09 October 2007

The Story of The Best Boyfriend Ever

October 5, 2o07

In September, Jesse suggested a weekend trip to Los Angeles. He said he wanted to play in a poker tournament there and I had nothing going on in Vegas, so we went. We left after work on Friday and Jesse drove the whole four hours. When we got to the hotel, I stayed in the car while he checked in and I was excited. It was the the most impromptu trip we'd ever taken. We really had nothing planned and that made me a little giggly.

After we checked in, Jesse parked and we went up to the room. There was nothing remarkable about it, but it wasn't horrible either. It was after 11 at night and Jesse suggested we walk around the hotel. I said 'okay' and just followed like a sheep. We got into the elevator and Jesse hit 2 instead of 1. He corrected it, but then got off the elevator at 2. Dummy. Although this dummy was still following.

Then Jesse walked up to a room and started pounding on the door. I asked what he was doing but he didn't say anything. I walked off to the side because some people will shoot strangers outside their door. I wanted to at least be able to identify the shooter. The door opened, but nobody said anything. Jesse stood in the doorway, and the door was open, but he didn't go inside. But there were no gunshots either, so I peeked. And there was my mommy!

She and Vicki were in Los Angeles for a church conference. My mother and Jesse had plotted to surprise me. I was very impressed. I always tease my mother about not being able to keep a secret. I know Jesse can keep a secret, but he didn't let onto anything. I was really surprised. I think my mother was more thrilled that she kept a secret than at actually seeing me.

We hung out all day on Saturday and it was really nice. Jesse and I even got to play some poker while they did their church stuff. They had some sort of marathon 6 hour thing on Sunday, so we left in the morning and stopped at another casino on the way back home. If you've ever played in Vegas, and get the chance to play in California, here's a note: you're not crazy. They are.

I drove back home smiling to myself. You would too, if you had the best boyfriend ever.

20 September 2007

Adam & Amber's Visit

September 13, 2007
Las Vegas, NV

Of course once the camera was broken, we had a flurry of activities that would have made for good pictures. Jesse's old roommate Adam and his wife Amber came to visit. It was the first they had been out here to see us, and I can honestly say we gave them a unique tour of Las Vegas.

They arrived late on a Thursday, and that Friday we went out to a happy hour at Maggiano's. Afterwards we met up with Lucy, and went to Stoney's Rockin' Country. We had a good time, but the night ended dramatically when I started walking home in a huff. Long story short: Jesse was dancing with another girl and I did not appreciate it. I asked him not to (because I am NOT allowed to dance with other guys), and he refused. Another bar, another girl chasing him (although he had a firm grip on her this time), and I did not want to be a part of it. So I left. Lucy came to get me and the fun was over.

The next morning, I had my first flag football game of the season. I joined the media league on a whim. I was just walking by the guy handling the sign ups one day and it seemed like fun. The season went from mid-September to mid-November and we didn't win a single game. But we got nice jerseys out of the deal and I had a lot of fun.

After that first game in September, I went home and made breakfast for everyone. It must have been good, because we all went to sleep afterwards. We spent a lot of Saturday lounging and that night we went out to Dick's Last Resort for dinner, then walked along the strip.

We watched some football at Bill's Gambling Hall (boring), watched the fountain show at the Bellagio, visited the Conservatory, then went into Planet Hollywood. We watched a pianist there named Matt Newbold but the real show came from the audience. Pictures just don't do that woman in the red & black justice. But she's worth showing.

On Sunday, we went hiking at Mount Charleston. We went up to Mary Jane Falls, which - contrary to my expectations - had some water actually falling.

It was just a trickle but it was a lot more than I had expected. The trail was labeled "strenuous," and I think that was the perfect word to describe it. I thought I was going to keel over at several points. But eventually I did make it to the top.

That night, we went up to the Stratosphere to see the city, and down to Fremont Street to see the show. We also ate in the newly remodeled Binion's casino. Delicious.

After that, I had to go to bed because it was late. But Jesse took them out to see more of the strip. Adam & Amber left on Monday. We crammed a lot into that weekend. And I had a great time.

10 September 2007

The Day The Camera Died

September 7, 2007
Las Vegas, NV

My friend Melissa who moved away in July, came back to visit in September for one night only. We rallied the girls, and went the Hard Rock. It's where we almost always went when Melissa lived in Las Vegas.

