Vacations are Good: Part 1

What shameful negligence. It has been over a month since I have posted anything on this blog, and over two months since I’ve posted anything but book reviews.

But March Break is over, I have dealt with the crappy bureaucracy one needs a couple of week days to deal with, and I have gained a refreshed perspective on the state of things. That is what vacation is for, isn’t it? To take you out of the everyday crazy, to step out of the rigid routine for a moment and take stock. Or in our case, escape this hellish long winter that is still clinging on to this city like a needy ex-boyfriend.

This March we took a flight from Plattsburgh to Las Vegas and then rented a car to L.A. Very exciting, since the only place I had ever visited before (we got gas there once) was Plattsburgh.

Montreal before we left:

IMG_9956 IMG_9960


photobombed in Plattsburgh
photobombed in Plattsburgh

Because I am such a punctual freak and worry (J’s word- I prefer fully prepared to deal with any eventuality) about everything – the state of the roads (there had been a slush storm the night before. If you don’t know what a slush storm is then you have never lived in Montreal), the border (what if there were huge line ups? What if we got a power hungry customs agent who needed to check everything in our car?) We left very early, picking up our friends PJM on the way. Of course, the roads were clear and it took all of a minute to get over the border. We got to the airport before they even opened (it is a small airport). So off we went to a little diner in Plattsburgh.

The flight was…interesting. It was my first experience of a flight where you had to pay for everything. And when I mean everything, I mean, if you wanted to check a bag in, you had to pay. If you wanted a carry-on that was too big to fit under the seat you had to pay. If you wanted water or a soft drink you had to pay. They also sold other things on the flight too. Tickets to Las Vegas shows. Other items I can’t recall but were equally expensive and unnecessary.

The best part of the flight was when P generously gave up her window seat at the end so that I could gape at the rocky desert below. Mesas. Buttes. Plateaus veined with brilliant red and yellow. The majestic barrenness of it all. It is a landscape that creates a thrumming in me. I was going to the desert!

IMG_0052First Night in Las Vegas:

But before we could get to the desert, we had to go through the overwhelming excess that is Las Vegas. We stayed at the Four Queens  downtown (as opposed to the strip with all the big casinos which was a couple of miles away). Our windows looked out onto the covered part of Fremont St. From our vantage point, we could see the zipliners hurtling above the middle of the street. We took the casino way to go outside and  experienced the smell that I now associate with depression- years of cigarette smoke thinly veiled by cleaning products. The fumes of sugary alcoholic drinks. The choking odour of cheap perfume. The smell of deep-fried food.

Solitary people oozed out of the little stools on the slot machines, rhythmically pushing buttons, inserting coins. Machines blinked at us, beckoned with bells and whistles.

We went outside, where at least there was some fresh air. The sun was going down and the desert cold was settling in. We regretted not bringing out jackets on this first jaunt.

-and now it is a week later and I still haven’t gotten much farther on this post. This is why I don’t post very often- I am too damn long-winded…

Okay. The Fremont Experience:

The "Fremont Experience"
The “Fremont Experience”

Imagine a street full drunken tourists, sad homeless veterans and waif-like, under-dressed girls with boob jobs and feathers. Then imagine that this street is covered with a dome and surrounded by large speakers. Then imagine all of a sudden that a concert video of Bon Jovi appears on the large mile long screen in the sky and “Living on a prayer” blares out from every orifice on the street. Fat people with drinks larger than their torso sing along happily as they weave unsteadily through the crowd.

And now you know what my customized version of hell looks like.

We decided very soon to buy our own alcohol and hide out in our bedroom. It was all of 9:00 at night.

At 10:00 we received a text from my sister saying she was in labour and going to the hospital. I told her to hold it in but she didn’t. How selfish is that?

Next post:The rest of the trip. If I keep going at this rate, by the time I finish writing about this trip I will be in the middle of the next. This is ridiculous. I need an editor.

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