Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Desert

Driving 5 hours to Las Vegas in the early August heat probably wasn't one of the better ideas I've had over the years, but it does account for my weekend. I had contacted my friend's little sis, M., who's been living there for the past few years, about doing a photo shoot with her and the lights of Vegas.

Driving out there, it amazed me that people would actually choose the desert as a place to settle (I'm talking the early settlers-before electricity and air conditioning.) I can't imagine what was going through their heads (I'm guessing that the sun had obviously fried that part of the brain responsible for better judgement- I can just imagine, "hmmm, over 100 degrees, it's hard to breath, there's hardly any vegetation, no water to be seen, but ooh, lots of sand and rock: Yep, good place to settle!")

M. doesn't live right in Vegas, so I got to see the more "normal" side of things there. While I didn't take very many pictures, a few thoughts did cross my mind (the first being about the settlers...) Some others...

1. The landscape looks alien. As I mentioned, there isn't much vegetation, but lots of rocks and sand. I imagine that the surface of Mars must look something like that. This is where I first wondered who the hell would choose to start a city/settlement out here in the first place.

2. I find it odd that with temps normally reaching in the triple digits in the summers, they don't have more shady areas created. In the shopping areas, the parking lots bake in the sun; there are no shaded walkways, no canopies, nothing. I don't expect trees as they would probably all die out there, but even something artificial to give people a break? Nope.

3. Vegas and the strip seem wholly unnatural to me. I understand that is the point-it was just weird to actually experience it. I felt like I was at Disney-with the crowds of people pushing and shoving their way around to get to the next "attraction." Only, unlike Disney, many were drunk and silly. It had its moments of amusement.

4. It was a bit overwhelming for me. I'm glad I was with people that knew how to get around because I felt totally lost walking around the strip and in and out of the casinos. Things look very much the same inside the casino. One hallway looks just like the other to a novice like me. One bridge is just the same as the other. I suppose being a bit dehydrated didn't help.

5. Despite the chaotic nature of it, I did find some things I loved-like the water fountain show at the Bellagio. Call me a sucker, but I love watching the water shoot and dance to music. Now, all they needed was some colored lights instead of the normal ones. I also loved the glass umbrella/flower ceiling inside the Bellagio-all the different colors creating a nice kaleidoscope on the ceiling.

6. I really only spent about 1 1/2 day there, but that was enough for me to know that I could never live there. I can't handle that extreme heat (as much as I complain about it being cold here, I'd rather be a bit on the cool side than risk my brain melting in that heat...) And I need green in the landscape. The browns of the desert just don't do it for me.

Here are some pictures I did take...
Heading to the MGM, I passed New York. Pretty cool

Coming from the parking lot at the MGM...
This is a corridor at the MGM. It was more than a bit
freaky, as far as I'm concerned. Reminds me of the Shining.

As I started my drive back to CA, these houses blend
into the background. Kind of depressing, isn't it?

This was a lot of the scenery.

Out in the middle of nowhere….

The giants of the desert

Here, a view of the open road and a few other travelers.