So I decided to hang a right rather...

Trip Start Nov 01, 2012
Trip End Nov 28, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Saturday, November 10, 2012

I'm writing this whilst driving through this unrelenting Arizona desert...

Back to yesterday in Vegas... So I'd popped into a Store called Ross the day before (Thanks Deveni) to just browse their luggage department and came across a beautiful, BIG, bright, fun and so 'me' suitecase but I was disciplined enough to price it and walk out ($50 that's just over R400 - do you know how cheap that is??)

The whole night I thought about this case and how much easier it would be to firstly, have all my stuff fit properly and secondly, to not have to lift and carry the backpack. So when I woke up at the crack of dawn, I quickly googled their store hours (seems all shops only open at 9am but then they only close at 11pm) and pondered some more before deciding at 8:30 that I had to have it and was going to quickly go and buy it and come back and repack and check out.

I managed to find my way along the walkway from the Luxor to the Excalibur next door, but then I got completely lost again. I'm telling you, these casinos do this on purpose. It doesn't matter which turn or bend you take, you're faced with the ding-a-ling-a-ling and the subliminal message of "come push my button!" I was having none of it. I had to get to that case, which I eventually did half an hour later and quite conveniently, as the store was opening.

I then wheeled her back along the strip because I didn't want to have to navigate my way inside again. And back to my room and started to roll my clothes tightly and repack the case in some kind of order. My biggest fear was having to tell my sister that "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas right? Well... the backpack stayed in Vegas. But after packing everything, there is still room for more and I fitted the backpack in there too and now I could travel in staail!

I had to check out by 11:00am so I had them look after my bags at the bell desk and decided to catch the bus to the other end of the strip so I could see those hotels I hadn't managed to see the day before. Just in case any of you ever catch a bus in Vegas (or the states) the bus drivers don't carry change and unless you have the right amount, you can't ride the bus. Or, as the driver explained to me as I hung my head in shame and got off, you can buy a 2 hour travel pass at the machine with a credit card for $6. Actually it wasn't too bad coz there was also a young British girl who is an air stewardess for Virgin, who was thrown off with me. The two of us managed to figure out the machine as the bus drove off.

So I went all the way down to the Stratosphere hoping to go up but the queue was miles long and now I only had about an hour and a half to see the remaining hotels. But this particular hotel offers bungee jumping from the roof and a restaurant at the top. It's in the older part of Vegas and the area has a different feel to it than the south side. I stopped in at a couple on my way back but the one that was most beautiful was the Venetian with its old style architecture and gondola rides around and through the hotel. That's the Wow factor I'm talking about. And so, my biggest highlights in Vegas, besides being in Vegas, was the Grand Canyon helicopter trip, the fountains at the Bellagio, the Venetian and of course, my new suitecase.

I got back to the hotel round 2'ish, grabbed a bite to eat in the food court (my second CBO 3rd Pounder from McDonald's in as many days) and then decided I'd head to the Greyhound station to at least secure my seat. I had been giving it some thought that perhaps arriving in Oklahoma City at 12:40am was not the best idea considering my experience with these terminals being homeless sanctuaries after dark. And I had no idea on hotels or areas so I decided I would still head out east, but get off in Albuquerque instead. The bus gets to Albuquerque at 10:30am. Then I would loiter around Albuquerque for a bit (as one does) and catch a later bus to Oklahoma City, one which gets in at a decent hour. So that's what I booked and that's where I sat for 5 hours watching people and trying not to make eye contact with obvious fruit cakes. Seems to be a a lot of bitter and twisted war veterans around too. And young people seeking shelter. The interesting thing that was told to me was that there is almost an entire city of homeless people living under the city of Las Vegas. The building industry crashed not so long ago in this area and families had lost everything. What they then do is at night, they dress up and come to the hotels in the hope of finding machines that perhaps still have credit on them. This is very possible because I was on a 30c betting machine and I only had 25c at the end and was going to just walk away but instead I just printed the ticket for a keepsake. How many people do just walk away? Generally the beggars and homeless are not allowed into Vegas proper but there were a lot that I came across and with the unemployment at an all time high, you are going to get that element sneaking in.

Another useless but interesting piece of information... There is a city that was erected about 25 miles outside of Vegas called Boulder City. This 'city' was erected to house all those working on the construction of the Hoover Dam. Subsequent to the completion of this project, this area has become sought after and it has also placed / declared a ban on any form of gambling in this city. How odd is that? But not a bad place to get away to over a weekend because I can think that a week in Vegas can be hectic. Vegas also has the highest suicide rate in the US and the busiest although one of the smallest airports.

And back to this morning...

Arrive in Flagstaff where we were supposed to get off the bus and catch another one to Albuquerque. It was snowing, in Arizona, and freezing cold. We were then told that the bus had been cancelled and that we had to get back on the bus and get off in Phoenix. Well that kinda made my mind up for me then. I was going to head to Dallas rather. It's the same distance plus minus but I'd really like a pair of cowboy boots and where better to get them than in Cowboy Country. So that's where I'm headed. Still east but down a bit or right of my original plan. It's hot as hell in Arizona and we're only scheduled to arrive in Dallas tomorrow morning. So it's a long drive and I'm trying to avoid making eye contact or small talk with the tattoo'd ex con seated next to me. But again, I really didn't have the best bunch to choose from.

So I will update again after my Dallas experience which has to include a Texan steak, duh! And a piece of meat would be nice too.

Bye for now
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