Sunday, 20 July 2008

Day Two - Sunday, 22 June

We were up early ready to get to the Manchester airport where Simon magically appeared behind us at the check-in line. I wanted to take pictures then, but figured that would upset the security people. I was pleased to learn that US Airways permitted each person TWO suitcases, as I fully intended to be bringing STUFF back with me.

Checking in and getting through security gets increasingly complicated:

  • Two carry on bags allowed now (to be fair to guys who don’t carry purses).
  • Suitcase packed and guarded by you with nothing in that anyone else asked you to carry.
  • Any liquids up to 100ml amount in the original containers, including lipsticks, creams, perfumes, in a ziplock plastic bag (no greater than 20cm square) to be shown to security personnel.
  • Remove coats, sweaters and vests and put into a box to go through x-ray.
  • Show security personnel any electrical items, ie laptop computers, cameras, etc.
  • Remove shoes and place in a box for the x-ray.
  • Place all metal objects in pockets or on person into a box for the x-ray.
  • Walk through the portal and when the thing squawks, allow someone to search your person.

Besides the work of deciding what goes into which bag and remembering not to wear holey socks, juggling all these things, remembering what things to show to whom when, particularly when there are queues of people waiting everywhere and lots of shouting and instructions, it’s all a bit dizzying. I felt like a puzzle that had been taken apart and needed re-construction a few yards away on the ‘other side’.

Our first flight was from Manchester to Philadelphia and then from Philly to Las Vegas. I wish I could say good things about US Airways other than they were the cheapest airline. Unfortunately, I found the food fairly disgusting – it was half warm -- (I usually like airline food) and the staff were not just unfriendly, they were downright surly. We all agreed this would be our only trip with that airline. Oh yes, new rules: no congregating in the aisles or galley (ie waiting for the toilet to be free). Bill made the mistake of following me and speaking and we got ordered out of the galley. Fortunately I’d already been to the loo.

When we arrived at Vegas, we picked up the first vehicle at Dollar rentals, a 2007 Chrysler Pacifica.

They made us wait for it about an hour and we were a bit concerned that they hadn’t done their own inventory of damage and dings from the previous user, but we were ready to be out of there and get to our hotel.

Bill’s main problem with automatic vehicles seems to be the emergency brake. We had to get help from the Dollar guy to find out how to release it, which is a little embarrassing. I kept quiet so he'd think I was foreign, too. Then again, I couldn't really say anything, since I couldn’t figure it out either, right? I closed my eyes in the back seat while everyone got used to driving on the right side of the road.

(Simon's picture)

We'd made no arrangements for where and when to meet Jane (Bill’s sister) and Chris but knew they’d arrived in Vegas a couple of days earlier. Fortunately they remembered where we were staying – another Travel Lodge – and were staying there that night, too. We ran into them in the parking lot. They’d eaten, so we (the UK 4) went out to get some dinner at Coco’s around the corner. Simon wandered off to take pictures of Vegas (copy Hooters). Imagine what he found interesting..
. (to be fair, he did snap a lot of other pictures).

(Simon's picture)

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