25 August 2018
We had to wake Bugsy, as we had anticipated, but pre-warning her worked, as she wasn’t at all grumpy as I thought she might be! We managed to get her dressed, and we were all out of our cabin bang on 08:01. 😉
We went off to breakfast which was serving until 09:09, but all of the previously terrific staff seemed to have lost interest in being helpful. There were no plates or bowls around and I had to wait nearly five minutes to receive one. (I know, first world problems, but with the doors closing in under an hour, we needed to be as speedy as possible.) All of the tables were left dirty despite staff standing around chatting to each other. And then they ran out of milk, so I had to ask them to get me a glass from the kitchen so Bugsy could have her cereal. It did not leave a good final impression.
Barbara, Emily and Steven had slightly overslept and had rushed in to the restaurant as we were having breakfast, and it was nice to see them and say goodbye.
About 20 minutes earlier than expected, we had an announcement saying that all guests on board should now disembark, despite our silver tags telling us that they wanted us to leave until 09:30. We finished our coffee, and left the ship for the last time. Our baggage collection was quick and easy – they just have carousels from which you collect your cases. A porter offered his services, and took our baggage to the shuttle bus, which transported us to the Uber pick up point. From there, we took our Uber to an hotel in Seattle, where we were able to leave five of our bags in storage for the day. We had another coffee/hot chocolate and made our plans for the day.
We decided to head back to the centre where we had spent our last day in Seattle. There is a science museum there, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Centre, as well as a large playpark. The playpark has a painted maze that takes about five minutes to complete. Cornelia nearly made it all the way through, but was distracted by a roundabout she wanted to go on. We spent well over an hour in the playpark, with Cornelia doing roly-polys down the hill, role-playing Snow White, and testing out the giant musical instruments. We managed to drag her away for some lunch, and returned to the indoor arena where we knew there was a big selection. Despite the extensive choice, she had exactly the same mac ‘n’ cheese again as she had the least time. Ian and I were no more adventurous, each having a Subway! 🙈
After lunch, we ventured up to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Centre, where we stayed for over an hour and a half. Their work to change the world is a magnificent and real example of seeing people with money using it for the power of good for others. It was humbling and inspiring. The only reason we left was to get to the children’s museum for their last hour.
Cornelia was in heaven again. We played in the theatre, the cafe, explores a volcano… it is really an absolutely brilliant place for kids. I got chatting to another mum whose daughter was a year older (but was incredibly tall for her age!) and she said that most cities have them, and that they are all fabulous. We shall put that on our list of things to hunt out in different cities! After we left the museum, we shared a portion of dingleberries (chocolate covered strawberries) and Cornelia walked very carefully down the slope around the International Fountain, so as to not get wet this time!
Back at the hotel where we had left our bags for the day, the cost of an Uber to the airport went up to over $200!!! It should have been around the $40 mark! Their helpful reception ordered a local orange cab, but after half an hour, there was no sign of it. The girl ordered us another one, and eventually it turned up, much to our relief. We had left plenty of time before our flight, as I knew Bugsy would be getting very tired by this point and had the potential to make moving around quite slow, but I had been starting to get slightly anxious! Given the cost of the Uber, we had expected hectic roads, but they were virtually empty and it was a quick $45 trip with an untalkative driver.Check in was seamless and Bugsy’s cheery (tired) smile earned her an Alaska Airlines badge! We went through security and ended up with a couple of hours to kill.
Cornelia was exhausted but survived the wait with a little help from her Kindle and a ham and cheese sandwich. By the time we had boarded, she was desperate to sleep and shortly after take-off, she was curled up in my lap, eyes closed.
I was stuck in that position for the rest of the journey, and it was slightly uncomfortable because the lady next to me was occupying some of my seat too, so I was a bit squished from both sides! Still, it was only a two hour flight, and I do love that feeling of her asleep on me. 😍
I managed to wake her at the end of the flight, once we had landed in Vegas, without any tears. I think that’s because I’d explained to her before she went to sleep, that I would wake her in a couple of hours, and she’d be really tired, but she would only have to stay awake for a little while before we arrived at our hotel! Whatever the reason, she was carried peacefully all the way to baggage reclaim and then out towards the taxi rank. We had a short disruption as I asked Ian to grab a trolley for our bags, but he was unwilling to pay the $5 fee. In hindsight, I’m sure it was tiredness that made him make this crappy decision, but at the time I was pretty pissed off. I ended up with 19kgs of suitcase on my back, my handbag, another bag, and Cornelia on my shoulders because she was way too tired to walk, and under any other circumstances, I’d have insisted she walk, but it was 1am and I just wanted to get to the sodding hotel!
At the taxi rank, Ian was standing further back in the queue and when Cornelia dropped Cowbat, I squatted down to pick her up and my legs just gave way with exhaustion and I had to yell for someone’s hand to help me back up! I was pretty upset and bad-tempered now, and we drove in silence to our hotel.
We were staying at the Hilton Grand Vacations on the Las Vegas Strip, up the north end of the Strip, and had a really great room: separate double bedroom with jet bath, bathroom, and living space with double sofa bed, kitchen with huge fridge/freezer, washer, dryer and table and chairs. A mini apartment, really. But, despite my email request that the sofa bed was made up as we would have an exhausted four year old with us, it was not, so at 2am, I was making up her bed, while she was falling asleep on our bed! But I managed to get her teeth brushed before she finally was allowed to go to sleep, and I followed her to bed immediately after!
One thought on “Off the water, into the air!”
Plodding on, whilst exhausted, is never a picnic. These features of American life: Laconic wait-staff, greedy drivers and hotel housekeepers who do as they darned well please, are thankfully, not very common. I have run into them, here and there, and they have received pieces of my mind, Yelp and Trip Adviser are effective places to call these ignoramuses out.