Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Las Vegas - Hoover Dam - Grand Canyon

Las Vegas is an entirely amazing city. Without a doubt, it's the most visually stunning place we've been to yet. Everything you've heard about it is true - the cheap, plentiful food; low cost hotel rooms; neon lights everywhere; wedding chapels; and of course the gambling...

There is a lot of money floating around, almost all of it profits from gambling. I arrived with a house limit of $5 - not much! - and promptly lost it all :-). $3 disappeared into slot machines, the rest on roulette. They say you should quit while you're ahead, but I never was, so that wasn't a problem. Andy initially had substantially more luck than me (an $8 jackpot from a 5 cent slot!), but went downhill after that ;-).

We stayed in El Cortez, a hotel / casino / restaurant (they all are) in downtown Las Vegas, as opposed to on the much more trendy Strip. Our room, under $50, was the most opulent we've stayed in so far. I only ate two meals the whole time I was in Las Vegas (one a day!) - for $9 you get a gigantic food buffet, with pizza, Chinese and Mexican food, as well as infinite cake, ice cream and chocolate. Very nice!

Leaving Las Vegas on Monday morning, our next stop was the Hoover Dam. The highway runs over the dam itself, so we parked the car and leaned over the edge. It was a fantastically hot day, definitely over 100 degrees: the sight of all that water was frustratingly tempting!

After a night's stay in Nowheresville, we finally arrived at the Grand Canyon. It is, of course, every bit as Grand as its name (and reputation) would suggest. No American hyperbole here, the Canyon definitely lives up to its reputation as one of the natural wonders of the world. Words cannot describe - I took far too many pictures, and I'm sure those won't do it justice anyway. We took a bus westwards along the rim, and trekked down a mile and a half into the canyon itself (hot work!), and watched the sun set over the horizon.

And here we are in - of all places! - Tuba City. The name is, I think, a corruption of a Navajo word. Perhaps its most interesting feature is to do with time. Two tribes, the Hopi and the Navajo live here - one observes daylight savings time, but not the other, and so the time changes by an hour as you walk from street to street! Check-out time here is "11am", which is in fact 10am for us.

Internet access is sparse around here, as you might have guessed, so posts will surely be few and far between. We'll keep you up-to-date as and when we can!


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