When the weekend starts with your cats fighting as you are getting ready to walk out the door, you know it is going to be an interesting one (some background, one time our cats hated each other for a week and had to stay separated for 3 days). The journey continued with a private search at the airport, for those who don’t know, @Operadivablock (ODB from here on out, because that’s a mouthful) is terrified of flying so being stopped by TSA for a physical search did not really help with the anxiety. We had a rather uneventful flight to Las Vegas, NV, but we did meet another ClexaCon goer at the gate that we ran into several times during con. She was a guest writer for Curve Magazine.
As soon as we walked off the plane we were thrown into the wonders of Las Vegas. If you’ve never been inside the McCarran International Airport then you wouldn’t know that the Vegas life begins the moment you step out. You are instantly greeted by slot machines and bars; and the excitement doesn’t end after you leave the terminal. Baggage Claim is always busy, but with ads for various shows already making themselves known (which is very distracting to a distractable person like myself) it is easy to get overwhelmed. For the first time in my flying life, our bags almost beat us to baggage claim, so we had our bags and were heading out of the airport within a few minutes. (fun fact: there is a flower vending machine as you leave the airport. I found that interesting) Pro tip, if you are staying on the strip, use the Airport shuttle service. They offer round trip tickets and will take you directly to/from your hotel.
Somehow, the strip is bigger than the movies make it look and so are the hotels. Hailing from the big D, I know that everything is bigger in Texas, but Las Vegas is a close second. Nothing is done with subtlety which I’m pretty sure is the whole point of Vegas. So driving down the strip was an event in and of itself. With so many people, lights, and motions you don’t run out of things to look at. We were the first stop for our shuttle so we didn’t get to see to much, but we were excited to have arrived at both our hotel and the con location. We got up to our room, which was lovely, dropped all of our luggage off and decided to go to the badge pick up party at one of the local gay bars. (side note, I feel like this is ClexaCon’s first place for improvement.)
The bar is 3 miles away, which I apparently did not accurately convey to ODB. She just wanted to walk it and I did not (because who really wants to walk 3 miles). Now, OBD did not understand when I said it would take an hour to walk there. Maybe I mumbled, but she really wanted to go and so I agreed to begin what I am calling The Stupid Long Walk of 2017. We headed out of the hotel and began our trek. Vegas has these sky walk things that allow pedestrians to cross the street without having to go in front of cars. I’m pretty sure they made them so that drunks don’t walk into traffic, I’m sure it still happens, but maybe it happens less because of the sky walks. They also happen to cut through several hotels, giving us our first glance into the themed hotels of the area. The walk was pleasant while we were still in the populated areas of town, however, this bar was not really in such an area and, with the sun setting, we were quickly launched onto sketchy sidewalks and poorly lit roads. Did I mention ODB’s anxiety? Because it was definitely at large on this walk. Which meant she walked faster, which is bad for me because I have asthma. Twenty minutes into our walk, we realized this was probably a bad idea, but there really wasn’t anywhere to go at this point except continue on our way, so that’s just what we did. After another 20 minutes and a really tall hill we finally decided to call it quits. We found a gas station (still sketchy but less so than the street) and quickly called an Uber (I know, Uber is bad, but I had a free ride).
We made it to The Pheonix where were we are immediately greeted by staff insisting we take our picture with the ClexaCon banner. We shuffle our way to the table where they are handing out badges and welcome packets and then try to shuffle to a place to sit. I’m not much of a bar person so we kind of wander around for a while. After being there for about 45 minutes and enjoying a Smirnoff ICE, we decided to head back to the hotel. In a car, no way were we walking back. We made it safely back to our room where I took a desperately needed shower and we chilled for the rest of the evening. Like I mentioned before, I think that ClexaCon could have had events like the badge pick up party much closer to the hotel, however, we did get a couple of free Planned Parenthood thermal water bottles out of the whole ordeal so I guess it was worth it.
To be continued…