We crammed quite a bit into that one night. We went shopping, ate dinner, had some drinks, saw a celebrity or twp, and went dancing. That took us from 2pm to 1am, and I was exhausted. We went back to the Circle Bar and while we were deciding whether to eat or to go home, I dropped the camera.

It was tragic. We've had that little camera for more than two years. It was a present to Jesse (from Ryan) and it was part of the reason Jesse started his (now defunct) blog, which prompted me to start my (barely thriving) blog. Of course the camera had been dropped before, but this time I had dropped it on it's lens, and it got stuck between coming in and going out. I was devastated. I just kept shaking it and tapping it and saying "Jesse's going to be so mad." My darling friends encouraged me to lie to him about how it broke but I decided to tell the truth. I had enough guilt on my conscience.

07 September 2007

The Drive Home

September 3, 2007
Henderson, NV

I am of the opinion the weather here is boring. But the scenery is pleasant. I took these pictures on the way home from Green Valley Ranch. We were there browsing in The District. I don't remember if these clouds brought anything by way of moisture. But they were pretty to watch on the drive home.

05 September 2007

Labor Day Pot Luck

September 2, 2007
North Las Vegas

There are not-so-rare occasions when I am homesick. But instead of missing a place or a person, I miss a feeling. Most often, I miss feeling like it's "okay" to sit and hang out without a reason. It seems to me everything here is an event. By the time I take an idea, decide who's going to take part, factor in where in town they live (& move the plans accordingly), I'm almost overwhelmed enough to cancel. Still, I need social interaction. So the show must go on. In August, Lizbeth and I decided to host a Labor Day Pot Luck. And I dare say it was a success.

We had it at Lizbeth's house and supplied the plates, napkins, etc. Jesse and I got there early because he wanted his sloppy joes to be fresh. We sat, talked, watched movies, and played Phase 10. We didn't have to dress up, wait in line, or tip anyone. The actual happenings are way less exciting than what was accomplished -- which was a relatively lazy afternoon.

30 August 2007

Cute Things | August 2007

I accumulated several cute things in August. Here are a few. They each have a little story, but who cares? It only matters that they are cute.

And to wrap up the month: The weekend after we stayed at the Wynn, Jesse went back to Fargo. I went out with Lucy a few times. We had an open bar / open BBQ engagement one day from 7p - 9p and then again from 9p - 11p. The day after that, I went to their company picnic in Jesse's place, and Lucy and I tried a new bar downtown.

Standby September!

27 August 2007

Back At The Wynn 2 | August 2007

August 20, 2007
Las Vegas, NV

When I work overnights, I get out of work at 8:30 in the morning. On August 20th, I got to go from work, to a vacation at the Wynn. I saw Jesse briefly before he left for work and I set out to find something to eat. If I had known the ordeal it was to be, I would have brought a snack.

Jesse swears there was a coffee shop open. If there was, I was too tired to spot it. I walked the casino floor, looked into the buffet, and the read the menu outside the only open restaurant twice. I did not want to eat at the buffet. I actually just wanted some toast and hash browns. There was a restaurant open but nothing on the menu looked good. It was too fancy for my pallet. Back in the room, the room service menu had a wide variety of delicious foods. Each came with an 18% gratuity in addition to 7.75% sales tax and a $5 room service fee. If I ordered room service, I'd end up paying the same price as the buffet. I went back downstairs to the casino floor.

Eventually, I decided to indulge. I ordered a turkey burger and fries from room service. It came on a wheat bun with cheese and some strange sauce. My order also came with adorable condiments. I like all things cute. Things that are tiny versions of bigger things just tickle me. I hope they tickle you too.

After I ate, I watched TV and took a nap. The bed was so comfortable, I woke up refreshed just a few hours later. I had dinner with my friend Joel - which rarely happens anymore because he works nights and my workday is done 30 minutes after his starts.

Joel went back to work and I went to the pool. It was dusk, which is good for pictures, but bad for water temperatures. I had planned to bring a friend but it turns out all my friends work on Mondays. The pool was about to close anyway. I had to find something else to do.

I ended up going back to the room and flipping through the channels. Interesting note: the Wynn carries Al Jazeera. It's in the channel line up between local channels and CNN. Jesse came back from work and softball practice and went back out to play at the Venetian. I woke up just before midnight, took a fantastic Wynn shower and went to work.

