Friday, October 12, 2007
Bishops and Lions and Books, Oh My!
The tenth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada will be the Rev. Dan Edwards, elected on the second ballot. He was close to the top of my list, so I'm very happy. And since the process was completed so quickly, we get the afternoon and evening off, which is great, because I'm having massive allergy attacks and have been sneezing so much that my back's gone into spasms.
I sneezed and knitted my way through the election, as friends supplied me with tissues (I quickly ran out of my own) and ibuprofen for the back pain. I always seem to get sick at convention; I think it's probably because conventions in Nevada are almost always held in and around casino hotels, and even if you have a nonsmoking room, as I do, you're always going to have to breathe some smoke on the casino floor, which one invariably has to cross to get from anywhere to anywhere else.
I'm still having fun, though!
Getting here was a tiny bit stressful. My knitting needles sailed through security with nary a raised eyebrow, but there's a new CPAP rule. When I first started using CPAP, each machine had to be inspected by hand. Then they stopped doing that. Then they started again. Now they've decided that CPAPs don't have to be inspected individually, but do need to be removed from luggage and put in their own bins, like laptop computers. Oy!
Then my plane was delayed for an hour, which meant that we arrived in Vegas at 4:00 instead of 3:00. The hotel airport shuttle was scheduled to leave at 4:15; the next one wasn't until 6:30. The minute the plane landed, I called the hotel and asked if they could ask the shuttle to wait for me, but they explained that they have no way to contact the shuttle: no radio, no cellphone. Double oy!
So I raced through the Vegas airport, which is approximately the size of New Zealand, and after going to two wrong spots, finally found my hotel shuttle -- just as it was pulling out of its parking spot. I raced in front of it, waving my arms, and the driver pulled back into the parking space. Yay! Talk about the nick of time!
After I'd checked into my room, which has a nice view of the mountains, I went downstairs to buy some bottled water for my CPAP. In the hotel gift shop, I ran into our friends Ned and Janet, and we decided to have dinner together. Ned had celebrated his birthday at the MGM Grand, and some friends gave him $50 worth of chips; he suggested going there and cashing in the chips to use towards dinner, which we did (he and Janet had driven down, so they had a car).
I have to say, I really do love the sheer exuberance of the Strip. All that energy makes me happy! At the MGM, we went to an absolutely terrific sushi restaurant: the food was great, the service was prompt -- something I'm not used to in hotels -- and all three of us loved our food. The decor was amazing, too: behind the sushi bar was a light-show type display which changed colors and designs every few minutes. It was very beautiful. And Ned and Janet very graciously bought my dinner, a treat I hadn't expected!
And then we went to the lion habitat. The MGM Grand has lions, see; they're on a ranch, but there's also a lovely lion habitat at the hotel -- with trees and water and lots of romping room -- where two lions at a time are on display in six-hour shifts. Two male lions were there when we went to look at them, and they were just lovely, with their faces like flowers and their huge paws. For a while, they were directly on the other side of the glass from us, and one of them had his paw up against the glass. I was close enough to see their amber eyes and their eyelashes. Two human keepers were in the enclosure; they had two large, much-bitten rubber balls, and one of the lions was playing, lazily batting the ball when the keeper tossed it to him. And then the lions would roll on their backs, or lick each other. They acted just like giant house cats. I was quite smitten with them, although I'm not quite as brave as Janet, who said she would have gone into the enclosure herself in a red-hot second.
Seeing the lions made the weekend for me: I don't even care that I'm sneezing and spasming! I have to get Gary to the MGM Grand -- he's never seen the Strip -- to eat sushi and look at lions.
Oh, I forgot to mention that we got pretty fabulous convention goodies, including zippered badge holders containing not only our badge, but meal tickets and -- get this -- business cards with our names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses in case we meet new friends we want to have that info. The goody bag also included beautiful crocheted crosses made by a prison inmate, a bag of snacks, and -- because this is Las Vegas -- a deck of Elvis playing cards.
The dealer's room isn't quite as large or varied as usual, but what's there is nice. I walked over to the National Cathedral Bookstore table and found myself looking down at a display of books about knitting! How perfect is that? So I bought a copy of Knitting Heaven and Earth, by Susan Gordon Lydon.
On the downside, the hotel indeed charges twelve dollars a day for internet access. But I really wanted to post this stuff, not to mention checking e-mail, so I went for it.
At 6:00, I'm meeting folks from my parish for dinner, and then I'll probably come back to the room and try to get some grading done.