Thursday, September 3, 2015
I failed to mention a few things about the Whispering Creek B & B in Sedona. First, besides serving delicious breakfasts, Cheryl puts a couple of bottles of wine and some snacks on the dining area countertop for her guests’ evening enjoyment. Also, the WiFi connection is excellent. There, now I’m caught up with Whispering Creek.
So anyway, this morning we woke up in The Linq. We got up very early to make sure we caught the Gray Excursion bus to Hoover Dam at 8:45. But wait, the room phone rang before we left the hotel and a woman told us that the 8:45 bus was canceled due to air conditioning issues. We agreed to take the 12:10 bus. However, that trip did not include a lunch. Now we had to come up with something to occupy our time till 12:10. So we headed out on the street and looked for something interesting. Mornings on Las Vegas Blvd are pretty uneventful, but we found some outlandish things inside buildings. There are so many buildings with so many entrances, escalators, stairs, and elevators, that it’s difficult to keep track of where you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re going. I just followed Barb and tried to grab a few photos along the way.
We eventually made our way to the spot under the Planet Hollywood globe where we were told to catch the bus to the dam. The Gray Line bus arrived just ahead of us. We showed our tickets to the driver, he checked his list of attendees, and he allowed us to board. The driver left right after we boarded, then proceeded on to about six other pickup points before telling us that his name is Giovanni. Giovanni is a very pleasant fellow, but his English is a bit rough. After picking everyone up, he told us some things that I did not fully grasp. I thought I understood him to say that we had several things to do before heading for Hoover Dam. At one point, Giovanni stopped at a traffic signal and looked to his left across the street. “Hey you guys,” he said. “The line is very long here. It will probably take 20 minutes. Do you want to stop?” People on the bus looked around, apparently trying, as Barb and I were, to figure out what in Sam Hill Giovanni was talking about. Some people muttered “No,” and we shook our heads in the negative direction. Thankfully we didn’t have to stop and spent 20 minutes in line waiting for who knows what. But then Giovanni announced that we’d have to stop at “the terminal.”
Giovanni seemed perturbed that he had to stop at the terminal. I was perturbed too. When we arrived at the Gray terminal, all the passengers had to leave the bus and walk into a large building. We were herded into a room and were told by a guy who seemed to be in charge that we’d be taken to another room where we’d “check in.” He then proceeded to give us other options for enhancing the trip, including a potential helicopter ride over Lake Mead and the dam. Other tours were available with brochures at the desk.
“Is this standard procedure?” I asked. The boss looked over at me.
I said no more until we had reached the other room. The boss walked past a few seconds after Barb headed for the restroom, and I confronted him.
“This is pretty irritating,” I said.
“Having to stop like this,” I said. “It’s just aggravating.”
I ranted for a minute or so, then even threatened to report the incident to my friends (as if they’d give a shit), figuring that he’d start worrying about how many friends I had and whether they’d report the incident to their friends.
Here’s the thing. Giovanni made it appear that having to stop to “check in” was out of the ordinary. Barb and I had been aggressively confronted in a number of places while in Las Vegas by people trying to sell us packages and other stuff we didn’t need. I was fed up with sales pitches, and started thinking that anyone who said hello to us was probably some sort of huckster. Thus, my reaction to the “check in” process by Gray Lines.
Come to find out, by way of Barb (when she returned from the restroom), that we really had been informed that there would be a “check in” before continuing on to Hoover Dam.
Check in took only about 10 minutes. We were back on the bus in short order. Giovanni drove us to Hoover Dam like the professional that he is. During the bus ride, we were entertained with a very interesting audio history of Hoover Dam and also of Las Vegas. The visit to the dam was interesting and educational, and lasted for exactly the two hours that it was supposed to. We returned to Las Vegas safely without a hitch, and were dropped off within a block of our hotel.
And I had acted like an ass at the Gray Line terminal.
I plan to write a letter or send an email to the guy I mistakenly raked over the coals, although I imagine he encounters lots of rude and cranky old farts in his line of work and it’s all in a day’s work.
We spent the rest of the day talking about the great excursion to the dam and my unseemly conduct, and in walking around parts of the area near our hotel that we hadn’t already seen. We returned later, pretty well exhausted. Once again, we had spent the day without putting one coin in a slot machine.
Here are some photos take at Hoover Dam. If you can’t figure out what they are, just use your imagination and come up with a good story for each: