts, and noodles. We played with the kids outside playing soccer. Then all the kids went out front to ride bikes. My nieces also had a battery powered Barbie jeep. Anissa was driving around in the jeep with Maria in the passenger seat. My brother was flying his remote-controlled airplane. We were playing the Wii. I love the tennis game. We also played boxing. It hurts a lot! Ivan enjoyed playing Dance Dance Revolution. He played Battle Mode with my sister-in-law Kara. They also had the Wii Fit. Games like Hula Hooping, Ski Jump, Heading Soccer Balls, Ski Slalom, Table Tilt and Tightrope were played. Ivan beat my brother’s high score at Hula Hooping with a score of 283 spins. I had fun spending time with my family and playing the Wii. My arms were definitely sore the next day from playing tennis, bowling and boxing.

We went with the Australian couchsurfers (Hannah and Andrew) to go see the show Folies Bergere at the Tropicana on May 27th. This is a classic showgirls show that has been running in Las Vegas for 50 years. It’s a topless show that has many girls with big feathers and dazzling costumes. The show showcases the different styles of women from the 1850’s up to present day. I didn’t think the girls were that good-looking. Their boobies were small in size.. but I guess it’s better to be perky and small in a topless show. Of course, the bigger boobs were fake. I enjoyed the Can-Can at the end.. it was a lot of fun. This was the first showgirls show I’ve ever seen. It’s a good entertaining show.
We watched one Bellagio fountain show. Then Ivan decided that we walk across the street to eat at Mon Ami Gabi at Paris. Ivan ordered the French Onion Soup. It was a big cup of soup with delicious gruyere cheese on top. We shared the Crab Cake & Gribiche Sauce. It was good. We shared the main course of Fennel & Pepper Seared Ahi Tuna Salad. I really liked the salad. I didn’t eat much of the tuna. .

Sweet week and a half

Ivan and I went to Daniel Boulud Brasserie at the Wynn Hotel on Thursday, May 8th. The view was beautiful on the balcony. We could see the waterfall at the Lake of Dreams. We ordered from the Prix Fixe Menu that contains three courses. Ivan got the Chilled English Pea Soup while I got the Caesar Salad for our appetizers. Ivan ordered the Salmon with Mushrooms for his main dish. I got the Chicken Poullis. The dish came with two drum sticks and two chicken breasts that were so tender. For dessert, Ivan got the Warm Pear Clafoutis. I got the Chocolate Hazelnut Fondant It was really rich chocolate. Each dessert dish was average. It was a nice meal in a cool setting.

We went to the Hard Rock open bar at the pool on May 9th. It was an event with Eek-A-Mouse. We stood in the long line to get a drink. It was filled with a lot of people. We walked around the pool area to check it out. There wasn’t much going on, so we left to get some dinner.
Ivan and I wanted to eat at Firefly but there was a long wait. Ivan suggested Marrakech which is in the same shopping center. It’s a Moroccan restaurant. The bread came out first.

Bellydancing

This restaurant has belly dancers dancing to great music. The girls were twirling around and dancing around the room. I don’t know how they move their belly that fast. The first course was Shrimp Scampi in lemon, wine and garlic sauce. The sauce was great with the shrimp and bread. Ivan didn’t like the shrimp. We got Harira Soup next, a traditional lentil soup. Ivan ate the soup. We received the Hummus with vegetables. It had onions, cooked carrots, red beats, cucumbers and red peppers. We got a tasty Shrimp Kabob next.

Having good food at Marrakech

The Main course was a Cornish Game Hen with Cous Cous. It was a pretty big dish. Our dessert was B’stilla. It’s a huge filo dough pastry filled with nuts, sugar and fruit. It’s topped with sugar and cinnamon. It tasted so good. We were also served a sweet Moroccan mint tea with our dessert. The tea had a great flavor. It was a great meal.
Ivan and I went to see Yellow Brick Road at the Boulder Station. The band played great. They performed songs from different rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Rush, Aerosmith, Queen & David Bowie. We saw the first half of the show and then went home.

Anissa at her birthday party

We went to my niece Anissa’s 6th birthday party on May 10th. It was at the Little Pastry Chefs place. It’s where kids can create cakes, cookies and pizzas. Her classmates, sister, and cousins were there creating different things. Ivan wanted to make stuff, so he helped out my niece Maria.

