Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Trip to Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport

Do you remember when air travel was fun? Me too. I miss those days.

Yesterday I picked up a friend at McCarran. I remember when going to the airport to pick up a pal was easy. Now it's a test of your patience and pre-planning skills. Specific rendezvous point established? Check. Flight information set to alert you via e-mail? Check. Fully charged cell phone? Check. Big bunch of change, dollar bills, and debit card to pay exorbitant parking fees? Check. All physical needs taken care of—food, water, bathroom—prior to leaving the house? Check. Psychic abilities dialed to high? Check.
I've added this last point because at McCarran, they apparently don't believe in adequate signage. Don't know where you're going? Too bad.

After I exited the 215 and passed through the airport tunnel, I had an option for left or right. Neither direction had "passenger pickup" on its sign. I chose left because that's the way it was the last time I was there, and I figured I had a 50-50 chance. Fortunately, I was correct, and when I finally saw "passenger pickup" on a sign, I drove like a cabbie to make sure I was in the right lane.

If you haven't been to McCarran in a while, you probably don't know that the Airport Officials (I'd guess it's the same people who make decisions about signage) decided that metered parking was not good enough, so it's a minimum of $2.00 to park there. But, of course, there's no sign to tell you this. Had I been forewarned, I guess I could have kept driving loops around the airport, but instead I found myself stuck in the mandatory entry, screw-you-if-you-want-to-turn-around lane with the "press my button" machine staring at my driver's side window. I accepted that I'd have to cough up $2.00—in my case, for a grand total of about 20 minutes. 
But, hey, there I was at the airport, with photo opportunities all around me…. except that since I was at the airport, I started to wonder if I was going to be detained and questioned for taking pictures of the parking garage. (Government-issued identification ready in handbag? Check.) 
While I don't find airports or air travel to be fun anymore, I have to say that McCarran is a photographic place. It's jumbled and assembled like Victor Frankenstein was the lead architect, but it's interesting. And interesting, especially in Las Vegas, goes a long way to make up for aggravating and expensive.
Photographs by Terrisa Meeks

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