The three remaining hung out at the Mirage. We saw The Secret Gardens, with dolphins, alpacas, turkeys, white lions, and white tigers. Then we hung out at the pool, which they shut down at 7pm (boo).
Finally, we headed to the airport and split up since they were going to Jamaica via Ft. Lauderdale, and I was going back to Dulles. We met briefly in Concourse D to have a final goodbye and thank you meal at Ruby's before I got on my flight.
I have to say, I got a lot of ups and downs in this flight.
- Up: no lines at check-in. The woman who checked my luggage was so nice and polite, it reminded me of a commercial from the 1970s. I almost cried because her kind is so rare these days.
- Down: Stopped at TSA and *almost lost my shoes*. Why? They took me aside and said I had "explosive residue" on my shoes. I got grilled on who I was and where I had been for the past 24 hours. When I answered, I was interrupted with, "Don't tell me those things, have you been to a garage? An industrial complex?" I didn't give the guy the info he was looking for, so he "rescanned" my shoes in his magic box somewhere I couldn't see, and they said I was free to go, and that abruptly, it was over. The whole thing took maybe 2 minutes if that. They didn't search me or any of my stuff. WTF? I hate TSA...
- Up: The person I sat next to had a lot of elbow room so I wouldnt be cramped during the flight
- Down: Because it was a 3 year old boy. Who had been on planes and in airports ALLL day, and it was 11:15, he hadn't slept, and he was cranky. He cried a lot, kicked me a few times (not hard, not intentionally, just as part of his trying to lie down in the seat), and was driving his mother crazy. She didn't do anything wrong, really, there wasn't much she could have done with the kid that she didn't already try. When he slept in the chair with his feet curled up, the Gestapo stewardess would come by and tell the woman to sit him up properly. This might have worked...
- Up: but we had a lot of turbulence. This helps me sleep, and I actually slept for maybe 15 minutes, but...
- Down: The turbulence got real bad. Not up and down bad, but side to side bad. While asleep, I was jerked to the side, and hurt my old neck injury. The kid was jerked around, too, and since he was forced to sit upright, he got bonked in the head, and cried most of the rest of the flight. The mother was no allowed to hold him or even lean over to comfort him, because of that stewardess, who always used my shoulder to lean on, kept telling her to sit upright. Yeah, I am sure it was safer her way, and luckily, I had a fully-charged iPod to drown out the noise. High turbulence is REALLY surreal to "L'autre Valse D'Amelie" as you're being jerked around. "Fabuleux destin," indeed.
- Up: Due to the turbulence, we landed 25 minutes early. Plus, my luggage was the first off the carousel.
But I hadn't slept in 36 hours, so when I got home at 8am local time, I was totally dead on my feet. I slept until 2pm, and spent the rest of the day recovering.
All in all, a great trip. I went in bored of Las Vegas, and I left thinking I wanted to go back, so... I hope I remember that. I also pretty much figured out I hate gambling. I find it dull and when I did it, I was just bored and wanted to do something else. But there was a lot of neat stuff to see, and I had a lot of fun with friends.
And congrats to Anya and Brain!