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Posted on July 3, 2008 in Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay27 Comments »

BryceThree-800Well, I’ve been home three days and I’m starting to recover from the combination of jet-lag and cough/cold/flu virus that someone gave me as a souvenir of my holiday in America, so I think I have the energy now to start posting a little bit more about our time there.

I took a ton of photos. Isn’t it liberating, the switch from film to digital? With film, you’re constantly wondering how many more frames you have on the roll, but with digital you just keep clicking away, secure in the knowledge that a) you’re unlikely to actually fill your multi-gigabyte card in one day and b) if you do, there’s another one in your pocket.

Anyway. We flew into Las Vegas simply because it was there. I suspect most people visit Las Vegas simply because it’s there, but for us, it was also nicely situated between the places we wanted to visit for the first week, and the place I needed to be for the second. And we’d been to Vegas before by default, and we kinda liked it.

I’m going to save Vegas for later, because I have a fascinating little video I want to show you, but I think I need a widget to embed it. Anyway, you’ve already had Elton John! So the next stop was the Grand Canyon, and I’m not going to do a post on that. It’s awesome. It’s a great big awesome hole in the ground and you can do all kinds of stuff like ride mules down into it, take helicopter or 4×4 tours, or hike or camp .. but we just walked along the rim and gazed at it while trying not to melt, and besides, you’ve already had the squirrels.

So by the time we got to Bryce, we’d seen the Grand Canyon.

Now, you might think this would make Bryce a bit of a disappointment, but no. Not a bit of it. In my opinion, Bryce Canyon is utterly beautiful, and in its way, even more stunning than the Grand Canyon. You only have to look at the photo above to see why.

The colours are accurate – the rocks really were that red. Actually, earlier in the day the colours were more intense and the sky was bluer. It all depends on the light, but at any time of day, the place is just gorgeous.

BryceOne-400I’m not going to bore you with a geology lesson. Suffice it to say that the canyon is still being formed, slowly but surely increasing in size, as the softer rock is worn away to expose those incredible rock formations known as fins and hoodoos. It looks as though it’s a bit crowded down there, but in fact there’s plenty of room between them to ride, walk, or even drive a truck – supposing you are allowed to.

If one day someone tells me I can visit either Utah or Arizona to see only one of the canyons, I’m gonna pick Bryce, with no hesitation. If it weren’t for the intensity of the sun, and the possibility of death by heatstroke, I could have sat there all day just looking at the place. It’s that beautiful.

And it has a peace all of its own.

WaxJohnnyThis time the victim is Commodore Minxie, a fellow blogger, who, even though she is clearly a long-time Depp fan, didn’t truly understand what the Depp Effect was really all about.

It seems that she was able to meet the man during filming for Public Enemies at the Santa Anita racetrack, and she and the friends she had with her at the time were blown away by his sweetness and his generosity towards his fans, which will come as no surprise to those of us who’ve had similar experiences.

As you may know if you’ve read my older posts, I’ve had the honour of meeting Johnny Depp three times now, and on one of those occasions I was extremely privileged to have the chance to chat with him in an uncrowded situation. You may think that you’d be so tongue-tied that you can’t think of a word to say, but he is just so sweet, and so good at talking to people, that you feel, for those few minutes, that you’re the only person in the world of any interest to him and the conversation will flow.

At the same time, he is humble. So many people use those same words about him; sweet and humble. And that’s because it’s true – there is absolutely no feeling that you are in the presence of a Great Actor and Superstar. He clearly doesn’t feel that way about himself, and therefore in no way comes across as being conscious of any such thing. It’s a bit like meeting up with a very old and dear friend you haven’t seen for years.

Only different.

You see, the sad thing is that when you’ve met up with that old friend from years ago you can exchange phone numbers and arrange to meet again, but when your ‘old friend’ is Johnny Depp, that clearly isn’t an option. And meeting him like that, away from the glitz and glamour and frenzy of an official media circus event will alter the way you feel about him forever.

So this is the Depp Effect. He is now a real person to you, not just an actor, a superstar, or an idol on a pedestal. However, unlike many actors, superstars and pedestal-idols, Johnny Depp is worth your time. He is a genuinely super-nice person. Sure, he has ordinary, human flaws – reputedly a fearsome temper is among them – but he is a good man. Even the papparazzi can’t dig up any real dirt on him .. although they may not be trying too hard, because rumour has it they like and respect him, too. Most of them, anyway.

And so he is inspirational. Having experienced what it’s like to be in the presence of such an awesome personality, you want to be like that too. You want to be the one to make time for people and watch them smile. You want to be the one who is able to do nice things for people without feeling you have to shout about it. And you want to be the one who can feel free to do what you like without having to conform to anyone else’s standards.

For me, that meant learning that I, too, could say ‘Fuck it!’ and still be a likeable person – even if my kids do think I’m insane.

I may need a little more practice before I’m up to the Depp standard, though. Best keep trying, huh?