GratiTuesday: Unexpected delights

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I traveled to Las Vegas to attend the annual Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend event (more on that in another post). We don’t gamble and we don’t drink a lot (especially when we are dancing) so what Las Vegas is famous for doesn’t hold a great amount of appeal for us.

The weekend event is held at a hotel off The Strip so it’s easy for us to ignore the glitz and “glamor” (but, unfortunately not the cigarette smoke), and at least attempt to eat a fairly normal diet. We were happy to find a local supermarket to buy fruit, snacks, and other items we could keep in our room.

On our first visit to the market, while we were in the produce section, I was surprised and delighted to see Elvis checking out the apples. I’m not sure I would have recognized him had he not been wearing his white jumpsuit, but I’m sure that he was the real deal.


I wish I could have gotten a better shot, but I was too shy to ask him to pose. Unfortunately, on subsequent visits, Elvis had left the building and was nowhere to be found.

Then, on our drive back to the hotel, I came across a curious scene on the center island of the street we were on.


I’m not sure what the back story is, but a golden lion with red eyes, surrounded by 5 pink crocodiles (or, whatever they were) has to have one… don’t you think?

Some people are wowed by the noisy crowds and flashing slot machines, others by the glitzy shows and other extravaganzas Las Vegas has to offer. Us, not so much. But I am grateful for the unexpected, silly, puzzling, delightful little encounters we often find when we travel and find ourselves off the well-beaten path.

Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

48 thoughts on “GratiTuesday: Unexpected delights”

  1. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE your shot of Elvis in the grocery store!! I so wish that you would have chatted with him. It would be great to know what he had to say!

    1. I know! Sometimes I am uncomfortable approaching people like that (and I almost always regret not doing it). I asked the checker if Elvis shops there regularly and she said that they have two – one, a younger and skinnier Elvis, and one, an older and more rotund Elvis. I’m sure he was a performer and on his way home.

    1. I try to be brave, but I also don’t like bothering people. Poor Elvis probably just wanted to go home after performing. The last thing he’d want is to pose for a picture (although I think if I didn’t want to be bothered, I’d probably skip the white jumpsuit).

  2. One of my friends got married in Las Vegas by an Elvis lookalike. Probably not this one (it was about 15 years ago) but a previous incarnation,

  3. What a great post, Janis! I love your noticing of and delight in the unexpected and unusual. And I actually think that the shot of Elvis is all the better for it being just a glimpse of him going about an everyday activity. There are zillions of posed shots of Elvis. I doubt there are many of Elvis swinging a grocery basket.

  4. I have been to Vegas a few times. I love just chilling in the hotels, seeing the shows, and walking around. I also do not gamble or drink, but it is an atmosphere like no where else.

    1. When we attended the event last year, we took a shuttle to the strip and wondered around. It was fun to see all the over-the-top hotels, but we decided to skip it this time. The shows are great, but soooo expensive.

  5. The usual Vegas fare holds no appeal for me, either. But I enjoyed this post.
    The Lion King was the first thing I thought of when I saw the picture – surrounded by menacing hyenas – but who knows what the artists was going for?

  6. Great shot of the King doing daily chores. Vegas is one of our families favourite vacation spots, and none of us are much into gambling or drinking either. We often go a couple times a year. We spent a lot of time enjoying and exploring the area around Vegas, plus the city has so much more to offer other than the casino’s. Museums, tours, riding in or driving race cars, sand dune buggies, hiking, just to name a few. I love staying on the stripe though, because it’s so different from my life at home. The people, the bright lights, the energy you can feel walking through a casino, I love it.

      1. Yes, both those were good. We find the bigger newer hotels are better for less smoke and luckily it dosen’t bother us too much.

  7. I had a business event in Vegas so the beloved husband and I got married there. No hassle, easy peasy. My conference started early (like 7:30 a.m.) and you had to walk though the casino to get to the walkway to the conference center. All the chi-changing in the morning could give me a headache (along with the smoke) and yes, it was busy even then. I am not a gambler, not a drinker so I’m good. One visit is all I needed. However that rockabilly thing sounds interesting. I like that kinda stuff.

