Flying Solo in Vegas, Part 2

While I was happy I had arrived at my hotel room without any problems, I was tired, hungry, and a little sweaty from the journey.  I was also behind my planned schedule by several hours due to my missed flight and the long walk from the Wynn.  I had planned to head out to the outlet mall after settling in to my room since I would have had more than 5 hours until the concert. With the delay I decided to do the outlet mall the next day. I had bought a sandwich on the way from Wynn and so I ate it, took a nap, and then a shower.  Feeling all refreshed I put on the skirt and top I brought for the concert (a simple black cotton skirt from Jones New York and one of my endless Kohl’s t-shirts). Since I had some time I applied some nail covers I had bought from Etsy. They are precolored vinyl nail covers that are applied with heat (no glue). They don’t extend your nails but just provide color. For fun I selected the black one which gave me a slightly edgy look. It was a little weird at first but I eventually came to really like the black color.

I left my room and wandered down to street level for some walking. I planned to walk down to the “Miracle Mile” shops but they were too far and so I crossed over the Caesar’s casino and shops and walked around there. The shops are all high end and so I just looked.  I had a quick dinner there and headed to the concert.

I took a bus to the Wynn as I did not want to walk anymore. There is a bus that runs up and down the Strip and so I took it. It was only a couple of stops but saved lots of walking. I explored the Wynn, bought some overpriced ice cream, and went into the concert. The concert was nice and completely uneventful. I used the ladies restroom at intermission without any issues or odd looks from other women. After the concert I walked back to my room and went to bed. I felt really good about the day.

The next day I slept in a bit as I was really tired from the day before. I did not feel like wearing the jeans and so I kept with the skirt from the night before but with a different top. I wore the same suede boots I had worn on the flight down from SFO. I headed down to get some breakfast. I thought about going someplace and ordering breakfast but ended up with just some yogurt at a takeout place in the casino. I sat at a table for a while and watch people go by. As with the rest of my time, I did not seem to attract any unusual attention from the hundreds of people who walked by.

I headed back up to my room, packed my suitcase, and went to checkout. It was all automated  and so it went smoothly. I used Uber to get a ride to the outlet mall. My driver barely spoke any English (and I remember almost no Spanish) and so we had an amusing time trying to communicate with one another. He laughed, I laughed, and we ended up just listenting to the radio. He dropped me off at the outlet mall.

I had been to the mall lots of times in boy mode but never as Robin and so I was looking forward to it. I placed my suitcase in a locker and explored the mall. Unfortunately after spending hours visiting dozens of shops, I found almost nothing I liked (or could afford). It all just seemed uninteresting to me. All the freedom to shop and nothing to buy! I ended up buying a T-shirt top at the Calvin Klein store that I liked (marked down to $13 from $45) and some tall boots from the ECCO store. I needed new boots since the ones I had were stolen (along with a lot of other things) from the storage unit were I stored Robin things (but thay is  another blog topic).  The boots are real leather, very nice, and very comfortable. I have another pair of ECCO boots and just love them. They are one of my indulgences.

At that point I still had 4 hours until my flight and so I had time for lunch. One of my silly goals for the trip was to have a meal at a “sitdown” restaurant rather than just fast food. I have had lots of meals at sitdown restaurants as Robin but always with someone (and with uniformly good experiences). This time I was going on my own. For some reason I had avoided doing it but it was now time to deal with it. There was a Chili’s across the parking lot and that seemed like a good place. I walked over to it and went in the door. I was greeted warmly by a hostess who seated me at a table. Eventually a waitress came over, chatted a little, and took my order. I had my tablet and so I did some reading while waiting for lunch to arrive. She brought the food, I ate, and then I paid. It was so completely normal that I was left wondering (again) what exactly I was worried about. That happens a lot to me when I am out in Robin mode, I worry about how bad some situation can go and then discover than absolutely nothing unusual happens.

