And We’re Off……

Hurrah! We’ve had a busy few months since we got back from Spain / Portugal in March, so it’s been nice to see everything coming together and holiday time approaching (though with Mark now in his dotage, we should probably start referring to it as “life” rather than “holiday”).

Travelling inevitably involves regular intake of beer. Here’s Mark at the pub down the road on Sunday evening (where we went for tea having eaten the contents of the fridge, freezer, and all but one small cupboard; a deliberate ploy on my part to ensure that we can make the most of that first Auchan shop when we arrive in France next year in Kampington):

We travelled to the airport on Monday and had an overnight stop at the airport hotel, so more beer. Mark was somewhat perplexed that the food was served on wooden boards (yes, with the chips served in mini fryer baskets…. will this nonsense never die out?). “How can a place like this run out of plates?” was his question…. followed by “it’s a bit basic”….

The BA flights to Las Vegas were reasonably uneventful, though I did learn something new at the airport. It is possible to pack your hand luggage too well. I had fully expected my bag to be rummaged, containing as it did an extraordinary number of inhalers. Sure enough it was marked for further investigation. The girl who did the inspection seemed quite relieved not to have drawn the short straw of the moaning Minnie in a red dress to my left (who had a cosmetic bag she hadn’t bothered to repackage into the regulation clear plastic bag but was still outraged at the inconvenience), so was quite happy to explain how it all worked.

They were apparently completely unconcerned by the number of inhalers (“they’re prescription medication so that’s fine”. I managed to hold myself back from asking the obvious question of “how do you know what the canisters are filled with?”). The problem was that I had packed my hand luggage too well, i.e. that like items were packed together too tightly to show up clearly on the screen. The machine apparently can’t tell the difference between aerosols and liquids, so a number of inhalers packed together can look like a larger (very strange shaped?) ¬†container of liquid (which does beg the question of why my hand luggage has previously tended to escape scrutiny if they’re really so worried about liquids?). My neat zip-loc bag of charging cables was also an issue (and was under the inhalers, just to complicate matters). When we went through the second set of security (having changed terminals at Heathrow) I removed the various zip-loc bags and scattered them around the trays rather than putting them through en masse, and they went through no problem. This could mean that I’ve learned a new trick in relation to airport security, or it could just mean that security is more lax at Heathrow….
Our London – Las Vegas flight was delayed by an hour due to two passengers showing up rather the worse for wear on the alcohol front and being denied boarding. Unfortunately their luggage wasn’t conveniently located within the aircraft, so it took quite a bit of unloading and reloading before we were finally on our way. On arrival at Las Vegas we were further delayed at immigration, which was woefully understaffed. Mark wasn’t impressed; I was too intrigued by the Welcome video by Barack Obama, which I got to see three times, to care. Basically, America is a nation of immigrants, tolerant to those from all countries, of all colours and religions etc etc so we visitors were all to feel very welcome… Stretched out to fill quite a few minutes in the way that only politicians can…. At some point I guess the Donald will need to record a replacement video…… I am imagining that the script may change somewhat…..
We had a short taxi ride to our hotel, in which Mark (reticent as ever) asked our taxi driver what he thought of the Donald. The taxi driver’s reasoning was that he would be good for the country since, being a billionaire already, he couldn’t be bought, and that if things didn’t work out he’d just be out again in four years’ time…. We arrived at Excalibur (a Camelot-themed extravaganza, though to be honest to me the exterior appearance was more Rapunzel than Tintagel and the interior was the standard blend of dodgy carpet and thousands of fruit machines) quite late so just had time for a couple of outrageously priced beers before bed:

With the travelling out of the way we could now look forward to our American adventure…..