Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Wednesday, January 12, 2004 - Time Flies When You're Having Fun

I am back from snowy Las Vegas, Nevada!

Yes, you heard that right. I saw snow in Las Vegas. Something that hasn't happened in that area for some 12 0r 15 years now. It didn't stick in our area, but I watched the news and saw plenty of places where it had. It must have been quite a treat for the kids!

I've actually been back for several days now. I've been:

  • Recovering from the trip: It's amazing how quickly you can screw up your sleep schedule!
  • Dealing with the death of a relative: I wasn't terribly close with my great-uncle Jerry, but he was a terrific guy. I hope I am lucky enough to go out like him - 93 years old, in good health, and passing away in my sleep.
  • Spending time with my family: particularly Ironwolf, who is traveling for work every weekday from today until the end of the month (boo!). I've opened up a bottle of wine [White Zinfandel! Where the hell did we get this crap from!] and I am working hard at drowning my loneliness in it. On the plus side, it means I'll spend more time blogging!

Ah, but I digress. You really want to know about the trip!

Well, if you are going to Vegas, I really must recommend to you that you avoid going when one of the two big annual conventions are happening. We arrived on the first day of the Consumer Electronics show. Nothing like an extra 140,000 people in the city to make things interesting! Not to mention the (ahem) other convention going on in Vegas at the same time - the Adult Video Convention!

We flew on Southwest, and I'm not sure whether to recommend it to you if you are traveling with someone else. Sure, it was clean, comfortable, friendly - all that good stuff. But, Southwest has the strange quirk of there being no assigned seating. They seat people in three main groups. and my mother-in-law and I were unfortunately in the last seating. And were one of the last few people on the plane. Needless to say, we were both stuck in middle seats, and were a mere 14 rows apart from each other.

My mil is there on a business-related trip, and we have a number to call for a car when we get to Vegas. So I obligingly call the number, and find that it's some regional limo company (yay!) but all their limos are booked up for hours (boo!). So we check into our hotel at the airport (totally awesome) and catch a shuttle to the fabulous New York, New York hotel.

Vegas is still all the glitz and glam that I remembered it to be from 9 years ago when I was there on my honeymoon. In that time a number of new hotels were built, including NYNY, and I was anxious to take a look around.

We get in our hotel and immediately notice:

  • It's really, really spartan. No surprise there - they don't want you to hang out in your room; they want you out spending your money.
  • There is a periodic rumbling outside our window. We have a lovely view of NYNY's roller coaster!

My MIL is diabetic, and it's now 5 PM local (8 PM EST), and she really can't put off eating any longer. Frankly, I was hungry too, so we went to one of NYNY's casual restaurants and had a little something. Unfortunately, we also knew that we were meeting others for dinner at 7 PM, and we sincerely hoped that we would not end up in the same restaurant!

We wander a bit and then head to the meeting spot. Among the many people I saw a small knot of mostly middle-aged ladies and zeroed in on them as the people we were looking for - law librarians like my MIL. Oh, it was funny; we didn't know any of there people, but they were so stereotypical! We went to dinner in the hotel at their fancy Italian place. Sadly we were unable to take full advantage of our only fully expensable meal in Vegas because we had just eaten! *sigh* It was also a little weird because I was the only travel companion that came (and me not even a spouse). So they talked business, and I...was pleasant. What else could I do?

The East Coasters among us bowed out a little on the earlier side, as it was approaching midnight EST, and we headed to bed. I got ready, put on my pajamas, crawled into bed, and laid there for about 10 minutes. What was I thinking! It's my first night in Vegas! Let's go! So I went out by myself for a couple hours wandering through the nearby casinos before turning in.

The next morning I find myself with a couple hours to myself because my mil had a meeting that morning. I catch breakfast on my own at NYNY's Chinese restaurant's breakfast buffet, which had surprisingly little Chinese food on it, and that not very good (about what I expected). Then I had to check out of NYNY, haul the bags across the street to Excalibur and put them in storage, and then go pick up our show tickets for that evening. Then I went out and did some shopping - some souvenirs, some overpriced beauty products and teas for me...

I met up with my MIL. We had decided to go out to Stratosphere so I could ride the roller coasters, but Strat is WAAAAY at the other end of the strip (about 2.5 miles). We were considering a taxi, but then I noticed that there was a new monorail that ran the length of the strip! Yay! It didn't go all the way to Strat, so we decided to ride to the Las Vegas Hilton and check out the Star Trek Experience.

The Star Trek Experience is really cool. It consists of three parts:

  1. The Star Trek museum, which has all kinds of memorabilia spanning all the shows. (I particularly liked the Mark IV Photon Torpedo). Very cool stuff. If you ever go to this, don't blow by the museum just because you're in a hurry to get to the rides.
  2. The Borg Invasion. They set up this cool live-action scenario where the Borg are breaking in and you see crew members being taken by the Borg in surprising (and humorous) fashion before entering a theater and confronting the Borg in a 3-D movie. Lots of fun!
  3. The Klingon Encounter. Not as good of a story setup - the Klingons have transported you through a time rift and you are trying to get home to your time. They put you in a motion simulator (supposedly a shuttlecraft) and basically toss you about for 4 minutes. It's a spectacular ride (though definitely *not* for those prone to motion sickness) with a fun little twist at the end.

It was more expensive that I would have hoped at $35, but it was still worth it. It was also the location of Quark's Restaurant, which is of course a replica of the famous place in DSN. It looked cool, but the line to get in was atrocious, so we had to pass it up.

My goodness! I've been typing for almost an hour and I haven't gotten terribly far. You all probably hate my propensity for writing travelogues. I like them, and it's a good reference to go back to for when I finally get around for doing my scrapbook pages on the trip. But I'd better finish this off tomorrow, as much as I would like to kick back the rest of the wine and blab on, but I have to be up early to take Zipper to the doctor (darn that responsibility thing!)


Blogger wendy said...

I love travelouges. Not only do you get to hear about a place but you get to see it from a personal perspective.

Sounds like you had a great time. I haven't been to Vegas yet but the Star Trek Experience is a place I'd go.

1/12/2005 11:38 PM  
Blogger Jade said...

Oh it sounds like you had a blast!
It's been so long since I've been there. I am jealous!

1/13/2005 9:26 AM  
Blogger Desiree' said...

sounds like you had a great time!
it is great to have ya back. I miss reading from you. I hope that the month passes by quickly for you so that ironwolf is back home with you.

take care sweets!

1/13/2005 11:06 AM  

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