Kids making pizza at Little Pastry Chefs

The first thing they created was small pepperoni pizzas. Ivan saw pictures where the kids wore chef’s hats.

Ivan wearing a chef\'s hat

He looked around the place and found a hat to wear. Later, my brother saw an apron and told Ivan he should wear it. I guess it completed his chef’s outfit!

Me at my niece\'s party

Then, they were practicing using frosting to make pictures and decorations. The kids each got a cake and were allowed to decorate it. The kids all got to keep their cake and take it home with them. It was a fun time.

Ivan and I went to Tao Beach on May 11th. We met up with two Polish couchsurfers. It’s always nice to chill out here. It was only a little busy. They have a big jacuzzi there. It’s great sitting and talking. I was reading a travel book and Ivan read a magazine. We chilled for a little while. But, we were both hungry so we decided to leave to get some food.
We went to Grand Lux Cafe for dinner. Ivan ordered the Seared Rare Ahi Tuna Salad. I got the Portofino Chicken Salad. My salad was really good with chicken breast, glazed walnuts, gorgonzola cheese, red onions and different types of lettuce mixed in the House Vinaigrette.

Ivan and I went to Salo Salo Grill on May 12th with my family. We were celebrating Mother’s Day. We had some great food such as Crispy Pata, barbeque chicken, noodles, egg rolls, Chicken and Beef BBQ, Inihaw na Hito (grilled catfish) and Korean BBQ Beef Shortribs.
Ivan booked tickets for Nathan Burton. His show is usually at 4 pm, but it was 8 pm on this night. It turned out to be Press Night. We saw lots of celebrities there such as Lance Burton, Robin Leach, Penn, Criss Angel, Mac King, Wee Man, and the girls from the X Burlesque show. This is a good comedy magic show. The last trick made somebody appeared behind a curtain. It turned out to be Emmanuel Lewis (who’s an actor who starres as Webster in the 1980’s).

We went to Kung Fu Restaurant on May 13th. We ordered our usual appetizer, the always tasty Fish Cakes. Our main dish was the Sweetened Green Curry with Chicken. The service was pretty fast on this night.
We went to go see the movie What Happens in Vegas. This movie starrs Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher. Joy is dumped by her fiance while Jack loses his job. They both fly to Las Vegas with one of their friends. Joy and Jack meet each other in Vegas. They have a fun night out. They end up get married during their drunken night. Jack wins a huge jackpot with Joy’s quarter. You can not win a progressive jackpot with only one quarter. They’re back in New York a judge orders that they should try to live together and work it out. The person who doesn’t cooperate will not get their share of the money. It shows all the dirty things they do to try to sabotage the other person. The movie was good.

I met Ivan at Wet Republic after work on May 14th. This is the new adult pool located at the MGM Grand. The main pool is pretty big. They also have a medium sized pool that has a volleyball net. Then on the side there’s two narrow jacuzzis. The pool is filled with salt water. Ivan had been previously and knew there was speakers in the pool. So, if you went underwater you can hear the music. That’s pretty kewl. We shared the Kung Pao wrap dish. It was a decent size. The dish came with shrimp with bean sprouts, peanut sauce, mushrooms, lettuce and wraps. They recently added really big speakers. The music sounded distorted. We swam around for a little while then headed home.
That night we went to Rao’s at Caesars Palace for the second time. The first time the food was really good. So, we both were looking forward to a good meal. We wanted a booth so we waited at the bar. Ivan ordered us two pear martinis. They tasted really good. We were seated at the booth. The area is nice with pictures of celebrities on the wall. Ivan and I shared the Mini Ravioli Soup. It was horrible. The broth tasted like water and the raviolis were supposed to have three different cheeses inside. The raviolis didn’t have much of a taste and you could barely taste any cheese. Ivan complained and it was complimentary. Our main course was Uncle Vincent’s Famous Lemon Chicken. I’m not sure why this dish is famous. It was actually quite ordinary. It was part of a chicken with lemon sauce. We decided to order dessert since we were still hungry. We got the Crostata di Mele which is a Granny Smith apple tart. The dish was sweet and tasted good. We were very disappointed with the food.

