Thursday morning we lounged around the pool at the Luxor after a breakfast at the buffet. She kept saying, "How about we just stay here all day?" We didn't. But, I figured a couple of hours out in the sun would be no big deal, especially since we had spent even longer at the beach just a day before. Boy was I wrong! I was turning slightly pink by the time we left - we mooched around looking at the various fun things to look at (entertaining for me, mind-boggling for her) and then drove back to LA. We got back late enough that it was too late to go out again, especially since we were getting up quite early to go to Disney the next day. My "pink" at the pool had turned into a raging sunburn hot enough to inspire an Inuit cult to worship me as the God of Cozy, I'm pretty sure.
I had the shakes, the chills, and the shivers - it was truly atrocious. Also endlessly amusing to Elvira, who found the whole thing hilarious - particularly when she discovered that, etch-a-sketch-like, she could make little drawing on my sunburn. I didn't sleep very well, but in the morning, we were up and on our way to Disneyland. We made it plenty early, and had time to spare before the ever-gracious joemorf signed us in to the park. Now, I had told Elly that I had a friend who worked there who would let us in, but I don't think it sunk in. When we got there, she said, "Wait, he work here? He know Mickey Mouse?" (she was convinced Mickey really lived there) I coached her on how to appropriately show gratitude to joemorf - "Give him a big hug, then a little kiss. Try it. Hmm, not really, try it again. I'm not sure, can you do that one more time?" Obviously I am very funny. Pretty much having a friend who works at Disney was way more impressive to her than say, hanging with the Pope might have been. (Not that ol' Ratzy is returning my calls these days...) All day at Disneyland was a non-stop cavalcade of amazement. She had only vague notions of what Disneyland actually was, and the park itself so far exceeded her expectations that the poor girl was utterly gobsmacked. She expressed this gobsmackedness by taking lots of pictures, many with palm trees. (which stubbornly still didn't have monkeys in them, even though we were at Disneyland..) We also got mouse ears - pirate-style for me, and a very cute hairband-style for her. She originally found regular Minnie ears, but then said, "No, I want puchistik, not like this." (puchistik = fuzzball, basically)
My personal favorite moment of the day was as we were walking under the arch of Mickey's castle - she grabbed me and gave me a thoroughly unexpected Hollywood-esque kiss, full "Gone With the Wind" style. I know my queue when I get it, so I gave her the appropriate dip and everything. As we walked away she said by way of explanation, "Two mouses kissing." Yes, exactly.
The Disneyland parade of dreams was thrilling to her, perhaps only exceeded by watching the Dapper Dans perform on Main St. She knew one of those guys! So cool! (And it is a good show, at that) Despite going on several rollercoasters (whcih I couldn't convince here were not in fact called, "big American mountains") she was unsatisfied by the American-Mountain-action we did get. joemorf told us about the coasters over at California Adventure, and she really wanted to go now. "We go big mountain now?" I convinced her to save it for hte next day. We stayed a little while longer to watch the very moving flag retreat ceremony, then headed back to the hotel for WorldCon. I got changed in a flash and headed down, but she was tired and elected to nap for a while. Miscommunication occurred - she didn't realize that there were many parties going on the 5th floor, and wasn't really up to speed on what exactly a science-fiction convention is. She couldn't find me when she came down, and then couldn't get back into the room. I found her wandering the hallways several hours later after going up to get her from the room and myself finding her gone. I was a combination of worried and mad - she was so confused by the convention as to be offended ... it was a bit of a scrap, but anyway I went back to the BWB party and had a good time anyway. The various Questing Knights of the Pink Dog accomplished their feat - and by the time they returned to be knighted, I was back upstairs, knocked out.
We slept quite late, but as soon as I woke Elly up she scampered across the bed to jump in the shower saying, "We go big mountain now?" We did indeed go to the big mountain - in line for California Screamin' she morphed from "This is my dream!" to uttering "Goodbye my friends, goodbye..." every time a load left... to finally freaking out as we were about to get in saying, "Maybe we should go home now. Let's. Let's go home now." She did actually get on it, and did scream her head off - and then immediately wanted to jump right back on. California Adventure was fun because it was far less crowded than Disneyland - and there was a winery on hand to sample wines from. Aside from nuclear sunburn, we had a grand day. The Alladin show was fantastic- the best free show I've ever seen (I mean, OTHER than the Dapper Dans, of course) and we stayed late to close the park and see the electric parade - something I've waited 30-odd years to see, and was really delighted by. I was not immune to the Disney effect either - despite being a jaded American. Sure, Disney is schmaltz. It's unironic, it's unhip, it's unabashadly square - but by golly it's just the right kind of square, and its well-scrubbed enthusiasm is infectious.
There was a bit more miscommunication and some static when we got back to the hotel, so I went to the party by myself again. I finally had the chance to pitch my Seekrit Projekt, which was great. I took a wild guess and a long-shot based on some guesswork and a little inside info. My guess was absolutely correct (and I can't talk about it here, sorry) - but I delivered my script and was told it would be read, evaluated, and passed on to someone who gets to make a decision if it's good enough. Not great news.. but damn exciting. Even a long shot is a shot - and I have to keep taking them! One day one of them will pay off, and I'll be on my way.
Sunday morning I got up way too early after a long week with little sleep. The static from the night before carried over... I think, you spend a week with any one person without interruption, no matter how funny and cheerful she may be, and you're going to get on each other's nerves. Still we went back to Hollywood by day, and then drove up to Santa Barbara which she's wanted to see since she was a little girl and saw a television show set there. We alternated between having the laughing good time we'd had all along, and fighting. By the time I drove home I was good and ready for some alone-time.
She called various friends and family (after we had Zankou chicken!) while I burned her (508) pictures of palm trees to three cd's - as well as some songs about Los Angeles that she wanted copies of. We did reconcile quite handsomely before she left, however. I dropped her at the airport at an absurdly early hour - and went back to work.
It was the best vacation I've ever had. As company she was full of good cheer and genuinely, truly funny - as well as wicked smart and .. well, nice to look at. We did stuff that I've been meaning to do since I moved her - and stuff that I'd already done before i saw through the eyes of someone for whom it was a completely new experience. I was sorry to see her go, sorrier to know she'll be moving back to Russia shortly - but intensely glad I had a chance to get to know her, to get to travel around - and to have more fun in a week than I've had in any other week of my life. What a great time!