October 21, 2012

Sin City

What happens in Vegas...stays in Vegas. Until Sistah Girl visits and then it becomes a tell-all story.  This trip had been planned for months.  Tickets purchased in the summer. Approved leave requested.  Las Vegas?  I was going whether it was approved or not. Are you kidding me?

So you know, up front, that there had to be some drama. The mother of all colds struck on Saturday. Oh. No. But colds only last three or four days, right? Jump right on it and, poof, back to normal. N-O-T!  Went through three different types of cold medicine; a box of tissues; a bag of lemons; a container of honey; liberal doses of toddies to the rescue; as well as several cans of chicken soup. To no avail.

Pre-flight checklist: keys; everything turned off; boarding pass; money. Down Rte. 51 at 3:30 a.m.  The flight left at 6:00 a.m. Try as I might I couldn't get a room at the hotel on the airport grounds. Not familiar enough with the neighborhood around the airport so nothing to do but drive. 

Parked, checked the bag, and on to the security check point.  This always makes me uneasy.  Do I have any contraband that I'm not aware of? Jewelry, keys, lotion, into the tray along with shoes, jacket, yada yada.  Through the scan and what--a pat down?  Are you serious?  No underwire bra so it must have been the rolls of fat. Boarded the flight with a supply of tissues and throat lozenges. The folks on the flight are going to be extremely pissed.

Short flight to Atlanta. Soda and pretzels. Move from C concourse to D concourse.  Time for a cigarette, breakfast, and more. Seated for about 30 minutes when the announcement is made that the flight will take off from the C concourse. Reverse the steps.  Still time for the flight.  No problem.

More sodas and pretzels. Then sodas and cookies. I'm sucking lozenges, blowing my nose, and tuning out the silly folks around me.  The pilot is silent.  Where the hell are we?  What time is it?  We're over the Grand Canyon and he hasn't made a peep.  The young girls in front of me are glued to the window, as am I, "Is that the Grand Canyon?" And, we're on the ground.

Off to pick up the bag. No bag on the carousel. Over to the AirTran office.  No one there and no bag. Here's SF. No bag. Wander around the different bag.  Back to the AirTran office.  The bag has appeared and we're off. The Rio Casino/Hotel, home to Teller and Penn, is the destination.

My, my, how Las Vegas has grown since my last trip there. High rise casino/hotels everywhere. Harrah's is building an amusement park next to their property. Supposedly with two ferris wheels overlooking the strip.  Now, boys and girls, here is the report on The Rio. Do not stay there. End of story.  It is not on the Strip or even in walking distance.  The slots are not friendly. We were given the key to an occupied room for starters. It is extremely overpriced for the quality offered. No want coffee when you get up? Pay 8 dollars. No complimentary newspaper.

The staff is not customer-friendly or knowledgeable.  Do not ask for information because you will get conflicting answers. Example: we were told that shuttles were available to get to the airport. Be downstairs three hours prior to the flight. We were not told that reservations were needed. You can imagine my face when we showed up at the concierge's desk and given that piece of information. Then she topped it off by telling us that the best advice that she could give was "to take a cab."  Through clenched teeth..."Thank you, very much."  Another employee told us to call one of the shuttle services and gave us the number.  Well, look-a-here, they would be there 10:30 a.m. "Cash or charge?" And, look, the shuttle that wouldn't be available until 12 noon, according to the concierge, also showed up at the same time. The good points: hot water all the time and a (as in one) golf cart to transport you from one end of that huge property to the conference area.

Went through two more cold medicines. I think antibiotics are needed. Both of us had this nasty cold. I was taking everything I could find; SF stoically persevered.  A man thing. 

The weather was gorgeous. The scenery from the room, tropical. Had dinner with another couple one night at Harrah's. Thought that Paula Deen had a restaurant there but was uninformed and sadly disappointed. Stopped at the Range Steakhouse but they were booked solid. A fantastic bronze sculpture of a cowboy, complete with chaps, etc., stands in the entrance by the reservations desk. Why did this "sculpture" do a tap dance?  I must have jumped a mile high. You're familiar with those acts where the person stands perfectly still and then moves?  Great fun.

The airport shuttle got me to the airport in 20 minutes. What's with this three hours before the flight stuff?  Enough time for me to buy a sandwich to take on the flight and win $15 on the slots.  I guess that's their way of saying "Y'all come back, ya hear!" 

This pilot was on the money. "To the left, you'll see the Hoover Dam.  And to the right, the Grand Canyon." WHAT?  My window seat has no window. A window to the front of me and a window to the back but me...windowless. The older couple beside me pull out their pads and play some form of solitaire. I read, cough, and blow. More pretzels.  What's with AirTran?

Back to Atlanta, concourse C to concourse D.  Cigarette and wait. Board for a short flight to Memphis.  What's the delay?  The man's seat is broken?  And he's trying to fix it?  You must be kidding. There's an empty seat between me and my neighbor.  There are empty seats in business class. Nooo.  He has to sit in that seat. Here comes the repairman.  Now, he's supervising the man. My neighbor says: "Man, sit your ass down!"  Not loudly, but those of us who heard broke into laughter.  He stated what everyone was thinking. 

We took off 30 minutes behind time and landed promptly at  9:30 p.m., the scheduled time. Obviously, the pilot was speeding because we covered those 220 miles in no time flat.  Down to the baggage area. 45 minutes before the bags appear? And I've still got over an hour to drive home? Got in to find that SF beat me in by 15 minutes. And he left Las Vegas long after I did.

A great getaway for a few days even with the mother of all colds. 

Be Safe. Be Blessed.

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