Vegas? Yes, Vegas.

Whiplash. That’s what it felt like, traveling from rainy, gray, sensible Seattle to colorful, hedonistic Las Vegas. As I threaded my way through crowds on the Strip on a Saturday night, my senses were bombarded by flashing neon lights, blaring music, vacant-eyed tourists clutching two-foot-tall drinks, men dressed in Batman costumes, and women dressed in, well, not much. “How did I get here?”, I wondered.

It sounded good at the time. Flights between Seattle and Vegas were cheap and hotels were giving out great deals, hoping you’d spend your money in the casino. So why not book a quick winter getaway to the desert? We could fly to Vegas and stay in a hotel there, but spend our time in the surrounding desert, exploring Death Valley and other nearby parks.

So that’s how we came to be in Sin City on a Saturday night, cruising the Strip with thousands of other lost souls.

But here’s the hard evidence that we actually made it past the slot machines and out of the city! Come along for the ride….

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The Photos:

  1. Vegas Suite: The “Eiffel Tower” replica at Paris, a major casino/resort; a woman holds her huge drink while waiting for the Bellagio fountain show, a fun extravaganza of waving fountains set to music; two women walk to their car after work; the lights on the Strip.
  2. We’ve driven 45 minutes northeast from Las Vegas and we’re exploring the beautiful Valley of Fire, Nevada’s first state park. The park features 46,000 acres (19,000 ha) of red sandstone, limestone, shale and conglomerates, in amazingly eroded and weathered formations. (All of the road photos in this post were taken from inside the car, most with a camera that had a polarizing filter on the lens. I should have removed the filter; it had a bad effect on the colors, especially behind the windshield glass.  More often than not, I would have been better off without the filter, even in the bright sun. Next time I’ll use it more judiciously.)
  3. The Mojave yucca (Yucca schidigera) is frequently encountered in the desert around Las Vegas. This plant relies on a particular moth for pollination, the moth in turn relying on the yucca as the place to deposit its eggs. After hatching, the larvae eat the yucca’s seeds: coevolution! The yucca’s roots, fruit, flowers and leaf fibers were all used by indigenous people, and yucca extracts are used medicinally. A yucca extract is used as a flavoring agent in root beer, too!
  4. Badlands on the way to Zabriskie Point, Death Valley.
  5. A few acorn caps remain on this Shrub oak (Quercus turbinella) at Red Rock Canyon, just outside Las Vegas.  The missing acorns could have been eaten by Bighorn sheep. We saw a pair of young Bighorn near the Visitors Center; they’re not too difficult to find at Red Rock.
  6. The blue hour arrives early in January. Short days make it difficult to see all the sights in Death Valley, where a long drive separates most points of interest. Winter is still better than summer though; summer high temperatures average over 116°F (47°C).
  7. A close view of Valley of Fire sandstone, showing (I believe) small, compaction band fins, caused by weathering and erosion. If you like rocks, Nevada is your place. It’s a giant geology lesson, laid bare!
  8. The road to Badwater slices through barren desert rock in Death Valley.
  9. A patch of sandy ground at Valley of Fire State Park, littered with dead wood, and if you look closely, many animal and bird tracks as well.
  10. A road through Red Rock Canyon, showing a typical band of red rock. The attractive color derives from hematite which has oxidized, like rusted iron. Compaction over millions of years has deepened the colors. The clouds were building that day, dulling the color somewhat. Soon after, it rained, and there’s nothing like the smell of rain after dry weather in the desert: a rich, mineral sharpness excites the air.
  11. The pretty gray leaves of White brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) at Valley of Fire. In Spring, after a good rain, this plant will be covered with yellow, daisy-like flowers on long stalks.
  12. Driving into Valley of Fire State Park.
  13. Reflections at Death Valley’s Badwater. This lowest point in the western hemisphere, at −279 feet (−85 m), is a very popular place even on a Monday in January. That’s salt in the foreground. Along with calcite, gypsum, and borax, salt becomes very concentrated as it drains off the surrounding landscape and comes to rest here, with nowhere else to go. Thick crusts from years of deposits make interesting patterns on the desert floor. The environment here is incredibly harsh; with no plants big enough to cast shade, the sun beats down on the sere landscape and dryness seems to crawl under your skin.
  14. Roadside geology is writ large on roads throughout Valley of Fire State Park. The very dark areas on the red rocks are probably desert varnish, a coating of windblown clay that slowly builds up, with the help of moisture and chemical processes. Many petroglyphs were carved into desert varnish in the American southwest. They can be seen at Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon. We were sorry to see rock art made by Desert archaic peoples thousands of years ago that appeared to have been vandalized in more recent times.  On a more positive note, in northern Nevada the oldest known petroglyphs in North America, dating to 10,000 – 14,000 years ago, are located on a Paiute reservation, where they should fare better than rock art on public lands.
  15. A nice specimen of Mojave yucca and the rocky landscape are silhouetted at Red Rock Canyon.
  16. It’s 4:45pm and the sun has set at Valley of Fire State Park. Time to head back to Las Vegas…

