Los Angeles – week 10

Wow, a very busy week so here goes….

Sunday started off with another trip to Beverly Hills, this time to Rodeo Drive to see Paul Jackson Jr. and his band in concert. Paul is one of the world’s top session musicians and although the weather was overcast and cold the band provided a very enjoyable couple of hours. The highlights being the occasions that Paul and Freddie Flewelen Jr, the bassist & Musical Director, went into the crowd and played.

During the interval I got the whole of the bands autographs and Paul autographed a copy of his latest cd for me. Paul took a great interest in my new camera and Freddie was keen to seen the photographs I had taken, so I left him my business card with my web-site address written on it. I hope you like the photos Freddie! See the pictures here. There are three pages of them.

On Monday it was back to work after my bout of flu. Dave arrived from the UK in readiness for running a course for the following three days. Dave ‘International Rescue’ Papworth came armed with goodies, including digestive biscuits & at long last Daddie’s Sauce. Special thanks also go to Dominique for going to Tesco’s to do the shopping!

Tuesday saw Sheffield United beat Walsall 2-0 and I managed to listen to the commentary over the Internet via BBC Radio Sheffield. I had my name read out on air, and it turned out that there were five supporters listening in the US, including 3 in LA and one in San Diego. And I thought I was lonely!!

My three days holiday started on Wednesday as Andrew & myself travelled to Las Vegas for a few days, and although this was Andrew’s first visit to the city this was my sixth. On arrival we checked into the Stratosphere Hotel then visited the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino where we enjoyed a buffet dinner, visited the Mirage & saw one of the white tigers on show, and then had a look around the Venetian.

On Thursday we started off at Mandalay Bay, visiting the Shark Reef display followed by a buffet lunch, then onto the Egyptian-style Luxor, the Mediaeval-themed Excalibur, New York New York and finally the MGM Grand, where we saw the lion exhibit & two of the lion cubs. I passed on the opportunity to have my photo taken with one of the cubs as I’m allergic to cats.

After the MGM, we travelled on the monorail from Excalibur to Mandalay Bay to get back to the car. In the evening we visited the Aladdin, where we had a buffet dinner, then onto Paris & Bally’s. We also saw the fountain display outside the Bellagio.

The amazing thing about Thursday though was the weather. The day started gloriously, but later in the morning the heavens opened and by 2pm in the afternoon it was almost as dark as night. By the end of the day the Strip had had a third of inch of rain and they had had lots of snow in the nearby mountains.

Andrew played golf on Friday so I took the opportunity to visit one of the local malls and do a bit of Xmas shopping, then it was over to  McCarran International Airport for a bit of plane-spotting, then I went up to the top of the Stratosphere Tower, the tallest structure west of the Mississippi – so they say. They have a rollercoaster & a ‘big-shot’ at the top but have just opened a new ‘thrill-ride’ called the “X-Scream” where people are left dangling in mid-air almost 1,200 above the ground. Check the photos to see more.

It was golf again for Andrew on Saturday so I went out into the country and drove through Red Rock Canyon, which provided some stunning scenery as the drive took me to an altitude of almost 5,000 feet. Trotting along the road in the canyon were some wild burros, similar to donkeys, who seemed quite tame as they came up to the car windows looking food as cars stopped to take their photo. After that it was off to Bellagio, one of the most expensive hotel & casinos in Vegas. The Bellagio is the only casino to have gone to town with their Xmas decorations. Check the photos to see. 

In the evening it was time for the highlight of the week, and the main reason for visiting Vegas this time around…LeAnn Rimes in concert at the Aladdin. This is the second time that I’ve seen LeAnn since I’ve been here and I must say again what an awesome voice she has. She can deliver so much power & control that it makes the hairs on the back of neck stand-up, the highlight of the evening once again being “How Do I Live”, the theme from the Nicolas Cage movie “Con Air”.

On Sunday I was up at 06:30 as I had to get back to Beverly Hills for another open-air concert, this time to see Jennifer York and her band. More details on this next week, but the breaking news to leave you with is that Beverly Hills Police Dept. issued me with a ticket. Check back here next week for more details & photographs of Jennifer.

Click here for the photos for week10 – so much to show you this week that there are three pages!