Our flight to Las Vegas was scheduled to depart early in the morning on what was forecast to be a miserable day in Nova Scotia, weather-wise, with that dreaded term no one traveling in February wants to hear – “freezing rain” – due to start overnight and cause all sorts of headaches for those flying out of Halifax. When we were boarding we couldn’t believe our good fortune, to be leaving on time.
I spoke too soon, I guess.
Having boarded and even buckled my seat belt, my mood took a sharp turn south when the pilot announced that we would stay grounded to wait for a flight coming from Sydney, which was only due to land “in about 20 minutes.” They would then have to deplane and transfer the luggage and board our plane, a process which, as I feared, ended up taking a little more than an hour. And when you’re on an airplane, in an uncomfortable seat, breathing recycled air, subject to the sights, sounds, and smells of 150-odd strangers, an hour is an eternity, I can assure you.
After more than five hours in the sky, we landed in Calgary for a brief layover. I had flown to Calgary once before, but I had forgotten how long a flight it was, so by the time we landed, got through U.S. Customs, and boarded our next flight, I was already done. I was over it. And by the time we flew another two plus hours into Las Vegas, we had both decided we would rather fly everyone we love to Nevada, than fly across the continent again. We lived there now, that was the only solution.
It was decidedly cool in Las Vegas the week we went, by most travelers’ standards. At least 10 people had sent me a link to a news story about it snowing there in the days before our arrival. I, however, was loving every minute of the roughly 18 degree weather, since it’s ideal for walking, and I couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather the entire time.
We took an Uber to our hotel – Harrah’s, right around the middle of the strip, directly beside the Venetian and across the street from Caesar’s Palace. It was a lovely hotel, clean, modern, and in a fantastic location. “The Strip,” despite looking a few blocks long in the movies, is actually several miles long, so being right smack in the middle allowed us to tour both directions and venture easily back to our hotel between excursions. We got a room upgrade at check-in that put us in the new wing of the hotel, with a spectacular view overlooking the strip.
Our friends were arriving several hours after us, so we had an evening to kill by ourselves. We hurriedly showered and dressed and made our way to a ticket kiosk outside offering discounted same-day show tickets. Friends had suggested we see a variety show called Absinthe, advertised quite accurately as vulgar and hilarious and not for the faint of heart. The show itself was in a big top tent outside the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace, and featured comedy, acrobatics, music, magic, and everything in between. If you don’t mind bad language, I would highly recommend it.
After the show, we ventured back to our hotel, which housed a live burlesque show. It wasn’t nearly as entertaining as Absinthe, but it helped kill the hour before our friends arrived. Once they did, we all met down in the casino.
The thing about Las Vegas casinos is, if you’re playing games, be it slot machines or blackjack at a table, waitresses go around and bring you free drinks. I had heard for months before we went that this was the case, but I didn’t really believe it until I saw it for myself. One questions the financial viability of operating any establishment that gives eight Cape Bretoners free drinks for four days, but that’s none of my business.
A long, long day of travel was taking its toll, so we had a few drinks while listening to the dueling pianists in the very cool piano bar downstairs at Harrah’s and then decided to get some pizza and call it a night. We made plans to start fresh early the following morning, with tons to do and see our first full day in town.
Which is exactly what we did, as I’ll tell you about next week.