After lunch it was time to get my suitcase from the locker, call another Uber driver, and head to the airport. My flight was at 4pm and it was now around 2pm and so I would have lots of time at the airport. My Uber driver was friendly and we chatted about my trip and Vegas in general. At the airport he helped me with my suitcase and I headed into the terminal. I printed my boarding pass and headed to security. Given how well the trip had gone, I was very relaxed. I was going to achieve another of my silly goals: to fly wearing a skirt.

The security line was rather empty and so I walked right up to the TSA agent and handed her my ticket and passport. She was a relatively young woman who took calmly took my papers and then the fun started. She looked my papers, looked at me, looked at my papers, and sat there for a while not moving. She had an approval stamp for my papers which she moved toward my ticket, then pulled it back, then moved it forward, then pulled it back. She must have started to stamp it at least 4 times. Her indecision was sort of amusing. Finally she took a breath, stamped it, handed it all back to me, and said to have a good flight. I headed to the scanning machines, put everything in the scanner, and walked through the metal detector. Since I have TSA precheck, I get to skip the body scanner which can be a problem for TGs. The agent waved me through the scanner, I picked up my suitcase and purse, and headed to my gate.

I still had 90 minutes before the flight and so I walked around the gate area, got a soda and magazine, and then just sat and read. My journey was just about done. Soon it was time to board and so I got in line. The ticket agent took my ticked without any unusual reactions and I was on the plane. We took off and soon landed at SFO. I left the plane, took the airtrain to my car, and headed out.

It was a great trip. I did everything I wanted as Robin and had no problems at all. Everyone I met treated me with the same respect they showed other people. It was so normal that it was almost boring (which is a good thing). I now need to figure out my next trip!

 

Flying solo in Las Vegas – Part I

I have had a great last 10 days. I have been on  three wonderful outings in which I did things that I have wanted to for a long time but never either the courage or opportunity (or both) to do. In the matter of just 10 days I was able to do them. In the next couple of blogs I will describe my outings.

The first one  I want to describe is trip I took to Las Vegas in which I stayed as Robin from start to finish and did it all by myself. I have gone on other trips as Robin but always went accompanied by someone else who could handle any difficult situations that might arise. My goal this time was to go alone and deal with any problems without help.

About 2 months ago I noticed that one of my favorite rock groups was performing in Vegas and I really wanted to see them. They are all getting older and I had no idea how long they would continue to perform and so try to see them whenever I can. My BFF who accompanied me on the last Vegas trip, was unable to go and so the choice was skip the trip or go on my own. I decided it was time to fly solo (literally and figuratively). I booked the trip on Southwest and then bought the ticket. Unfortunately the theater at the Wynn only does “Will Call” tickets with government approved ID. That would make things difficult but I figured that if all else failed I could do a quick switch to boy mode and get the ticket.

The other issue was the hotel. Everytime I have checked into a hotel in Vegas (or anywhere these days) I have to show ID + credit card. However I found that many hotels  in Vegas now have checkin “kiosks” by which you can bypass the people at the front desk. You need to join their “total rewards” club ahead of time and give them other information but once you do, you can check in (and out) using the Kiosk. They did say something about getting your keys separately but again I figured, worst case, I do a quick boy mode switch.

Having everything booked, there was nothing to do but wait a few months. Finally the day drew near. I decided to pack lightly, unlike the last trip, and so packed only three outfits (for two days). I took a tunic and some leggings, a skirt and a top, and some jeans and a top. I took a sweater in case it was cold and some PJs. All girl clothes for the trip. It all fit in a small roller bag. I put my purse and computer in a shoulder bag so I could meet the two items carryon rules.

