January 24th, 2006

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Vacation details

Vacation Day 1: Last week, I went out to visit my parents in Mesquite, NV. Saturday, I took the bus and light rail down to the airport. This works slick. A bus a block from my house drops me at the Metrodome, I walk across the street and catch the train and zip! I'm at the airport. Arrived plenty early and went through security with a minimum of fuss.

My dad had sent me detailed directions on where to pick up a shuttle from the Las Vegas airport that would drop me at one of the hotel/casinos in Mesquite. The directions were so clear and simple that I, fool that I am, left them at home. So I arrive at the airport and wander into the cacophony that is the Las Vegas airport and promptly forget the details. I know I'm supposed to go straight through baggage claim and then do something. Well, I get to baggage claim and see signs for shuttle buses. OK, I figure I'll find someone to ask. There's someone at kiosk outside the door that is arranging limousines and they look like they want to help. I say I'm catching a shuttle to Mesquite and he says, "Oh yeah, they park over there, you'll see them no problem." Well, it's about an hour before I'm supposed to catch the shuttle so I settle in. An hour rolls around: no shuttle. I ask again and discover that the shuttle isn't affiliated with their company. It's suggested I ask at the Information counter. Great. Couldn't have told me that an hour ago.

So I ask at Information and the vital step I missed was the need to go down one level. This has taken enough time, however, that I've missed the shuttle. Fortunately, there is a schedule nearby that seems to indicate that another will be coming along in two hours. If nothing else, I can fork over the $30 and catch this shuttle ride.

So I go back into the airport and play video poker for an hour and a half. I'm up $20 and cash out and go down to wait for the shuttle. There's plenty of room and the driver is willing to accept that I'm supposed to have been on the one two hours earlier for a pre-paid trip so I don't have to pay. As the other passengers and I settle in, he checks in and discovers that, in fact, I am in the right place and will be dropped off in an hour or so.

So I get to Mesquite two hours late and $20 in the black, have a nice little prime rib dinner and crash at my folks' place.

Vacation Day 2: I fall easily into a daytime schedule and awake at something like 9:00 a.m. Reports are that two of my dad's brothers have come out to Vegas for the weekend so my dad and I head down to Vegas to meet up with them. They're staying mid-strip in the old Imperial Palace. We chat for a bit and they wander off for their own activities. My dad and I are off to wander the strip and see about catching a show. We walk in search of a half-price ticket place my dad remembers from a previous visit. The day is chilly for Vegas and windy. We duck into a casino or two along our walk to gawk and warm up. We finally find the place, up by Circus Circus, only to have its DSL go out and be unable to sell us tickets while we're waiting in line. They give us pointers to another of their outlets across the street and about halfway back the way we came. If only we'd known.

We pick up tickets for a variety show at the Aladdin called "V." at 7:30 that night. The tickets we get are actually vouchers and we should pick up actual tickets at the box office. The sooner we get there, the better seats we'll get. So we hop on the bus, tired of all this walking, and get off at the Aladdin, figuring it'll be good to get the tickets and then get a bite to eat. While we're in the neighborhood, dad suggests we check at the Bellagio for tickets to their Cirque du Soleil show so we swing in to that box office. We get pretty decent seats for the variety show and front row seats for "O."

It's getting late enough that I suggest we eat after the show so we wander back to the Imperial Palace in hopes of seeing the uncles again, but they have wandered off. We sit for a while and then head over to the Aladdin for the show.

It was enjoyable enough with some truly funny moments and some exciting acts. But it seemed a bit short and none of the acts seemed to be headliner-worthy. So we weren't particularly satisfied but, hey, the tickets were pretty cheap so it wasn't all bad. The meal after was pretty decent and I had fun watching the table full of women who were pretty obviously on a "girls night out."

Vacation Day 3: My dad has become something of a semi-pro poker player during his time out in Nevada. He mentioned that he stopped at the bank to get a couple of hundred dollars out while I was there and that this was the first time he'd touched any of his own money since they moved out there last year. And he probably only did that because he insisted on paying for everything including the meals and show tickets. Monday is the day he plays in one of the little local tournaments. So we went down to one of the local casinos to play some cards.

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