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.


WT said...

I totally agree with all your observations, specially about how depressing those houses are. It's the same in Northern Cal too, the houses I mean.

Glamourpuss said...

I love Vegas - for its sheer audacity. But I agree, it takes a while to acclimatise. The first time I went, we drove there from Ventura - that was a long old drive...


Doppelgänger said...

Whenever I got hiking in the mountains, I think what idiots (settlers) would look at the Rocky Mountains and I think - I can get over that!!! Probably explains why a lot of people settled in Colorado when they saw the mountains and thought "Hell No" or whatever settlers swear words there were.

Of course, I thought the same thing when I lived in FL with it originally being all swamp land and what not.

Pamela said...

a year ago we drove to Reno (then across the mtns into California)

You drive for hours in that desolate country. hours.

Claudia said...

WT, yes, I remember visiting my friends in Sacramento years ago-cookie cutter houses are just wrong.

Puss, yes, I drove from north of Ventura. Silly me thinking to go in the summer.

DG, funny, I used to think about the challenges that the settlers in FL faced, but I'd rather be in swampland than the desert. At least there's shade.

Pamela, it's depressing, isn't it?

M@ said...

Oh shit, Claude. I couldn't live in one of those houses. Beyond depressing. No green. I need me some good watered desert or some northern deciduous and coniferous landscape.

M@ said...

Please tell me you didn't get a hooker, Claude. I'd be so disappointed in you.

Claudia said...

M@, I'll never tell. :)

Blathering Idiot said...

Ah yes...I grew up in So. Az. - much the same. Your post pretty well encapsulates why I moved to Alaska and settled in the Pacific Northwest. Gotta have me some Green - and four seasons, not just hot and hotter!

On a limb with Claudia said...

So I'm a retard! I was sure I had posted here. Sorry.

I don't like Vegas much. It's too hot, too bright and too... Vegasy. You know?

Great pictures though!

GALA said...

Your point about drunk people shoving each other around and high temps in to the 100s- reminds me of Key West. But, at least there are trees there. Still, Vegas or Key West, I can take about 3 days of them and then I need a serious nap!

Claudia said...

Blather...yes, but AZ has the saguaros!! :) I love those! Just. Love. Them. But I won't be going to see them in the summer thankyou, thankyouverymuch....

Claudia, yes I think it might be fun to go and play someday, but eh...I'd also rather go to the beach or something.

G, Ah, well, I think that being part of wedding celebration might put a different spin on things for me in Key West as well. I've always found it super chill...but that's just moi. Of course, I have yet to head down there and have all boys of the wedding party to pick from either.... :)