Last week, around this time, I was sitting abroad a nonstop flight to Vegas. The start of a vacation is always happy, with all the anticipation and joy of meeting people and seeing new places. As I keep buying tabloids at the airport, I took along three Time magazines, strictly warning myself not to pick up another $2 trashy tabloid. But alas, what caught my eye this time was "A thousand splendid suns" by Khaled Housseini. It was so poignant and touching that I did not put it down until I saw the greenish glow of MGM grand through my cabin window. The man in the next seat was actually willing to take a bet that I would finish before we landed!
It was the first time that I experienced such scorching dry heat. The air was hot, seeming to arise straight from the desert dunes. It baffled me how in the middle of such a barren desert, an incomparably wealthy oasis had sprung up. Vegas has every pleasure man could possibly want, all at a price.
Each casino had its own decor and ubiquitous smoke. My favorite was the Venetian, with its gondola rides, to be seconded only by the Bellagio for its conservatory and fountains. I don't know if it was the place or the fabulous company, but I was in the best of spirits in a long time.
We took a ride out to one of nature's most beautiful creations, the grand canyon, the next day. The drive was breathtaking in itself, with the highway winding over the humongous Hoover dam and then through the strange Joshua (cactus) forests. One could actually picture the Indian hunter, abroad his faithful steed, galloping through the lands that he knew and loved. Eagles loomed high above, in the skies.
The sky walk was perhaps the highlight of our trip. Built by the Hualapai tribe in March, it was still pristine and not yet the tourist junction that it would soon become. Walking on the thin layers of glass over a four thousand feet deep canyon can give you the jitters initially, but soon you feel like you are flying. The sky walk also offers a great view of the nearby Eagle point; it is quite a pity that you cant' click your own pictures.
A OK lunch, followed my a bumpy fourteen mile mud ride (there are no roads for this stretch, yet) and we were on our way back to fabulous Las Vegas for our last night there, and on to Los Angleles the next day.
LA did nothing but increase my liking of California, with its scenic pathways and mountain terrain. We spent the first day at Universal studios, having the most fun at the House of horrors and on the Mummy ride, which I was petrified of until I boarded it; Day two was probably the best with a visit to the Hollywood Boulevard and Beautiful Santa Monica. We had a lot of fun battling the rough waves, and I must have swallowed at least a litre of sea water.
By the time we headed out for dinner at the Persian restaurant, the vacation was already over, and before I knew it, I was back at my desk at work. If only life had a rewind switch..