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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Five Alarm Vegas

Reposted from the classic 2013 Victory Trip.

Feb 19, 2013

Five of our seven alarms, plus the buzzer on the stove, went off at four in the morning.

Like well-rehearsed Sir Q Dew Solayl members, or more realistically, like heads with our chickens cut off, we weaved and dodged around each other.

I managed to pound down one k-cup of coffee, get at least the right number of socks on, and had all clothing items attached, including a clean pair of gotch, which ended up on backwards.

The flight coming in from Toronto had indeed arrived at F.R.A. and a quick check on the Vegas flight we'd missed the night before showed it being delayed until 2:20am or something.

If it had got away at all, it was still in the air. It was looking like 3 hours sleep versus a 10 hour wait in Toronto, if we'd gotten there, and then the 5 hour flight, was the better option.

Needless to say, traffic was minimal because only milkmen and air travelers are stupid enough to be up at that hour. And there are no milkmen anymore.

Things went smoothly with one exception - the counter lady still could not select a seat for the Quad Queen's Vegas flight out of Toronto. I had seat 999F which was at the back of the plane - last row. It looked like the flight might be oversold, and we'd have to take our chances. Before long, we were winging our way just below geese height to Toronto.

Pearson (YYZ) was a complete clusterfuck. We headed for the International area past a never ending line of travelers with their luggage. It had to be a hundred yards long. I was worried that all these people were waiting to clear customs but it turned out that they were waiting just to check in at the main concourse, which was complete full. The storm had canceled many flights and everybody was rebooked.

There were actually very few folks going through customs and we went to the customer service desk. And they still could not properly assign seats on the damn flight. But don't worry, she said, its not oversold, you'll be fine.

Airline people at desks ALWAYS tell you it will be fine, even if it won't be fine. Because by the time you find out that it isn't anything near fine, you are long gone through 19 sets of doors and some other airline person at a desk's problem.

Security was busy as it seems customs had gotten more efficient with a new system we didn't understand. There were kiosks and gates and check-ins. They seem to call you by name now and they bring the luggage to you instead of it appearing on a carousel. I have no idea how it works now because they told us to go straight to step three.

At step three they told us 'Right foot green' and 'Left hand yellow' and bend over grab your ankles.

The guy at the final checked luggage drop-off point was a singing Jamaican guy.

"Good morning, good morning, humm humm hummmmmm!"

"Bring your luggage here, place wheels up!"

"Have a safe trip, and be on your way!"

It was kind of pleasant to be sung to in a lilting Jamaican voice by the baggage guy. But it was also kind of like I wanted to kick him in the nuts for being so happy just before I had to go through security. In the end, I focused on it being kind of pleasant in a 'listening to a 3 year old' kind of way.

Okay, so we got through security and hauled ass to the gate. By now I was super hungry but food was not an option - we needed to get seats set up.

The gate woman said, "Your not fine, you should worry, the flight is overbooked."

What. The. Fuck.

Okay, the worry switch went back to eleven. She wouldn't even discuss it with us, she said all seats were being assigned by her and she'd call us by name.

Ten minutes of fretting later we got the call and Mrs. F. got assigned a seat in the exit row. I was still bound for 999F. Whatever, we would be on the plane.

Because I blog from time to time, I was looking into a data roaming device which could be purchased at Relay shops at the airport. And I needed food... so off I went.

Two stores were out of the devices, and I found some really shitty looking egg/cheese/meat slab on a bagel. They had to be the worst-looking dog food breakfast sandwiches I've ever seen.

I bought two of them, then hauled ass back to the gate which was, of course, at the end of the approximately 3 mile long terminal.

Holy shit, everyone else was on the plane except the Quad Queen. She'd waited for mr, Mr. Lateypants. Okay, whatever. We got on. Whew. I went back to my seat at the back of the plane, which was a non-reclining overturned rusty bucket. And, I ate my horrible egg things, which were horrible.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we are delayed."

Here came the tears again...

Air Canada flight to Las Vegas
View from my rusty overturned bucket in row 999F.

So, we were waiting for stragglers, the plane was completely full, blah blah blah.... sat and waited until a 6' 14" guy with shoulders as wide as the Grand Canyon was squeezed, yes, into the middle seat next to my bucket. So I'd spend the next 5 hours with my left shoulder under my chin. Whatever.

Finally, finally, we took off and we were really on our way. I'd downloaded some episodes of those Gold shows, because I like the lore of gold, and I'm still hoping for an Emily Reidel nip slip somewhere along the line. Naturally, for most of the episodes, there was no sound.

Here came more tears again...

Okay, at least one Bering Sea Stupid People Gold show worked. I ignored Emily's six quart nostrils and focused on her shapely neoprene-clad bod. Sadly no nip slip was in the offing, but she is one hot tent-dwelling opera-singing gold-digging mama. Having said that, people on that show aren't allowed to rate higher than 3 on a scale of 1 to 10. But you know what they say, a 3 here is a 10 in Alaska.

I popped my earbuds out, roused the giant next to me and made my way to the washroom. Naturally, while brushing some dust off my shirt front, I caught one of the earbuds dangling from around my neck from my noise suppressing earbud system and knocked the rubber fitment off the end of it into the sink.


Okay, that went in the garbage. Looks like it's time for new noise suppressing earbuds when I get to Vegas.

I had to wonder what else could possibly go wrong on this trip. Royal Flusher Way Victory my ass.

Around 11:30 local time our landing gear made that familiar 'thump' - ah yes, that wonderful 'thump' that tells you the plane has just grazed the roof of Wayne Newton's house - and then the following 'thumps' that follow that tell you Air Fuckyou Canada has placed you somewhere on the runway at McCarran.

And we'd made it.

Was I excited?

As little as was humanly possible. Frankly, I was fucking grumpy, tired and sore, one ear ringing, and had I two shitty egg/cheese/foamy meat slab bagel things choking my colon.

But we were, in fact, in Las Vegas.

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