So the past week has been very eventul for me - going to Las Vegas, and then coming home. And as soon as I arrived home - I came down with the flu - so I've been offline since I've been home because of that - I've been basically asleep ever since I've gotten off the plane. I'm glad I didn't get sick while I was still there and having fun, that's for sure - but I wish I wouldn't have gotten sick at all! Oh well. You can't have everything. So what follows is my preliminary report from the vacation - sort of my electronic slide show that will put even the most interested to sleep eventually. Enjoy! And this is just the first of many - I still have to write about all the fabulous stuff that I learned there - those posts are still to folow!
This of course is one of the first photos I took once I got there - and my first exposure to palm trees - one of many, many photos I took of palm trees - I completely fell in love with them and became somewhat obsessed with them.
I took this photo on the bus from the airport - there are these big fields of undeveloped land that are just empty and barren and strewn with liquor bottles - everything there is so perfect, and clean - the strip and the hotels are chock full of menial workers constantly cleaning and polishing and picking up garbage - it's amazing - you are constantly being marketed to and advertised to on the strip, and even being manipulated through smells being piped into areas with perfumes and stuff - but the seediness peeps in every once in a while in tiny little spots. Las Vegas is SUCH an interesting city. There's also Security and Police everywhere marshalling the homeless people and local kids off the strip too - there's a curfew for local kids in place, which is pretty neat - and strictly enforced on the streets.
The casino in our hotel was pretty neat - the "Rio" - it was huge - the waiters and waitresses get up on top of the machines and sing show tunes - the waitresses are just about naked in their uniforms. I felt bad for them - this here is a waiter - and the people gambling pretty much ignore them.
There was a machine there called "Larry Lobster" - so you know I had to put some money in it! haha! Larry's lobster claws took all my money in about 30 seconds!
I took this photo of the hotel out in the pool area about 1 second before I dropped my camera - smashing my $1,000 lens - not a good start to my vacation. Luckily for me it didn't break my camera - so I was able to continue on - but I've got a camera now that looks as damaged as my brain feels some days. Just as long as it works though, I'm happy.
This photo shows the completion of one of my major goals of the trip - to find a "Proactive kiosk" - I use Proactiv products on my most delicate and bloated face - and they sell a couple products in the USA that aren't available in Canada - so before we left Halifax I looked on the internet and saw that there was a kiosk only about 1.5 miles from our hotel. We found it in the "Fashion Show" shopping mall - where there were a ton of other kiosks too - it was a really neat spot. We went there our first afternoon in the city.
Our first big thing was to go to the Best Friend's animal sanctuary in Utah - we rented a car and drove through Nevada, Arizona, and finally to Utah - to Kanab Utah. We relied on Mapquest to get us there - and we were unfortunate to find out later that that was not the best way to get there. Luckily though - it was a beautifully SCENIC way to get there - so we didn't regret it.
It took us through this absolutely fantabulously beautiful National Park called "Mount Zion National Park" - and it was amazing. It was this place that had roads going up the side of a mountain like you see in the movies where there is literally a drop-off on the side of the road down 100's or maybe 1000's of feet. It was nerve-wracking! And it also had tunnels that were more than a mile long going through the mountain. It was so neat!
It was a landscape that none of us had ever seen in our lives - it was like we had driven from earth to the moon - and something that none of us will ever forget. A once in a lifetime experience - we fell in love with the desert and the landscape of the mountains - and also made us appreciate the absolutely beautiful place that we live in here in Nova Scotia and how it's also a very special place in the world.
This is a shot that was taken from our car while we were going up the side of the mountain in Mount Zion - looking down the mountain - you can sort of tell that I'm trying to stay from the right side of the road - luckily there wasn't a lot of traffice, so I was tending to stay in the middle of the road! haha!
This is Janet and Netta celebrating as we landed at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary - NOTE TO PEOPLE GOING TO THE SANCTUARY - Utah is one hour ahead of Nevada - we went there for a tour beginning at 1:30 - but in Utah it's 2:30 - so we missed that tour - luckily they had space left on their 3:00 tour so it was no problem, so we were still able to go - it probably just gave us more time to shop in their gift shop! Betweeen the 3 of us we dropped more than $1,000 in their gift shop! We knew that we were there only once in our lives - so we were there to shop!
This is a view of the land at the sanctuary - I'll be making more posts about the sanctuary - so I won't talk too much about it here - they have 30,000 acres to play on and with. It's amazing.
This is the special needs cat house - Brenton House - and a cat that was really cute - he's got socks on his back feet because he shuffles around on his back feet - and the socks keep him from getting sores on his feet - and it works wonders - he gets around great.
If you watch National Geographic - and the series "Dog Town" - which is about the Best Friends Sanctuary - you'll see the trainers taking dogs for socialization in the nearby town Kanab, and you'll see them going into the local pet store - when we were driving through the town I kept my eye out for the pet store - because if I saw it I wanted to make sure we popped in as "part of our pilgrimage" - and lo and behold - there it was on the main drag!!! So drop in we did!!! It was great, the owners were very friendly - and we spent some more money - at least I did, anyway!
