This day occurred on 21st July 2002 and involved the two American states California and Nevada.

To understand what happened it is necessary to first mention an Hawaiian cruise we sailed on in April of 2002.

On this cruise we were placed at a table for our evening meal with these American couples :-


They were: Centre, Ron and Pat and Right, Marian and Art. We became very friendly with these people, particularly Marian and Art with whom we kept in contact by Email after the cruise was over. So much so that we got an invitation to visit them if ever it became convenient.

Well it did become convenient because we left England for a one week holiday in Las Vegas on 16th July 2002. Marian and Art lived about 300 miles from Las Vegas ( just a short drive by American standards) so we decided to visit them over the  weekend.

By 7.0am we were on the road in our hire car heading for a place called Palm Desert in California. We had no idea what the area or the house we were going to looked like but after just over 4 hours of fast driving we entered this :-

A beautiful valley that housed the resort of Palm Desert. We then discovered that our hosts lived in a complex called Sun City, a sort of Timeshare but VERY exclusive!  

After being checked in at the site's security gates we drove up to the house and rang the bell.

We were shown round the house which was lovely. There was a small but well-maintained garden with a lemon tree. But OH! the temperature - it was sweltering. On the following day, Saturday, Art and Marian took us to a place where Marian worked as a volunteer :-

The place was called THE LIVING DESERT. This was home to about 200 animals, a lot of them difficult to see because they were seeking shelter from the sun and heat. It was well over 100F and very strength-sapping. Around the site were very fine jets of water that you could stand under to cool down. Some of the animals, like this Mountain Lion, were out in the open.

Lunchtime came and we found that arrangements had already been made:-

We were taken for Brunch in Art's Cadillac to a place called MELVYN'S.  The food and the service were exceptional, with the added bonus of unlimited champagne- as soon as your glass was empty the waiter refilled it. The previous day we had eaten evening meal at :-

Mario's, seen here with our doggie-bags. Just like at Melvyn's we were not allowed to contribute towards the bill.

After lunch we were taken to see the homes of famous people :-

On the left is the house where BOB HOPE lived and on the left is one of the homes LIBERACHI owned. (the pianist). You can just make out the black and white piano keys on the mail-box.

Back at Marian's and Art's house we ate the contents of the previous night's doggie-bags :-

The meal was accompanied by fresh melon, strawberries and ice cream. After tea our hosts told us there were quite a few show-houses in the area. These places are a magnet to Jacqueline and she asked if we could go and see them:- 

Our favourite was the bottom right photo. It had 3,500 sq feet of floor and a large outdoor pool. It was not expensive by UK standards.

In the evening we watched TV. Watching TV the previous night, we saw an act that was new to us. It was called Cirque Du Soleil. It was so good that years later when we noticed that they were performing at the Royal Albert Hall in London we travelled down there for the weekend and went to their show. 

AND NOW WE COME TO THE TITLE OF No.101 in the list of " 100 THINGS TO SEE AND DO".


Next day was Sunday 21st July when we would be returning to Las Vegas. We were up at 6.30am, before Art and Marian, to sit out in the garden. At this time of the day the heat was just bearable. Soon the conditions would be more like this :-

Before going any further it is necessary to know a little more about the complex where we were staying. Buyers can choose from about 15 different types of property. No one under the age of 55 can purchase, hence there are few children around. There are 3 huge Clubhouses which cater for every popular sport and pastime e.g. Pottery, Ceramics, Needlework, Computing, Painting, Model Railways, Sculpturing, and many many more.  There are also restaurants, bars, TV rooms, and two open-air swimming pools. The most extensive and popular pastime is golf and the facilities here are truly outstanding:-

When Art and Marian joined us for breakfast they sprung another surprise on us. When we were on the cruise ship LEGEND OF THE SEAS with them we had played an 18 hole round of golf on the ship's top deck putting course:-

Well, today they had arranged another game on their site's 18 hole putting course:-

In their garage was the appropriate transport to take us there. When we arrived at the course we were breathless!  :-

 The setting was pure Utopia, I cannot imagine a setting anywhere on this planet which can be better. It was the most memorable game of my life. Jacqueline seemed to be matching Marian stroke for stroke. I finished only a couple of strokes behind Art probably due to the fact he gave me a lot of help in choosing the correct line to take on each hole

Time was rapidly running out for our stay in Palm Desert but our host still had one more surprise for us. We were to go to another brunch :-

This time it was to PABLO'S RESTAURANT inside the 5 ***** Marriot Hotel. Now we have experienced some excellent buffets on cruise ships but the quality of the food and the range of dishes available here topped them all :-

The food tasted just as good as it looked.

The chef, who had just returned from a cookery course in Spain, was preparing Omelettes and Risottos. You could choose from a range of fillings - I don't know whether my choices were pure luck but the resulting risotto was just about the best thing I have ever eaten.

There was a never ending flow of champagne and 100% freshly squeezed orange juice. All that was missing was a serenade - well that came along too!  :-

We were all asked for requests. They had no problem playing mine -- Blue Spanish Eyes.

This time I insisted on paying the bill which was very reasonable at just over £100. Art conceded but not before a little sleight of hand.

First he produced a Senior Citizen Card which he said would get us a 15% discount and take care of the tip. Then he took out two coupons from his credit card company which in all knocked the bill down to £67.

 Marian and Art pleaded with us to stay another day but we felt we had prevailed enough on their hospitality and we said our Goodbyes :-

To sum up Sun City I would say it's a residential wonderland. It did, however, remind me of the movie " THE STEPFORD WIFES" where all the wives had been cloned to perfection. Everyone in Sun City seemed to be following the same pattern of existence. BUT BOY! WHAT A WAY TO SPEND YOUR RETIREMENT YEARS!     Thank you Marian and Art for a wonderful weekend.

We left at 1.0pm hoping to cover the journey back as quickly as we came. The traffic coming the other way was heavy and congested, something like 150 miles of it with no appreciable spaces between vehicles. This was because at weekends another 350,000 visitors descend on Las Vegas. With 60 miles to go we too hit heavy traffic-then we came to the reason for the hold up :-

Two cars had collided. As we approached I slowed right down took my hands off the wheel and took this photo for our album. Two traffic cops saw me and yelled "keep moving". I almost expected them to come after us and pull me in. We were fairly tired when we arrived at our motel but had plenty of time to do a little sunbathing in a temperature no cooler than the place we had left:-

Well, after such a tiring day we probably should have had an early night. No chance. There was an attraction Vegas had that we had not seen :- FREMONT STREET   :-

Just north of the Strip is a huge area of hotels, shops covered by an enormous roof. Into this roof there has been embedded millions of special light bulbs each capable of glowing in 4 different colours :-

Every 30 minutes these lights would provide a spectacle almost beyond belief. At 9.0pm with all heads glued to the roof there was a deafening crash and three full-sized fighter jets screeched down the roof. It was so amazing it bordered on science fiction.  If ever you visit Las Vegas don't miss it!

So just why did I choose this day to be our "Vacation Day Never To Be Forgotten"?  Well-

We had played the most memorable game of golf ever,                                                                                                                                                       Eaten the best meal of our lives,                                                                                                                                                                                              Driven 300 miles across two American States,                                                                                                                                                                     Experienced an overhead acoustic/lighting show that could earn the title of The 8th Wonder of theWorld                                                              And we still found time to do some sunbathing!