Due to the weather, we were four hours late getting out of Atlanta. Severe thunderstorm cells lined up like Napoleon’s Army and uniformly marched through one file at a time. Everything passes through Atlanta we hear or Chicago.
First it was only the weather. Then it was a weather caused pilot delay. Then it was a slow computer system also blamed on the weather and there was the gate agent malfunction. The inbound pilots scheduled to fly us to Phoenix were diverted to Tallahassee. Then they were delayed out of Tallahassee because the Napoleon blockade would not allow them back into Atlanta. At least that was their story. We are unable to verify other flight delay stories involving paying customers being dragged from their seats.
Once our pilots arrived, we started boarding. That was stopped mid-stream because of lightening. When boarding resumed, it was again delayed because of reportedly slow computers and the questionable competence of a gate agent. Finally an apologetic pilot announced in a frustrated voice that we were pushing back from the gate and were finally on our way. I prefer cheerful pilots. We arrived in Phoenix a little more than 4 hours behind our schedule. Thanks to modern communications, our friends knew when to expect us although they told us our flight never appeared on the arrivals board. Shortly, we were on the road to Las Vegas.
Over time, Suzie-Q and I have traveled a bit in Asia and Europe and in the good old U.S. of A. including the family Red Rocket Road Trip. For all the places we have been blessed to visit, there remains a growing bucket list. Thanks to good friends of more than 30 years, this trip would scratch three from the list and toss in an unscheduled fourth as a bonus.
A dearly departed friend of ours, twenty years our senior, told us that when you reach fifty years old life begins passing by at fifty miles per hour and continues to speed up with every passing year. Since at fifty all traveling is down hill, it made sense. And so it goes with bucket list chances.
We did want to see the Las Vegas glitter. Whether they will admit it or not, most everyone is curious about “Sin City.” It was quite a sight arriving there at night and seeing bright lights rising up out of the desert. Quite an oasis I guess.
Neither of us are gamblers, but every place is arranged so that you have to walk through the casino to get anywhere else. We did ah heck insert a couple of twenty dollar bills into some very sterile one armed bandits. There are no more coins we were told. Guess they took us for hicks for asking. No ding, ding, ding. No flashing lights. Nothing. It was just a cold efficient way of taking money from the gullible and mathematically challenged and those would be high rollers inebriated from free drinks. It took us about 10 minutes time with reward of much second hand cigarette smoke to determine that was the low light of the trip. We walked around much of the day, had lunch at an out of the way Korean restaurant, watched people, wandered through different hotel lobbies and casino areas, fended off street hawkers and snapped pictures like good tourists should. By evening, we made our way to the Mirage Hotel to see Cirque Du Soliel, Beatles Love. Yes, to get to the box office and theater, we had to traverse the casino also known as the smoking section.
It was an entertaining show. Not quite sure how to explain it except to say there were dancers, acrobats and trapeze artists flying around the stage performing to Beatles tunes. Did not waste brain energy trying to pick out all the different social themes of which there were some. I recall the silver haired former hippies sitting in front of us standing, clapping and swaying to All You Need Is Love. Wonder what was going through their minds? We intended to see more of the town following the show, but traffic around the Mirage and back down the strip toward our hotel, which sat behind and in the shadows of the Hooters Hotel and Casino, was a nightmare. By the time we got back there, Las Vegas was scratched from the bucket list. If I could compare anything in life to our trip to Las Vegas it would fall in the same barrel as our trip to Oktober Fest in Munich although with fewer visible drunks and vomit and no half chickens or ham hocks. It was interesting and generally entertaining but like Oktober Fest once was enough.
Following breakfast, we put Las Vegas in the rear view mirror and headed for other places.
© 2017 J. D. Pendry