„Look, he’s trained for open car doors“
We had ploughed through Las Vegas extensively. We had seen the pirate show in front of our hotel in the evening, had breakfast in a 24/7 all-day breakfast restaurant after sunset, learned how to use all the slot machines, been to Caesars Palace and the MGM. At the Luxor Pyramid, we smuggled ourselves into the hotel without a hotel pass, then into a passenger elevator to photograph the whole thing from a higher level. We watched the excellent pros at the poker table, the heated pros at the roulette table and the pros at the cold buffet table. We visited the Hard Rock Café – of course, and realised there might be a law in this state banning the placing of gambling machines in toilets and washrooms! The things were everywhere! If you had the opportunity to get rid of your money sitting on the pot and be allowed to place such machines, you would undoubtedly get the opportunity.
Oh, and don’t forget the bingo. In the bingo areas of the casinos, a large chunk of the ground floor was besieged by dignitaries, aged seniors, and the usual older suspects with lots of savings. And – OMG – there was an elderly lady who was being pushed in a wheelchair with oxygen tubes in her nose and an oxygen tank attached to her wheelchair. The world froze as they pushed this lady across the room in front of us. When you see something like that for the first time, it’s bewildering as a younger person. Today I know that it was just a breathing aid. I beg your pardon, elderly lady!
By the way: NO – we did not get married in Las Vegas! I wanted to; she did not. I like the kitsch. She does not. All right, so we did not! However, what we both wanted was to go to one of those famous Las Vegas shows. There was already a small selection in the various hotels. However, we were travelling at a time of the year (end of January) when such shows were instead a.) Very well attended because of the small quantity, or b.) The stars were unknown to a young German couple like us and therefore uninteresting.
There we both were, standing at the end of an endless row of visitors dressed in evening attire, only a few had the same tourist-punk look –shirt and jeans– as we did, and the desire to stand in line for an hour was fading very, very quickly with every passing minute. Briefly: we gave up standing in line for an hour. We agreed that Siegfried and Roy, who were taking a break from performing, would have been worth it to us. However, standing in line for tonight’s show, with no guarantee of a ticket, was just too dull for us at the time! There was also no way to book tickets for a show at the hotel for the next day; months before, you should have bought tickets at the travel agency. That’s life! C’est la vie!
Those above were the first two days!
The first 48 hours. I have to mention that my girlfriend was tired after arrival from the airport at “minute zero “and wanted to sleep after the long flight and the troubles at the pick-up of our rental car. I did not want to! (To draw level with “want “, just to mention it here!) We had been on the road for quite a long time, sure we did sleep at night, but had breathed in life extremely, in that short period of time. We had ploughed through Las Vegas! We also wanted to get out of the city, because we had rented a car and wanted to see the natural spectacle of the Valley of Fire!
Valley of Fire
The Valley of Fire is a good hour’s drive from Las Vegas and said in advance: “Nothing, Silence and Stones “– if you like that, it’s the ultimate! – it is! We were deeply moved. It was a successful rest after the exciting life the two days before! If you can’t do anything with this beauty of nature, you can go pot-hitting. That’s certainly more exciting, just not as beautiful!
“Oh, we have a visitor,”
…my girlfriend said after she had opened the door in the car park and looked outside. I thought someone was standing there, but saw no one. As she also looked towards the ground, I was a bit confused, was there someone lying next to the car? She closed the door, opened it again, looked outside and giggled.
“Look, he’s trained for open car doors” – I looked: a little Prairie-Dog, or whatever you call such a little animal, was looking at us quite curiously in the car.
A few seconds passed, my girlfriend closed the door again, grabbed an already opened biscuit packet in the car, crunched a small biscuit in the middle, and then threw it through the reopened car door. The little cheeky thing grabbed the biscuit, disappeared, and after a few seconds, it was back again, just like before. On the other hand, was it another little animal? Was it the same cheeky critter back for more?…
“Pass me the camera, please “. She got the camera, and with one or two more biscuits, my girlfriend was able to take a few photos of the little animals. By the look of it, the animals were conditioned to the slamming of car doors and earned treats from the visitors.
After a few hours in this wonderful silence, we drove back to the city. By the way, the four nights were not enough for us; we paid for two more days’ room, which cost the same as the four days’ hotel, in advance at the travel agency. By the way, #2: this law, the one banning slot machines in the restrooms, I’ll check if that exists! There must be a law. Otherwise, they would let you gamble for the toilet paper!