The trip started with a VERY early morning to catch our flight out of Vancouver. Holly had booked us in online the night before so we were able to bypass the first checkin and proceed directly to airport security. This was in part because we were flying on Delta Air and they charged extra for any checked in bags, despite the fact that we were flying international. We have had our gripes about West Jet and Air Canada in the past, but at least they have always allowed us to check in luggage without charging extra for it. Anyway, we had adjusted our things and planned it out so that we would carry on all our stuff. When we arrived at the security checkpoint Holly was flagged for the 100% check. It took a LOT longer for her and they even made her take off her flip flops. In contrast, I was through security in mere minutes and was waiting on the other side for her. Why they decided to split us up I have no idea.
Once through that the rest of our flights were pretty smooth. We had a layover in Salt Lake City and even there we noticed how much warmer it was. For some reason the airline stewardess on the first leg of our trip did not like Holly. She would look at her sideways and was somehow bothered by her mere presence. It was a strange experience since Holly hadn't said or done anything to provoke her. It was a strange encounter and we laughed it off afterward.
We landed in Vegas and took the shuttle to the car rental area. It's in a separate building from the airport and the whole system runs pretty smooth. Originally we planned on renting a car with Dollar, but while arranging to pick it up, and going through the extra fees, hidden insurance costs, etc. we asked if there was a penalty if we canceled. We were informed there was none, so we decided to walk away and just explore Vegas on foot instead. Our agent was completely fine with that and even offered to give us a free shuttle ride to our hotel, even though we were not going to be renting a car with him. I'll be clear: the fees and extra insurance costs are not unique to Dollar, but are part of Nevada's state law. This means all the car rental spots there operate the same. In my mind we got great service from Dollar and we took them up on their offer to shuttle us to the airport.
Our shuttle driver was a helpful and friendly guy who was originally from Chicago. He told us stories about Las Vegas and gave us advice on where to buy cheap bottled water on the strip. We made sure to tip him well because he made this short part of our trip that much more enjoyable.
Finally we were at the Venetian Hotel, our destination. Actually we were staying in the Venezia, which is part of the same complex. This hotel is decorated in a classic Italian theme with painted murals on the ceilings and lots of extra crown moulding. The suite we were staying in was very large and well appointed. It took not one, but two elevator rides to get from the front desk to our room.
This became a theme in most of the large casinos on the strip. They are built in a way to make it difficult to escape. Even after leaving the hotel, if you wanted to go south, you had to first head north until you got to the strip. I am not really complaining about this, it's just something we noted while we were out and about. Holly really enjoyed the heat outside so a few extra minutes in the sun was no bother for her.
On the strip there was a LOT to see and do. We made no attempt at trying to do everything - it would be pointless to try in the time we would be there. But we did get to see a lot. We walked to most places and discovered a few gems to eat at, like Canters in Treasure Island and Chipotle, an organic mexican food restaurant located right on the strip.
On the third day we got a 24 hour bus pass each so that we could go shopping at the Premium Outlet mall. There were several options to choose from but only one actually went far enough to get to the mall, and none of the options were all that fast. Still, the bus was air conditioned and took us past many of the sights one would hope to see on the strip. And it sure beat walking. At the outlet malls, and also at various places on the strip were these mist sprayers designed to return some of the humidity back to the air. They didn't actually cool you down at all but they did help to keep the air breathable.
Now for the geek tip for Las Vegas. If you happen to buy a ticket for the Ace Gold line bus like we did, it can take you to the only Frys store in Nevada. Just go south, and get out at the Town Square stop, near the southern outlet mall. It's a three minute walk south from there. I picked up a bluetooth mouse for my macbook pro, and was using it on the flight home. I stopped there though. I could probably have spent an hour or so going through the various deals they had, but really, the mouse was what I was hoping to get this trip.
Another stop we made was to the Rainforest Cafe. We went to the Rainforest Cafe when it was in Burnaby on one of our first dates, so it held some sentimental value for us. The Burnaby store is no longer in business and I wasn't expecting to see one in Vegas, so it was a pleasant surprise, and we both enjoyed our meals. A lot. It was located inside the MGM Grand hotel and casino, a place we had to visit again the next day to see the lions on display. None of my photos of the sleeping lions turned out that well, but it was fun to be able to walk down a glass hallway and see them sleeping on Plexiglas above you. Apparently they sleep quite a lot.
There was so much more that we did and saw while there, it was a fantastic way to ring in ten years of marriage. There were high points and low ones, but overall it was memorable, happy and most importantly, blazingly hot.
I love you Holly. Thanks for putting all of this together because really, none of it would have happened without you.