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And on to Vegas
riot girl
ladyjulian
Leaving Barstow, after an IHOP breakfast, we headed over to Vegas.  It was a reasonably long drive but the SUV and the long, wide roads made it a pleasure.  C did most of the driving on the basis that the size of the spaceship was quite intimidating and I was struggling with the clutch, or lack of it.  The car has a pedal RIGHT where the clutch should be which is a parking brake!

The desert is majorly…. desert-y.  I hadn't seen a cactus outside a plant pot on a bathroom windowsill before. It's a seriously hostile climate and I really want a book on the local history now!

Pikey doesn't seem to be an insult round here though.  There were lots of trailer / caravan settlements which looked semi-transient.  That looks like a hard way to live - who knows what the inhabitants do for a living.

The approach to Vegas looks remarkably like one of the slave towns from Game of Thrones.  The rough sand and stones of the desert give way to beautifully manufactured bridges and structures, all made out of the same stuff, so it's only as you get near that you realise what it is.  The hotels loom into sight and we could see ours (the Luxor) from quite a distance, as it's a pyramid.  Next door is one called the Excalibur, which is a Disney style fairy tale castle with pink and blue turrets.

Inside is aggressively air-conditioned, which it needs to be.  I'm still unsure whether I'm dead impressed with Vegas or totally appalled by it.  The casinos are heaving with people, many in electric scooters, pushing money (tokens?) into the machines.  There are shows, exhibitions, food and drink places everywhere, and the hotels join up so you can go next door to the Excalibur.  We did that but it was a little disappointing - you don't  know which one you're in, so it actually makes no difference.

We went to see the "Bodies" exhibition - I'd seen it in London and loved it.  It was a bit odd looking at the foetus ones and thinking "I've got one of those in me!"  Then we walked over to the Shark Reef at the Mandalay, which was a huge aquarium - loved it.

 The hotel room we have has two exhibitions and a show thrown in free, as well as all you can eat buffet (thank you to the gamblers and drinkers for subsidising our stay!)  Unfortunately the show we wanted to see wasn't available, leaving us with the choice between the stripper show and Menopause! The Musical.  On the basis that the strip show was likely to be quite unpleasant, we chose the Menopause one.

Oh my goodness.  The actors were, on the plus side, extremely good, very enthusiastic despite the small audience, and the new-lyrics-to-well-known-songs thing was moderately clever, but they were horribly let down by a script that was disjointed and just plain crappy.  It's a peculiarity of Vegas that while it boasts strip shows, legal brothels (I think), and encourages people to "get their Lux on," illustrated by a man and woman climbing into bed together if you weren't sure what that is, the audience collapsed in embarrassed giggles at a song about a vibrator.  None of it would have been censored on the Radio 4 comedy slot, but it was being treated as though it were the raciest thing since forever.

This morning we stopped off for brunch (free mimosas, or buck's fizz as we know it, so I asked the barman to make me one which was 90% orange juice which he obligingly did) and then thought we'd look around outside the hotel.  If you want to see a Las Vegas concierge look thoroughly confused, ask where the nearest bookshop is.  Hint: there isn't one.  In the whole of Las Vegas, the bookshop is the university bookshop.  Borders went bust, and that was it.  I guess people aren't here to read!

This afternoon we're off to the Titanic exhibition (the exhibitions are oddly all about mortality) and then possibly to see what's offered at the spa.  Then tomorrow it's back in the spaceship for more road trip!
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