This past week, we had a wonderful time in Vegas. Great food, awesome shows, beautiful weather. Just a good time all around. We spent a couple of days before the WPPI conference to experience Vegas with some family and friends. For the past several years Mao and I have been going to Vegas for business about 2-3 times a year. This trip is by far the best experience we’ve had.
Photo Note: This was taken at the Bellagio Botanical Garden.
We spent most of Saturday walking around, shopping and exploring the casinos and hotels. I always enjoy the botanical garden at the Bellagio. We went to Little Buddha at the Palms for dinner where I had the best sashimi I’ve ever had and that’s not an exaggeration. I highly recommend it if you like sashimi which I eat every chance I get. It was also the same night as Hugh Hefner’s birthday party so there were a lot of camera crews and party-goers in the hotel. After dinner, we went to see KA, a Cirque de Soleil show, at the MGM. It was our first Cirque show and it was incredible. Afterwards, we had drinks at bars in MGM to end an eventful day.
Photo Note: This is at the KA Cirque de Soleil show at the MGM.
The following day we had brunch at the Aladdin then came my surprise. I’ve been planning my engagement proposal with friends and family. I’ve always wanted something grand, dramatic and romantic. Back then my ideal proposal was to do it at the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Also, I remembered on our last trips that they had helicopter tours to the Grand Canyon from Vegas. So after much deliberation, I did some research and finally decided on a sunset helicopter tour with a touchdown and champagne toast in the Grand Canyon. It doesn’t get anymore grand and dramatic than the Grand Canyon right?
So after brunch we had a few drinks at our hotel during the Georgetown game. My sisters were with us and were aware of the proposal at the Grand Canyon. They were nervous and at times I thought they would be too obvious for Mao. So after drinks we headed out to go “shopping”. We had a limo waiting outside and I asked Mao to come with me. She asked if everyone is going and I said no, just us two. She had a deer in the headlights look on her face as she went along confused. She sat in the limo and asked where are we going? I said it’s a surprise, although there were signs in the limo for helicopter rides.
She had a clue once the limo pulled up to the airport so I filled her in. We checked in and took the 45 minute flight out to the Grand Canyon. We flew over the Hoover Dam and saw amazing vistas from above of Lake Meade and of course, the Grand Canyon. It was absolutely breathtaking. The helicopter slowly descended into the Grand Canyon and landed with the rest of the 5 or so helicopters in our tour. Mao and I took some photos and walked around. The funny thing is that another guy proposed after we touched down and had one of the couples in our helicopter take the picture of the proposal. Since I didn’t want to spoil the surprise, I started leading Mao away from the newly engaged couple to avoid any excitement or discussions of engagements. We had some snacks prepared by our pilot and a champagne toast as promised.
Photo Note: I didn’t bring much gear with me. So no tripod. I placed my d200 on a rock and timed in 20sec.
My plan was to have the pilot take a few more pictures before we departed so Mao wouldn’t suspect. I wanted her to think that I would have done it when we got there and during the champagne toast. So, all the other helicopters were boarded. Mao and I approached our helicopter with another couple behind us. At this point I was getting a little nervous. I asked Rip, our pilot, to take a few more pictures in front of the helicopter before we took off and the couple behind us wanted to go after. My plan is to get down on my knee on the second shot. So Rip took the first shot then I asked for another. At this point, I should be getting on my knee but I just couldn’t do it. There goes the second shot. I asked for a third which Rip along with the other couple started to get a tad bit annoyed and wondering how many shots. So I jokingly said it’ll be the last shot and I just wanted a different pose. So, I got down on my knee at the same time pulling out the box out of my camera bag. As I was doing this, Mao looked at me and asked what are you doing, we’re taking pictures. So I quickly opened the box and popped the question. She said yes, we returned back to flyover the Vegas strip with the lights gleaming over shades of blue, orange and purple hues of the sunset backdrop. We took the limo back to the hotel.
Photo Note: Our pilot Rip was awesome! He kept shooting so we had a nice series.
Photo Note: This was the view on the trip back to Vegas.
I asked Mao about “punking” my sisters by taking off the ring and say I didn’t propose during the helicopter ride. She agreed and when we met up with my sisters, they wondered where the ring was and immediately asked what happened? The pressure! I made up an excuse and said the moment was ruined by the other guy that proposed. I wanted to wait until dinner at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant. My sisters felt bad that I didn’t get to propose and that Mao probably expected it at the Grand Canyon. So Lanie told the restaurant that I will be proposing and they gave us an excellent window table overlooking the strip and the Bellagio fountains. I had the best rack of lamb ever! Anyway, desserts came and my sisters started hinting and they were very nervous and fidgety which made me nervous more than at the actual proposal in the Grand Canyon. I gave my little intro and speech and then got down on my knee and proposed once again. Both of my sisters were extremely excited and then I said, wow this is our third proposal which finally resonated with them. Third? What isn’t it your second? So I told them about the truth about the Grand Canyon proposal and they couldn’t believe it. It was really funny. So I guess I have to show the pictures to prove that I did propose in the Grand Canyon.
So the Eiffel Tower proposal was close to my ideal proposal of at the real Eiffel Tower in Paris. So, it was grand, dramatic, romantic and it was in Paris (hotel). Mission accomplished. Mao said that she was surprised (about the first one) and that she didn’t expect it. I believe her.
We left Vegas for New Orleans on Wednesday. Here are some photos.
Photo Note: This was our view from our hotel room at the W Hotel in the French Quarter. It was such an inspiring atmosphere.
Photo Note: This was at the hotel front desk lobby.
Photo Note: This is our New Orleans > BWI trip. Mao helping me edit some content.
You can view a slideshow here.