Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much any more. Resist!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Las Vegas in winter, Part I

I'm heeeeeeeeeeeeeere!

It was a very eventful night. I packed almost all night long and finally fell asleep around 3:00 in the morning, with one more load of clothes in the dryer. Wesley woke up at 4:00 and he woke me up around 4:25. I got those last three things out of the dryer and crammed them in the suitcase. The kids had made me *promise* to wake them up to say goodbye, so I did. Dang it, teenagers are cute when they're all sleepy like that!

Wesley drove me to the airport -- a 45-minute drive (or so) -- and I got in line at the Allegiant counter, which is way slower and less efficient than any other airline I've ever flown on. Allegiant is discontinuing service between Knoxville and Las Vegas, so everyone had to complain about that. "This flight is always full! How can they claim they're losing money on it??" Blah blah blah, whatev, just please make the line move!

Amy had asked me to bring Smoky Mountain Taffy with me. Apparently she and Paul brought back a couple of boxes to share with their co-workers, and the Nevadans went crazy for it. Hey... this stuff is *everywhere* in East Tennessee. So while I stood in line, I asked Wesley to get some taffy from the gift shop. He did, and he handed it to me while I was still in line, so I was able to cram it into my suitcase before checking it.

When I got through the line, the guy said, "And your flight is delayed by at least an hour." Hmmmmmmmmmmm. The flight was supposed to leave at 7:30 originally, that's 8:30 now, and I was standing there getting this info at 6:10 in the morning after one hour of sleep and absolutely no breakfast.

I turned around to find Wesley and I said, "Quick, let's leave the airport and go get breakfast!"

So we got the car out of short-term parking before we were charged for it, and we drove down the road to Waffle House. Mmmmmmmm, Waffle House!!! I haven't eaten there since Tennessee banned smoking in restaurants. This is a whole new experience in dining. ROFL!!! Wesley had already had breakfast and coffee, and he was hoping to get a few winks after he got back home,... so he had nothing. I had a sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich with a cup of coffee and a small glass of orange juice. Yay!!!

Having wasted a little time and gotten fed in the meantime, Wesley took me back to the airport and dropped me off at the front door this time. And we went our separate ways.

OMG, y'all, there were two guys in the security line in front of me who haven't flown in years, if ever. They didn't know to take off their shoes, and the whole time, they were standing there with big cups of coffee. And they were mortally insulted when the TSA agent said, "Sir? I'm sorry, but you can't take that coffee with you beyond this security checkpoint." You would have thought someone had said, "Sir? Your mama's ugly." Those guys huffed and puffed and shrugged their shoulders and rolled their eyes and carried on for several minutes while I'm standing behind them, my carry-on bag in a plastic bin, my shoes off my feet, and no discernible liquids or fire hazards on my person. I mean.... I was ready, even if those guys weren't!

Got to the gate, and it was crowded, and there was no plane in sight. I started reading my magazine. Then I decided I was reading too fast, so I went to the ladies' room. Went back to the gate, started reading again.... and then stared at the wall because I was afraid I was reading too fast. I had another magazine in my bag, but it had Heath Ledger on the cover and I didn't want to cause some young fan to fall over bawl again. Then I remembered that Amy had warned me that Allegiant charges for snacks, so I went to the nearest gift shop and bought myself some snacks. I spent a good amount of time trying to decide what to get. For some totally inexplicable reason, the Bumblebee tuna salad kit looked yummy. Since I am extraordinarily mean and picky about tuna salad, I ignored that nutty craving, chalked it up to insanity or lack of sleep, and instead bought a pack of cheese-on-wheat crackers, a pack of Milano cookies, and a 20-ounce Diet Dr. Pepper. Delicious and nutritious! Well, delicious, anyway. ;)

When the plane landed, the ground crew spent a good bit of time trying to figure out how to attach the tunnel thingie to the plane while the guy sitting behind me commented on the ineptitude of the ground crew. "The instructions are printed on the side," he said to someone with him, "See? Right there. Those are the how-to's. Now, how come these ol' boys cain't figure it out? They must be new... I hope the pilot ain't new...."

Whereupon I tossed over my shoulder in my deepest tone of sardonic humor, "Why do you think this is called a DISCOUNT airline?"


Cracked up everyone in the area.

When they finally figured out how to attach the tunnel to the plane, the first people off the plane were a Red Hat Club full of happy women with giant red hats, red feather boas, lots of sequins and rhinestones, and those women were genuinely happy.

Everyone else getting off the plane seemed somehow less happy. The fellow behind me couldn't stop commenting on it. "He lost. She lost. That guy lost a lot of money. Dang, the tables were bad for these people. Ain't nobody happy!"

They finally started boarding, and that took longer than I thought it would. While I was walking on board, the tunnel thingie that had been so much trouble to hook up swayed *so* much back and forth. I was kind of just waiting for it to collapse and thinking, "Well, if I survive, I will be rich." As we boarded, I called Wesley to let him know we were boarding. He was at home, in bed, asleep. Bugger! Then I called the Grits to Glitz voice mail, because I knew it was just 5:30 Las Vegas time, and I didn't want to wake Amy.