Even though I didn't do anything exciting, it was refreshing to state at the Wynn. The beds are so comfortable and the showers are invigorating. Maybe it's the citrus soap - I honestly don't know. The stay would have only been better if I had gotten to spend more time with Jesse. But I'm not complaining.

25 August 2007

Back At The Wynn | August 2007

August 19, 2007
Las Vegas, Nevada

Jesse is a travel agent. In August, he was offered two nights at Wynn Las Vegas. We graciously accepted. We checked on Sunday, August 19th. We checked in after dinner time because we had wasted the day away. We were given room 517 and here comes a few words for the wise: If ever you have the pleasure of staying at the Wynn -- and you opt for the king sized bed with the strip view -- you should also opt for any room higher than the fifth floor. As you can see, our view left much to be desired. I'm sure Steve Wynn would be appalled if he knew such a room existed. I might write him a letter.

Great view or not, it feels good to be at the Wynn. The rooms have everything a guest like me might want. As a special guest, Jesse got a little gift bag of trinkets. We stretched and I took a nap. I was working overnights that week. Jesse had his own nocturnal business at the Venetian. He was trying to get enough hours to play in a free roll. So while I napped, he clocked in at the poker table. I know. It was a pretty boring start to our fabulous time.

15 August 2007

Networks, Networking, & Netting | August 2007

For the rest of July and the beginning of August I was busy planning for The National Association of Black Journalists 32nd Annual Convention & Career Fair (NABJ 2007). The convention was held here in Las Vegas and as a Secretary of the host chapter, I had to a lot to do.

Every year, the convention is in a different city. The host chapter uses it as a fundraising opportunity. The money raised is used for scholarships and to promote the chapter in its community. Here in Las Vegas, the local chapter has almost no recognition. The Las Vegas Association of Black Journalists started years ago, then disbanded, then reincorporated in 2005. I joined in 2006. My first year as a member, I felt as if we weren't accomplishing anything. This year, I was elected to the executive board. Even though there was still no real plan for the chapter, I was excited to plan for the convention. I figured it would be a good way for the members to be active, and to get our name out there as a legitimate organization. NABJ 2007 began on August 8th. As I soon learned, it was all about Networks, Networking, and Netting.

While diversity is defined as "the act of being diverse," and diverse is defined as "differing from one another," businesses tend to define diversity as "having different colored people." Networks use NABJ has a diversity supermarket. Representatives go, walk the aisles, pick out what on their list, and pay for it. I don't want to make it sound like a bad process - because the applicants want the jobs. It's a win - win situation. It's just that I disagree with the idea that diversity can be seen on someone's face. So I think - although it looks good that networks are out there doing what they think is right - they're missing the point.

In the TV News business, everyone knows someone who knows someone else. There are good markets to begin careers and good middle markets. But there are only a handful of top markets.. with hundreds of people vying for the same positions in those markets. This convention, like any other convention I suppose, is at much about schmoozing as it is about learning. I've attended a few conventions before, but this was the first time I had been as an observer. I didn't attend any of the workshops at NABJ. I was there to work the chapter table, selling t-shirts and drawing tickets. I did meet a lot of people, and I exchanged a lot of business cards but my focus was on making money for the chapter.

Being an observer showed me another side of the convention. I like to call it "netting." The "netters" are usually women, trying to catch attention. At first I thought they were looking for mates, then I realized it's more about being noticed. Being invited to this after party or that one, wearing uncomfortable clothes and shoes that are fun and fashionable - but not practical.

NABJ 2007 was a great people watching experience for me. I learned a lot about what I don't think is important in life and careers. That's another post for another time.

03 August 2007

Since The Cruise | July 2007

Since the cruise, you might have noticed I've taken time away from writing. Part of it was because I've been thinking about ways to travel on a permanent basis. Part of it was not wanting to officially put the cruise behind me. And another part of it was being extremely busy with a lot of minutia.

So here what happened at th end of July 2007:
*pieced together from pictures, emails, and my calendar

July 11 - My friend Melissa moved to Texas for a new job. There was a big party for her while I was away, but there was another (smaller) gathering when I got back. Melissa and I started around the same time. We didn't start talking or hanging out for more than a year - talk about opportunities missed. We did make up for lost time though. Now she lives in Texas.

July 14 - We had dinner at Gilley's at the New Frontier Hotel & Casino. The following week, both were shut down forever. Gilley's had been our favorite country bar & eatery here. We (and thousands of others) really enjoyed it... but the hotel was sold and scheduled for demolition. A bunch of us went there for dinner and dancing. We had fun - but had to leave because this really aggressive woman (wearing a short skirt and no panties) was chasing Jesse. I would have won the fight, and probably would have been arrested. So we left. But we did have fun.

