Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pseudorandom Bullets of Vacation

  • As you may have surmised, we made it home all in one piece. Vinny was happy to see us but he had definitely had a good time with Grandpa and Grandma.
  • Jeff discovered a new personality within me, that he has named "Beatrice." Beatrice doesn't like to miss her connecting flights and will haul herself across airports at high speeds, after our three-hour layover has been whittled down to 20 minutes by plane delays.
  • Our last day of vacation was spent in Las Vegas. There are many shows in Las Vegas, a large percentage of which seem interesting, but in the end, we decided that when we thought of Las Vegas shows, it made us think of Elvis. So we decided to see a show with an Elvis impersonator in it. We found one that had six different celebrities being impersonated, including Jay Leno, Madonna, Ann-Margret, and (of course) Elvis. They also had Justin Timberlake, but I am such an old fogey that I have never really seen Justin Timberlake, so that part of the show was somewhat boring to me. The Elvis guy did a really good job, though.
  • We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express instead of one of the casinos. Why? Because they provided a free breakfast and free wireless internet, and cost less than any of the casinos. They had a complimentary shuttle to and from the strip.
  • After the show, we had to book it to catch the final shuttle of the evening. It was an athletic event: we walked two miles in about 25 minutes. That may not seem like a big deal until you factor in the fact that we had to weave in and out of heavy pedestrian traffic, going around herds of really slow people; and the fact that I run only when being chased. (Beatrice, however, was spotted running down the Las Vegas strip.) We thought we'd missed the shuttle but sat for a few minutes trying to cool down, and when we'd nearly given up, the shuttle showed up.
  • Our opinion of Las Vegas: we're glad we went once, but that was plenty for us. We don't gamble, drink, or engage in licentious acts, so other than buffets (which we try to avoid anyhow) and shows, there's really not much for us there.
  • We rented a Prius for our travel needs. We really enjoyed it! It's fun to drive, and has a surprising amount of pep to it. We drove more than a thousand miles and used less than twenty gallons of gasoline. The rental price was higher, but the gas savings made up for that.
  • Starting and turning off the Prius took some getting used to, because instead of turning a key, you have to push a button, and the transmission shifting lever thing is very different than any other car. The only drawback is that it doesn't have very much trunk space. It was fine for us and our two suitcases but things could get a little crowded if you had much more to carry. I also didn't like the size of the steering wheel. The diameter of the actual wheel (the donut cross-section) was too small for my hands to grip onto for long periods of time.
  • We did not get fully integrated into Pacific Time. (Arizona is on Mountain Standard Time year-round, and MST = Pacific Daylight Time, so we were effectively in the same time zone for the entire trip.) This was actually a good thing because we were able to get up at the crack of dawn and go to bed within three hours after sunset, and since the majority of our activities consisted of enjoying nature -- really something that can only be done during daylight hours -- we were able to take advantage of all of the daylight hours.
  • It was still really hard to get up for work yesterday morning.
  • The consensus: it was a really fun trip and we're both glad we went.

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