Monday, January 28, 2008

Vegas = Teh Suck.

I don't know what the hell I did to deserve this kind of karmic payback, but I tell you I must have had some kind of blacked-out psychotic episode and murdered countless orphans for me to deserve what I've been through today... (click read full article)

As I write this, the time is 11:39 central. PM. I've been either in airports or on planes for the last 12 hours, all for a trip that was supposed to take around 5.

I'm headed for vegas, for two nights of fun with my old man and his youngest brother, and their wives. The schedule went thusly - Wake up at 8:30am central, to be ready to go by 9:30, to get to the airport by 10:15 for check in and security, for a plane that departs at 11:15, which connects through houston to get me to Las Vegas at 4:30pm mountain time. Have dinner and see a show with the others, maybe gamble a little, and get a good night's rest.

Well, first thing that happens is I oversleep. Of all the days to oversleep. I even set my alarm. I guess my body just doesn't like being out of bed before 10 on a weekend. But, even though I woke up at 9:30 I still got to the airport by 10:45 and skipped the line by using the automated check-in booth.

11:15 rolls around and my plane still hasn't even arrived yet.

I head up there to find out what the deal is, are we delayed? If so, shouldn't be too much of a problem, I've got a 2 hour layover in Houston, so...

The board flips to "Cancelled."

Ok. We're calm, we can handle this. I talk to the nice people at Continental and they see what they can do for me. The next flight to houston? Oooooh sorry, that just filled up. The one after that? Sure, here you go. Now, that'll make you miss your connection, so we'll book you on the flight AFTER that to vegas, and you should be arriving around 5:30. Ok, not too bad. I glance at the ticket and see "2:40pm".

It doesn't even click in my head, the math I mean. I decide to go get something to eat, cause Breakfast was one of the things I had to skip to get to the airport in time for my cancelled flight. I have a pleasant lunch, and arrive back at the airport at 2 for a leisurely boarding process. I head to security, the TSA agent looks at my boarding pass and says "sir, this flight left 5 minutes ago." What? That can't be, it leaves at 2:40. "No, sir, it ARRIVES at 2:40. It departed at 1:55."

I look at the ticket again.

Well, Son of a bitch.

I'd be mad, but I can't. Because I look like an idiot. Let me tell you something, loyal readers (yes, both of you), the Gas Bandit does not often look like a moron. This is the first time I missed a flight, ever.

Ok, we're calm. We go back to the ticket counter. We explain what a dips%@# we are. We ask if there's anything that can be done.

Of course there is... the next one leaves... at 4:50pm. My groaning at that being 20 minutes later than I was supposed to be IN vegas is stifled by me remembering I've just been the world's least competent traveller for 2 hours. Ok, wonderful. I'll take it. This should get me into Vegas at 7:30. That's not too bad, only 3 hours late. A small bit of penance for being such a dumbass.

Not wanting to chance my own dumbassery again, I stay in the airport this time. 2 and a half hours fly by with free wireless. I get on the plane, we fly, I'm in houston. Ok! Back on track!

I take the shuttle from Concourse A to Concourse C, and find my gate. Something's wrong, it still says "Austin" on it. I turn around to find the big board. The plane that is supposed to depart at 6... now says departing at 7. Oooh, ouch. Well, this is why I have a laptop.

This is where I discover that Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport is the only airport I've ever been in that charges for wireless. 10 freakin bucks a day. No way. I've bent over for a lot today, but I'm not taking a 10 dollar wireless suppository. I can kill an extra hour without the internet. No, my fingers aren't shaking.

Fortunately, I brought my wireless guitar controller, and the laptop of course has a fully loaded copy of the RF-Modded Frets On Fire, with all 4 guitar hero games plus more. I whip the axe out, and am the subject of airport patron scrutiny for an hour. I look up at the board. "6:00pm to Vegas ---DELAYED--- 8:00pm." Son of a....

"weather," the guy next to me explains. Figures.

More guitar hero. Now the big board says "9:00pm departure." You have got to be kidding me. A lady in the row behind me calls somebody she knows in vegas. Vegas person says the weather is beautiful. Wuh... tuh... fuh?