July 23 - We saw the Blue Man Group with our friend Lizbeth & her brother Abner. We didn't take any pictures but I liked the show and recommend you see it. Later in the week, Abner and I bonded on the beach at the Hard Rock. I promise to take pictures when he comes back.

01 August 2007

Traveling | A Look Back

You've read the stories (the whats if you will), now I want to tell you about the hows. We love to travel. We're working on ways to do it more frequently and perhaps permanently. I believe the key to successful travel is preparation. Not necessarily reinventing the wheel, but it making sure you have the right treads for your journey. Today I'm going to tell you what we did right (by our standards) and what we will improve before our next adventure.

Danie's Unofficial Guide to Trip Planning
  1. Know where you're going
I'm organized. Okay, I am extremely organized. Before I go anywhere or do anything, I like to know what I'm going to do after that task is completed. Knowing I am going to be on a cruise and docking (or tendering) at a certain place for 7-12 hours inspires me to want to know exactly what there is to do in that locale. Even if I don't get to do it, or choose not to, I want to know what my options are. That way, if I run into someone and we start talking about Santorini, I won't have to say "I didn't go to Oia..." only to have them reply: "Really? Well the wine & crepes are spectacular." I doubt that would ever happen but you get the point.

Two weeks before we left, Jesse and I went to Barnes & Noble to read up on our ports of call. There are plenty of books out there with historical facts about cities - designed with the tourist in mind. They explain that which would make your trip worthwhile. You're never going to learn everything about an area from a book. But if you don't have time to absorb the culture and/or its history, books are a great way to fast forward. And in our case, we got extra tourism information on the ship the night before we docked.

For Rome, we ought a guide book from Frommer's, as well as a fantastic map. I also bought a moleskine travel journal. It came with a pull-out map, but the one we bought was more detailed and laminated. Aside from being a journal and having a map, the moleskine had sheets available for my likes and dislikes. I think it's perfect for creating a personalized guide. I highly recommend it.
  1. Know where you're going
  2. Know how to get there
Jesse took care of all of our travel arrangements. I bought my own flights, but I was only getting onto the same flights he had already booked. Once we were at the airport, a minibus from Bob's Limos and Tours took us from the airport to the ship.When the cruise was over, a member from Bob's team was there to take us back to the airport. We had no complaints for Bob. The prepaid trip includes all tolls and the drivers had a GPS Service that kept us on course. I'd work with Bob again.

We used the subways in Rome, Athens, Naples (Pompeii), and Milan. Trains are a fast (& cheap) way to get around. I also like that we got to see what commuters see. On the trip from Piraeus to Athens we saw gypsy slums - not something I would have walked through, but something interesting to see from a speeding train. Almost all of the train stations had automatic ticketing stations, so there wasn't necessary to speak the language. But you should know the direction in which you are heading. That way, you can note the last stop on the train. It'll help you stay orientented and get back to your hotel.

We used the Roman subways the most. There was a day pass available for 4 euros, but we never got it - and we never took the train more than 4 times in one day. Although, if we had purchased the day pass, we probably would have used it often just to get our money's worth. But we really wanted to see the city. During our two stops in Rome, we stayed far in the north and far in the south. We did a lot of walking to cover the ground in between and took a few cabs beause trains stop running at nine.

In Greece, we only took the train from the port city to the street closest to the Acropolis. I think the Greek subway was the cleanest and the least crowded.

The trains in Naples went out east past Pompeii... but not north to the Catacombs of San Gennaro. We walked about two miles to get there and planned to take the bus back down. But in Naples you can only buy bus passes in certain stores. We figured it would have taken us less time to walk than to find the right store. I think we werre right. We caught a train at the Metropolitan Museum and took it to the main hub in the city. There we bought roubdtrip ticket to Pompeii for 9,50 euros. The ride took about a half hour. During that time we realized we had no idea how far the ruins were from the train station. Fortunately, when we got off we were only two blocks away.

