Thursday, January 14

West Coast USA, Day One: What Happens In Vegas...

It occurred to me as I was waiting at the gate the significance of this particular time away. Not because of the destination (I've been to the USA before) nor the context (I've been to destination weddings before) but because I was leaving two days or so before my parents were due back from their own two week holiday. This would result in a whole month without seeing them, which, given other facts - that I'm pretty old now and a month isn't really an incredibly long period of time - doesn't sound that special but still remains the longest contiguous amount of time that I would not have seen them. That made me equally proud and sad.

It's also relevant that I've been having a bit of crisis when it comes to travel. Call it boredom, fatigue, ennui... I just don't seem to have much of a passion for it any more. In fact if I'm being honest I'm not sure I ever did really - most of the more amazing places I've been to have been pretty circumstantial more than anything (I've lost count of the number of destination weddings I've been lucky enough to be invited to), and I can only think of a couple of trips that I drove and planned myself. I mean don't get me wrong: there are very few trips that I didn't enjoy and even love, and I'm grateful that I've been able to see more of the world than most... but when I sit down and think about it the vast majority of the best times I've had in my life have happened within a 10 mile radius of my home. I'm okay with being labelled as spoiled or someone who's taken his travelling for granted... but it's usually only with the benefit of experience one realises that the things we chase in life aren't actually all they promise to be.

So yes. Vegas then. It probably would have been something I wanted to check out a decade ago, but given the above it was fair to say that I was looking forward to the company during rather than the location of this trip. Still, considering the distances involved it made sense to beef up the trip, and I have to admit I am interested in checking out the rest of the West Coast.

Between the news (anything with Trump that is) and anecdotal evidence, I was expecting lots of immigration woes during my travel to the States. It all started promisingly with me being picked for a "random search" at the gate just before boarding. I complied of course, but was surprised when I was declined any kind of report or receipt that the search had happened - even more so when the G4S chap was honest enough to say "give me a break mate, it's the US who've asked for this". But the really surprising thing was that the above was the only incident I have to report. Everything else was seemingly fine - even US immigration went quickly and smoothly, so much so that I felt a bit cheated that I wouldn't have to recite the whole spiel about being there for a wedding with all my friends etc. But still, brownie points to the USA. Maybe they don't actually hate Muslims after all?

We got in late to Las Vegas, but there was still enough time for me to check in and race to the Rio to catch the Penn and Teller show playing there. It was a lot of fun, both in terms of the magic and general level of entertainment. I only really had time for one magic show during my stay in Vegas and I think I picked the right one.

That was all there really was time for today, so after briefly checking out some of the bright lights I headed back to my hotel to catch some rest. I still wasn't sure what Vegas had to offer someone who doesn't gamble, drink or visit strip clubs... but I thought I'd make an early start finding out anyway.

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