Ivan and I went to my brother-in-law’s sister’s wedding shower on Saturday, May 17th. His sister Rosemary is getting married next month. It was being held at my sister and my brother-in-law’s house. It was a pretty hot day. There was so much food there such as tempura shrimp, noodles, rice, chicken bbq, chicken fingers, pork BBQ, vegetable eggrolls, fruit and chips. I ate too much chicken bbq since I haven’t had it in awhile. The backyard is really big and it has a playset for the kids with a climbing area, slide, money bars and swings. Ivan and I played with my nieces and one of the little girls at the party. We both went down the slide. I climbed up on the play set. We were pushing the girls on the swing. Ivan was helping the girls with staying on the monkey bars. I was swinging high on the swing trying to go higher than my niece Maya. We had fun at the party. We had to leave early since we were going to see O at the Bellagio.
We went to see “O” show. It’s a Cirque du Soleil production. It was the only Cirque show that Ivan hadn’t seen in Las Vegas. So, he was looking forward to seeing it. The show was decent. I found it really amazing the first time I saw it. But, that was years ago when I’d only seen a few shows including Mystere. I didn’t think it was spectacular this time around. Ivan was bored during the whole performance. He thought it was crap. It’s odd to know that this show still sells out weeks in advance.
For a late dinner, Ivan and I went to Casa di Amore. It’s an old school Italian restaurant located a few minutes off the Strip. There was entertainment there with George Bugatti singing and playing the keyboard. He was pretty good. We started off with two appetizers Roasted Peppers and Sauteed Mushrooms. Each dish tasted good. The waiter kept singing the songs when he brought the food to the table. We ordered the Chicken Francaise. It’s chicken with sauteed mushrooms, garlic and a lemon sauce. The main course dish was delicious. This is a cool restaurant with great food.

We headed to Michelle’s Graduation BBQ Party on May 18th. Michelle graduated from UNLV majoring in Advertising. Some of her friends, family and family friends were there. There was
good food to eat like burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, fruit and vegetables. Ivan and I put on our bathing suits and went in the pool. The pool is five and a half feet deep. So, I couldn’t stand up in the middle of the pool. The pool was a good temperature. We had a few drinks. We chatted with everybody for awhile. Then Ivan hypnotized two girls. One of the girls got distracted though. Joel’s girlfriend April was hypnotized but she was really shy. She didn’t seem to want to talk at all. It was still amusing though. We had a great time at the party.

We were planning on eating at N9NE at The Palms on May 19th. But, unfortunately the restaurant didn’t have an opening until late. So, Ivan suggested we go eat at Simon restaurant at Palms Place. This is the new restaurant by Kerry Simon. The bread basket had some awesome breads. It had a few crackers. There was a cheese cracker which so tasty. Also, there was a nice garlic roll. Ivan got a Zen drink and I got the Watermelon Martini. Both drinks tasted nice and were refreshing. We got the Colossal Crabcake for an appetizer. It was crunchy on the outside and had big chunks of crab inside. It tasted good. Our main course was the salmon topped with pineapples with couscous and a mango sauce. It was delicious. We got a side order of sauteed mushrooms. It was the best sauteed mushrooms I’ve ever had with a taste of garlic. We ordered dessert. The waiter suggested the Dark Chocolate Cake with caramel. It was a little cake with chocolate and caramel inside. This cake was heavenly. The waiter also brought us a complimentary bowl of cotton candy. This was a wonderful meal.

Past Week

We went to eat at Ra Sushi on April 14th with a French couchsurfer. We started off with our usual the dengaku tofu. It wasn’t as hot and tasty as it usually is. We also got the chicken yakitori for an appetizer. It was okay. We then shared two sushi different rolls. That was really good. We walked to the Venetian after dinner and ordered gelato in the Marks Square. I had the chocolate gelato. It’s so delicious.

Ivan and I went to a Self-Hypnosis class on April 15th. It was the first of three classes. It’s a class from the International Institute of Hypnosis run by Marc Savard and John Zulli. Ivan took two hypnosis courses through the hypnosis school. We saw Marc at the fair and he told us about this class. Marc introduced John Zulli to the class. Marc also talked about his wife. She had two babies under hypnosis. She didn’t feel pain but felt the pressure. She also didn’t have any pain medication when the doctor stitched her up. That’s just amazing! John Zulli taught the class. He’s a natural speaker and he’s funny as well. The class gave us background on the origins of hypnosis. We were also hypnotized as a group. This has been an interesting class so far. We even got homework. We have to write down a goal we want to accomplish. Also, we were given a CD that we have to listen to one part (or both) at least three times.