Milan had the dirtiest subways of them all. The main commuter hubs we saw (Milano Centrale and the Malpensa Express) were nice but the city trains were gross. I grew up riding NYC subways with my dad. Trust me when I say Milan's subway system is nasty. Still, they give the best value for your money.
  1. Know where you're going
  2. Know how to get there
  3. Know what you're saying
I studied Italian for two years. I like it. My problem is, if I don't know a word, I substitute the Spanish version. Sometimes that will work, but it's not a way to learn Italian. Before we left, I took out old notes from my last trip to Italy. It was a two week immersion course in Siena. I wasn't surprised that I had the notes. And I wasn't surprised that I never made time to study them. I did however buy an Italian phrase book. It helped a lot.

I also bought a Greek phrase book. It served no purpose at all. Words in Greek don't look like words at all. There's no way to even pretend to know how to pronounce them. I couldn't even use it translate street signs. While in Greece, I learned no Greek. It is regrettable. I recommend (wherever you go) you plan some way to communicate in the event no one around you speaks English.
  1. Know where you're going
  2. Know how to get there
  3. Know what you're saying
  4. Know what to bring
Not all luggage is created equal. We brought too much of the wrong stuff on this vacation. The idea was to have one big suitcase, one carry-on each, and my computer. I think that would have been fine if we were just cruising, but for the amount of traveling we did afterwards, we needed smaller, more easily managed bags.

Our recommendation (and what we will be using next time) is two pieces of luggage each. One small to medium bag to be checked. That bag should have wheels and a sturdy handle... and it should be easy to carry over the gaps between subway cars and platforms. In addition to that bag, a backpack with wheels. I'm looking for one with a cushioned laptop compartment. The goal is to carry neither a lot of little bags, nor one big one. That would have helped us.
  1. Know where you're going
  2. Know how to get there
  3. Know what you're saying
  4. Know what to bring
  5. Know what to wear
Women need clothes with pockets. It makes sense for several reasons, including not keeping your money in the same place and having money handy for quick purchases. A purse might be convenient, but I think a backpack is more convenient, because both hands are free at all times. It just keeps things the traveler moving.

I recommend two pairs of walking shoes that can be alternated. No matter how comfortable you think your shoes are, they will annoy you at the end of a long day. And even the shoes that annoyed you yesterday will provide relief. Flip-flops are dumb for site seeing. They don't have a lot of support or traction and marble just gets smoother with time.

Be comfortable. If you think you're going to sweat, wear an undershirt. Be practical, even if you're not as cute as you could be. Also, be smart. The Vatican has a dress code: bare shoulders, cleavage, midriffs, and upper thighs are not to be seen
  1. Know where you're going
  2. Know how to get there
  3. Know what you're saying
  4. Know what to bring
  5. Know what to wear
  6. Know how to go
Part of being Danie is having an intense dislike for public restrooms. Unfortunately, they are a necessary evil. I'm not sure how many I used during the trip, but I do know only 3 had both toilet paper and soap. I had my own wipes and hand sanitizer. But I wanted soap. I might bring that next time.

So that's my advice, not to be confused with a complete checklist of any sort. Overall our trip went well. We traveled well together and I think that had a lot to do with the planning we did ahead of time. Hopefully this will help you as well.

30 July 2007

The Trip Home

July 9, 2007
Milan, Italy to Las Vegas, NV

The only thing remarkable about the last day of our trip was the fact that it seriously took an entire day. We went to the airport on an early shuttle and ended up with just enough time to go through security, get to the terminal, and be bussed to the airplane. I was sick and my nose was leaking profusely. I tried to keep it to myself (and let people see me pour on the hand sanitizer) but I'm sure I was the object of many a head shake.

When we arrived in Newark, we had to go through customs. That means we had to get our luggage, have our passports stamped, recheck the bags, go through security, and find our terminal. We had more than 2 hours to accomplish that - so we figured we'd get something to eat as well. Unfortunately one of our luggage handlers had a medical emergency on the tarmac.

Honestly I can't tell you if it was a he or a she, or is s|he fell or a had a heart attack. I can tell you removing that person delayed the luggage by 90 minutes. We had our big suitcase. We were just missing one duffel with all the souvenirs. Yes, it came and yes, that was the longest wait. But it was not the only wait.

Customs was smooth, but did not move quickly. And the line to recheck luggage was down two hallways. We were still 45 minutes from our flight, and therefore did not qualify for the 30 minute or less fast-track. When we finally got the next set of luggage screeners, the sight was disconcerting to say the least.

