Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon

Las Vegas Travel Blog

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Of all the places in the world to visit, Vegas had never been anywhere other than at the very bottom of my list. I had absolutely no desire to go there – it just seemed to be all the things I hate the most, packaged into one neon city. But then Rob's sister decided to get married there and so on the 22nd May 07 I had no choice but to graciously accept the free flight and luxury accommodation Rob's parents had so kindly paid for, and head on over to Sin City.

Now, most people who choose to go to this crazy place do so for a couple of days, a long weekend at most, and I can kind of understand – as long as you are completely wasted for the duration of your stay so as to numb yourself to any sort of ethical awareness you might otherwise have – that it might be kind of bearable. But not us. No, we were there for 10 days…seriously, 10 whole days!

Everything about the place made me angry: the lights from one hotel for one night would probably be enough to power a small country for a year; the aircon was so cold that every time you walked into a building you had to put a warm top on (what's the point? It's like they're actually TRYING to be wasteful); and the amount of food served, eaten and wasted is just obscene. Everything there is big….the cars, the meals, the buildings, and the PEOPLE. It seemed like every second person had a motorised wheelchair, not because they were old, just because they were too fat to walk. Or maybe they could walk but just couldn't be arsed. Outside the breakfast room in the mornings it was like a parking lot of wheelchairs. Oh and my favourites were the people that I saw walking around pulling along oxygen cylinders on wheels, all tubed up, while at the same time smoking a cigarette. Geezus! Do these people not realise that their bodies are shutting down, or do they just think 'sod it, it's going to be over soon anyway so may as well help it along'?


By far my best day of the holiday was the trip out to the Grand Canyon and the drive there over the Hoover Dam, through the nothingness of the Mojave Desert, the stop at the 'filling station and convenience store' in Dolan Springs, Arizona and then the Joshua Tree forests. In 1855 when the Mormon missionaries came down to Arizona from Utah and saw the trees for the first time they thought the upward facing branches resembled arms raised up in praise and so named them after the prophet Joshua. In the picture below of the Hoover Dam, the white marks (left by minerals in the water) show the amount of water lost from the dam in only 8 YEARS. Snowfall from the Rockies flows down the Colorado River into the dam, but because snowfall in recent years has been so light, the water levels in the dam have been steadily decreasing. You'd think that even someone as stupid as Bush would be able to work out that this is not a good thing and that perhaps it might…just might…be linked to global warming. Oh no, of course not, global warming doesn't exist.

The Grand Canyon was awesome. Really awesome. Although I did think the new Skywalk at Eagle Point (in the Hualapai Indian Reservation), which they'd made such a big deal about, was rather disappointing. When I think about it now, I know that engineering-wise it's just not possible, but I had really expected everything to be solid glass, so that it felt like you were walking on nothing, suspended thousands of feet over the nothingness below. As it turns out there is so much steel supporting the glass floor and sides that it felt no different to walking across a bridge. After lunching at Guano Point we got the ferry bus back to the main entrance and it was on this bus that I heard a most disturbing thing, which kind of epitomised everything for me…the bus driver was going on about how the new Skywalk is so great, it's really drawing the crowds, construction of a hotel has already commenced and in 5 years time there will be loads of shops, restaurants, hotels and rides out there…in fact it will be 'just like a small theme park…isn't that great…there'll be so much more for y'all to do'. Bloody freakin hell, that made me so mad. If seeing the Grand Canyon isn't enough for you, if you need rollercoasters and shops to entertain you, then perhaps you should piss off and go somewhere else. All I can say is that I'm very very grateful to have had the opportunity to see it now, before it's turned into yet another massive commercial project.

So, in short, I loved the Grand Canyon (although slightly tainted by the knowledge of what's to come in the next few years), and the journey there, but my trip to Vegas pretty much just reaffirmed why was that I never wanted to go there!

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photo by: maka77