As the land slowly wakes, our hero sneaks downstairs… a squeaky board bends under his weight, threatening to wake the house… he freezes, but then continues as the house slumbers on…
and he makes it! to the computer, to write this email…
we have passed through seattle, where the wedding was excellent, and people actually liked my speech, and the haka we did was warmly received (and politely, no-one mentioned my lack of coordination. or the fact I nearly took Bernards dads eye out with some of my more vigourous manuevers), and I still think the idea of exchanging fruit instead of rings was very cool (kiwifruit from him, washington apple from her).
We went on the ‘underground’ tour of seattle, which was interesting, mostly focussing on seattles early problems with sewerage, exploding toilets etc. And Mr Crapper really did invent the toilet. However, in terms of things to see, it was given away slightly with the “seattle was burned to the ground, and there was nothing left” phrase, which translates into… “theres nothing left to see”. Which makes for a little bit of an odd tour, but it was interesting to hear about early examples of US building (ie, big, very big, the whole city was raised between 12-30 feet by dissolving massive cliffs).
And we went to a mexican restaurant, where we ate burritos and saw bill gates. Yes, the actually bill gates, just eating with his wife. I was going to introduce myself, but I guess I have too much kiwi decorum, and so didnt. He must be gutted (ha, gutted, geddit? probably not, but see below…).
Then, we flew from Seattle to Las Vegas, home of the casino. And … not much else. There really is not a lot to Vegas, but some of the people in vegas had a lot to them. Vegas is in Nevada, which I understand is home to … er… nothing. Apart from Vegas. Which in itself is not necessarily a good thing. The casinos in Vegas are enormous. We stayed at the MGM grand, with interminable barely lit corridors, and mirrors at the end of the corridor so the corridor went from interminable to bloody interminable. Who puts mirrors at the end of darkened corridors?
Vegas encourages people to stay inside their casino/hotel. The Grand had about 10 different restaurants, as well as the mcdonalds and other takeaway chains. If you wanted to go shopping, there is a large mall somewhere in the bowels. if you want to go to another casino/hotell/mall/restaurant you can take the monorail. and some of the casinos had fake ceilings with nicely lit dusk scenes with clouds and 25C of airconditioned nature. Very odd.
And we saw the cirque du soliel show, Ka, which is fantastic. It was mostly fantastic, only let down by the fact that they didnt have toilets built into the seats, which meant I missed some of it to continue my sordid affair with Miss Dia Rhea, which I begin anew in most countries I go. Its kinda like my own personal cultural experience. I blame the mexican place in Seattle (not really fairly, since Gisela ate everything I did, but I have to blame something). I was comforted by imagining Bill in exactly the same situation, although I guess he can pay someone to have the issue for him.
But Ka is fantastic.
Vegas is interesting, to be sure, but in the way that kinda makes you feel a little bit dirty for simply being there. If you dont like gambling, or shopping, or massive hotels, or never knowing if its daylight or dark, then vegas is probably not for you. but they do have fantastic shows. We didnt however, go to one of vegas’s big attractions, namely, the gun shop, where they have about 15 different types of machine guns that you can shoot. I guess we’re not from there…
And then we got a car, and drove to the grand canyon, by way of the hoover dam. We drove through the lovely state of Nevada, on our way to Arizona. You cant miss driving nevada, because otherwise you might miss lots of…well, nothing, as mentioned previously. It was kinda fun trying to come up with uses for the 10 acre blocks of land for sale there, which are basically full of dirt. And some weird plants that look so starving they would probably eat you if you ventured close. But one way to make the trip more fun (imagine, straight boring roads through flat boring land filled with dirt and potentially carnivourous plants) is to check out the skid marks on the road and imagine just what accident caused them. I did say it was boring.
The Hoover dam is pretty impressive however, and we stopped there to check it out. Its on a scale that just wouldnt really occur in New Zealand, mainly because theres not that much concrete in NZ. Massive, and they are building a new motorway there that is about 100m over the ground, probably to use up their concrete surplus. Buy concrete shares.
And then we drove for a million miles more, and found….
But not just any tree.
Well. It was just any tree, but we were pretty bored after nevada (although Nevada always inspires that terror that the car might break down, and we would actually have to talk to the locals and they would all be some x-files type inbreds who would want to feed us to their carnivourous plants, so there is a certain type of excitement to nevada)
And then we saw lots more trees, and … hmm. That went on for another quite a while. And finally, we saw a sign that said… “grand canyon, 58302291 miles” so we knew we were getting close…