April 2019
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O Christmas tree, o christmas cactus

You can turn any kind of tree – or even a cactus – into a Christmas tree simply by adding a whole bunch of lights.  As demonstrated by the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden.


A slightly different view

The view from my room at the Rio is slightly different to last time, but still very cool.

This time it’s the 18th floor of the Ipanema tower, which means that the main thing you can see is the Rio’s other tower, which glows magnificently – even under these dark winter skies.

It’s a very narrow angle looking North through the window but I can see the strip from Bellagio (on the left in the shot above) right down to Encore.

I’m sure there will be more photos to follow.

How I spent my Saturday night

I have mixed feelings about tomorrow being the last time I’ll be able to fly direct from Manchester to Las Vegas before BMI axe the route. 

On the one hand, it means that instead of an 11 hour non-stop flight, I’m looking at 15 hours at best with at least one stop and the inevitable battle for overhead bin space with armies of demons, wielding industrial trunks that in no way should be called "hand luggage".

On the other hand. it does mean that I will get chance to discover whether another airline actually gives the slightest shit about their so-called loyal passengers.

Early check-in tonight was a complete waste of time.  I usually like this option because it takes the pressure off in the morning and it puts you first in line to ask for good seats on the plane.

This time I foolishly thought that being among the first there would give us the best possible chance of using a gold upgrade voucher to get Silverton Jim and Sally bumped up into premium with us.

There were seats available for this, she said, but the upgrade couldn’t be done the night before.  "For reasons", she explained concisely and uselessly.  I figured she didn’t actually know any of the reasons, so I didn’t probe any deeper.

I now have to ask again in the morning, so I have to get there just as early as if I hadn’t bothered checking in yet at all.  Earlier, probably.

As a backup plan, James also asked if they could have seats in an exit or bulkhead row in the economy cabin in case the upgrade didn’t work.  Nope, apparently these had all been taken already.

There were two couples and a party of three ahead of us in the line before check-in opened at 7pm (and yet somehow it was 7.45pm before it was my turn, and I was stung for two hours in the short stay car park to basically wave a passport and drop off two bags).

That’s 7 passengers (at most) asking for these seats and there’s 16 of them on the plane

They’ve told me several times it’s not possible to reserve these seats in advance, so I guess there must be a lot of BMI staff heading to Las Vegas for a Christmas break tomorrow.

I’d wish them good luck but I really wouldn’t mean it.