You know, I love Las Vegas, I really do.Â I didn’t expect to when we first had a stop-over there. It was simply that our airline of choice didn’t fly all the way to the West Coast where we were headed, but into McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, and we were so convinced we wouldn’t like it that we chose a hotel in nearby Boulder City.
Well, it didn’t take long to enchant us, once we’d set foot in the place.Â We’re not gamblers and never will be (although I did lose twenty or so bucks in the slots, just because …) but the whole place is just so bizarre, so over-the-top, so full of itself*, that you can’t help falling in love.Â The free shows on the strip are all very good, but the Bellagio fountains had us from the first millisecond … so now we stay on the strip.
We chose The Venetian this time, and I have to say it’s a very beautiful hotel, even if they can’t process a simple request like ‘no feathers in the room’. Yes, it took them four goes at that one, bringing successive armfuls of pillows containing down or feathers until I was gasping for breath before I’d even laid down.Â But anyway.
Where else can you take a ride in a gondola indoors? Oh yes, that is a ceiling up there, painted blue, with clouds.Â Clever, ain’t it?
But Vegas is also an excellent place for people-watching.Â Here’s another shot from inside the Venetian Hotel.
I love the accordian player, don’t you?Â But I can’t help wondering what’s going on with those two people standing there.Â Are they arguing?Â Or is she propositioning him?
I guess that might possibly lead to the obligatory Vegas wedding
It all looks very grand, but what you can’t see, just down the hall (in the direction they’re headed) is the casino, which is full of tourists in shorts and sandals with socks and serving wenches dressed like hookers and everything.
I don’t have a picture of the casino to show you, but here are some wenches, and they certainly look like hookers to me.
Interestingly, the young lady on the left (the one NOT dressed like a hooker) is selling cigarettes! Where else would you see that these days?Â It’s because smoking is permitted inside the casinos, you know.
So, moving on outside the Venetian, there are plenty of people to watch on the streets.Â Like this guy, determined to get that great shot of the Bellagio fountains.
Or this family wearing their best balloon hats
And then there are these guys, who are trying to sell the services of girls.Â The services are unspecified, but they can have one inside your room within twenty minutes, apparently.
You know, it seems that they aren’t allowed to actually speak, so they thrust their little leaflets and business cards right across your chest as you walk by, snapping them loudly to get your attention.Â And you know what?Â I find it insulting that they’re trying to give my man one of these damn ads, when he is clearly with a woman already!Â What am I – chopped liver??Â I was actually moved to tell one of them to ‘fuck off’ at one point, which is not something I’m in the habit of doing, let me tell you.
Anyway. After being in Las Vegas for a day or so, I find it necessary to get out of town and find somewhere soothing.Â Somewhere good for the soul. And to this end, we made our way to the Valley of Fire and took a short hike to Mouse’s Tank.
And there are petroglyphs!Â Enlarge this next photo and look right there on that dark bit of rock, towards the bottom.
Finding these things out there in the desert, still attached to the very rocks they were pecked into thousands of years ago … well, it’s a bit like OH walking into the Kennedy Space Centre.Â And yes, I shed a few tears of my own.Â It’s humbling, is what it is.
We stayed until it was nearly dark, and the moon came out, and so did the bats. It was magical.
It was only later that I found out that we were in exactly the right conditions (soft, deep sand among rocks), at exactly the right time of day (dusk), to tread on a sidewinder and get bitten, so I guess we were lucky.Â But we returned to Vegas refreshed and ready for another day of tackiness and indulgence.
*Just for the record, yes I do realise there is much more to Vegas than the Strip, and that not all of it is tacky.Â We saw a great performance of Jersey Boys, which wasn’t tacky in the least – although OH was warned about the ‘Jersey language’ that it contained, which made him laugh.
**Mostly.Â If you enlarge that picture, you’ll see a tiny figure, right at the top of that rock. It’s OH. He’s not a mountain climber, he had no equipment, he just scrambled up.Â Luckily, he scrambled down again safely.
Fun, holidays, aren’t they?