Manifest Destiny 2015

A Metropolitan Playground Surrounded By Dirt

I’m already not on track to getting these done once a day like I’d intended. Hey, yesterday was a long day.

I love airports. They smell like coffee, fast food, and adventure. However, after waking up at 3:30am to arrive at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport for our departure time of 5:30am and finding out that our flight had been delayed an hour….that’s not exactly the time for warm and fuzzy feelings about airports. But we downed some Starbucks and before we know it, we were up in the air. We passed over Lake Michigan on our way to our layover in Chicago, which was pretty neat.

Flight number 2 didn’t go nearly as smoothly. After boarding, we waited an entire hour before takeoff. The reason for our first delay was bad weather over Chicago. Well, once the bad weather passed, every flight at Midway wanted to take off at the same time, which led to a major plane traffic jam. But eventually we made it up again. This was a really cool flight for window-watching. I felt like Glen Goulia in the Wedding Singer, his nose glued to the glass while Julia got her elbows bumped by the beverage cart. We got to see the snow-topped peaks of some mountain ranges, then immediately after, the red clay canyons and desserts that you think of when you say “Southwest.” It was a really good visual of the concept of “rain shadow.” As soon as you get past the mountains, all signs of precipitation disappear. The canyons were really awesome on their own too. Half of them looked like they were molded from orange-brown play dough, and the other half like somebody dragged an x-acto knife through the dirt.

We landed, and walked right out into an area lined with slot machines. I was not disappointed. We zipped down to baggage claim, and thought for a moment that the airline had lost mom’s bag. It actually had turned out that we had been late heading down there, and her bag was waiting in unclaimed luggage. Why my bag popped out onto the baggage claim so late, I have no idea.

We arrived at our hotel at around 2pm after a ride in a cab with no air conditioning. Exhausted and hot, we decided the best use of our time would be for relaxation and a snack. We each got a slice of pizza and a cookie from the food court downstairs, and settled into our High Roller view room at Harrah’s.

Just a couple hours later, Brenda, Justin and Owen landed at the airport. While waiting for the rest of our party, we decided to start wandering around some nearby casinos. The first one we explored was Caesar’s Palace, which awakened my classics obsession. Et tu, Brute? The shops inside were those that were so fancy, I’d really only seen them in movies, or heard about them in conversation. Jimmy Choo? Oh yeah, they totally have one of those at the Merrimack Outlets… There was also a really cool fish tank. I made friends with a stingray. He kept swimming by me. Waddup, stingray. We also found a really cool sports book, to which Justin would have glued himself, had he been 21.

After that we went next door to the Bellagio. We walked through the same hallway full of stores I can never enter in a million years (Fendi? That’s just the store from “My Humps.”) and found a really cool atrium full of oceanscapes, molded completely out of flowers and greenery. It was really pretty. On our way out we saw the famous Bellagio fountain show, but we were too far away to hear the music that coordinated with it. The fountains were pretty cool, but we want to go back at night sometime and get a better view.

We walked back to the hotel and met Auntie Stacey, Matthew, Memere, and Grampa. Everyone got settled in their hotel rooms, and then we went back down to the food court for a light dinner. Really light. I had froyo. Though I was a little disappointed with their topping options. Haven’t they seen the topping bar at Orange Leaf? No peanut butter cup pieces? C’mon.

Half of the group went to bed, and then Mom, Auntie Brenda, Justin, Owen, Grampa and I decided it was time to take on the High Roller, the biggest observation wheel in the world. This thing was tall. We were halfway up the circle and we were level with the roofs of the buildings next to us. From the top of the wheel, we could see the whole strip. It was pretty cool. I stepped to the edge of the pod and looked straight down. It was pretty dizzying, and I don’t have any issues with heights.

After walking back, we all returned to our respective rooms for bed, excited for a breakfast buffet in the morning.

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