The last part of our trip that day was a trip to another place that I have never been to in my life - and have always wanted to go to - Red Lobster! To think that I'd go to the other side of the continent to eat seafood! But it was yummy. I loved it. It was totally worth it.
So now on to the conference which started on Friday - 3 days of dog, dog, dog!!
This is a shot trying to show how many people were there - there was supposed to be about 700 people there - from all over North America and as far away as Egypt, England - and Nova Scotia! This was the beginning keynote address by Gregory Castle.
After that was a discussion by several people who would be giving talks later on - Nathan Winograd, Elizabeth Oreck, Julie Castle, Francis Battista, Mike Arms, and a couple other people
This is one of Best Friends` tables where they were selling t-shirts.These are a couple of the (many) tshirts that I got - there were a lot of places selling tshirts
So I took advantage of the once in a lifetime opportunity to stock up on my ability to advertise with my chest what I want to say.
This was the "No Kill Advocacy Centre's" table - and that's Nathan Winograd giving away free copies of his book and him available to sign copies for anyone who wanted one. I already have a signed copy from him so I didn't want to be greedy - so I didn't get another copy and stayed away. I did go to his talk about reforming animal control though which was good and I'll be writing more about.
This couple were super nice - they sell dog treats and were from Texas - so sincere and it looked like the treats they were making were really good. I'm sure they'll be a big success no matter what type of company they go for they were so smart and nice.
This was the table for the "Latham Foundation" - a group that I think is great - they've got great education materials about compassion and animals and the human-animal bond.
Isn't this funny? This is from a vendor at the conference called "Austin Cotton" - they had tons of funny tshirts and bags and stuff - and I bought a few tshirts - they also do stuff on the internet too!
This lady's name is Karen Green and she sang a couple funny songs during our lunch hour one day. She was a very popular lady.
This is one of the founders of Best Friends - Faith Maloney, who was helping to give a talk called "When Hearts are Larger Than Hands: How to Not Get Over Your Head" They gave us a book for free for attending the talk called - "Give to your heart's content without giving yourself away" by Linda R. Harper These are 2 trainers from Best Friends that you'd probably recognize from the tv show Dog Town - Michelle Besmehn and Ann Allums - they were giving a talk about how Best Friends trains dogs.
This is one of the slides that was in Nathan Winograd's talk - I'll be talking about it at length shortly - he also gave a talk at the No Kill conference I went to in May if you want to get some reading in right now before I write my post about this current conference - that post is at http://dogkisser.blogspot.com/2009/05/notes-from-no-kill-conference.html
Participants also got to have some fun on conference time - there was this going on - I'm not quite sure what it was, or how you won the game, but the people doing it appeared to be having a good time, and no one got hurt - so it was all good.
These are a couple of my favourite shots from walking on the strip - I love this shot - the lady had been getting her picture taken with the Elvis impersonator and was just walking away - she's not really cross-eyed, it's just one of those freak milli-second photos that happens sometimes. I loved it.
How are these 2 nearly nude ladies making this casino more money by standing on top of the machines near the entrance out on the Vegas strip dancing while music plays and life goes on around them? I have no idea, but someone thinks its a good idea. You can just as easily stand out on the sidewalk and not spend any money staring into the casino looking at these young women thinking about rescuing them from their perch, dating them, asking their father for their hand in marriage and then having 2.3 children with them. The world is a funny place.
Can you guess where this place is? Okay, I'll tell you. It's Caesar's Palace - there's tons of these things to take photos of - which I did. I was a total pawn in Caesar's hands.
A couple shots around the actual pool area - which we got to go spend a couple hours at before we left - this was a weird plant - it looked like yellow beans! And the flowers were yellow too. No one who worked there could tell us what the plant was though. One weird thing about the parts of Las Vegas I saw was that there were almost no flowers - lots of greenery - very few flowers. It was something I noticed because I'm crazy about taking photos of flowers - and there was none to take any pictures of. It was odd.
Aaahhhh - palm trees around the pool.
And then the liquidy, beautiful, blueness of the pool itself. I love pools. I really wish I had a jacuzzi. I would really like to get one. Maybe someday I will. It would be awesome.
I took this photo on our last night in Las Vegas from a really neat spot - on the 51st floor of our hotel there's a bar called "the Voodoo lounge" - and you can go outside and see the skyline of the city. It was a really neat bar, I wish we would've found it our first night rather than our last. I would've gone up every night.
A shot from the bar of the pool area. Aaaahhhh - the pools. I miss the pool.
And then I come home and be with my beautiful dogs - so we have an inventory of the dogs. Charlie and Bobby.
And Bobby is still perfect.
And Charlie and Jackie.
And Daisy still is the gentlest soul in the world.
And Buttercup is still perfect - and from who's asshole all light from the universe emanates. No doubt about it.