We landed in Las Vegas on an August afternoon in 2011. On us we had 2 suitcases, 2 backpacks and a guitar. Exhausted by the trans-Atlantic flight, we were oh so anxious about the upcoming face to face with borders control that our hands were shaking!
Since we arrived on a DV visa (Green Card), we were taken to a separate room for screening, finger prints and document verification. Each of us had a fat folder with all our emigration documents sealed by the U.S. Consulate in Morocco which was to be opened only by a U.S. Customs Control officer once we land in the U.S.A. All that was quick and painless.
The first blow of American air hit us hard! Literally. We stepped out from the air conditioned McCarran Airport into 100 degrees F (40° C) heat unprepared. We were prepared for a lot but not for that. 100 degrees of dry heat is no joke for someone who has never experienced anything like that.
It was the first time when I saw my husband loose it. It was pretty much a re-enactment of a comedy scene, although somehow not funny: he made a step outside, froze and leaped back inside the cool haven of the airport. Because you know, Vegas in summer is like if you put your head inside a pre-heated oven. And it gets hotter every year!
Eventually we got into a cab. To us, that cab felt like an entertainment center on wheels: screens and ads everywhere! So overwhelming. The ride was short and the driver did not even demand a tip when we told him it was our very first ride in America. Wasn’t that sweet of him?
One thing we did right was that we had booked our hotel some weeks prior to the trip.
Wanna guess what was the next surprise we were not prepared for? Power outlets. They are different from the European ones. Despite that being a common fact, it had slipt through the cracks of our hectic preparations for relocation. Cue in our panic attack here: How are we going to call back home?! How are we going to find anything without a charged phone and Google?!
That same evening, we went to a 7/11 across the street from our hotel to get some food. I remember I could not make myself pay almost $4 for half a gallon of milk – that felt so incredibly expensive, compared to where I came from! In the end, we did get milk and eggs to have breakfast the next morning. And bottles of drinking water. Gotta learn quickly or you’ll get burnt, right? 😉