i get to the airport at the ever-so-cheerful time of 0745. for someone who believes that god did not mean for humans to get up before the crack of noon, this is no mean feat.
once at the airport, i checked in and jiggered my way through security. at the airline, i checked in and lo and behold, the plane was full. so full they offered $500 and a flight four hours later for those willing to take a bump. so i took the bump and cooled my heels.
my bags stayed on the america west flight, and i was instructed to go to the america west baggage office to claim them later.
the bump put me on an american flight, also direct to vegas. after enduring three sardine-like hours packed into a penis-shaped flying can, i arrived in las vegas.
i'd been warned that there are slot machines in the airport. it didn't really surprise me that there are metric assloads of them. and of course there are the signs for every performance known to man: manilow, penn & teller, carrot top, three different cirque shows at three different venues, and on and on and on.
i get to the baggage claim and lo and behold, my bags are not there. after an hour standing in line at the america west baggage office where i file my claim and they promise to deliver my bags to the hotel, i make a pit stop at the atm, which kindly dispenses a $100 bill, and i finally get over to the taxi stand.
where i wait for an hour. for a fucking taxi.
now, let me explain. this is not a city without taxis, like fort worth, where i live. in fort worth, you call a taxi and wait an hour. the taxi shows up, and you're off to your destination. the taxis come to the taxi stand in groups of 19, where the airport employee has obligingly lined you up ready for the taxi when it arrives. all well and good, and it would be accurate to say that the line did move pretty much continuously.
it was just a fucking mile long.
a 15 minute taxi ride helped me discover something else: i'd put my $500 travel voucher in the envelope used for my boarding pass. which had my claim check sticker stuck on it. which i'd handed to the guy in the baggage office so he could handle my claim.
he kept it. my voucher was gone. they don't replace them. ever. even if you're jesus motherfucking christ and need a flight.
i get to the hotel but the cabbie can't break a $100. so i have to rush into the hotel, where i stop at the concierge desk (no luck), the front desk (no luck) and finally the casino cage (where they want to hand me chips, not cash). when i get back outside where the cabbie is waiting, he's ... gone. i wait for about 10 minutes and go back inside.
as i'm in line, my cabbie shows up and wants his money, which i happy give to him, along with an inordinantly large tip for the hassle.
i try to check in. it takes almost a half hour.
it turns out that my boss had booked me for a king-sized bed, great for when i have the hooker up here. but they've blocked all the king-sized beds so that the desk people can't assign them, because ordinarily people come in who've booked a double and ask for an upgrade, and the desk people give it to them. but since this is the biggest convention of the year in vegas, everybody is packed to the gills, and so they've blocked the kings for people who've actually reserved them, so that they're not given away to people who'd only booked a pair of doubles. fair enough, except that they have to take my driver's license into the office and have the manager handle it manually, instead of being able for the desk people to go, oh, a guest who reserved a king, and have the system spit out a king-sized bed. noooo. so. standing there. listening to the elvis impersonator sing while dealing blackjack.
what about my laptop? oh you can check it at the cage if you need to, since of course you don't want to leave it in your room.
no, at the cage the boxes are designed for money and jewelry, and so are about 5 inches wide, not enough to hold my 10 lb laptop. it takes five inquiries over five hours to find the correct answer to my problem: check my shit at the bell stand. so tomorrow i don't have to schlep my laptop all over the convention center.
it's 4pm, and i want to get my convention badge. so i try to find my way to the sands expo center. oh, just down the block according to the map i picked up wandering around looking for the way to the sands expo center.
everything is close in vegas, but everything is so large that you either take a shuttle or you take a cab anywhere you want to go. walking is insane, especially when you had foot surgery recently enough that you're still not feeling 100%. i, however, being inexperienced in the ways of vegas, do not know this, and walk about two miles to the sands expo from the imperial palace.
when i get to the registration desk, after another 20 minutes of wandering around, they have closed. 15 minutes early. i have just wasted a two-mile walk (schlepping my laptop, since i had not yet discovered the truth of the bell stand). the woman observes, ever so helpfully, at at least tomorrow i'll know where the desk is. she's lucky she didn't lose her teeth.
but at the sands expo center, i manage to find a shuttle back to the hotel. except it doesn't go to my hotel, it goes to the two hotels on either side. so more walking.
i get back to my room and finally hook up with the cohort from california, and we have a nice $85 steak dinner (that, in any other restaurant, would cost no more than $40).
all in all, a fucking disaster.