Friday, September 12, 2008

Las Vegas

When people find out that you live in Hawaii, they always ask, "Where do you go to vacation if you LIVE in Hawaii??" Fair enough. The answer is Vegas. Seriously. Vegas is where people go to vacation when they live in Hawaii. There's no gambling in Hawaii (okay, there's no LEGAL gambling in Hawaii) and there's a serious shortage of quality entertainment out here that isn't Hawaiian-themed, so Vegas has that going for it-gambling and quality productions. Other than that, I am seriously missing the draw. 107 degrees is just too damn hot, dry heat or not. The entire freakin' city smells like an old ashtray, and our time share presentation lasted THREE HOURS. Oh, did I not mention that this is how we got suckered in to Vegas in the first place?

We initially had a trip to Oregon planned where we were going to participate in Tree Climbing Northwest's Tree Week. Since Hubby is a Hilton HHonors member, we received a call from the Hilton folks telling us about a Great Property! they have in Vegas called the Hilton Grand Vacations Club and asking us if we would like to receive some discounted rates, gambling money, and free food to come and listen to one of their spiels. Hubby and I have done the time share spiels before and knew that we could endure sitting through one AND not fall prey to their tactics. We are nothing if not jaded after our Cold Stone fiasco (thanks, Cold Stone!). We can say no to practically anything now, no matter how good a deal it might actually be!

Anyway, we decided to tack on the Vegas trip, catch a show while we were there, drive over to L.A. to see some good friends, and then drive up to Portland. Bad idea. Vegas was so not meant to happen on this trip. First of all, the Hilton Grand Vacations Club is at the far end of the strip, so if you're idiots like us and decide to walk down and check things out at noon when it's 107 degrees out, you will be miserable by the time you get anywhere. Second, as we were packing our things, preparing to go to the airport I noticed what felt like a bladder infection setting in. Awesome. There's nothing like long hours on an airplane, being outside of your primary care...jurisdiction or whatever, and a four-day road trip to make a bladder infection even more exciting!

So, on to the good stuff, but first our itinerary, as it appeared in my head:

Saturday night-Catch red-eye flight to Vegas
Sunday-Arrive Vegas, walk around, check things out, try not to fall asleep immediately upon landing so as not to screw up internal clock too badly. Chill.
Monday-Sit through time share presentation, enjoy remainder of afternoon, go see "O", for which tickets had been purchased far in advance and for a lot of money.
Tuesday morning-Drive out of Vegas.

Saturday and Sunday pretty much went as planned. On Monday, we made it through the THREE HOUR time share presentation (it was only supposed to be two) and managed not to buy anything. Incidentally, Hubby no longer stays in Hiltons when he travels because every time he does, they don't have any hot water when he shows up, and after 20 or so hours in the air, this tends to piss him off. After that, we walked around for a while and then went over to the Bellagio to pick up our tickets for the show that night. This is the part where the Lady Behind The Counter (the LBTC) informs us that "O" doesn't show on Monday nights. Oh no. Oh no,no,no,no,no. Please don't tell me the tickets were for last night. The tickets were for last night. F&*#$#! She politely tells us that even though the missing of the show was through no fault of their own, they would be happy to honor the tickets the next time we are in town. The last time Hubby was in town was 20 years ago. The last time I was in town was January, 2007, but that was for a mandatory work conference. Before that, 1993. The show was the main reason we decided to take advantage of the Hilton offer in the first place. We don't go to Vegas, and honestly have no interest in ever going back again...except maybe to catch another show. After listening to all of this, the LBTC kindly conferenced with her supervisor again and informed us that, although it is not their normal policy, they would go ahead and refund the money for us. So, thank you to Natalee, the kind LBTC who decided to help out a couple of schmucks who couldn't remember what night of their 2-night stay was scheduled for fun and entertainment.

Tickets for "Mystere" were still available for that night, so we got them instead. The seats were actually pretty good, and we got a really good military discount, so it worked out ok as far as that goes. The show was good...but I had a hard time enjoying it because A) the bladder infection which had never completely set in, yet had never completely gone away either, made it hard to sit still and enjoy a show, and B)when I could no longer sit still and had to get up and go to the bathroom, I realized that my ID and credit card were not in my back pocket, like I thought they were. So, the first half of the show was spent in physical discomfort, and the second half was spent in mental and physical discomfort. We could have left the show to deal with the missing items issue, but I figured A) there was a chance that everything was still in our hotel, B)if anyone had stolen it with bad intentions, they were already doing damage-we might as well enjoy the show, and C) if someone had found it and turned it in, then it was safe and would continue to be safe until after the show. Turns out everything was sitting on our bed, right where I had left them when I took them out of my other pockets right before we left for the show. Phew!

Since we were setting out on a four-day road trip the next day, and my bladder infection was still lingering, we decided we should deal with it now, and that's how we ended up at the Las Vegas Emergency Room at 2:00 in the morning. The triage nurse who checked me in and got me set up to see the doctor was great, but after that, things went downhill. As I sat in my gown behind my curtain, waiting for the doctor, they wheeled a patient in to the bed next door to me. Apparently, the patient, whom I will call J, had tried to kill himself by stabbing himself with a shard of glass. Some people saw him and called the police. J was pretty out of it-I'm not sure if he was drunk or on drugs or had just lost a lot of blood. This is all sad and disturbing, but the worst part was the conversation that the doctor had with him, which went like this:

Doctor: J? J? Are you suicidal, J?
J: (Incoherent response)
Doctor: Have you tried to kill yourself before?
J: (Incoherent response)
Doctor: You almost succeeded. There's a lot of blood. You'll have to try again, J.

Now, I understand that as an ER doctor, you probably see a lot of attempted suicides, and I understand how you could become a bit jaded; and, granted, I've never been to medical school, but I'm fairly certain that there is something ethically awry in telling a suicide survivor that he is going to have to try again because he failed this time.

After that disturbing little exchange one of the nurses came in to give me my cipro. I said, "Isn't that pretty hard-core; don't they give that to people before they go into the jungles of Borneo or something?" and she said something to the effect that it's pretty broad-spectrum but fairly gentle, so it should't make me nauseous or anything. Then she told me, "It's also good for STDs. I just thought you'd be interested in knowing that." Um...okay. Look, I know it's 2AM and I am in a Vegas ER with a bladder infection, but could you not imply that I'm a whore or that my husband, who is outside in the waitng room, has been sleeping around and has brought something home? Geez, lady. I'm on vacation here.

After I got my clothes and my dignity back on, we went outside to wait for a cab. As we were waiting, we heard a lady on the other side of the waiting area having a very heated phone discussion with someone about the treatment of her son. I'm not sure what the person had done, but nobody was to treat her baby that way, and she spared no cuss words in making sure that her point was understood. Hubby asked me if I wanted to go back inside. The onslaught of cussing was offensive, but I really didn't feel like going back inside, so we waited it out. As we got in the cab, I finally looked over at the angry, cussing woman, just to see. I didn't want to make eye contact while we were waiting for the cab, but now that we were safely ensconsed in a metal shell, I figured it was ok to look.

Me: She's not on the phone???
Hubby: No
Me: Jesus, I thought she was yelling at someone on the phone.
Hubby: Nope. She's nuts. That's why I asked you if you wanted to go back inside.
Me: Well, I didn't know she was crazy. I just thought she was on the phone!
Hubby: Nope. Not on the phone.
Me: Why didn't you tell me?
Hubby: I thought you knew.


And so ends our adventure in Vegas. Leaving Las Vegas never sounded so appealing.

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