Well, fortunately I guess that imaginary thunderstorm over the Las Vegas desert clears up and they board us at 9pm. I'm not even bothering to calculate arrival times any more. I've had a sinus infection recently, the sudafed is wearing off, and for a sunday night flight to vegas this plane is looking packed. I try to call my father, but his cell phone has the worst reception since Martians ate Beagle-1. I think he understands that I'm just now boarding in houston.

So here it is, approaching midnight (or 11pm Vegas time), and it feels like we're descending. Thank goodness my ears are popping. I guess lady karma finally took pity on me and didn't want me to rupture an eardrum today.

Soon we'll be on the ground, and it'll obviously take a good half hour to get off the plane because it's so jam packed. I don't know if I have the energy. I'm tired and a little dizzy and sniffling and trying not to cough.

Oh, and the in-flight movie was that "Rock" vehicle where the football player discovers he has an 8 year old daughter. And I didn't bring any of my media DVDs, because who needs movies on a laptop in vegas, right?

The walk through the las vegas airport is half stampede, half acid trip because I'm tired and starting to feel really light headed and dizzy. I don't even bother to stop and see if there's wireless, as it's almost midnight. Somehow I find the right shuttle bus, and get a ride to Bally's.

Bally's is staffed by a bunch of penguins. They didn't know my father's name, or my name. I find a payphone and find out to call a non-local cell phone costs four and a half bucks. F@#$ that noise. Fortunately a nearby machine vends phone cards. I buy a ten dollar one... try to call my father. No dice. I try to call my Uncle. No dice. Not only no dice but money is sure as hell disappearing from the card faster than the advertised 12.5 cents a minute. I read the teeny tiny fine print on the back of the card, and find out there's a 99 cent fee for using a payphone, and a 69 cent "connection fee" right on top of that. How freaking dishonest is that? And for that matter, who the hell buys a phone card for use anywhere OTHER than a payphone? Kind of negates the whole point.

So I decide, well, I'm on my own. So I go back to the front desk and just try to get a room, ignoring my father's reservation. They tell me the hotel is full. A full hotel on a sunday night. Wow. Somebody out there is punishing me big time.

I'm getting less and less steady on my feet. it's now 1:30 am, I try another call to my uncle, and father (half the 10 dollar card is now used up), and then I head back to sit in the lobby. I just need to rest a minute before I head outside and try to find somewhere, anywhere, with a bed and a roof to sleep. 5 minutes later karma cuts me a break and my uncle walks in. It takes me a minute to realize it isn't a fever dream.

Anyway, Unca Bandit fills me in on the story. I'm not the only one who had airplane troubles. Seems bad weather also grounded my Dad's plane in new mexico somewhere (how that happened, with New Mexico being not very on the way from colorado to nevada, I do not know yet), and they are having to drive. They are still on the road as I type this.

So Unca Bandit knows the score with the rooms. They're under my stepmother's name (which is different from my father's because they're both doctors and they need to differentiate on mail and phone calls). He has the super sekrit skwirrel code to get me one of the rooms, but as Dad hasn't arrived yet I'll foot the bill myself.

At this point all I want to do is check my e-mail, turn on the TV and pass out for 12 hours and pray I don't wake up with a fever. But I get to my room, and guess what... neither the TV, nor the Ethernet Jack work. I think Bally's must be the only hotel on the strip without wireless.

Convinced that ONE THING is going to get resolved tonight, I call down to the desk and they say they'll send up an engineer. He just now figured out the problem, a bad power strip mounted under the table that feeds all the electronics in my room. He bypasses it, and goes off to find a new power strip.

I get the juice going on the ol' 10-base-T RJ45... and am staring at a ELEVEN NINETY FIVE PER DAY useage charge.

Oy. Hopefully tomorrow will be enough awesome to make up for this. If I can get out of bed.

Worst. Vacation. Ever.

1 comment:

PPMcBiggs said...

IMHO it is really, really hard to have an awesome time in vegas. I could only have fun in vegas for any amount of time if I had 5k to blow and a breathing mask to block all the cigarette smoke.

Vegas = Teh Suck

For a good laugh take a trip to the hooters casino. Gross.