After a successful 10 year anniversary excursion for Glamour Puss Studios in 2007 it was decided that another trip simply must be taken. For those not in the know, Glamour Puss is where I tap dance. I didn't attend the last excursion but decided early this year that I would this one so here we go!
I get the chance to start my Vegas journal when I am sitting in Starbucks at LAX after 14 hours in the air, most of which were night time, i.e. spent in the dark. Let me take you back to the start of my day.....
Thursday, 9am and it's raining. It's not heavy but it is a nuisance as I am about to catch the tram to Southern Cross Station. People freak out when it rains, naturally, as they don't want to get wet and it tends to make everyone late for work or whereever they are going. Thus my tram is very busy and my suitcase falls over as I try to take my umbrella down. A man helps me, what a rare nicety. I have been out of the house 5 minutes and I am sweating with frustration and the heat on the tram. Just because it is raining it does not mean it is cold!!!!
My snail tram drops me off and oh my god!!!! The queue for the Skybus is enormous! Where is everyone going all at once? I think I will never get on the next bus and will have to wait. Thankfully I do get on and I even get a seat.
Check in was fast so I wonder if the plane will be full as I would like to be upgraded. Who wouldn't? I am on my best behaviour. Ready to board I spy Miss Debby who is our Glamour Kitten of the Year but I don't know her and I'm not 100% certain it is her because she is not wearing false eyelashes and fishnets. I make a plan to hunt her down on the plane.
The plane is sweltering and the flight attendant tells me it will cool down once we are in the air but until then this is the hottest part of the plane. We chit chat and make some jokes and I think now is a good time to ask if the plane is full with the subtext of upgrade. He tells me yes it is and Qantas flights to and from LA are always full. Hmpf!
Ready for my movie marathon, choices that I made at home online, I start with Summer Coda with Alex Dimitriades. It is pretty ordinary unfortunately. Next up is The Tree with Charlotte Gainsbourg. More of the same ordinary.
Wait, there is Maybe Miss Debby! Up ahead talking to someone! I wait a bit and then make my move but the lights have been dimmed and most people are asleep so I can't tell who is who. I stop at the galley and ask the flighty to help me but of course I am restricted by privacy laws. I give my name and Debby's to her and she will see if I am right. I don't know how to spell Debby's last name (it's Dutch) so I don't know how I will go. Oh well, might as well get a bottle of champagne whilst I am here.
My next movie is Made In Dagenham and it is good for a mood change but still not engrossing. Straight after that I watch I'm Still Here, the doco on Joaquin Phoenix. It's interesting but what an idiot, even if it is a fake. I have to stop halfway through and have a nap for an hour or so. I'm not counting on sleeping much as I get too restless and fidgety. I get up and do some stretches which I am vigilant about. My coccyx is hurting so I watch the movie standing up behind my seat as I am in the last row. I picked my seat online and it was a very good choice.
Time for a cup of tea and I am in need of chocolate. I saw some people get a stash of Lindt before so I know there is some on board. My hostie investigator tells me my friend is not in Economy but she will check with the other sections. I ask the hostie making my tea if they have any chocolate and he says a flat out "no". I said "what about some biscuits?" and he said "no". I said "really?" he said "why don't you pinch them from the guy next to you". I'm not doing that I told him and he opened a drawer and gave me a small packet. What a jerk!
I select the film The Kids Are Alright and it's just alright. Everyone around me is watching Eat, Pray, Love; Knight and Day; The Other Guys and Toy Story 3. So common! I can't be bothered with any more films now and I pretend to myself that I can sleep the final 2 hours and put on some music instead. It works a little bit.
Arriving at LAX and going through another 500 checkpoints is tedious. I am searched for explosives and they miss my head. Fools! As I am exiting there are staff that ask me about my connecting flight.
"What time is your flight?"
"I, what?" (I heard him say why did you miss your flight)
"Um, 10.30 or something"
"I take your bag"
"Oh, um, no, why?"
Then I remembered I was told that they would do this to forward it to my next flight. Phew! He then tells me to go outside, turn right and go to Gate 7. There is no one around in the biggest airport in the world and it makes me nervous. Gate 7 is miles away (it's only 1 km). Back inside I check in again and when I am close to my departure gate I spot Maybe Miss Debby heading straight for me. I stop her and she looks at me warily but soon we are laughing, spraying perfume and checking alcohol prices in the duty free shop. She tells me she was upgraded and my lip curls. And she got Lindt chocolate! Back at the gate I meet Miss Linda and Miss Judy and it turns out we are sitting together on the plane. Our itineraries tell us the flight will be 1 hour and 10 mins or 1 hour and 20 mins, depending on whose itinerary you look at. The pilot tells us 45 mins and we decide to believe him. The flight is also 50 mins later than we have been told.
I see my suitcase as we get off the plane and I am thrilled. The first thing you see upon entering the airport are the slot machines and a Welcome To Vegas sign. Soon we are on the shuttle to our hotels and we swap phone numbers but my phone has no reception so it proves useless.
The first thing you see upon entering a hotel is the casino! The stench of cigarette and cigar smoke is overwhelming and downright foul. I am all checked in at the Imperial Palace and make my way to my room which has a lovely view of the carpark. I desperately want to sleep but am so hungry I won't be able to. I look through the guest services book which falls apart in my hands and think that half the information is missing. The hotel map is so small it is unreadable. I find a cafe in the hotel called Hash House A Go Go and order a salad. It can't be too big and will be just what I need. It is enormous and I am offered some strawberry jam - fresh! - for my biscuit (scone) I don't want dessert with my meal but thanks.
I am starting to ache with fatigue so I shuffle back to my room and climb into my giant bed and nap for an hour. I don't want to get up but I don't want to waste time sleeping unnecessarily. A hot shower is going to be wonder.......where's the hot water!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I push, pull and turn the handle but it doesn't getting any hotter than lukewarm. Washing my hair I start to shiver and the expletives are coming loud and fast. The bath is filling up as the drain is blocked. I grizzle and grumble getting dressed and make my way to reception. I ask if there is a trick to using the tap (one never knows) and she said she could move me to another room and the problem would go away! Well, yes but someone else will have the same problem! I opt for maintenance to check it out while I go exploring. No reason not to trust this.
Off I go wandering down The Strip just to get my bearings and look at things superficially for now. Everything is huge and everyone is walking around with drinks in giant plastic glasses or jugs. It's quite disgusting. I stop in at a tour shop and book my Grand Canyon tour for tomorrow. The guy refers me to a tour the same as the one I chose at home but for $80 less. I book it. Getting hungry again I stop at the Hard Rock Cafe and have a "small" burger and a mojito that is 95% sugar syrup and 5% alcohol. It is horrid and I get it topped with soda water but it is still horrid. My waitress has it taken off the bill as she knew I wasn't happy with it and she "wanted me to love it". I left her a large tip, so very unlike me.
I have to get home and go to bed as I am exhausted now. I wonder what to do about breakfast and I try to ring reception but they don't answer. I hope the hotel diner will be open early as I will be up at 6am for my tour.