Images from the Nevada Desert

Yes, I went to Vegas. However, upon my return it had a number of people asking me questions which made me realize two things. 1) the people who asked these questions obviously know nothing about me and 2) people assume there is nothing to do in Vegas other than gamble. So, let me clear this up. I don’t gamble. It’s not that I have anything against it per se, it’s just not my thing. Sure, Heather and I did a tour of some of the casinos, after all if you were in Epcot wouldn’t you check out the different country exhibits? But I did not go to Vegas for the casinos and I certainly didn’t go so I could sit at a Black Jack table and lose thousands of dollars. My trip to Vegas was much more tame. We hung out, watched TV, drank some awesome margaritas, went for drives in the desert and saw the Cirque du Soleil show Love. (more on that later this week)

The desert photos are the ones I want to show you. I’ll be honest, I was astounded by the beauty out there. Having never really been to the desert before I always assumed it would be vast, flat, dry and barren. Nope. These are photos from a national park to the west of the city.

One of the things that I found absolutely fascinating about the landscape was the striations in the rocks. Here is one of the”peaks” in the park. It actually has multiple stripes of red and beige rocks but the upper red stripe is the most visible. You’ll notice as well that the plain in the foreground of this picture looks slightly charred. Heather informed me that this was a result of the wild fires they had out that way about a year ago. The strange cactus/palm tree hybrid looking plants that grown abundantly out that way were just trying to make a comeback but were still mainly just charred stubs of plant.

This rock structure is the one that is most easily visible as you drive into Red Rock Canyon, and clearly explains how it got its name. The day was hazy and a storm was on the horizon but still the Red Rock (not to be confused with Red Rocks Amphitheater in CO) stood out clearly on the horizon from a distance. In fact, as soon as we left the confines of the city I could see it. Again, you can see the scorched earth trying to make a comeback. It amazed me how quickly and how profusely the shrubbery grew in such an arid environment. (Yes, I’m a desert idiot.)

Spring Canyon. I absolutely fell in love with this mountain. It looked to me, both from afar and close up, like it had crenelations all along the bluffs. Perhaps it’s just the medievalist in me, but yeah. I loved it.

As we were heading out of the park a “storm” finally started to roll in. The weather men had been saying all morning that it was going to be a “rainy day”. Being from Miami, I found that hysterical. A rainy day in the desert. Yeah. Sure. However, here you can see the clouds rolling in and spilling down over the tops of the mountain peaks. It looked quite like someone (rock trolls perhaps) had set up a smoke machine just on the opposite side. I must have taken a dozen pictures of just that.

Here is proof that it does actually “rain” in the desert. I took this one through the windshield of the car so I could catch the droplets on the glass. I think Heather actually had to turn on the windshield wipers two times! Yes, I got a good giggle out of that one. Although to be honest, later that night there was a good storm. It must have rained at least 1/4 inch… which, of course, is the amount of water Miami gets in about 10 minutes of an afternoon shower…

So I won’t be ostracized by everyone I know for not having taken any photos of the casinos while I was in Vegas, I present you with the reason I equate Vegas with Epcot or Disney World. This is the back door of The Excalibur. You can’t tell me that it does not look like Cinderella’s palace. Of course, to me this casino was particularly horrifying. I know I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m a medievalist, but I don’t know if I mentioned my area of study: King Arthur and Arthurian legends and more specifically, the political and propagandistic uses of the legends in medieval English history. Excalibur, I think most people realize, is the name of Arthur’s sword in some of the legends. (Ok, it’s also the name of a really bad Boorman film in the 80s as well, but we’ll just let that slide, afterall, it’s not the worst of Boorman’s movies. Zardoz anyone??) When CableDad went to Vegas for Heather’s birthday 2 years ago he warned me about this place, but I just had to see it for myself.