Ivan and I met my family for my Mom’s Birthday dinner at Food Express on Wednesday, April 16th. It was nice to see all my family. We had lots of good Chinese food including roast duck, sweet and sour chicken, mu shu pork, egg rolls, pot stickers, fried rice, mongolian beef, noodles and fried crab. It was funny seeing all my nieces and nephews playing with Ivan. They kept poking him and hiding. Of course, my brother and sister kept saying leave him alone, but Ivan enjoyed it. He said he was getting a nice massage.

We went to the Bare open bar event on April 17th at The Mirage Hotel. Bare is a topless pool lounge area. It’s a nice area to just relax. There’s one long rectangle pool and then a jacuzzi on the upper level. They had food from the restaurant Stack. There was vegetables with ranch, different cheeses, Chicken BBQ pizza and turkey wraps. The food was alright. We just chilled out and had some drinks.
We walked to the Bellagio. We ate a salmon sandwich and then proceeded to The Bank nightclub. This was our first time at the nightclub. There were tons of empty VIP tables around the dance floor. It was a good night with house music playing. We liked the fact that there was room to dance. Also, the line to the bathroom wasn’t that busy. We danced for a few hours and then took a taxi home.

Ivan and I went to the Bodies exhibition on April 18th. The bodies are preserved through a process called polymer preservation. The exhibit has whole body specimens and organs. It is a bit weird since it makes you see what our bodies look like inside. It’s also educational showing how complex our bodies are. It’s a good exhibit to visit, but it’s a little creepy to see.

We walked across the street to the MGM Grand to see the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The movie is about a guy named Peter. His heart is broken when his girlfriend Sarah Marshall breaks up with him. He decides to get away by taking a vacation in Hawaii, so he can forget about her. But, unfortunately he bumps into Sarah and her new boyfriend. He ends up staying at the same resort. He tries to keep busy by doing different activities. He keeps running into Sarah though. It’s a funny movie.

Valley of Fire rocks

beautiful rocks

We went to the Valley of Fire State Park with Vivi (a German couchsurfer) and a local couchsurfer Frannie and her friend Rob on April 19th. We drove around the park and stopped a couple times. It’s really beautiful out there. There are numerous big red rocks. We saw petrified wood as well. The petrified wood was just old wood in the ground.. which is really boring. Ivan and I joked that they were scared wood hehe.

Do Not Disturb the wood

We walked around and saw lots of rocks and climbed some. The weather was in the 80’s.. so it wasn’t too hot outside. We had a good day taking pictures and walking around.
Ivan, me and Vivi went to Nove Italiano for dinner at the Palms Hotel. We started off with Crudo, which is a selection of raw fish like tuna and yellowtail. The Crudo was really small with just four small pieces of fish. Next, we all shared the Chicken Pesto Pizza. It was good. Ivan and I shared the Chicken Marsala. The sauce was really good and it also contained mushrooms, shallots and lemon. The dish was really good.

Chillin' at the Playboy Club
Ivan, me and Vivi at the Playboy Club

We stopped by the Playboy Club to have a drink. Then, we headed up to Moon nightclub. It was packed in the club. The music was a nice mix of pop, r&b, rock and 80’s music. I still love it when the roof retracts letting in the fresh air and a view of the sky. We didn’t get to see the moon though. It was hot dancing so it’s nice when the air comes in. We had a good time dancing for a couple hours.

Ivan and I chilled by the pool at the condo on Sunday, April 20th. We did some reading and then went inside the jacuzzi. Later, I listened to the first part of the hypnosis CD. It was short and I listened to the whole thing. I decided to give the second part a go. The second part is longer at 27 minutes. I was really relaxed and fell asleep. I woke up and there was no sound playing.
We went to the Lotus of Siam with Vivi and the two Manchester couchsurfers that night. Ivan and I had the tasty Fish cakes (Tod Mun Plar) for an appetizer. Ivan ordered the Tom Yum Kai soup with chicken while I had Tom Yum Kung with shrimp. My soup was a 3 Hotness and it was spicy.. I couldn’t drink all the soup since it was burning my mouth a little. Ivan got the Musaman Curry with chicken. I had the Red Curry with chicken. My dish was a bit spicy and tasted great. The food is always delectable here. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations on the same day. It’s wise to make a reservation since it’s always busy.