Yesterday I woke up so close to the Atlantic I could smell the salt in the air. Today I woke up in a city carved out of the desert. Modern travel is weird.
Spent yesterday with my long-lost buddy Mike (long-lost in that I hadn't seen him in 25 years -- he knew where he was the whole time). I had a mild scare with fusion-Dave (they saw some mild damage which I told them I took a picture of at Pearson but they had no documentation on hand -- later they called me back and said it was on the record as pre-existing so crisis averted). Afterwards Mike took me out to Peggy's Cove. You know Peggy's Cove, with the rocks and the lighthouse? Even if you've never heard of it or seen it, just imagine what Nova Scotia is. Yep, that's it.
After quick visit to the Swissair Memorial nearby it was lunch and the airport. Getting out of Halifax was only slightly later than expected but I was on edge. I only had 85 minutes of layover time according to my boarding passes. By the time we got off the plane it was 75 and race was on. First through American Security, then a long line through customs documents pre-screening, then I got to the room with the screens. The room with the screens is where you wait for your checked baggage from your previous flight to be x-rayed and okayed to be put on your American-bound flight. Until this happens you cannot leave.
This felt interminable. But eventually it ended... and only twenty minutes after the start of boarding! I ran out of the room and... joined the line to the final customs screening by a human being. I answered a couple of questions, and the officer tapped on his keyboard. I did my best not to look nervous and fidgety even as I imagined my plane sailing into the clouds. Eventually he told me I was all set and I made a run to the gate, expecting to have the door shut in my face. Instead I found the line was still waiting to get in. So I relaxed, bought some water, and then headed to my seat.
Five hours or so later and I was in Las Vegas.
It's a disconnect, going from what is arguably the most Canadian place in Canada, to the most American place in America. Vegas is a city of dichotomies. The sexy and adult at war with the family-friendly. A microcosm of America's culture war built on a foundation of suckers getting parted with their cash.
I took a walk on the strip this morning. The desert heat is made bearable by the fact that you rarely have to walk outside--instead slipping into casino after mall after casino all the way down.
I haven't got a full view of Vegas yet but one thing is certainly true: everything costs something. The question is, is it worth the price?
I suppose I'll find that out. In the meantime, I'm gonna go part with some cash.