Before we took off, the pilot got on the intercom and said we couldn't take off until four people from the front of the plane moved to the back of the plane. Now -- that's not normal. But I think I've heard it once before. And honestly, if I had been sitting in the front, I would've jumped up and moved *immediately*, because we were just sitting there on the runway getting hot. The girl next to me said she had never heard such a thing, and we agreed that if we had been sitting up front... we would've moved. But it was five or six minutes before the flight attendants talked some people into moving, and those of us in the back of the plane applauded them.

Then the pilot got back on the intercom and apologized for the delays, saying it was windy in Las Vegas and everything was late yesterday which made everything late today. And he hoped to take a couple of shortcuts so we could get to Las Vegas close to on time today.

And the girl sitting next to me and I exchanged glances, curious about these mid-air shortcuts. What? Are we gonna run *through* the cemetery, holding hands with our eyes closed and yelling, "I'M NOT SCARED OF HAINTS," or are we gonna go around it like we usually do? I mean... where are the shortcuts halfway across the continent? We're flying into a fierce headwind, for cryin' out loud -- even I could tell that on the Weather Channel! And I'm... an ... IDIOT!!!


OK. We finally took off. It was a very bumpy flight, very, very bumpy, and honestly, the flight *to* Las Vegas always seems to take FOREVER, anyway. Every once in a while the pilot would tell us that he still was trying to get on the shortcuts. AUGH!!! The girl next to me brought her own pillow (because you have to buy them on Allegiant), but I'm the one who dozed off every once in a while. I was *so* zonked. An hour and twenty minutes of on-and-off sleep isn't really conducive to staying awake, even on a bumpy flight.

I ate my crackers and got a cup of ice from the flight attendant -- free! -- to go with my Diet Dr. Pepper. I finished my first magazine and the in-flight magazine. Napped every once in a while. When the flight attendants came around for the second round, I got another cup of ice -- STILL FREE!!! -- and opened up the cookies. I even offered one to the girl sitting next to me. She was very nice, but, oh, I wish she had been sitting somewhere else. I'm much fatter than I ever was before, and man, those seats were *crowded*.

We had one of the roughest landings I've ever had, while the wind blew us around like a teeter-totter on three legs, but we did indeed land safely. Everyone applauded, and the flight attendants even laughed a little nervously. Still, it wasn't the worst landing I've ever experienced! it was just... interesting!

Got off the plane, and... I was in VEGAS, BABY!!!!! I do love this town. I called home to let them know I made it safely, and then just as I hit the concourse, I called Amy to let her know I was here. We were doing things differently this time because I was landing in the morning while she was at work. The plan was supposed to be: Land, call Amy, get luggage, go get picked up, go to Amy's house, learn new alarm system, take Amy to work, then go get Amy at lunchtime to go to Fatburger.

However! My flight was so late that by the time I got my luggage and found Amy (eeeeeeeeeee!!!!), it was already after 11:00. Now, I'm not totally sure, but I think Amy usually takes lunch around 11:30. So with those hours....

I did, indeed, find my luggage. I'm always, *always* amused by the people who stand right next to the carousel. It's so much more pleasant to stand back until your bag comes around, and then fling it off the carousel and get out of the way! So I got my huge bag and went right off to find Amy. That was not as easy as I thought -- Somehow I thought she would be able to drive through on the first driveway, but that's for taxis and buses. I've got to remember that! I went through to the parking garage, found Amy on her level, and we squealed and hugged and eeeeeeee'ed our way back to her car.

We discussed what to do and decided that since I was so zonked and it was nearly lunchtime, anyway, we would just go on to Fatburger... and then Amy would bring back to her house.

Now. It's many hours later, and I just found out we have reservations in an hour and 35 minutes, so I've got to wrap this up --

- We did go to Fatburger, and we ate inside for the first time. Well, I've eaten inside at the one on the Strip before, but never at the one near Amy's house. It was DI-VINE. I always think I have built up those chocolate milk shakes in my head, then I taste one, and it really is as spectacular as I thought it was!

- Came back to Amy's house, Leon loves me, Noah loves me, Georgia loves me!!!! I am popular with the animals. Amy went back to work. I called Wesley and the kids, and I fell asleep. I meant to sleep just a bit, but I really crashed and slept through my 2:15 alarm.

- Woke up around 3:00, started writing my trip report. Decided to freshen up my hair color. Looks OK!

Now I've showered and put on make-up, and I'm dressed, and I need to throw a few things in an overnight bag. We're staying at Harrah's!!!! We have reservations at Mon Ami Gabi at 7:30!!!! I'll write more tomorrow when I'm back at Amy's!!!!!!!!! Much debauchery to indulge in!