Fear and Loathing

Trip Start May 15, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Nevada
Tuesday, May 30, 2006

What can I say about Las Vegas execpt...
Take the tackiness of Blackpool, the hedonism of Ibiza, the seediness of Amsterdam, everything about Glastonbury (apart from the mud) multiply it by about a thousand and you'll be some way off the specacular show that is "The City That Never Sleeps".
There really are slot machines in the airport to waste your money on as soon as you arrive, in fact there are slot machines everywhere, and Poker tables, Roulette Wheels, Craps tables, Blackjack tables and a multitude of other wierd and wacky games in which you can try and beat the house. Once inside any of the huge, over exuberant hotels (which you can walk freely between), apart from a few distibguishing features you could be forgiven for not knowing which one you are in, because they all look pretty much the same, and sound the same. Flashing lights and the bleep bleep bloop, ching ching ching of the machines try and temp you into inserting your dollar bills, quarters, dollar coins, twenty dollar bills, and hundred dollar bills for a chance at a big win. Tired looking folk sit around playing black jack and craps, by the looks on their faces most of them wish they never bothered trying, these massive accommodations dont gain their stature from giving money away, that much is obvious.
I finally gave in and sat down at a slot machine in the casino at Treasure Island, within an instant I had become a member, "Just fill in your details here and you can claim special prizes". They never materialsed. I did however eventually walked away with 4 times what I had put in, and spent the $16.25 on a go on the rollercoaster at the New York New York hotel casino and a large coke. Quit while your ahead as the saying goes.
The state of Nevada is the only one in the states where prositution is legal. I'm told its the failed show-girls that end up in the seedy trade. You dont get girls standing around on street corners like traditional hookers (not that I am familiar with such practices) but big vans driving up and down the strip advetising "girls direct to your room", and (usually) Mexican or Hispanic looking "pimps" handing out fliers on the streets offering "Daisy, $79", or "2 girls for the price of one". I was under the impression that pimps drove round in flashy motors wearing bling but the ones in Vegas vary between very young looking lads and very old looking hags. And they are everywehere, all night and most of the day.
And no, I didnt.

The highlight of our stay was always going to be the helicopter flight into the Grand Canyon. I had been looking forward to this since the start ot the trip and since doing it I'm looking forward to it again even more. If you ever go to the States, DO THIS TRIP.
Nothing can prepare you for the majestic views of this excursion (day or night out for any ex-Airtours personel reading this). I'm not ashamed to admit I had a tear in my eye the moment we flew over the west rim of the canyon, WHAT A VIEW!!! As I sit writing this (in Fiji) I'm struggling to find the words to describe the awesome feeling you get the first time you see this wonder of the world, my second in a week I gloatingly add. 300 miles long and a mile deep in places, the Grand Canyon is a must see, is all I can say. After landing in the Canyon and quaffing champagne and croisants for breakfast we flew to another airfield in a place called Boulder City, where we were transfered by coach back to the hoover dam, itself a specacular feat of engineering, built in the 1930's. The one hour flight in the chopper was over in an instant and is definately something I will be doing agian as soon as possible. At the bottom of the dam we boarded our 3rd mode of transport of the day and spent the next 3 hours floating on a raft along the Colorado river, between the tall brownish red cliffs of the so called "Black Canyon". With a running commentry from our local guides, typical looking (and sounding) US desert dwellers, we spotted several Humming Birds, Buzzards, Turkey Vultures and other more common birds, mountain sheep in groups not called herds but "Businesses", lizards, various colourful insects, huge black fish, but no moutain lions, much to the delight of the sheep!
We stopped on a small beach for lunch before completing the remaining part of the 12 mile section of the 1000 mile plus river. The conclusion of the trip was a 1 1/2 hour road trip back to the big city in the middle of the dessert, crossing over the hoover dam to complete every concievable view of this man made master-piece. on crossing the dam you could see how low the water was. The river starts in the mountains of colorado, but despite record snow falls last year, the water level at the dam is down by around 80 feet. For such a huge body of water, Lake Mead has a cicumferance in excess of 300 miles, that is a lot of liquid that isnt there.
3 hours exposed to the sun which was directly over-head with no shade at all takes its toll on a couple of brits and on returning to the hotel at 4.30 pm the pair of us passed out til late on, but this is the city that never sleeps so when we finally made it out at 11.30 there was stil a hive of activity (speaking of which did I mention the bee hive we saw in a tree in Niagara falls "the other day?"
Once again avoiding the slot machines, offers of sex for dollar our time in Vegas was over and it was time to move on to LA, and Hollywood. What delights would await us there? I'll have to buy some more T'inerweb time to let you know...
PS, I'm in Fiji, where are you?
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