I got to attend a conference through work this last week in Las Vegas – Nevada, not New Mexico, thank goodness. I flew out with my boss on Saturday March 8th and we arrived just after noon. The plan was to go to the Penn & Teller show that night, but first, we had to go on an epic journey.

We were staying at the MGM Grand, because that’s where the conference was, and the only way to get the early bird rate for the conference was to stay there. We checked in, dumped our luggage in the room and decided to walk over to the Rio to pick up the tickets we had ordered for the show.

The concierge almost laughed when we said we would walk there. It turns out, distances are deceptive in Las Vegas. Everything is farther away than it seems. While we were directed to cross the street to take the free tram from the Monte Carlo to the Bellagio, we then walked the concrete mountain, with no shade, to get over the highway. And it wasn’t that close from the MGM to the tram – even once we entered the Monte Carlo, it seemed to be a half a mile away, through the lights and smoke and dinging of the casino. It seemed that our journey would never end.

After we got over the highway, we were able to get into the Rio fairly easily and the nice young woman who gave us our tickets also told us about a free shuttle that ran across the highway to Bally’s. Funny that the concierge at the Bellagio (across the street from Bally’s) failed to mention that…

So we took the shuttle and then walked down Las Vegas Boulevard, in search of something to eat. Okay, in search of something to eat that looked good. I was thinking Italian. The first spot that we found was in Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile, and as we walked around that mall, I recognized the cloud painted ceiling as a place that I’d been before. That would make sense, because I’d been to Las Vegas once before, when I was 13 – way too young to appreciate it, but we had gone by Planet Hollywood.

I don’t remember this from when I was 13 though…

I ate some lasagna, which was good, if a bit rich. The salad was better – which was good because it cost a lot more than I thought a salad should cost. After we ate, we went back to the hotel and discovered that the conference center was about 10 miles from our rooms. Okay, that’s not true. More like 5 to 7 tenths of a mile. So much for thinking that staying at the place where the conference was held would be an advantage!

We rested up and waited, having decided that a taxi would be the best way to get to the Rio for the evening’s show. We left around 8 and made it in plenty of time to listen to some pre-show jazz.

Not bad seats – Penn and Mike Jones played jazz stage left.

 I saw the crowd of people on the stage, but I didn’t want to go and figure out what was going on. I relaxed and listened to the jazz and took a nice little selife.

I know I get cold, so a fleece vest and a scarf were my protection.

Then, when the song ended, Mike Jones announced that the audience was invited to go up on stage to examine a box and sign an envelope. My boss did not want to go with me, but she encouraged me to go – not that I needed much prodding. I went on down and got in line to look at the box and sign the envelope, bopping along to the music as I wound my way around the stage. When I was close to the box, the young woman in front of me turned around and asked if I would take a picture of her in the box. I agreed, and asked if she would do the same. Her name was April and I liked her style.

I’m in a box! 

Then we kept going and each signed the envelope before returning to our respective seats. Neither of us had seen the show before, and both of us were quite excited.

April’s hands signing the envelope after I did. 

Then I went back to my seat and got ready for the show to start. There wasn’t long to wait, since I’d spent a lot of time on the stage in line. I was rather shocked that the theater had a full bar in the lobby, but I guess there are bars everywhere in Vegas.

The show began, and it was a lot of fun, even though in the mezzanine level the audience participation was quite limited. I can understand why it would be more difficult to pull someone down from there, but I still felt a bit pouty about it. However, I did get to see Zeke for the participation that did include the mezzanine, so that was neat, since he is mentioned in the Sunday School podcast now and then.

The funniest words in the show, said by an audience member brought on stage, were “It’s not a real cow.” I could have sworn I could see tears in Penn’s eyes from laughing so hard at that response.

It was fun, and I would do it again, even though it’s way outside of my budget in the normal course of things to fly to Las Vegas and pay for show tickets. After the show, as I’d heard, Penn and Teller did meet and greets in the lobby, and I got to have my picture taken with Penn.

He’s so tall! And I might also be pretty short…

I did not take the opportunity to also get a picture with Teller, even though I did enjoy listening when he was on Penn’s podcast. I had a time constraint, because I was already signed up to do a 5K at 7am the next morning, it was already past midnight, it was daylight savings time and a travel day and my boss and I were tired. Okay. My boss was tired… Still, it was good that I went to bed when I did, because it was hard enough to wake up the next morning with the sleep that I did get.

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