I had booked a 10:20 flight and so I had to be there by about 9am. I dropped my grandson off at school and headed to the airport. I changed on the way (in my car as I usually do) and arrived at the San Francisco airport a little after 9am. I had hoped to get there in time to use the less expensive long term lot but ended up in the daily lots ($35/day !) since I was a little later than I wanted. I got on the airtrain to the terminal only to find out it was running in some special mode and took the long way to my terminal. It was getting to be about 9:20 and I was still on my way to the terminal. As I began to panic, I got a text saying my flight had been delayed until 11:10 and so I now had lots of time. I relaxed and got off at Terminal 2. I left the train, and walked to security checkin. I have done TSA security in girl mode about 10 times now and never had any troubles and so I was not too worried. I did have a nightmare the night before in which Trump had changed the TSA rules regarding TGs as part of his plan to treat all LGBT people as second class citizens. I even got up to make sure the TG page on the TSA web site was still there (it was). Still I figured at worst I might get questioned.

Fortunately I have “precheck” which means no full body scanners. Just a quick ID check and a walk through the metal detector. The process was completely normal and the TSA agent did not look or say anything unusual. I was through in 30 seconds. At that point I visited the restroom, got some nuts and a soda for the trip, and sat down to wait. It was only 10:10 and so I figured I had an hour.

At that point my phone beeped again with a new text. My flight had been rescheduled back to its orginal time (10:20) and was boarding. I thought I was fine and looked at the board to see what my gate was. I then discovered I was in the wrong terminal. Southwest is in terminal 1 and I was in terminal 2. Fortunately the two terminals are connected and so I just had to run to the other terminal, a quick 5 minute run. Trying to run ladylike through an airport can be a trial but I made it to terminal 1 at 10:15. Unfortunately due to construction, terminal 1 is divided into two parts that are not connected and I was in the wrong part. Time to exit security and go through it again.

I still had some hope of making my flight as the line as the other TSA security checkpoint was short. Unfortunately the woman in front of me had all sorts of issues and took a while to get through security.  Once I got to the agent, he waved me through without any delay (twice in one day!!).

I finally got to my gate only to find my plane had left. I told the agent I got a message saying the flight was delayed and so took my time. He said not worry and they would reschedule me. I would now get a new “girl mode” experience… I went to the ticket counter and explained my problem. The Southwest agent could not have been nicer and had no evident reaction to this woman standing in front of him with a ticket in a man’s name. We chatted normally as he rebooked me on the next flight. He finally handed me my new ticket with the words “Have a nice flight Ms B..”. He totally made my day!!

I waited 90 minutes for the next flight, had lunch in the meantime, and just rested from all the running around. Eventually it was time to board and so I got in line. The ticket agent took my ticket without a hitch and soon I was on the plane. Takeoff was delayed a bit but we eventually left.

I arrived in Las Vegas an hour or so later, feeling really confident about things. I had dealt with a big mess the airport and everything turned out great. I was a little late but feeling really good about my ability to deal with problems. I was ready for anything. My first task was to get to the Wynn ticket office to get my ticket. I thought about catching a cab or a shuttle but that would have been expensive or take a long time. I thought it was time to try something else new: Uber. I had signed up for Uber a long time before but had never used it. It was easy to use and I quickly met the driver at the ride share pickup area. He helpfully loaded my bag in the trunk and we left the airport. We chatted normally on the trip over and he gave no indication his passenger was anything but what she appeared to be. He dropped me off at the Wynn and I looked for the ticket office.

Since I was feeling so brave, I decided to stay in girl mode and show the agent my boy mode ID to pick up the ticket. She greeted me, asked me for my ID, and walked away to get my ticket. She came back, gave me my ID and ticket, and said she hoped I enjoyed the show. I have no idea what she was thinking but our interaction was completely normal and pleasant. I was feeling really good now and was totally prepared for the hotel. I stayed at the LinQ hotel ($27/night + $30 resort fee) which is  about half a mile from the Wynn.

At the hotel I found the Kiosk and inserted my credit card to find my reservation. It asked me to insert my driver’s license and a credit card for expenses. I clicked a few icons and out popped my room key cards (!). I was registered and did so without leaving girl mode for a second. A few minutes later I was in my room where I collasped on the bed, feeling totally wonderful, tired, and safe all at the same time!! I had made in from San Francisco to my hotel in Vegas, overcome all sort of problems,  and had done it all as Robin.  The trip was off to a great start.

(to be continued)