A trip to Las Vegas is becoming a tradition for me. I have been to this city several times over the last three years and have enjoyed every trip more than I can say. There is something special about this place that is only a two and a half hour plane ride away from home, which is just close enough to be convenient and yet not too close as to become something that loses its charm.
This trip down was somewhat unusual. Unusual but quite interesting. It all started out in the Calgary Airport terminal while me and my fellow travelers where waiting for our flight. We were at gate C25, awaiting the Air Canada flight when a security guard came in to announce that "EVERYONE NEEDS TO MOVE TO THE NEXT WAITING AREA, WE HAVE A DOMESTIC COMING IN ON THIS FLIGHT. LET'S GO, EVERYONE MOVE, PLEASE!". They never did say what it was, but to my ex-police dispatcher mind, a "domestic" refers to a couple that are fighting. We all moved next door, while watching several security guards come into to secure the waiting area. They then started to offload passengers from our flight into the terminal, with the exception of two people who they had surrounded by a couple of rather large security guards. They then moved these two off into a separate waiting area. Hmm....interesting. They let us back in after this and began boarding the plane.
Well, we all made it to the plane. Finally. But the surprises were not done yet. The cabin steward announced that the 3rd engine in the tail, the one that they use to start the main engines was not working. Therefore, they would have to bring in an auxiliary power unit to start the engines. Well, they hooked this unit up, it started the engines but it belched out a pile of black smoke and all sorts of noise. I think that many of us, including me, were wondering just why we didn't book Westjet instead of Air Canada...hmmm.
There was one more surprise, and this one was the best one of all. While sitting in my seat on the plane, I was typing out an e-mail on my cell phone. One of the stewards came up to me, I thought he was going to ask me to turn the cell phone off.
"You want me to turn it off, right?"
"Actually, no sir. We have to re-balance the plane. Could we ask you to move to another seat?"
After thinking for a second, I said "Um...ok. Where to?"
"Just follow me."
I followed this fellow....he took me into first class!
"Just have a seat here, Sir. I hope this will do." Are you kidding me? Wow. First class seating. Roomy, awesome. I could get used to this.
Well here I am in first class. I'm still in shock, nothing like that ever happens to me.
Here's the view out the window from first class.
The view over Southern Alberta. There were a series of thunderstorms over the area that they did a bit of a zig-zag around. It extended our flight a little, but did it ever make for a fantastic view. You just don't see this sort of thing from the ground.
And what is a seat in first class without an awesome dinner? I even get complimentary red wine to go with dinner. At this point, I'm still wondering what is the catch. But I'm not complaining, this was awesome!
The final touch to an awesome flight was complimentary drinks. Could I get used to this? You bet. Absolutely. Thank you Air Canada!
And here I am. Made it all the way to Rhodes Ranch in Las Vegas. They really take good care of this subdivision, there are sights like this everywhere. If you are a golfer, this is a great course. It is also a pretty nice 5 km walk around the course.
Day 2. Truly, what is a trip to Las Vegas without a trip to Frys? While in Vegas some people go gambling, some go to shows...I go to look at the cool electronics.
Entering the I-215, going to the Strip.
Cruising with Doug & Don down the 215.
A multiple exposure shot near the Mirage. It was a perfect day to be out walking around.
Near the Venetian, close to sunset.
One of the statues on Caesar's Palace, with the moon in the background.
Near the entrance of the Caesar's Palace shops.
At Trevi's in Caesar's Palace. Awesome Italian restaurant.
Another view of Trevi's from the granite counter. I submitted this one to Fuji Cameras as part of a photo contest. Who knows? It might be worth a shot.
Along the Las Vegas Strip. My mission tonight was to try out the little Fuji X-E1 and see what it could do. It is a pretty versatile little camera, but it did take a bit to learn. It is certainly different from the big Canon 5DMkII that I'm used to.
Tonight was one of those classic summer nights in Las Vegas where the temperature was hovering about 95F along the strip. It wasn't quite as hot as it was about a month ago, but it was still warm. Just right I think, in my humble opinion.
Lights everywhere in this city.
Lots of traffic tonight too. I can remember driving along Las Vegas Boulevard 20 years ago, it is nothing like it is today.
The chocolate fountain at the Bellagio. This fountain is supposed to hold the world's record for the largest Chocolate fountain.
One of the back halls in the Bellagio, near the Art Gallery. Someone once told me that this hotel cost over $1 billion to build. I have to believe it after seeing all the marble in this place.
Another multiple exposure shot near Caesar's Palace.
A night time cruise down Las Vegas Boulevard.
A visit to Ricks Restorations.
Of all things, he had a shoe fluoroscope. I've read about these, but I have never actually seen a real one.
The shoe fluoroscope "safety" warning. Seems almost hilarious.
The stationary anode tube from the fluoroscope.
Cruising down the Strip, past 'Pawn Stars'.
Circus Circus Casino. I'm sometimes surprised that this place hasn't yet met with a wrecking ball or a talented demolition team.
First time for everything. There was a strike at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Can't say that I've ever seen this sort of thing in Vegas before.
Las Vegas Police, watching over the picketing in front of the Cosmopolitan.
A young supporter?
Along the freeway.
There was a rather spectacular lightning storm tonight, which is something of a rarity for Las Vegas in Summertime. The thunder all day has been amazing too.
Walking along the golf course this morning. It was hot still, but not too hot.
Another look along the Rhodes Ranch Golf Course. This place has a lot of hidden gems like this.
Of all the things one sees in Las Vegas...someone left this little toy on the bacony/entrance way off the Venetian. Among all the other things one sees in Vegas, I thought that it was hilarious that this little thing was watching all the people enter the Venetian Casino.
Heading off to the MGM Grand to see David Copperfield. The Las Vegas valley doesn't have much in the way of clouds in the middle of summertime, but they certainly do get some pretty amazing ones when they do happen.
At the MGM, waiting for David Copperfield's show to begin.