Dinner plans changed last night. After checking with the concierge, it became clear that dinner at Koi at 6pm would put our 8pm curtain at Spamalot at risk. So, we left our dinner plans in the capable hands of the Bellagio concierge. He made reservations for us at Okada, a Japanese restaurant at the Wynn hotel, which conveniently, was where Spamalot was playing.

We arrived at around 6:10pm for our 6:15pm reservations. I went to the box office to pick up our tickets. The package came with tickets for the show, tickets for 2 free “holy grail” cups (beer included), and a backstage tour after the performance.

Dinner was wonderful (again). We had a window seat (thanks to Helen’s efforts), and enjoyed the Oh Toro very much. We arrived with time to spare for the show. It was really funny, and most of the best parts of the movie were re-told in the play. I still love that line – “How can you tell he’s a King? He hasn’t got sh%t all over him.”

The tour afterwards was amazing. We started at the top in the lighting and effects booth, and went down floor by floor until we were on stage. It’s pretty amazing to see all the things that go into a show like this. We were given a disposable film camera, so when we get those pictures back I’ll post the best of that lot. The tour was hosted by the percussionist from the orchestra. He was a brit with a great sense of humour, and the tour was alot of fun.

The only thing that wasn’t fun about our Vegas trip was the taxi ride back to the Bellagio. Traffic was completely gridlocked. Oh well.

The next morning, we had the buffet breakfast, and then Helen tried to strike it rich at the blackjack video machines. While she played, I got the bellman to get our bags, and arranged for the car to be delivered.

We took a few more pictures, including the critical “Melen North America Tour” shot in front of the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign.

The drive to the Grand Canyon went quickly. It was less than 4 hours. I finished my McAfee career with a call with one of my colleagues. The lack of mobile phone coverage near the Nevada/Arizona border made that a bit of a challenge. As we crossed the Hoover Dam, we saw the huge new suspension bridge they are building. Man, the guys who work on that definitely earn their pay. Wow.

We arrived in Grand Canyon Village around 3:30pm, and made our plans for seeing the canyon. It was a short drive from our hotel, and we found the parking spot close to where we read there were great spots for pictures.

I grabbed my camera bag and off we went. Here’s some of the pictures. I really like how many of them turned out, but no camera can capture the grandeur of this natural wonder. We were both blown away.

Most of the official trail observation points are bordered with low fences. But we spotted a very beautiful rock formation/cliff a few hundred feet from where we were that was completely open to the canyon. We braved the trek down there, and I went first with only my camera and 2 lenses on board. It was exhilarating to be rock climbing in a place like this. As scary as it looked, I was somewhat comforted by the 10 year old Japanese kids who made it down there.

After I took some pictures, Helen and I swapped spots. She had the entire rock face to herself. It was really beautiful watching her stare off into the chasm while waiting for me to set up my equipment. We’re very happy we made this stop.

Tomorrow morning, we’re off to Amarillo, Texas. It’s a long day of driving, with the GPS estimating around 11 hours. I’m confident we’ll shave some time off of that.

mJm

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