What is there to say about Las Vegas? The first thing that comes to mind is “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy”. I honestly dislike Vegas. Everyone makes it out as if it is some amazing, awesome place to go. Can you find the best in unnecessary entertainment? Absolutely. Can you shoot a machine gun out of a helicopter and then eat a half pound burger with an outing called “Bullets and Burgers”? Of course you can. By that measure, it is a paradise for self indulgence and excess. For anyone else however, that doesn’t enjoy the bright lights, exuberant sounds and excessive party atmosphere, it is quite miserable. Even the people in the casinos don’t seem particular happy to be there. It seems they are just mindlessly transfixed on the absurdity that they are special and are somehow going to beat the system and become instantly wealthy. It’s just a sad place to be.
Like many cities, though we feel Las Vegas is much worse, the disparity between the rich and poor is amplified. Here, the strip and outer edges of the city are covered with luxurious buildings with the latest amenities while a couple blocks over you find boarded up housing and significant poverty. Where we were situated in Vegas, a place nestled between Nellis Air Force Base and Sunrise Manor, was one of the latter areas. Next door was a trailer park that looked like a tornado has passed through. Down the street every building whether it was a restaurant or a gas station was crammed with at least five different slot machines. All in all, not a pleasant place to stay.
Having grown up near military bases throughout most of my life, you become accustomed to hearing jets flying constantly. Nellis was currently participating in a war games simulation however, which meant low flying F-35 fighter jets blasting through the air so close to the ground you could clearly see the markings on them and almost see the pilots in their cockpits. From 9AM to as late as 9:30 PM you could hear them tearing across the sky, preforming maneuvers as low to the ground as they dared.
And so, the couple weeks spent in Vegas while Brandon was away were rather dull while I remained cooped up in the RV. I spent most of my time teaching myself Japanese, in preparation for our trip this October, and doing research on how to take better pictures and videos with my iPhone.
Once Brandon returned from work, we headed out towards Valley of Fire State Park on one of our last nights in town. The area was not at all what I had expected from such a bleak name. The rock formations that were stunning and made my imagination run wild as I looked up at them. I could easily picture once giant guardians that had protected the land that had since come to rest as the fiery red boulders of the valley. The glow of the rocks only became more brilliant as the golden hour of sunset splashed across the landscape and truly resembled the name it was given. Before long, the clouds overtook the sky and we were once again plunged into darkness, wishing we had had more time to explore this wonderful gem. Sadly, since this was our last day in the area it will have to wait until we return. Next up for us is Death Valley National Park and the journey to Yosemite National Park.