Allison Plean: Vegas vacation

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Why is it that we always need a vacation after our vacations?

Our trips are indicative of our daily lives. If we have a busy day-to-day regime, we tend to over plan our time off so we don't waste any of those precious moments. And relaxation was not in the cards for a bachelorette party of nine girls in Las Vegas.

I even felt guilty while sunbathing poolside if I wasn't at least reading a celebrity gossip magazine or taking pictures of us sipping frozen drinks. I had to put my cell phone in the safe in our hotel room just to keep myself from calling home to check in.

There was no point in gambling any money when I knew I was going to lose everything to exorbitant luxury taxes and high-priced entertainment. Americans have successfully commercialized our vacations to fuel our tourism economy. Eight of my friends and I flew to Vegas to pay $3 for a vending machine soda and $15 for a cocktail.

We were chasing the novelty of a cruel sun overshadowing perilous distances of pavement under unforgiving heels to wait in hour-long club lines. But when in Studio 54 at 2 a.m. Friday night - we had made it. Dancing among the confetti and spotlights under acrobatic dancers swinging from the rafters, we could forget it all.

We could forget about how we got scammed on the street by paying $50 for VIP cards that weren't valid. And the little mini dramas and post-buffet digestion problems eventually subsided into in the wee hours of the morning. We were free - until we had to run barefoot back to the hotel Saturday night, to meet our 4:30 a.m. shuttle to the airport to catch an early flight back to reality.

My favorite souvenirs from the weekend are the pictures I collected on my new one-gigabyte memory card. I wanted to capture every moment so all of us could remember why we went on vacation in the first place - to celebrate one of our best friends getting married.

Sweaty crowded dance floors and ringing slot machines set the scene, and years of friendship with uncensored conversation and humor will make the memories behind the photos last forever.

The Vegas first-timers learned that security guards always carry Bandaids for girls with blistered feet, and I finally discovered which clothing stores carried VIP cards so in the future, we will not have to wait in line. But I can never be trained to wear comfortable shoes.

Like painful footwear, any Vegas vacation would not be complete without waiting for an hour and a half to see Mike Tyson ride out the rest of his career training in front of tourists in the corner of a Vegas casino. And we could not leave until one of us got tipped by the bartender for dancing for our friends in the middle of the day.

Returning from vacation used to be the hardest part, but coming back to Steamboat Springs is always the perfect ending to a demanding trip. And luckily there's a buffer zone on the way back from Denver International Airport, aka Colorado Mills Mall and Silverthorne Factory Outlets.

If you're going to get any exercise on vacation, it better involve credit cards. New clothes have the power to renew our spirits and outward perceptions that only a vacation can reinvent.

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