Ok, this is my last post on Vegas, I promise!
Day Three wasn’t even a full day, but it felt like I needed a round up of my trip, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity.
I woke up to sun streaming through my curtains as I’d forgotten to close them when I stumbled back to my room at 2am after all those Manhattans. A combination of a cold and a hangover that wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I deserved meant I wasn’t feeling on top of the world, but I dragged myself out of bed, got dressed and headed back down to that breakfast buffet before it was time to check out of my room. This morning I didn’t feel up to fried goodness, so decided to hit the pastry counter for a sugar hit breakfast.
Mini red velvet and carrot cake cupcakes were a hit. Cinnamon pecan pastry was a hit, as was fresh pineapple. The muffin was disgusting and smelt like fish. So I didn’t eat that. So there’s a handy tip for you, if you ever go to Vegas don’t eat pastries that smell like fish.
Suitably sugared up I headed back to my room for some very inefficient packing, which involved sitting on my suitcase, and some abnormally perky photos taken with the remote. I completely forgot I had the remote till the last day, or I could have taken some actual nice outfit photos, but hey ho! What I am wearing here is what I am now calling “aeroplane clothes” stretchy skirt, stretchy top and bra with no underwire!
After checking out of my room I decided to waste my remaining dollars in slot machines. At one point I’d actually made money, but, predictably, I ended up penniless. Fortunately I managed to time it well so I didn’t have hours to kill and no money.
I took a few photos of the lobby at the Mirage, which features, naturally, mermaids, a huge glass dome and a tropical waterfall garden, while I waited for my car to the airport to arrive at 2pm (my flight was 4:30, I’d have liked to go earlier, but everyone seemed confident this was fine)
Now, it’s at this point it all went horribly, horribly wrong.
I’m not sure exactly what happened. My driver had 2 other people in the car to drop off, and she asked me what terminal I needed to go to. I checked my ticket, it was Terminal 3, she asked me what airline, and I said Delta, which was who all the flights were booked with, though my flight home was actually apparently a Virgin flight, I didn’t realise this would make a difference.
As we drove into the airport the driver checked with me it was Delta, dropped me off about 2:30pm outside the Delta check in, and here commences my nightmare….
I don’t fly often, the last time I flew outside the UK was to Prague in 2006, and I wasn’t alone, so forgive me if I’m just a total moron about these things. I tried to use the self check in desk at Delta and it told me my flight was with a different airline, at this point I rechecked my ticket and realised I was in the wrong terminal. I was alone, penniless, with an hour and 15 minutes till Check in closes for my flight and no idea where Terminal 3 was. I didn’t know who to call and couldn’t find a single member of airport staff to ask who wasn’t at the head of a 20 minute queue. I ran around the check in area like a headless chicken for a few minutes before I located a person who directed me towards a shuttle bus to Terminal 3. I had to ask directions 2 more times before I got to the bus stop at 10 to 3 just in time to see a bus pull away.
Imagine me now, slightly hungover, full of cold, sweaty and shaky, hopping from foot to foot looking anxious in the parking area of an airport. I’m still surprised I wasn’t immediately arrested for looking shifty and body searched. The terror that I was going to end up stuck 5000 miles from home with no money and nowhere to stay isn’t a terror I wish to repeat any time soon.
Seriously folks, this is why they tell you to arrive THREE hours before the flight, not TWO.
Fortunately a bus arrived in less than 5 minutes, and took another 5 to get to the terminal, where I dragged my suitcase up 3 flights of stairs to the check in desk and stood in a queue which seemed to last forever, but in reality was only another 5 minutes to check my bags. The 2 elegant, cool, calm and collected people ahead of me in the queue reassured me I had plenty of time, so I calmed down slightly.
As you’ve probably guessed I breezed through security and check in and made it to my gate with 15 minutes to spare before boarding started, which might be fine for seasoned travellers, but was cutting it fine for me! In the end boarding was delayed as well, but I wasn’t to know that…..
When I boarded the flight I turned out to be seat row partners with the elegant woman from the check in queue. As a seasoned traveller she had changed out of her elegant manolos and camel coat into a cashmere jumper and matching sweat pants for the trip. Obviously. She’d also been at the same raucous party that I had been the night before and was also hungover, thus negating my excuse for being such a sweaty, red faced mess. Sigh. She was lovely, nevertheless, and as a far more seasoned traveller than me was very helpful in the snagging extra blankets and pillows department!
So here I am, not stuck in Vegas, but on a plane, with my make up slid down my face, puffy eye and lipstick long ago chewed off with anxiety, ready to go home.
And there endeth the dramas.
Lots of people have told me Vegas isn’t the *real* America, and I think that’s kind of obvious, it’s like a giant theme park for grown ups. I loved the themed hotels, on such a grand scale. The only thing we have comparable is the smarter out of town shopping centres, imagine Westfield with a glamorous lobby and 5000 hotel rooms. I loved that everyone was so helpful, and I loved that nothing ever seemed to close. I’d have really liked the opportunity to get off the strip and visit some of the older parts of Las Vegas, but with just one day to spend I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and I really wanted to see the insanity of the strip. I spent a lot of time saying “It’s mental!”.
The strip hotels aren’t cheap, but when we drove past some of the ones off strip they looked a little unsavoury, so if you were planning to take a trip to Vegas I’d probably recommend splashing out, or at least being very careful about where you stay elsewhere! I wasn’t really there long enough to offer any great insights into Vegas and what to do there, but advice from others includes the fact that you can drink for free as long as you sit in front of a machine and keep putting money in it!
The biggest thing I really noticed was the roads. to find 8 lanes of traffic in the centre of a UK city would be pretty much unthinkable, so it made the place feel weird to my eyes, almost like permanently being on a really glamorous industrial estate or motorway service station. I can’t think of any better way to describe it!
I want to finish by thanking Lenovo for taking me over there and being so amazing. They’ve got some fabulous products that I saw at the showcase that I’d love to get my hands on, multi function is their main focus, so laptops that turn into tablets and ways to make all your technology seamlessly blend together to make life easier. Their main markets are Asian at the moment, but their smart phones have excellent cameras and I can’t wait for them to hit the UK!
I’m now tucked up under a blanket watching Buffy getting over the cold that came back with a vengeance since I arrived back in the UK, but I promise to return soon with a non Las Vegas related post!