Some traveling for us and some experience at the pet hotel for our sweet doggie – life can’t be fair for all

George’s sister is visiting us for 45 days. This is wonderful as it so good to have someone from the family with us right now. She is a great person, full of energy, and I love her. Another thing: being the older sibling, she is a person that makes her point heard so I have some fun watching her and George argue about each minor thing.  I feel like coming back to life.

Last week, just three days after her arrival to the States, we decided to go on a five-day journey around the “neighboring states” of New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada. We love driving and this is really one of the rare moments when we actually can have switch off and some rest. All one to do is keep eyes on the road and do some chatting in the car.

Both our kids are great fans of travelling by car and are almost invisible around, just like a couple of suitcases. Their only requirements are entirely technical – the two portable screens (thank you, Target!) must be working fine and the supply of games and DVDs should be close to indefinite number. The amount of cables, headphones, extension cords and plugs is impressive but we treasure each inch of them. We know our sanity depends on these requirements so we better do our best to meet all of them, otherwise… We do not want to know the "otherwise" part at all.

Kal can spend hours watching DVDs on his screen back there on the third row – he even tried playing his Xbox 360 but for a short time only – something must have gotten wrong with the extension cords but he demonstrated immense virile attitude that we decided to award generously when back home  with a number of sleepovers at our place. Currently his room resembles a camp site for three boys but we keep our mouths shut, our hearts open and our fridge and oven always ready for boys’ food wishes (mainly: pizza, pizza and pizza; oh, also some homemade pizza, for a change).

Trayana, being just eight, is more versatile when traveling – she would choose between reading books (yes, indeed!), playing on her DS or just watching satellite TV. So the right equipment makes it possible for us to cover about 850 miles per day in any direction without ever being hit with the reality fact that we are parents.

This time we headed to Santa Fe for a day, and Vegas for two. Both are busy tourist sites, noisy and crowded and that was exactly what we felt we needed to get some distraction from our everyday work and tension. At least that was what I needed.  I wanted it crowded around me, noisy, warm, sweaty (why not?), full of lights on the verge of kitsch and far beyond it. In a word: I wanted something totally different from our everyday life so nothing would remind me of it…

Santa Fe was not sweaty at all. How sad… It was cold and windy; most of the stores were in a hurry to close between 5.30 and 6 pm, and we could not feel any of the artistic atmosphere we enjoyed when we were there last. Maybe it was just us (or rather, me)…. Maybe I was too eager to enjoy it but it did not click right this time. The dinner was wonderful, though – at Maria’s restaurant that I can highly recommend.  We tried to cover the table with samples of almost all Mexican dishes.  I do not think we have missed any of the Spanish words we knew for food items and George’s sister got quickly converted to Mexican food. She even has occasional snacks at home now with corn nachos and guacamole and salsa. Una hermana muy bonita!

Some photos from Santa Fe:

Driving through New Mexico and Arizona the next day was just a breeze. When the young ones are quiet and busy doing their things – yes, we can really enjoy the “joy ride”.  Warm sunny weather, scenery was not that boring; ten hours later we passed the Hoover Dam and were in Vegas. Last summer it was MGM for us. We all love getting long walks but in 100+ degrees F it was a bit of a challenge in July. So, this time, especially having a guest with us, we decided to get located more in the center of the Strip. Well, as it was just for sleeping, Harrah’s seemed acceptable, reasonable price for decent looking rooms. Well, it was ok but no higher recommendations here.

Here are some Las Vegas photos:

We liked the “Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill” , though (at Harrah's) - we have not been to too many places with live country music and dancing, so this one was real fun for us and especially, for George’s sister. The margaritas were served in large-size jars, so we generated some stories among all close friends and family members who have looked at our photos…. The folks at the pub did some amazing dancing and there was also a newly-married middle-aged couple whose friends had music running down their veins. Definitely felt great to be there.

Photos from the bar:

While we had our five-day break, our dog Troy spent some time at a Pet Smart hotel. As we did not have any previous experience we went for that option and also included the doggy day camp into his schedule. We truly thought he would be having fun as he loves so much playing with other dogs. Even when we left him at the hotel, he rushed inside without too fond goodbyes.  This is part of his curious self – to explore new opportunities. So, we thought he might enjoy it playing with the other dogs.

But going there to pick him up six nights later, a strange and quiet dog approached us. On the outside, it was our Springer Spaniel boy but his passionate nature of a vagabond dog has gone. Obviously he had not enjoyed the bathroom breaks inside and he was eager to feel the breeze and the grass in the parts under his tail... So his very first walk outside was profoundly enjoyed - yes, that was the old world he loved! But apart from that moment of liveliness, he had obviously switched to some new breed that should probably be called “Humbled Spaniel”.

We felt quite bad for having a nice break while obviously Troy had been shocked or worried that we might not come back to take him home ever again… He ate quietly; then he lay by each of us without any playing or tricks, and was stepping right next to us everywhere we went without any trace of sound – very much like a cat. Just an invisible shadow following us everywhere.

Good to be home again – for all of us.