We made it to Las Vegas around midnight and immediately felt the OVEN-like heat! What a difference the desert is from the rainforest we'd come from.
We stayed with Ephraim's brother Israel who is closest to him in age. It was so wonderful to go to their house in the middle of the night, and see the light on for us. Cailin was waiting up and had little beds ready. That felt like a huge blessing to me: having a clean, comfortable place for my kids to lay their heads in this big, unfamiliar city. Isn't that what family is all about?
We slept in the next day, and enjoyed some delicious fruit, bagels, and authentic, fresh chips and salsa from Cardenas. Thank you southwest USA! When we finally got up the energy to venture out, it was pretty late in the day. But it was still HOT!! We went to the Rio hotel where they have a pool area you can go to (for free). Just walk through the casino.
It was fun to go the "beach" again. :) Afterwards we did drive thru at In-N-Out! Love it!
The kids had so much fun playing with their cousins. And Ephraim and I had so much fun catching up with Israel and Cailin. It's nice to be closer to family now. We can see them a lot more often!
Cailin and I took some of the kids to a MOMS party with a bunch of other families. It was really neat to be around so many palagi families again. Plus they hired a magician to do a simple show for the kids. Ella and Isaac were thrilled!
My kids, the magician, and my nephews
The next day we went to Wet and Wild water park. The whole city was there, or so it seemed. I was feeling a bit out of sorts being around SO many people. Especially in bikinis. In Samoa people swim fully clothed, so being in Hawaii and Vegas I saw more palagi skin in a week than I had in several years.
Saturday morning it was time to move on again. By this time, our kids were pretty familiar with the airport scene. They got drinks at the drinking fountain (which we didn't do it Samoa), watched all the airplanes out the window, and staked out a spot for our family to watch some Napoleon Dynamite before we boarded.
As we landed in Salt Lake City I had a feeling of arrival. We'd finally reached our destination, and our time in Samoa was now officially over. I was happy to be with my family, but also overwhelmed and sad to see how things have changed in the states since I'd been gone. I'll talk more about that later.
But one thing was certain, being in Las Vegas made Utah heat feel very pleasant!