Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Vegas Baby

We woke up Friday morning with butterflies in our stomach. Getting on the Las Vegas flight standby hinged on no sales being made last minute, overnight. 

Fortunately, the availability looked good at 8.50am when we were changing the ticket. As I sipped on my coffee at the departure gate, anxiously surveying our fellow passengers, I was sure my nerves couldn't take much more. Even though we still had plenty of options if we didn't make this flight. We were put out of our misery half way through boarding, our names were called, our boarding passes issued. Hurrah! Relief washed over our faces and we focussed on the business of bundling small kids onto a jumbo jet. 

My 4 year old, Lulu was overjoyed to be boarding the plane. Both kids quickly settled in their seats, pillows behind their backs, blankets over their legs and headphones on ready for the inflight entertainment. When else would they be allowed to watch hours of television in one go? Plus have people bring food, drinks and snacks at regular intervals? Kids are remarkably resilient and flexible while travelling and anyone holding back from long haul travel should carefully weigh in this factor. If they nap, have drinks and nibbles plus amusement it could be so simple. They were in their element, taking every detail in from their new environment. 

What the kids don't realise and I can't fully convey is how I feel. This is a trip I've done before and has a special place in my heart. Vegas I do not like. It's the extreme of tacky commercial greed. The height of superficiality. There are hidden gems. Fabulous restaurants. Great children's play areas. For one night it would take care of us, this much we knew. The trek through the desert is like no other landscape they will have seen. I remember at 20 years of age, my cousin's wife pulling over at the side of the road to show me the desert sky, glittering with an unfathomable number of stars. 

Los Angeles is much more special. Firstly to see cousins with whom we have a warm transatlantic relationship. We don't see them often but the family similarities and shared experience over the years holds the bond. I can't wait for my cousins to meet my kids for the first time and the cheeky international banter to begin. Secondly to show them the Pacific Ocean where I meets the vast beaches which hold in a burgeoning city. Up at Malibu where you certainly don't feel there's a metropolis of millions of people beyond the cliff tops. 

And lastly to show the kids the hidden nooks and delights of a city I spent a whole summer in when I was 20. Albeit it has vastly changed, no doubt even more since my last jaunt there when I was pregnant with Lulu. There's adventures and discovery waiting in the places and people, which means an invaluable learning experience for my family. 


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