Last week I flew non-stop from Panama to Las Vegas to attend a conference. The departure time for my non-stop flight was great; I left Panama around 9:00 am and arrived in Vegas around 2:00 pm. On the way home, however, I’m not as lucky. In order to fly non-stop again, I can’t leave Vegas until 5:00 am Monday morning, which is like the wee hours of Sunday night. When I wake up Sunday morning, I’m not sure how I’ll kill 19 hour after checking out of the hotel. For party-goers, Vegas is the easiest place on earth to stay entertained. For Old Lady Laura, it’s a bit harder.
Michelle and I leave the hotel via shuttle. A Spanish-speaking male tries to board at the next stop; unfortunately, he needs the shuttle to Los Angeles and we’re only going to The Strip. Driver tries to explain to him that he is in the wrong place but fails to communicate in English and asks anyone if they speak Spanish. A woman in the front row starts to help. I decide to interject from the third row declaring, “I’m from Panama. I can handle this.”
“See-nior,” I say in my worst Spanish accent, “wrong-o bus-o.” For some reason, he understands exactly what I’m saying.*
Michelle and I arrive at the Wynn’s amazing buffet. Michelle tells the server she has a food allergy (gluten) and a cute, young chef meets her at the salad bar for a personal tour of all gluten-free options. She orders GF pancakes and is offered GF bread from the back. Special treatment is nice!
Michelle and I arrive at the Canyon Ranch Spa at the Palazzo. I get a manicure and brow wax and she gets a pedicure. Both of us overpay for our services.
Michelle departs for the airport. I am sad to see my sister go since our time here together was quite short — only about a day and a half. I look forward to seeing her again in December.
Time to get my spa on! Spas are one of my favorite places; I’ve been to a number of them, including the *real* Canyon Ranch in Tucson, so I kind of know what to do with myself here. Between showering, hot-tubbing, cold-plunging, steaming and meditating in the aromatherapy chamber, I kill three hours without peeking at the clock. In the spacious and comfortable lounge, I fall asleep reading Conde Nast Traveler dreaming about my next vacation. A bit later, I wake up with a little bit of drool at the side of my mouth. Too bad the lounge is co-ed but good thing it’s dark in here.
Head to the outdoor pool where I eat my complimentary spa orange. I think about going into the hot tub but it’s kind of packed so I return to the sanctity of the women’s spa lounge. On the way, I stop at one of the 2 stores, chat about favorite beauty products with the attendant, and buy pricey vitamin C facial cream. At the register, a book called “50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food” catches my eye. After a week of over-consumption and quick weigh-in on spa scale, I really feel I need this author’s advice and buy the book.
Take another shower and get dressed. Since I checked my suitcase in at the hotel downstairs and forgot to bring a change of underwear, I have to do the underwear inside-out trick. I know — kind of gross, but it’s either this or go without.
Jump onto wifi in the spa lobby, check in for my flight, and read email. I think about reading my new book but I’m actually really hungry. Off to get more food!
Arrive at upscale Mexican restaurant in Palazzo Shops. I sit near the pretty, man made canal and listen to gondola drivers serenade tourists with “That’s Amore” and the “fuli-culi-culi-culi-fuli-culi-culi-cula” song. I enjoy homemade tortilla chips, fresh salsa, and tasty enchiladas — until I see the bill and realize they charged me 3 bucks for chips the server offered. Yes, I just spent $50 a manicure but I don’t want to pay $3 for something that’s customarily included. I complain to the waiter and then the manager who removes the charge from my bill.
I walk around Palazzo shops then follow signs outside leading to Sephora. After the spa, Sephora is the happiest place on earth for. I make friends with a woman working there after she tells me the sample lipstick I just tried looks great on me. I buy Lip Tar, super sharp Tweezerman’s to keep my brows in shape, and a bunch of other stuff I want but don’t really need.
I decide to pick up my suitcase but arrive at the wrong hotel. After 12 minutes of searching for my bag, the attendant realizes my error and sends me from the Venetian back to the Palazzo. I walk what should be a short distance next door. In reality its like a mile since I have to maneuver through the entire casino, then down a long hallway, down stairs, up and over the outdoor walkway and then down again. With my 10-pound laptop in my backpack, I start to feel exhausted.
I’m done. Rather than head to a nightclub and party the night away, I decide to head to the airport. The Copa counter doesn’t open until 1:30 am so I have no choice but to wait in the non-carpeted check-in area. I watch 2 episodes of Damages on Netflix and fall asleep on the cold floor with my legs propped on my suitcase.
I wake up — no drool this time — to find a really long line at the Copa counter. Before I’ve even reached home, I’m welcomed back to my country by a couple of people — a younger girl and an older woman — trying to jump the line in front of me. They don’t know I’m at my worst without sleep; behind me they quickly go.
My flight starts to board. I look forward to getting sleep on the plane but am seated next to a man who snores the whole time. At one point his snoring gets even louder. Before gently whacking him with my airline pillow, I look around to see if it’s bothering anyone else. The woman behind him, likely his wife, has a huge grin on her face, like she thinks it’s cute or funny or something. I’m clearly not amused and she gently taps him on the head from behind to wake him up.
I arrive in Panama with a 3-hour time change. After a very long day, I am happy to be home.
*I’m kidding. As much as I wanted to flaunt my Panamanian pride, I kept my mouth shut on the shuttle.