Payam and I took a trip to Vegas this past weekend to celebrate our SIXTH anniversary (of not being married but acting like it). It was pretty fun of course. But let me tell you about the timeshare time-suck we got suckered into. Hah! Did I say the word suck enough? Because it sucked. Like a hoover. Those of you who have been through one of those Wyndham Resort Sales pitches are shaking your heads and laughing at me right now, I know.
Whooo. Boy. What a doozy.
A few drinks may have been involved when Payam and I stumbled out into the night air in search of cheap food. Suddenly out of nowhere someone offered me free Mystere tickets. You could say it was an organized attack. Why, yes I would like some Mystere tickets. What’s the catch? Nothing, you just have to sit through a 120 minute sales pitch AND guess what, the sales woman will throw in her commission! Just sign your name on the line 15 times and put down fifty bucks that you’ll get back tomorrow. That doesn’t sound like a scam at all! Well, not to somebody like me who’s spirit animal is tequila AND I really really wanted to go to a show instead of watch Payam gamble all night.
So yeah. We got suckered like the big fat bunch of suckers we are. The next morning we headed to our rendezvous to wait for our shuttle to take the tour. Thirty minutes later we actually got on the tour bus with ten other suckers just like us. You could hear the bleating of all the sheep before slaughter. The woman in front of us told us that back in the day she used to go to four of these a day and practically spend three days in Vegas for free with all the compensation “gifts”. That lifted my spirits a little but it turns out she was totally wrong.
They took us to another hotel and loaded up another 10 suckers before we finally made it to the Wyndham Resort itself, which let me tell you is nothing much. I mean I could understand wanting to sink some investments into Vegas property as the prices soar yearly now that they have multiple resident sports teams and plans of a super fast train between LA and Vegas but… the property itself was not anything I would really seek out. I’m all about boutique hotels and adventure and charm. Wyndham is about families and comfort and having your own kitchen. They didn’t even have a breakfast buffet for us. The “snacks” were gross coffee, powdered cream and a few packaged Danish cheese rolls. I was ready to get out already and we hadn’t even started our 120 minutes.
This was just the beginning of a very complicated waiting game designed to torture and subdue. After another fifteen minutes or so we finally met our friendly Persian sales guy. Of course they stuck us with the Persian guy. I’m sure they put down all the names on a table and when they saw a name that ended in a vowel Payam was a goner. Payam tried to pretend he doesn’t speak Farsi but that lasted all of three seconds. Before he knew it they were shaking hands and talking about where to get the best koobideh in town.
I won’t write up a whole play-by-play of the rest of the torture game but let me just say it was a lot of waiting and NOT talking about numbers. Whenever we would ask what it costs they would say, What is vacation worth to you? It was all about family values and making memories and how horrible you should feel if you don’t spend quality time with your family. Can you really put a price on that?
Yes, actually I can and it does NOT cost me four hours of my day in Vegas. So finally like fifty years later when my eyes were rolling back in my head and Payam was about to break out some karate to get out of there, they told us what the down payment would be. We obviously did not have the money for the deeply secret down payment and we were not interested in getting a loan to finance it. I mean, we did get suckered into the sales pitch but we aren’t complete morons. But that didn’t mean they didn’t try all the tricks in the book. Gifts and incentives galore, lots of going in and out of offices to consult with management. I felt like I was back in a 1990’s car dealership buying my first car. Our sales guy even had the body oder to match.
We were so done. When we finally signed a document saying we really were not interested (imagine that?!!) and we finally got our “gifts,” Payam and I didn’t even want to wait for our shuttle back to our hotel. We ordered an uber and got out of there as fast as we could.
BUT we did get tickets to Mystere and it was awesome! It is true, there are no bad seats in the house for Mystere. We thought we’d be stuck in the back with our level 3/4 freebie seats but they were great. It was a great show. I can’t say say they were WORTH the four hours of torture but I would definitely pay full price for them.
After the show we met up with my good friend Bethany (from 9th grade!!!) and Stephan (her roommate and therefore my buddy too) who live in Vegas. We partied like rockstars which lead to us exploring Fremont street at 4am like the locals do. It was crazy and fun and I laughed my voice hoarse. Bethany and I always get each other busting up since we have a lot of material being old college roommates and beyond.
And then I got the idea we should take pictures in front of this really well lit pizza sign. Because why not? Bomb lighting is bomb lighting!
What a bunch of nuts, right? Good thing we only do this once or twice a year.
In the spirit of doing crazy photoshoots for fun, I did a thing with my friend, Neil, from New York the other day. You might know him from Citizen of the Month or Neilochka on Instagram. He’s an amazing artist who shoots street photography and really interesting portraits of friends. I was super excited to be on his list.
When he proposed sitting on a chair in the ocean of course I said yes. What could be more perfect for me? I love the ocean! It’s been a huge part of my life living here by the beach. But I’m not your average beach-going bikini-wearing girl. Nah. I’m more like a business woman wearing a red dress, sitting on a bar stool while the rush of waves washes around me in foggy grays and greens. It could be a metaphor for so many things. Of course we didn’t really flesh out what it could mean. It’s left up for interpretation of course.
First we met for coffee to catch up and hash out our ideas. I tried to shoot some photos of Neil with some bags for my Love Your Baggage client. (I’m shooting everyone with these bags if you are interested. Gotta get the word out about how great jute bags are!) And then we headed off to the beach, bar stool in tow.
We set the barstool as far out into the waves as we could go without getting wet and then I sat. It was a bit exciting as the pointy legs of the stool sunk into the wet sand unevenly and the waves washed all around me. I tilted this way and that, leaning forward and backward to keep my balance and desperately trying to suck in my belly fat at the same time.
It was exhilarating! I love the waves. Sand and sea don’t bother me. I didn’t care if I got wet. I expected it.
This is my favorite shot by far.
This one seemed way cooler in my head.
Poor Neil though. He got soaked. As is typical for a photographer, he sacrificed his shoes trying to get the shot. He was squatting down to get just the right angle and a big wave came up and soaked him. Thankfully this time of year the water is pretty nice. But sadly he had to walk around the rest of the day wet and sandy.
Then since he was already wet I made him switch places with me so I could get a shot too.
I think this would be a great avatar for him, don’t you?