As I type this I am umpteen thousand feet above sea level and probably somewhere over America. We are on the way home and that brings very mixed emotions. When last I blogged we were somewhere in the Pacific, or rather, on the Pacific. We have all looked at maps, Atlases, perhaps even flown over that ocean but believe me, until you have sailed across it you have no idea how vast it is. To hear the Captain say how many hundreds of miles you are from the nearest land, or that there are 5,300 metres of water below the keel, to watch day after day as water flows past the ship, brings an astonished awareness of how puny we are in our world.
After Honolulu we went to another Hawaiian island, Kona. Someone said that there are over 800 coffee growers on the island and certainly in the USA Kona coffee is everywhere. As we stepped ashore we were met by Deepa, one of them and in my opinion, together with her husband Joe, far and away the best of them. Try to get some Kona Joe coffee if you can. You’ll thank me.
We left Kona with deep regrets at the shortness of our stay. I love Kona, but we had to set sail for Los Angeles and that meant more long days at sea. After what seemed a very long time one morning I woke to see that we were heading into Los Angeles and in the past I had always flown in. Coming in by sea is so much better. The mainland of America has a unique feeling, a unique excitement buzzes through me and soon we said our goodbyes to the wonderful Saga Ruby and its great crew and were in a taxi to one of our favourite hotels, the Beverly Hilton.
The porters, Concierge and Reception staff all remembered us (where we really that bad last time?) and we checked in to our room, only to overnight there before flying on to Las Vegas (Lost Wages?). Even so we found time to have dinner with Ross King and his beautiful partner and stayed up far too late laughing into the night. On this trip Debbie (who is asleep on the plane at the moment by the way) had booked us into the Venetian but the reception staff had looked on my web site and upgraded us to a suite in the Palazzo. No kidding, you could go on holiday to Vegas, book into either of these conjoining hotels, and never have to leave their buildings.
We did, of course, to go to the Mall, and to see Le Reve at the Wynn/Encore, a show I can recommend. I know magicians think I am nuts not going to see the magic shows, but I can learn so much more from the non-magic presentations.
Both Debbie and I simply love to walk around Vegas and people watch and feel the buzz that is non-stop in that city. There is nowhere else like it.
April 2nd was our 23rd Wedding Anniversary (I can’t believe it) and to celebrate we went to the Sinatra Restaurant in the Wynn/Encore and it was perfect. A lot of the meal was spent looking out into the garden dining area through the glass wall. In the evening the wind had got up and yet there was an older couple out there having dinner despite her hair gusting vertically upwards, napkins flying away, menus leaving the table horizontally. Everyone indoors was watching them and we all gave them a round of applause when they came in at the end.
The next night we had dinner with one of our long-time magic friends, now out of the magic game, Mia, formerly of Petrick and Mia and it was so good to see her doing so well and looking so good.
We even managed to link up with two of the nicest people in magic ever, Norm Nielsen and his lovely partner Lupe. Another meal of laughter and we couldn’t have found better companions with whom to spend time. These are great days.
Back to Los Angeles, back to the Beverly Hilton, and together with Ross and his partner we were invited to dinner by one of the most successful choreographer/producers of the last decades, who took us to the Fig and Olive Restaurant and then on to the Club which has to have the best possible view of the City. Far too late that night..........................again.
April 6th dawned and yet again a birthday has crept up on me. When will I start to feel my age? Not for a long time I hope. I woke before Debbie only to find that she had draped the bedroom with the longest Happy Birthday banner I have ever seen. Trying not to disturb her I went onto the laptop and was deeply moved by the, literally, dozens and dozens of greetings from family, friends and fans. Whilst I was checking those Debbie went to the bathroom and I had not noticed that in the night she had filled the shower with balloons and she came out waving them like a cheerleader’s pompoms, dancing and singing Happy Birthday.
We spent a lovely easy going day mooching around Rodeo Drive and then, after an unbelievably wonderful week at the end of a great world wide trip, came the best night of them all.
Debbie had been in email conference with another great couple, Pete Biro and his wife Linda and they had organised a restaurant for a birthday party. Il Cielo is a 26 year old eatery in Beverly Hills. One of the rooms used to be salon where Marilyn Monroe went to have her hair done. This was beautifully appointed and Pete, Linda and the staff had taken SO much trouble; I will never forget this evening.
The guests were, in no order at all, Carol (Debbie’s cousin) and her husband, (non magicians), Gay Blackstone, widow of the late great Harry Blackstone, Irene Larsen, (the Larsens were major movers in the setting up of the Magic Castle in Hollywood), Maria Lafay (who we always call the Hat, ‘cos she is never without one when we meet at magic conventions), Pete and Linda of course, John Gaughan, the creator and restorer of so much of magic and there is no one better, and finally that great actor and writer and one of the best close up magicians I have seen, Steve Valentine with his wife who had to bring along their future child.
The banter, the food, that ambience.....................life was perfect.
Now we are headed home. Thank you Debbie, for being simply the best.