We were told to leave our bags just anywhere on the side. We had no time to argue. Jesse maintained his cool - until he realized we had to go through security again. Then came the "I hate Newark" rant that comes from anyone who has ever had the EWR experience. But as you can guess, it all worked out. We found our terminal, grabbed something to eat, and boarding began just as we were were finishing our food.

And thus concluded Cruise 2007.

29 July 2007

A Day On The Road

July 8, 2007
Italian Countryside

Our flight back the states left from Milan. Neither of us had any desire to see Milan, so we decided to take a train that Sunday afternoon. We sat in the technologically advanced first class cabin, with adjustable seats and electrical outlets. I started looking through the pictures we had taken. Jesse started listening to his i pod and dozing. Rome started melting away. In place of monuments and tourists, there were mountains and trees. I'm glad we saw that part of the country. It as if Rome was leaving us, instead of the other way around.

Milan is not Rome. The people are not as friendly. The train stations are not as clean. The map we bought seemed to be useless. Milan is not Rome.

Here's the rundown: We got out of the technologically advanced first class cabin in Milan. I then had to pay to use a very dirty bathroom, where no one stood in line people were dashing into open stalls. We then paid for a map that didn't show the neighborhood surrounding our hotel. We took city trains to an express terminal, where we took another train to the airport. At the airport, we found a free shuttle to our hotel. I think we spent 8 hours getting from One hotel to the other. We were exhausted.

Our hotel was fantastic. There was a flat rate for Internet and after some finagling, we had power to the computer. Actually we had had power the entire time via an adapter. But it didn't have a slot for the third prong and we didn't think it would worked. We were wrong.

We had dinner in the hotel restaurant and from what I remember, it was delicious. While it wasn't the most eventful way to spend our last day in Italy, we were exhausted. And we went to bed.

28 July 2007

Our Last Night In Rome

July 7, 2007
Rome Italy

In one day (which was really 2), we saw the sites, at the food, and bought the goods. On our last night in Rome, Jesse and I bought a bottle of wine (and an opener) and sat on the Spanish Steps. As I'm sure I've mentioned, the best part about sitting on the Spanish Steps is watching the people. Some don't know they're being watched, but I'm sure others go there just for the attention.

I call this man Xerxes. There are more similarities than not. He strutted up and down the steps, granted every photo request, and (as you can see) was fully able to strike a pose. I took a few pictures of him. He entertained us for about an hour.

Otherwise, we sat and drank our wine out of the bottle. I didn't think we were on anyone's radar until two kids offered us cups. After we emptied the bottle, I knocked it over. So their timing was perfect.

After we drank, we ate. We picked Trattoria Otello all Concordia based on a recommendation from Frommer's. It was an excellent choice and we had a lovely time. We wrapped up Rome with a walk back to the Colosseum, and a tax ride back to our hotel.

27 July 2007

After The Vatican

July 7, 2007
Rome, Italy

We walked out of St. Peter's Square, bought some trinkets, and followed another crowd heading towards the Sistine Chapel. On the way, we decided to eat at a place on the corner. There was nothing extraordinary about it but I'm pretty sure it was the best pizza I ate in all of Italy. Of course that could have been because I was really hungry.

Our menu consisted of Coke, Fanta, bruschetta, pizza, and lasagna. It seems like a lot when it's written out. The service was quick, the food was delicious, the bill was not steep and there was soap in the restroom. I highly recommend it.

We were less than two blocks from the Sistine Chapel but we never made it inside. My only explanation is this sign. It clearly states the chapel closes at 1pm during the week we were there. Had we known that, we would have planned accordingly. Still, I think this was our only missed opportunity and I'm proud that there's only one. We planned ahead and didn't leave a lot of room for error. This one just happened. As a result we had a lot more free time in Rome and not a whole lot else to do. Fortunately we found the perfect way to pass the time.

We started shopping for souvenirs. We both had a list of ideal items we would have liked to have found. But the reality is that there are few souvenirs sold by hundreds of vendors. Unique gifts might be out there, but they're nowhere a tourist would be able to find.

Aside from shopping, we went back to the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. I liked the fountain better in the daytime - because I could see just how many people were there. It was not a comforting sight, but at least I was aware.

We once again sat near the fountain - with some gelato. I found a place I had been to back in 2000. It was still there and the gelato was still fantastic. Even Jesse, who has a odd distaste for good foods, thought the gelato was phenomenal. That is a very high complement.

So we sat, we stood, we shopped, and we had seen all we could within reason. We had plenty of time to enjoy our last night in Rome.