Archive for January, 2014

Freaky Las Vegas

January 18, 2014

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Better writers than I have written about Las Vegas’ contradictions, the yin and the yang. I took this picture because its twinkly light Nativity scene-ness seems incongruous, but, when you think about it, Jesus was born in the desert, wasn’t he?

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This is also the city where it rains on the half hour. Inside a mall.

 

IMG_1097We found a mall made out of containers.

IMG_1085And where a silver piggy greets us upon arrival at the Rumor Resorts Hotel.

IMG_1102And dinner may kill you.

IMG_1086But, most of all, it’s 60 deg. F when it’s so cold at home the planes aren’t flying!

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Livin’ Las Vegas

January 17, 2014

In early January Larry and I sought a warmer climate for a long weekend.  Did we go to Mexico or Southern California? How about the “redneck Riviera?”  No to all that. We went to Las Vegas! Las Vegas, where neon goes to retire, where people go to spend money on slots and craps, eat endless amounts of buffet, and enjoy high-ticket, star-studded shows.

We found a few other things to do. What were they, you ask? How about…

Mountain biking in the desert: More like desert riding, we rode over hill and dale on what was described as a trail for “fit beginners.” I was sort of disappointed we didn’t see any lizards or other desert denizens, but, it was fun to get out in the “wild” and still be so close to the city.  Our guide was Brandon, courtesy of Las Vegas Cyclery’s Escape Adventures.

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IMG_1072Later, we went into a neighborhood park to play disc golf. Sunset Park is a lively place where the tees are laced around baseball fields, a cricket pitch, playgrounds, and tennis courts. Disc golf isn’t exactly my sport. As a matter of fact, it brings out the whiner in me (I’ve even been known to accuse a certain teammate of enjoying my humiliation!). Still, it was fun to be outside and I managed to pull together the contortions of a throw. Eventually.

Another half-day trip to see the red rocks  poking out of the desert terrain at Valley of Fire Park.

Hoover Dam is a feat of engineering and the tour guides are among the jolliest around. “Take all the dam pictures you want,” said our guide, Ray. I also wanted to go because I’m thinking it may become a relic someday. Water levels at Lake Mead and the Colorado River are entering a 14th year of drought. Someday it could be a tourist attraction along the lines of the “great wall of Nevada.”

The Excaliber, our first hotel (more about that later), let us explore the Strip, where tremendous numbers of pedestrians get from block to block via skywalks accessible by stairs and escalators.  The walkways send pedestrians through indoor shopping malls and food courts, small exhibits, bars and restaurants. We saw a few hardy bicyclists but also police officers on bicycles.

Our stay at the Excaliber was part of an airfare-hotel package. The room was large and comfortable.  There was no wifi in the room, only an ethernet connection — useless to a Mac family! The wifi was in the lobby. Dare we think this was a plot to keep guests out of the rooms and in the casino?

Still, by Monday morning, it was good to contemplate going home, even to Arctic temperatures. We were gassing up the rental car just a few blocks from the airport, bright-eyed and bushy tailed for our 6 am flight when I checked my favorite traveling app, Flightboard, and saw our flight was cancelled.  As a matter of fact, both of our flights were scratched! Turns out the cold and wind that plagued ya’ll was too dangerous for airplanes. The tsunami of flight cancellations spread throughout the land, and we were held hostage in Vegas for Three. More. Days.

Never reluctant to stare down a challenge, we found a hotel off the strip (Rumor Resort) and decided to try to walk to it. First we has to find a (walk) way out of the McCarron Airport. We walked our roller bags through the parking ramp and lot, finding ourselves at the edge of that bit of paradise. The problem is, the exit jumped right onto a busy freeway.  We realized that we were trying to exit as the cars would. What we needed was the entrance. We would go out the way we’d gotten in. Once we got to the “front” of the airport, a sidewalk took us right out and where we wanted to go!

So, a nice walk on Paradise, a different hotel, and a couple more days of 60 degree weather. Rough, eh?

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