Mood: All Shook Up
Today, my body began craving food that was not Chinese. My body also began craving coffee. Neither was on offer at 7am.
I therefore felt like the rudest person on earth when I declined Matthew’s considerately prepared breakfast of steamed pork and vegetable bun and a weak cup of tea at 6am. Regrettably, I knew there was no way I could force the food down and keep it down.
The driver booked by Nora arrived a few minutes early, which was just as well as he took a wrong turn and we wound up going to the airport via the scenic route.
My parents and I were all exhausted, and my patience with them was rapidly running out. It was taking three times as long to explain anything to Dad, and Mum was wandering off with a mind of her own. Trying to check in at Toronto Airport was like herding cats at one point.
To start with, there was some hoo-ha with my parents’ tickets. The trip from Toronto to Las Vegas was split into 2 legs – Toronto to Chicago, then Chicago to Las Vegas. Dad had paid for 2 First Class tickets for him and Mum, but somehow, somewhere along the way, the First Class seats were never allocated to my parents. They were able to sit in First Class from Toronto to Chicago, but for the Chicago to Las Vegas leg, they were stuck in cattle class at the back of the plane with me. We were told to speak to someone at the gate at boarding time in Chicago to check whether any First Class seats were available. Not happy, Jan!
After what seemed like an eternity, the American Airlines people confirmed that my parents at the top of the waitlist for seats in First Class. It took even longer for me to explain it all to Dad. The coffee that I sculled in the Admiral’s Club lounge was well deserved after finally making my father understand the situation.
Fortunately, when the time came, my parents were shown to the correct seats in First Class. I, on the other hand, was still stuck in the tail of the plane.
Most of the trip was uneventful. We hit a few rough patches of turbulence, but nothing of major concern. I turned up my iPod and tried to relax for a while. That is, until we were 30 minutes from Las Vegas.
I will be the first to admit that I cried, and that I was genuinely scared for my life. This may sound melodramatic, but be assured that I never ever want to go through that sort of air turbulence ever again.
The plane shook violently. It was bouncing up and down, as though a Harlem Globetrotter was using the plane as a ball during one of their many tricks. The tail of the plane was fishtailing as if it was out of control. All I could do was close my eyes and hope the plane would stay in the skies long enough for the pilot to put us back on solid ground safely, and soon.
While it certainly felt like someone had shot our plane out of the skies as it bounced along the tarmac towards our terminal, the entire plane load of passengers applauded loudly as we fell out of the aircraft, mucho rilievo.
Las Vegas Airport was very interesting. When Suz asked me to put a $1 bet for her in the first poker machine I came across in the airport, I thought she was kidding. Sure enough, as we entered the terminal, the all-too-familiar sounds of ringing bells signifying jackpot wins filtered into my ears.
The $1 was played. I hit the button 4 times. We moved to the baggage claim area to collect our bags and in search of a shuttle bus to our hotel.
A blast of desert air hit me like a brick wall the second I stepped outside the airport. It was hot, hot, hot! Thankfully, the short shuttle bus ride was air conditioned and within a few minutes, we were at the front of the MGM Grand, our hotel for the next 2 days. A 5,000+ room establishment, it was massive to say the very least.
Once we settled in, the 3 of us went for a walk around the hotel to stretch our legs. I also needed to find the meeting point (the West Wing Lobby) for my limousine pick-up for the helicopter ride the following day. On our way to the West Wing Lobby, we came across the Lion Enclosure.
Two lacklustre lions resided in the glass enclosure, and they were there for all the visitors to see and take photos. I of course joined in the throngs and snapped away at the animals.
We soon found the West Wing Lobby, which led to the back of the MGM Grand and put us out onto The Strip. Another thing we needed to do was to visit Planet Hollywood to pick up our tickets for Le Rêve. Planet Hollywood was only 2 hotels over, and it appeared to be a short stroll from the MGM Grand. The short stroll took 20 minutes – such is the size of these hotel and casino complexes.
Twilight had settled in by the time we emerged from Planet Hollywood, so we wandered over to the Bellagio to take pictures of the Eiffel Tower at Paris. The fountain show at the Bellagio was one thing I really wanted to see, and with the first show at 8pm, we wandered around the Bellagio in search of dinner.
We managed to catch both the 9pm and the 9.15pm fountain shows. One word: spectacular. I have some really great photos of the water being choreographed to the soothing sounds of Elton John’s "Your Song".
Perfect end to a pretty long day. Next up: Grand Canyon Helicopter Ride.