Rumblings, Ruminations, and Retrospectives

Musings from the mind of the Beast.

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Las Vegas: The Report

I should have done this sooner, but this will be the first of several entries chronicling our trip to Las Vegas from Nov 30th to Dec 2nd, for all to relive our trip with us. I’ll be posting photos separate from this blog, as there’s just too many. We took almost 400 pictures! I’ll post an update here when the photos get uploaded.

Pre-Trip:

Graciously, Stephanie’s mom and dad offered (were volunteered?) to take care of our dogs Cola and Kira, and our cats Kitty, Jazz, and Zoey while we were gone, so leading up to the trip, we were furiously tidying up the house, get paperwork for the trip in order, preparing everything needed for the animals, and oh yeah packing.

Right. Before I forget: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to Morris and Marge for everything they did for us over these 5 days. We couldn’t have done it without you two.

The flight was set to leave at 7:10 AM from Winnipeg, and we were up until about 2:00 AM the morning of the flight finalizing things. We wanted to be at the airport about two hours ahead of schedule, so Steph’s mom and dad were to show up at our house at 5 AM to take us to the airport (only 15 minutes away), so we planned on rolling out of bed at 4 AM, maybe 4:15, and be ready for 5. Well, they showed up at 4:30 AM! So, we hustle our asses, say goodbye to the animals, and we’re off to the airport.

This is the part where I should fill you in on something. Originally, we were set to go from Winnipeg to Calgary, then on to Vegas. We were going to arrive in Vegas at around 10:30 AM Vegas time. But about six weeks before the flight, Air Canada (through Expedia, where we booked everything) calls us and says “Hey there, we had to change your flight.”

Me: Really?

Them: Yup. The time between flights in Calgary is 51 minutes. We must allow you at least 57 minutes, so we can’t guarantee your connection.

Me: Well, that sucks. What’s the new schedule?

Them: The best thing we could do for you to get to Vegas at the earliest possible time is to send you from Winnipeg to Toronto, a 2.5 hour flight, and then a two hour, ten minute layover, before a 5 hour flight from Toronto to Vegas. You’ll be in Las Vegas around 3:30 PM local time.

Me: Toronto?

Them: Yes.

Me: You realize this is in the absolute opposite direction from where we’re headed?

Them: Yes, we do.

Me: So a six MINUTE issue is going to add another 6 HOURS to my schedule?

Them: Unfortunately, yes.

Me; Ok, book it.

Wow. Thank you, Air Canada.

So, paraphrasing the dude in the Goodyear Tire commercial… “Goin’ to Toronto!”

The Flight

Flight leaves at 7:05 AM. Almost two and a half hours later, which I barely remember from passing in and out of sleep the entire flight – I must have watched two episodes of “The I.T. Crowd” at least three times – we land at 8:30 AM Toronto time.

We use the next two hours to find our way around the cavernous Toronto airport, complete with Maple Leaf Lounge (vomit), to find our baggage, weasel our way through Customs – where I had to take off my belt and my SHOES – thank you, shoe bomber, grab some lunch, purchase a guitar magazine for me to read that somehow cost over eleven bucks – wait. That was actually funny. Picture Stephanie not hearing the price of the magazine, handing the cashier a $10, and then him asking for more money.

Stephanie: More? I gave you a ten.

Him: The magazine is $11.76.

Stephanie: (out LOUD) WHAT?!?! $11.76? For a MAGAZINE?!? OH MY GOD! That’s RIDICULOUS!

And then the coup de grace: she looks at the cashier, smiles, and says “Of course, it’s not YOUR fault. You just work here. But MAN!”

Color me RED.

From there, off to our departure gate. My ridiculously over-priced magazine (interviewing Tommy Iommi and EDWARD FREAKING VAN HALEN, no less!) stays in my backpack, and after some bathroom breaks, we wait for our connecting Air Canada flight to Vegas.

The Flight, Part Deux

We finally board the plane, and after take-off at 10:30 (11:30 Winnipeg), again, in between bouts of sleep, the flight lasts around five hours.

5 hours.

5 hours of slight – nay, extreme – discomfort the entire trip – there’s barely any leg room for anyone. Good luck to anyone over four-and-a-half feet tall. Steph is five-two and she had problems. And then there was the HEAT.

The sweltering, sweaty, all-crushing HEAT. How can it get that freaking HOT on an airplane? I realize we’re 35,000 feet in the air, but the cabin is pressurized! Isn’t there any bloody climate control? Steph shows me the air nozzles above our seat. I knew they were there, but she tries to help me get it going. Really, it was no use.

This thing was like bringing a six-shooter into a shoot-out with an entire mob of gang members carrying fully automatic rifles.

With extra large ammunition magazines.

And with laser sighting.

We were just overpowered.

Thank you, Air Canada.

So combine the two hours of sleep we had, plus the six-plus hours we’ve already spent in an airport or on a plane, add the debilitating heat, and you’ve got a recipe for instant sleep.

‘Night, folks.

I wake up part way through the flight, and I’m glad I woke up when I did, as we had some fantastic views. As we got closer to Nevada, we could see the mountains, and then a gigantic gouge tearing a mark across the earth that could only be the Grand Canyon. Amazing. Then it was the Hoover Dam. Seeing it from fairly high up doesn’t do it justice – it looked like it was only three relative inches tall, but even at that range, it looked HUGE, and you could see it holding back the Colorado, and we were in awe of it’s power. Truly a sight to see.

The Landing

From there, shortly after, we began our descent into Las Vegas, and we landed on schedule, around 3:30 Las Vegas time (5:30 Winnipeg), even though it felt like once the pilot hit the brakes, the ass end of the plane was going to swing around and we were see how many donuts we were going to do before coming to a stop.

But, we landed alright, and once again went on a journey to find our luggage. Once that was accomplished, we headed straight outside into the Nevada sunshine (+12!), and caught a shuttle to our hotel, the MGM Grand.

We’ve arrived!

Next: Las Vegas: Day 1