On the 23rd we spent a comfortable night at a bed and breakfast near the Guatemala City airport (despite the presence just outside our room of, remarkably, our first cockroach on this trip). We then flew to Fort Lauderdale, anxious about our onward connection to Las Vegas, particularly since the plane ended up departing an hour and a half late. On landing, we fairly whizzed through immigration (a complete contrast to our previous experience here), baggage claim, customs, baggage re-check, and security (where we had our explosive peanut butter confiscated), making it to our connecting gate with time to spare.
An uneventful flight got us to Las Vegas late on Christmas Eve, then a high-tech taxi (TV playing in the back and metered!) took us to our hotel, where the girls laid out their stockings (actually a pair of my hiking socks). Incredibly, Santa Claus managed to track us down in Las Vegas, filling the girls' stockings with edible Guatemalan goodies. We then spent a rather odd but fun Christmas Day - picking up some groceries for an unusual Christmas dinner, wandering around a few of the hotels and casinos on the strip, and relaxing in the outdoor pool and hot-tub (despite an outside temperature of about 10 degrees Celsius or 50 degrees Fahrenheit).
On Boxing Day, we woke up early for our dawn flight to Vancouver and I sent my stress level sky-rocketing when we tried to check in and I discovered that we'd left our passports in our hotel room safe. A frantic taxi-ride back to the hotel, then back to the airport, and we got to our plane on time. It seems as we get closer to the end of the trip that my brain is reaching its limit for processing organizational details and by the time we're back in Nelson I'll be capable of little more than crawling into bed and sleeping for a week. Not quite there yet, however. After a connecting flight from Vancouver to Victoria, we're now staying with Tanya's friend, MaryAnn, near Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. Home in a few days!