1. We lived in Las Vegas for 4 years before moving to Ecuador, right? So you think we'd be used to the heat, but my God, during our week there for the IL conference we were constantly asking ourselves, "How in the hell did we do this?!?" When you're used to our highs of mid-70's and a low of mid-50's in Cuenca every day, 100+ temps are a shock to your system. We stayed with friends for a day after the conference and I walked across the street to explore the new LINQ retail area. As soon as I returned I threw on my bathing suit and jumped in the pool. Oof--in every way you can imagine, Las Vegas is a great place to visit--can't believe we actually lived there!
2. A new mall has opened right behind the Red Rock Casino where the conference was held. We wandered over there for dinner one night and decided to eat at a restaurant called the Lazy Dog. In spite of the grueling daytime temps Vegas is actually quite pleasant in the evening so we asked to eat outside. But since we had entered through the al fresco area and noticed a number of dogs we asked to be seated where they weren't. Well, it turns out the name of the restaurant was chosen specifically because they cater to dog owners. H-m-m-m---being non-pet people this wasn't ideal, but we were hungry and the music was too loud inside so we said OK, just as far from the canines as possible. Good decision--my ribs were fall-off-the-bone amazing and Cynthia's salmon was outstanding as well. (And thankfully no one's dog came to the table begging for one of my bones.)
3. Speaking of food, we've developed a new formula for eating out in the States: 1 serving = at least 2 meals. No wonder the U.S. has an obesity problem. The meals are enormous! Talking about this over ridiculously huge platters of food one night, we couldn't remember ever pushing back a plate in Ecuador and saying, "Wow, I'm stuffed--I can't eat another bite!"
4. And speaking of Ecuador, there aren't many rules for daily living in our country. Personal responsibility is king, and people are generally left alone to live life as they choose. In the States we've discovered it's quite different. Take our daughter's hometown in New Jersey. I try to be helpful when I'm here and one night I volunteered to take out the yard trash and recycling since pickup was scheduled for the next morning. I went out the following day and saw it all still sitting there. Why? Because I hadn't put the trash on the correct side of the sidewalk. Really? The sidewalk is like two feet wide. But those are the rules, of which I've since learned there are many in this part of the world. So I took everything out tonight and was reflecting on how I now am concerned about my "presentation" of the f---ing trash to please the garbage men enough to remove it all. Sigh----
Tomorrow we head to North Carolina to visit the other half of the family. Who knows what adventures await there?