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Bright Lights, Big City

January 11, 2014

Flagstaff to Las Vegas

We departed Flagstaff mid-morning after a wonderful breakfast prepared by our awesome host Dhruva. Thank you again for your kindness and hospitality!! We truly enjoyed our stay in Flagstaff.

The drive to Las Vegas showcases more beautiful desert views and we were most excited to see people driving convertibles with the top down. Surely we are headed in the right direction then!! This was confirmed when we stopped at a “scenic view” point where we were pleasantly surprised with a warm breeze and no need of a sweater. 

 

We soon came upon the Hoover Dam and pulled in for a visit. There is a security check, but when we pulled up, the guy asked (gesturing to the stuff in the back seat), “Is this all yours?”, to which we obviously answered, yes, and he told us to have a nice day and we moved on! Clearly we are not the most threatening looking individuals. Especially when we pulled up bopping along to Gwen Stefani’s Sweet Escape…

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So, there are some parking lots (the ones closer to the actual dam), that cost $10, but if you drive up a bit further, they are free. We took a stroll along the dam, and a few photos. The dam is actually directly between Arizona and Utah, so you can stand in two different states and two different time zones on the dam. Our cell phone was most befuddled by this. We, on the other hand, were super befuddled by all the security and the masses of tourists. It’s just a big, man-made, cement….thingy….right?! We hadn’t seen as many tourists ANYWHERE other than NYC and maybe parts of DC, and could’t quite figure out the attraction. 

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Lake Mead, which is dammed by the Hoover, is quite pretty and looks like a fun place to spend time in warm weather. From the dam and the lake, it was only about 30-40mins into Vegas. We were struck by the vast expanse of buildings in the desert and it is quite cool to drive into, as it appears on the horizon, the largest accumulation of human life we’d seen in the desert for a bit. We definitely got excited seeing all the buildings in person, and they do look just as in the movies and tv – glittery, huge, and outrageous. 

Checking in to our hotel, the Excalibur, (Leah keeps expecting Robin Hood to pop out), I really felt like we were in America as we saw a bunch of cheer teens. It is unreal the amount of makeup on these girls. And the bows on their heads….bleghhh!! So yes, it is just like on TLC. Apparently, America has also not received the memo on secondhand smoke and the wide variety of smoking-related illnesses as it would seem that smoking is still allowed indoors here. Yet another reason we will not be frequenting the slots!

After a little down time, we prepared for our evening’s excursion – a trip across the street to New York, New York to see Zumanity. I was expecting a wild time and I was most excited for the pole dance portion of the show. Unfortunately, they seem to have changed their show a bit and it no longer includes pole, but apart from that, the show was the usual amazing Cirque standards: great live band and singers, hilarious audience participation (Cindy from Colorado, a recently retired teacher, especially seemed to enjoy getting pulled up on stage!), extremely flexible people, and overall good entertainment. Zumanity is less acrobatic than other Cirque shows that I’ve seen, but was funnier and more like a cabaret-style show. It seemed very appropriate to see while in Vegas! They definitely had us giggling away, and at times, totally losing it, the entire performance. I do think that they need to bring the pole dance part back for sure!!

After the show, we walked around the Strip a bit, until our feet told us it was time to go to bed. I can see how Vegas is like an adult playground, but I think it is also a very sad place. The juxtaposition of poverty and extravagance is a little disturbing with too much ponderance. However, I am sure that keeping this in mind, we will certainly have a fun time today as we explore!

(Sidenote: no photos of Leah because they are all on her camera! She was there tho… 😉

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