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Whaow… the time had actually arrived, we were at Glasgow airport checking our bags in for our flight to New York then on to Las Vegas. It seems such a long time ago we had booked and now that it was the day to go, it felt nerve wracking and exciting at the same time…
Carole Anne and I had just been interrogated by the US officials about why we were going to Las Vegas, who had packed our bags, what time we had closed the case, what was in our bags… bla bla… glad my inquisition was over I obeyed the woman behind the check-in counter as she beckoned for me to load my case onto the conveyor belt. After a struggle with the weight and the scales whopping a few kilos over my bag was trundled off down the line, followed closely by Carole Anne's, for some reason we stood there watching them until they went out of sight, satisfied they were gone we turned and charged off towards our gate.
The first flight out from Glasgow to New York was going well. Well as well as can be expected after Carole Anne and I spent the first twenty minutes right up the back of the plane in the wee kitchen bit…! Someone was in our seats, so the flight attendant had instructed us to stand there and wait while she sorted it out. Twenty minutes later we were still there, and everyone was getting ready for take off…!! After another 10mins, the flight attendant had us sorted, thank goodness, thought we were gonna have to serve the meals… Carole Anne and I had our own personal wee tellies to watch with a choice of films, games etc… ok so did everyone else but I think ours were a bit better. Mine was in Chinese for a while and I think the folk beside me were quite impressed that I was multi-lingo. When the film started though I had to show my dumb-cheerleader side and ask the attendant to switch mine onto English.
Hours later, movies over, feel swollen up, we were circling over New York waiting on 'landing permission' the captain said. An hour-and-a-half later and we were still circling…! Then the Captain's voice came out over the Tannoy, we were to emergency land to re-fuel and then head back again to New York. Apparently the weather was too bad for a landing and the result was heavy congestion in the air. Four hours later we arrived at New York. Missed our connecting flight and the one after and as we stood in this mile-long queue trying to re-book onto the next available flight for Las Vegas, all we could think about was Katrina Foran. She was arriving four hours before us in Las Vegas and would be wondering what was happening. Folk were having temper and tear tantrums further down the queue as officials advised them of flights, and a family who had been waiting in the wrong queue for over an hour were shouting frantically as they were advised to join the back of our queue…! Jeso, glad it was our turn to check in.
As our second plane finally touched down in Las Vegas almost 9 hours late we frantically zoomed from the baggage handling dept and made our way to meet Katrina. There she was sitting in the arrival lounge waiting for us, gripping her luggage with both hands and looking like a bunny in the head-lights… When she saw us she jumped up with a start and charged towards us. A rabble of conversations followed about our flights, her flights and what had happened. We chatted intensely as we made our way out of the airport. It was dark outside and the heat was phenomenal. A really dry catch-your-breath type of heat, like a hair dryer on top speed blowing directly on your face (you know when you're in the hairdressers and the stylist forgets she's got the dryer singeing the one part of your head like that). We made our way into the taxi queue, which must have been four miles long but moved very quickly. As we hopped into the air-conditioned taxi and it took off through the streets of Vegas we were soon very quiet with our faces pressed up against the window in amazement. I have never seen so many bright lights in the one place EVER…! Even Glasgow at Christmas time when the neighbours compete to see who can put the most lights over their houses faded in comparison…
Buildings as high as skyscrapers with bright coloured lights, chasing lights, flashing lights, starburst lights, even massive lit up roller coasters… there was a mini Empire State Building with the Statue of Liberty at the New York, New York hotel, we passed the water show at the famous Bellagio hotel (where they filmed Oceans 11). There was a 'Peter Pan'-like show going on as we passed the Treasure Island hotel and loud cheers and screams erupted as the sky was illuminated with rainbow-coloured fireworks… whaow…! The streets were jam-packed with tourists in shorts and t-shirts all flashing cameras and trying to dodge the millions of taxis driving back-to-back on the congested roads.
As we passed over a bridge we saw our hotel on the right-hand side, The Rio a tall striped building with red and blue lights all the way down the full length from top to toe. It looked amazing and we couldn't quite contain our excitement as the taxi pulled up outside. As we entered the crystal glass automatic doors the cool air greeted us much to our relief. Oh My God, the place was FULL of puggies and slot-machines, big green tables with blackjack and poker with big burly guys chewing on cigars as they puffed out clouds of smelly smoke. It was massive…! As far as the eye could see in every direction machines and tables after tables with Las Vegas showgirls dancing on top of them, restaurants, shops, clubs, I could go on for ever. We got ourselves checked-in and headed upstairs.
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