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Before last week I’d only visited Vegas once. On that trip the company couldn’t have been better.  We saw a fantastic show (Mystère), a fascinating exhibit (Bodies), and we drank champagne while watching the Bellagio Fountains dance to the tune of an Elvis song. The whole affair lasted about 36 hours, which was enough Vegas to last me several lifetimes.  The excess of it all was… well… excessive.   If America was Panem of the The Hunger Games, which I guess it is in Suzanne Collins’ post-apocolyptic world, then Vegas could be the Capitol. And I’d probably live somewhere around District 11. That’s how far removed I am from Vegas.

These days I am quite content to work in District 11 and watch the flowers bloom and the bees buzz, ya know? So I was ‘meh’ about going there for a business trip last week, but it was something I was compelled to do.

 

By day two in the Capitol I felt like this:

crazy

 

…as a result of too much everything everywhere.

I realized then we needed to make a major detour, lest I start attacking things Katniss-style. And that was when I stumbled upon exactly what was needed: a place to watch the flowers bloom and the bees buzz.

detour

The wonderful Sharon Prier led the way.  She guided us on a hike through Red Rock Canyon, which culminated in a beautiful yoga practice.  It was the highlight of the trip.  Thank you so much Sharon for your guidance and presence.

Red Rock Canyon Yoga Hike

Red Rock Canyon Yoga Hike

 

 Any worthwhile detours you’ve taken lately?

“You love me. Real or not real?”

~~@~~

Every single weekend for the last month I have been consumed by The Hunger Games. Four weeks ago the movie came out and I bought the book. I devoured it that Saturday before going to see the movie the next day. The following Saturday I read the second book.  The Saturday after that I finished the third book of the series.  With that, I thought my obsession was over and I could get on with my life.

 Alas, no.

This past weekend I inadvertently found myself in Asheville, North Carolina, where much of the movie was filmed.  We were road tripping our way to a conference in Raleigh, when my own hunger struck.  I consulted Yelp,  (a must-have app for roadtrips), read a few reviews, and decided on Rezaz in Asheville for lunch.  The odds were oddly in my favor.  The seven vegetable couscous was a different flavor in every bite: here a chickpea, there the sharp crunch of fresh ginger, and everywhere the ruffley texture of grilled kale intermingling with couscous and cilantro.  It was a real Capitol meal.  The Devil had a pizza that rivaled his own devious creations.  The pizza alone warranted another visit to the restaurant on the return road trip: a crisp cracker crust, lightly grilled and topped with marinaded mushrooms that finished with a hint of pepper.  Creamy gellato for dessert – chocolate for her, vanilla for him, each topped with a flakey sugar cookie.  Hunger games, indeed.

I thoroughly enjoyed the books.  I’ve started, abandoned, restarted, and reabandoned an embarrasing number of books the past several months.  Nothing has been able to compete with the flying colors of life experienced moment-to-moment in its bold and beautiful unfurling. Until this. What a pleasure to finally find a series to keep me captivated and wanting more.

Across from Rezaz sits the Grand Bohemian Hotel. It was filled with interesting things – a stuffed boar wearing a fishing hat, for instance, and other dead things surrounded by unusual lighting. The decor  was overwhelmingly antlered. There are fine lines to be drawn between rustic and classy and creepy.  The hotel decorators played hopscotch with those lines.

There were all sorts of fancy people milling about in the lobby doing all sorts of fancy things like sitting around in their fancy hair and shoes drinking fancy drinks while having fancy conversations.  What a strange scene to take in against the backdrop of skulls and skins, hides and horns.

The hotel I learned offers a Hunger Games package for a few hundred dollars.  Apparently trips to the setting are all the rage.

I enjoyed my brief adventure and I definitely want to go back to explore.

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