Saturday, July 7, 2012

Travel and the Hoover Dam

We woke up tired and sore today but also sad to be leaving the Grand Canyon. We packed up the little toaster and were on our way. It’s about a 5 hour ride to Las Vegas so we listened to another audio book. This time it was “ The Soloist”. I had some interesting discussions with Rachael about mental illness and poverty, and homelessness. On the way to Vegas we had to pass by the Hoover Dam, so we took a short detour and took a few pictures. I am really curious about how there is so much land out here that is barren and appears unused. I wonder how it could be reclaimed for economic prosperity. Some cities are so crowded, we could solve that problem if we could make these lands useable. In some areas it looks so different that you might be looking at Mars.
 We finally got to our hotel, El Cortez, at around 6pm. The first thing I noticed was that when we walked into the door, there were the gambling machines…. I mean right inside the door… It seemed every available foot of floor or wall space was taken up by slot machines or gaming tables. It was VERY noisy and all the lights and sound made it a bit overwhelming. Instead of the glitzy people you see gambling on TV and in the movies, I saw regular people, mainly between the ages of 35 and 70. What I mean by ‘regular’ people is that they were not all dressed up in evening gowns and tuxedos like they do in the media. They were dressed in clothing appropriate to a shopping trip to Wal-Mart. Some were even what I would call “poorly” dressed yet there they were throwing their money away. It amazed me how they would sit alone, drinking and smoking and stay at the same machine hour after hour. I know this because we went to dinner and were gone about 3 hours and when we returned some of the people were in the same places where we had left them. They weren’t smiling. They weren’t conversing with anyone. They just kept pushing the buttons and putting coins in the slots. It was a sad picture to me.

We left the hotel to have dinner once we settled our things into the room. The hotel had valet parking so I explained to Rachael how it worked. We headed two streets over to what is called ‘The Freemont Experience”. This is an area about 3 blocks by 3 blocks that is completely lit up similar to Times Square in NY. There are restaurants, live music, bars, even zip lining ! We walked around a bit trying to take it all in. We found a restaurant and sat down. There were even slot machines in the restaurant! The food was mediocre at best which surprised me, and somewhat pricey. Well, we are heading to bed for now… Tomorrow the “strip” awaits us !

Today's Pictures are at :

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