Saturday, April 5, 2014

Viva Las Vegas

I've been waiting to go to Las Vegas for some time now as neither Bill and I had ever been there before.  I found that there was going to be a nursing informatics conference there so I jumped on the chance to go.  We stayed at the Paris Las Vegas so we pretty much stayed in our "neighborhood" most of the time.  But Sunday morning before we checked out of the hotel, we ventured a little further out to check out a few more of the hotels. It was pretty overwhelming to see all those people in one place.  Reminded me of going to New York only on a smaller scale.  The density of people was pretty much the same though.  And of course, some of the attractions on the street were pretty interesting.  We did take a picture of Bill with a couple of showgirls on the street so that he could get a "What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas" kind of photo. 

We went with no real plan with what we were going to do while we were there other than that Bill wanted to see Hoover Dam at some point.  We ended up checking out what show tickets we could get discounted and decided on going to the L.A. Comedy Club show on Friday night and "Jersey Boys" on Saturday night.  The comedy show was pretty raunchy but that is really no surprise.  We enjoyed having someplace to go for entertainment that night though.  And the tickets were relatively reasonably priced.  I had to leave my conference a tad early to make the 5:00 start time for "Jersey Boys" but it was well worth it.  Loved the music and the production of the show.  Bill also likes to go to art museums and there was a "Painting Women" exhibit at the Bellagio that he went to see as well.

Bill took his trip to Hoover Dam on Saturday which took most of the day.  He enjoys looking at dams and other engineering structure so he had a great time.  Had he was happy to be out of the city and away from the Strip for awhile.

Getting back home was a little bit more tricky.  We actually had a little bit of a travel SNAFU going to Las Vegas as well.  We were in the San Francisco airport boarding our plane when they announced that we had to change planes.  So everyone had to get off the plane we were on, walk to the new gate, and wait almost an hour to board there so we arrived in Las Vegas a little later than we had planned.

On Sunday, we waited at the Las Vegas Airport for hours for our flight.  They kept posting delays.  The plane that we were waiting on had mechanical problems in San Francisco and took forever to get to Las Vegas.  We thought we had a long layover originally but as the flight kept getting delayed, we realized that we were going to miss our connecting flight to Portland.  We tried to get booked on other flights but there was nothing available until 9:00 p.m. the following night.  So we ended up spending 27 hours in San Francisco that we hadn't intended on doing and I missed work.  United did put us up in a hotel that night and gave us a little bit of money for food but we didn't have our luggage, toiletries or clothes to change into. 

Since we had an entire day in San Francisco, we thought we might as well take advantage of it.  We had the hotel take us to the airport so that we could catch BART to go downtown.  We had no real plan of what we wanted to do but thought we would do a walkabout.  We went to Embarcadero and walked around the Ferry Terminal Farmers Market for a little bit and then thought we would head up to Chinatown.  I have to tell you.  I do not like walking in San Francisco on a good day.  I don't do well with those hills between my asthma and not being in the best shape for climbing hills like that.  So it was a struggle for me.  Bill wanted to go to the Chinese Cultural Center.  We got there and it was closed.  So we went a few blocks more and did find that the Cable Car Museum was open so we went in there to see the displays for a bit which was interesting.

We talked about maybe taking a cable car ride but the tickets were pretty expensive and we were going to walk toward Fisherman's Wharf which was all downhill so decided to walk it.  Big mistake.  We didn't get very far before a thunderstorm rolled in and we were getting totally drenched.  And we were still a long way from the piers.  We were really looking forward to getting to Pier 39 so that we could maybe sit someplace inside, have a drink and maybe dry off a little.  No such luck.  The eateries at the pier had some covered areas for dining but they were not meant to withstand rain--only to keep the sun at bay.  Water was leaking everywhere under the covered areas.  By this time we were so miserable, we were ready to bag our San Francisco adventure and head back to the airport earlier than we had planned.  We were still a long way from the BART station though.  We tried to get a cab for awhile but folks kept getting in ahead of us.  So we tried to catch a trolley along the water front but had to walk a ways to get to the next station.  Finally managed to get on one and get to the BART station and back to the airport where we could buy some sweatshirts and try to dry off.  We were there six hours early for our flight so it was a long wait again.  Two very long days hanging out at airports was not fun.  And our flight back to Portland was late as well.  Par for the course.  So what we thought was serendipity ended up not being so fun. 

But we had a great time while we were in Vegas so that was something.  And we may go back again sometime.  Hopefully it will be a much better travel experience next time. 

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