If you needed further proof of my Disney with sex, drugs and prostitution analogy, this is the fall decor for the Bellagio. (No, I did not photograph any hookers, although I was highly entertained by their silent card snapping* pimps who lined the streets outside the casinos.) Admittedly, I liked this one. I mean, who wouldn’t like an Ent/wood nymph chilling in the pumpkin patch. I thought he was pretty cute in a woodland sort of way. But seriously, VERY DISNEY. Then again, having grown up in South Florida I may be biased. For all I know visitors from Vegas come to Orlando and say, “Wow, it’s just like a kid friendly Vegas!” It’s all in how you look at it, I guess.

One final photo. This one is perhaps the most predictable to those of you who know me well. Heather and I hit this really cool Shabu Shabu restaurant in Vegas. It was just so good and looked so pretty I couldn’t resist taking a picture of it with my phone to send to CableDad and rubbing it in. Oh how we both love good food. Dave and Chinatsu, in case you are reading, no, it didn’t compare to the multi-million dollar shabu shabu we had in Ginza, but I think few things would. πŸ™‚

So that, in a nutshell, is my trip to Vegas. Ok, not really. I did learn some very valuable lessons. #1) If you play the electronic slot machines while sitting at a bar, your drinks are free. #2) Drinks are INCREDIBLY potent in Vegas since drunk people will gamble more than sober ones. #3) It is never a good idea to play slots, drink strong margaritas and then try to maneuver your way through a casino if you don’t know where you’re going since they are designed to keep you in and gambling. #4) The Cirque du Soleil can do a pretty fantastic interpretation of Beatles music, but more on that later.

*”card snapping” Since by law the pimps in Vegas aren’t allowed to approach you physically or even speak to you they stand on the sidewalks with “business cards” for their girls in hand. They smack these cards together, or snap them, to get your attention. If you should desire female companionship (or presumable male, but I didn’t see anyone hawking male pros….not that I was looking for them, mind you) you can take the cards and call the girls to your hotel rooms. As Heather pointed out this seems a bit silly as prostitution is legal as little as a 45 minute drive away, but hell, if you have a hotel in Vegas and as long as everyone is clear on the “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” ground rule, why drive 45 minutes?

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~ by CableGirl on Sunday, September 30, 2007.

8 Responses to “Images from the Nevada Desert”

  1. Loved the recap of your Vegas experience….and yes, Boorman’s Excalibur was awful. But Zardoz? Sean Connery and Charlotte Rampling would not have had careers without Zardoz. Of course, it is a very silly movie. But you gotta love the flying head! I had no idea the desert outside Vegas was so beautiful. I’ve never wanted to go there because of just your Disneyesque points, but now I might have to go. Someday. πŸ˜€

  2. Jealous that you got to see “Love”.

  3. The area surrounding Vegas looks a lot like El Paso and New Mexico!! We have some pretty cool mountains here too (although not with the red rock) and the cacti are awesome! And… we have pretty crazy thunderstorms, although nothing like Miami!!

  4. 1. I like the woodnymph thing.

    2. They are coming out with a Beowulf movie in which Angelina Jollie plays some evil sorceress. What evil sorceress, you ask? Exactly. Color me totally horrified in a snobby kind of way.

    3. Brian went on a business trip to Vegas and told me about, but didn’t bring me back, the brochure for a brothel he was handed in a cab. I really wanted to see how one advertised a whorehouse. I was so annoyed with him.

  5. beautiful pictures. I too was amazed when I went to Phoenix/Sedona anticipating flat desert land and saw the most beautiful mountains and of course the Red Rock.
    Would love to hear more about “love”

  6. We went to Vegas a few years ago when D had a conference there. We only had four kids at the time, and we all went, and dragged along my younger sisters to help with the kids. The boys really enjoyed all the disneylike themed hotels, but I remember telling the boys not to look at the ground since it was littered with ads for hookers, pictures included. Pimps would even try to get D’s attention even though he had an 8 month old in a baby backpack, and was holding my hand on one side, and one of the older boys’ hands on the other.
    I know lots of people that go to Vegas for reasons other than gambling.

  7. I think the drive from Phx to Vegas along the hoover dam was one of my most treasured drives. amazing views.

  8. Great photos! I want to go to Vegas some day.

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