    1. It amazed me how many people are sitting at the slot machines (drinking and smoking) in the early am (were they up all night?). Rockabilly, on the other hand, is more of a late night thing. I don’t do too early or too late very well, but I’m not as young as most of the participants.

  8. I think your photo of Elvis is perfect. It looks more clandestine this way 😉

    … and I’m with you about finding the unusual and unexpected. It is fun. Going and finding what I’m expecting is good, but discovering something that turns my head as different and out of the norm makes my day!

        1. My husband stopped in the middle of a very busy street so I could get the one of the lion. I guess he felt that was preferable to hearing me moan about a missed shot for the rest of the trip. 🙂

  9. Those unexpected discoveries off the beaten track are sometimes the most enjoyable ones. Can’t wait to read about your Vegas adventure, which, by the sounds of it, is a very different one than most ! Did you ever find out about the lion and the pink creatures?

  10. My ex-wife is a recovering gambler, so I had plenty of visits to Vegas during our marriage. I actually liked the place because I was fascinated by the mob and entertainment histories. There are still plenty of touristy things you can see about both topics there. But, alas, my current wife has absolutely ZERO interest in visiting. So my Vegas days are behind me, which I’m okay with for the most part. But seeing Elvis in a super market? Damn, now that is too cool for words. Well done. 🙂 – Marty

    1. There are plenty of things to do if you don’t gamble, but I can see why someone wouldn’t be interested in visiting nonetheless. Yes, seeing Elvis swinging his grocery basket was pretty cool… not a sight one would have run into on the Strip. If you ever get back, be sure to check out the Mob Museum – they do a great job with the history of LV. They don’t whitewash anything (although I have a feeling the current Las Vegas isn’t quite as pristine and corruption-free as they’d like you to believe).

  11. Love it, Janis! How fun to see Elvis! LOL! It’s been a few years since we were there at a mini-high school reunion (from San Diego). I’m not a fan of the strip, either. I went last year for the BAM bloggers’ conference but we were 20 miles away and there was barely time to step outside even. I’m like you, don’t like smoke or too much gambling.

  12. There are many little oddities in Vegas, aren’t there? Gambling doesn’t hold a lot of appeal for me, either, but get me tickets to a show or two, and I’m a happy camper!

    The cigarette smoke! Oh, my. Horrible!

    Looking forward to pictures and background on the Rockabilly part!!

      1. I’ve only been to Circ once, and it was years and years ago, but I still remember the feeling of awe the show inspired.

  13. I have been to Las Vegas three or four times. I don’t gamble, one or two drinks is my limit, and I have no interest in buffets. The weather is usually nice which is a plus, and it’s probably the only place you can see Elvis shopping. 🙂

    1. I’m not sure there is anywhere else that you could see that – or, at least, anywhere else where Elvis could shop with little notice. I guess that’s part of the reason I wanted to leave the poor guy alone.

  14. Very cool! We missed Elvis and the gold lion/pink crocodile sculpture when we were there. We’re never, ever going back, so I’m glad you shared it with us.

      1. We decided to spend some of our time share time there on the way home from Hawaii because we believed that it is something you have just got to do once if you live in the USA! I liked that the airport was so close to the main drag. We went inside most of the famous hotels and casinos and at the BElagio we saw the Cirque de Soleil Show “O”. It was phenomenal! “O” is a play on the French word “eau” which means water. The show takes place on a stage that is a pool and the floor keeps moving on and off the stage, so sometimes the players are on boats in the water and sometimes they’re moving around on a floor. And they dive into the water from the top of the theatre over the stage.It’s amazing how quickly they move that floor, retracting and then unretracting it throughout the entire show. A bit nerve wracking but a beautiful production. I think Elvis was in the building that night???

  15. Ha. I’m sure Elvis would have gladly posed with/for you….for a price. The lion has to be a nod to the MetroGoldwynMayer Lion? I love that animated logo!

  16. Wow, Elvis AND pink crocodiles! I’m so glad I happened upon your blog! 🙂 (The gold lion, wellll… you see them everwhere, don’t you? You don’t? Me, neither.)
    I went looking for the lion and crocs and it’s an art installation. I hope they keep it! What fun. 🙂

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