Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sunday - Leaving Las Vegas

My bags are packed, something I did yesterday but forgot to tell you. You see this is what happens towards the ends of my travel blogs - I rush or I haven't written something down. Perhaps there is a New Year's resolution in there. Anyway this is something along the lines of what happens......

I use the express checkout and take my bags to Miss Debby's room for safe keeping. I catch her in the lounge of the coffee shop and we just hang for a bit. I want to buy a couple of magnets or key rings as they are really the only souvenirs I buy. Given that I have a collection of keys for my workplaces they come in very handy.

My shuttle bus is booked for 2.15pm so I have a couple of hours to waste. Miss Debby comes with me to the Flamingo buffet. It is another champagne one (1 glass only) and you also get a mini bottle of vodka for a bloody mary! Sure, if you insist. We don't end up drinking them. The dish selections are not so great today. They haven't quite crossed over to lunch so it's seafood again. Not that I'm complaining about that. I make a smoked salmon bagel and a roast beef sandwich to take away with me and wrap up a couple of cakes for later.

Miss Debby goes off to the movies with Miss Linda after we say goodbye, see you in Melbourne. I go back to her room and just sit and flick through a magazine. Eventually my time passes and I say goodbye to the Flamingo Hotel with it's smoky, coconut reef oil smell and cardboard cutouts of Donny and Marie Osmond.

My flight to LA is uneventful. But upon arrival it got a little interesting. I followed the sign that said Qantas connecting flights to Syd/Melb and ended up in a little bus waiting room. I checked with the man at the desk to make sure my luggage was checked through and he asked me what they told me. I said nothing. He said take a seat, I was in the right place. There is a mother shooshing her silent baby and she annoys me. Her husband is at the desk taking up the man's time, and patience I suspect, but not in an angry way. A shuttle bus comes and I try to board and I don't really understand what the man says but he doesn't let me on. I sit and get a bit nervous, after all, I only have 6 HOURS before my plane leaves. Of course the Qantas shuttle comes along and we eagerly get on. It's like a joyride around the airport for us as we seem to be going nowhere but a long way from where we started. Why couldn't the plane just drop us off somewhere central? Well, it probably did. We got off the bus and entered an abandoned terminal, I kid you not. There was no staff, no signs, just seats and no one in them. We all looked around in wonder and then some smart lady walked up a ramp and through a door so we followed her as she didn't come back. We walked and walked and again I wondered why I couldn't have been dropped off a bit closer to where I was going. LAX is a strange place. I started seeing gate signs and felt better. That didn't last long as there was nothing to do in this section of the airport. There was a small cafe/bar, a couple souvenir kiosks and a tiny duty free shop. Oh dear, what time is it?

I find a corner in my gate lounge and try to have a nap but it's not happening. There is a child playing with his remote control car and the whizzing noise is driving me crazy. I go for a very slow walk, as slow as I can possibly go. I am impressed with myself but it doesn't take up much extra time. I get a coffee which is disgusting and sit in another gate lounge for a different view and read my magazine. I am so bored I can't bear it.

Back at my gate lounge the flight to Munich is boarding so I watch everyone. I can hardly contain my excitement. Tick tock, tick tock. The staff arrive for my flight so I request a change to an aisle seat. Request granted. I go off to the duty free shop and stand in front of the alcohol unable to make a decision. I go with cointreau and baileys. There is a long queue but that's okay, I have nothing better to do right? Nevertheless it is frustrating waiting in a line going nowhere.

I make eye contact with a good looking man in the lounge and I think it is someone I dated once but he doesn't have a son that age. It isn't him, it can't be. He would have said hello, surely. Why would he be in the US? He has 2 kids at home. None of the scenarios I make up are sensible. We keep looking at each other but I think it must be just a physical attraction thing. It does make me feel a bit weird though.

Time for boarding and my section is left to last. As I hand over my pass I am stopped in my tracks. My seat has been changed. Oh no, I said, I requested an aisle seat. The woman says she had to move a family so they could sit together. Oh phft! I am at the emergency exit she says so there is more leg room! Not the point! I am a fidgeter and want to get up and down freely. Of course I now know that this is a good spot to sit for someone like me.

Guess what? The man who I think I know is sitting right behind me! Oh my god! I try to sneak a close look and then I try and bionic-ise my ears so I can listen for an accent but it doesn't work too well. What I do hear is an Australian but the timbre is different so I try to relax. He would have said something by now, you would think. Should I say something? Nah, we won't date again. Oh goody, his child enjoys kicking the back of my seat. It's going to be a fun ride!

So movie selections for this leg of the trip and in this watching order, include: Despicable Me; Toy Story 3; Buried; Boy; Eat, Pray, Love and a doco about John Lennon's murderer. I know what you are thinking - 2 of those films I called "common" in a previous blog - but you have to go with the mood you are in so that is that. I sleep about 2 hours or so I think, could be more, could be less. Most of the flight is in darkness and I get very bored with the clock going so slowly it is almost in reverse. An announcement comes over the PA for a doctor and we see a steady procession of professionals make their way to the sick area. Apparently there had been a convention of sorts in LA so that was a bit of good luck! Soon there is another announcement for someone with a glucometer and we see the obliging passenger with his kit. Goodness me! The child is booting my seat and I look back at him throught the gap next to the window. He sees me and I glare! He kicks, I glare, he kicks, I glare and Dad finally tells him someone is sitting in that seat! No kidding Dad! He may be a toddler but he knows!! In the 15 hours though he does handle the flight very well.

Finally we land and I am making my way to customs. It is really busy and I can't help but smile when I hear the impatient voices of Australian staff with the passengers from the Asian flight that is coming through at the same time. The woman has to tell them several times to "wait here" as she moves away. Each time she looks around they are trying to follow her and she holds up her hand and repeats the command. It is quite funny. "Border Patrol" is filming today so there may be an extra wait, I hope not. The customs man asks me if I have anything to declare and I say just chocolate. He says, is that all? Yes, I say, almost sorry that I am so pathetic with my declarations. He ushers me straight out the door as he knows not to mess with my suitcase and the kilo of chocolate. I am out the door, on the skybus, in the taxi and inside my home by 11am.

I try to stay awake for a while by unpacking a bit and showering etc. I start to feel a bit woozy and nauseous so I think it best that I have a little lie down. I feel much better after a couple of hours sleep. My holiday is over, it has been quite an adventure.

Lowlights are the tepid shower and standing in my shower water, the smoke, bad coffee and my now diagnosed chest infection. Highlights are the Grand Canyon, O, Viva Elvis, Barry Manilow and Leonard Cohen. In fact I loved all the shows we saw. The weather was fabulous and not cold as we expected. Oh and the blog would not be complete without final mention of The Bellagio. I won't come back for you George so you will have to come here.

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