Sunday, May 6, 2007

Vegas, Baby! Day 1

Warning! This will be a series of long posts covering our recent vacation to Las Vegas, which was without computer access.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the phrase, "Las Vegas"?

I bet (pun intended ;-) I can name some of the most popular answers: Gambling, heat/desert, construction, Sin City, shows like Wayne Newton, Barry Manilow and Sigfried & Roy, "The Strip", excessive drinking, partying, etc., etc., etc.

So why would someone like me, who doesn't gamble, hates the heat and isn't much of a party girl, choose to go to "The Entertainment Capital of the World"?

One word: Family. My sister-in-law, Beth, moved to Las Vegas several years ago, and we've never made it out to visit her. Also, since Kyra came, proud Aunt Beth's been dying to show her off to all her friends & coworkers :-)

It happens that right before Easter, David & I were talking about how we should go and visit Beth sometime soon. Unfortunately, this was also not long after our trip to Hawaii, and David was a little lean on vacation time. That meant it was just going to be me & Kyra, if we went this year. David suggested I talk to his mom to see if she'd be interested in a girls' trip to Vegas (read, an additional set of hands to help with Kyra on the plane, etc.!)

Easter Brunch was at David's parents' house, and the topic of visiting Beth came up. They mentioned they were going to visit her the first week of May, and long story short, we (Kyra & I) decided to piggy-back on their trip. However, they also planned to visit some friends in Arizona their first couple days there, so suggested we come a couple days later. Incidentally, this turned out to save us a good chunk of change, as flying on Wednesdays is typically cheaper than on Sundays.

We got our tickets on Southwest Airlines at a smokin' deal ($99 each, one way). By the way, if you're going to purchase a seat for your infant/toddler, always look at the deals first, instead of just outright buying the infant seat. Because at least on Southwest, their infant/toddler seat rate at the time,was $150, but they also allow you to purchase an "adult" seat for your child, and in this case, I bought her ticket for $99. Whoo hoo! Plus, if you have a child under 4 years of age, you get to pre-board. Believe me, when there are no assigned seats, AND you have a car seat to haul onto the plane, this is huge!

Anyway, Wednesday of this last week came, and it was Travel Day. Now mind you, this is the first time I've traveled with Kyra by myself, and I've got the following which all need to arrive safe & sound in Vegas, where David's folks will meet us at baggage claim: Me, Kyra, one suitcase (which we checked), the stroller (which we checked at the gate), the car seat (which came on the plane with us) and one diaper bag/backpack which was my purse, snack-holder, toy carrier, important document storer, diapers, change of clothes for Kyra, a book, and the latest People magazine, which I deluded myself into thinking I'd have time to read on the plane! Needless to say, I felt like a Sherpa, and to prove it, below is a picture of my "pack animal".

The Stroller Yak

David helped us as far as he could, but had to say goodbye when it was time to go through TSA security. The lines were long & winding (like a Disneyland ride), and I looked over at the Premier/First Class Security section, and there was no one waiting. I asked the attendant if we could go through that way, as she could obviously see I had my hands full. She apologized, and said if she could, she would. But the airlines were really strict, and they didn't allow anyone unless they had a special boarding pass.

So I waited, winding around and around the narrow lanes, trying not to bump into anyone, or tip the whole thing over, until I got to the front of the line. What do I hear? A voice coming from the Premier/First Class Security section, beckoning me to come on down to their area. Let me tell you, I wanted so badly to make a comment!

We finally got through security with our gel-filled plastic bag and bare feet, and I loaded the stroller yak back up with girl and gear. We made our way down to the gate, and then waited again. I tried to let Kyra out to run around a little, but it was always a gamble, because if she happened to take off running, who would watch the stuff? You know, they're very strict about abandoned luggage these days. And, above all, unless the stroller yak was balanced just right, it tipped over backwards.

The flight, itself was pretty unremarkable. Only being 2 hours, it was at the most an hour of active flying, and the other hour either taking off or landing. Kyra was very good, although she didn't have much of a choice as she was strapped into her car seat. This purchasing a seat for her turned out to be a great thing, because she knew her car seat, and it was familiar to her. Unfortunately, the extra depth of the car seat allowed her to stretch out her already long legs in front of her, and KICK the seat-back in front of her. We were extremely lucky, however, as the nice lady in that seat was very understanding, when I apologized profusely for her unplanned "back massage".

We arrived in Las Vegas, and after making our way from the gate to the baggage claim area, we found David's parents (Hallelujah!), and our luggage, plus a cheap pair of sunglasses that had hopped a ride on my suitcase. We were already "ahead" in Vegas!

Dinner that night was at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, where Beth works. I had a cheeseburger, of course. I mean, what else would you have there? Then after dinner we walked through the Flamingo Hotel, and saw real flamingos!

I love this picture.
You can't really see the flamingos,
but it's a great picture of Kyra & her "Funny Face"

Then it was back to the condo, for an early night, as we were pretty tired from our busy day. Tomorrow, touring Hoover Dam, the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay, and the Harley Davidson Cafe.

Blessings, K


Jos said...

Stroller Yak. That kills me!
BTW, YOU look really pretty in that pic with Kyra!- Jos