***

If you plan a trip to the area…

  • Avoid summer! Way too hot! 🙂 Always carry more water than you think you’ll need when out in the desert, even if you’re staying in your car. Services are few and far between in many areas. And watch your step – I had a nasty fall when the ground gave way under my foot – turns out, I was walking on top of an underground burrow! Unfortunately, that fall couldn’t have been predicted, but most hazards can be seen if you keep a watchful eye out.
  • Las Vegas is a good spot to base yourself if you want to explore the desert. Other interesting sites include the Hoover Dam and numerous ghost towns. Death Valley is a good two-hour drive, and really cannot be seen in one day. Consider staying in that area overnight. Grand Canyon is fours away. Closer to the city, one could easily be satisfied spending days at Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon.
  • Many hotels in Las Vegas have casinos on the first floor. In case you want to avoid the noisy, smoke-filled atmosphere of a Vegas casino, book a hotel without one. We did, and we were glad!
  • Vegas has some great eating opportunities, from elegant, top chef restaurants to little places away from the fray. We had great food and good experiences at two smaller restaurants (Mexican & Thai) in somewhat sketchy, downtown Vegas.
  • Before you go, get the Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas by Bob Sehlinger, published by Adventurekeen. Actually, get this before you book your flight and hotel, because there is invaluable information about hotels, casinos, shows, rates, fares, etc.  Snell Press puts out an excellent guide to Red Rock Canyon, Red Rock Canyon Visitors Guide. It contains information useful for the entire area. There are at least two guides to photographing Death Valley. I picked up an older one, The Photographer’s Guide to Death Valley, Countryman Press. It is excellent. The author, Shellye Poster, is currently a ranger at Death Valley; we ran into her at the Furnace Creek Visitor’s Center.

 

 

 

 


77 comments

    • That’s my feeling too, and it was reinforced on the visit – a place to avoid, but the surrounding desert has some fantastic scenery. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    • Thank you, Anthony, and thanks for commenting. Glad you enjoyed these! I can’t resist taking photos out the window when you’re traveling around the southwest, or the not-so-southwest. 😉

  1. I have never liked Las Vegas, but often passed by to access the amazing nature you find the Sin City surrounded with. So in my opinion, you did the right thing. 🙂 As always you post excellent photos from your trip. My favourite is number 6. Something about the driving perspective (excuse the pun), the gloomy colours and the dramatic landscape. But then, Death Valley is quite special, isn’t it.

    • I intuited that I wouldn’t like it, tried to keep an open mind, but really, it was more bizarre than I could have imagined. 😉 But as you know, the surrounding landscapes are very interesting. Thanks so much for your thoughts, Otto. (The mood in #6 is different from the rest, and from what i usually do; maybe it channels that northern intensity and moodiness. The sun was down so the light was strange, and I made it more pronounced in post.)

  2. I still don’t want to go to Las Vegas, but your photographs of the surrounding area are appealing. Some views I like in particular: the voluptuous hills (if that’s what they are) in number 4; the Lynn take on the oak tree (colors, bokeh); the blueness of the blue hour in number 6, and the way the road ducks around the corner; the pin tucks in number 7; number 9; number 13 with its story; and number 16 because it’s unlike other photographers’ photographs of sunsets in showing subtle colors and darkness. Thanks for the trip, Lynn.

    • 🙂 So I didn’t convince you to go to Vegas! What a surprise. 😉 I thought of you when I worked on #9, and #7. There are more along those lines; will post soon. You should know that #13 is an image many people do at that location. When I got there, I understood that though it’s been photographed many times, if it hadn’t been, it’s something I would have noticed and photographed anyway, so I did. I get your sunset thing, but that was pretty gorgeous light, wasn’t it? The desert is extraordinary for sunsets. I think it will be southern Utah next.

  3. Much to my surprise, my favorite images include the roads, which give both a sense of scale and adventure. My favorite is #6, with its almost monochromatic B&W palette.

    From out in the surrounding desert, the distant lights of Las Vegas seem magical; up close, the vulgar excess and gaudiness, are a trip in themselves. Why anyone would want to create that however in the midst of such awe-inspiring stillness and beauty completely eludes me.

    • It’s interesting you say that, because the contrast between the surrounding landscape and the city is something that I am struggling to articulate. It is really incredible that there is so much pure artifice and sensory overload amidst such a subtle, spare landscape – polar opposites. I can’t think of any other city that feels so alien to its location. I’m glad you liked the road shots, as I said above, I should have ditched the polarizing filter, so I had a lot of work in LR, fixing exposure & color, but in any case, I just love taking photos out the window in open spaces. Have a good weekend!

  4. Another tough choice to pick a favorite but I love the pano of #2 and the detail of #7.
    I enjoyed our trip to LV (years ago) mostly because we spent a lot of time in the Valley of Fire. It’s a beautiful area but I suspect many folks that go to Vegas aren’t interested in it’s natural beauty.

  5. A couple of years ago we braved an overnight stay in Vegas in order to see Cirque du Soleil and then skedaddled out into the desert. The show was well worth it, but we couldn’t wait to get out of Sin City. There is definitely something special about #6, but I can’t put my finger on the why of it. The light and composition surely have something to do with it. I see quite a few folks liked that one. Then I swear I remember that very same spot you were on when you shot #8. Though, honestly, much of that road to Badwater looks pretty similar.

    • You’re right, that road to Badwater is just miles of sameness. I think you’d have to get out and take a close look around to find differences, and the sun was very harsh that day – even in January! I cannot imagine summer there. As for Vegas, well, we’re of like minds. No surprise there. #6 is very straightforward, I guess, but there’s the mystery of what’s around the bend, so that must be the draw. It’s more dramatic than what I usually do, and I think I need to consider upping the drama more often. Thank you Gunta!

  6. The terrain which I like most, after mountains, is desert. Beautiful captures and the details. Interestingly, the place has altitude as well as depth. I have seen these places of US only in TV series of National Geographic and discovery channel. And I must say that they are really fascinating. Appears to be very harsh for survival but a good place to visit and explore. Thanks for this post. One photo which I like most is the one of negative altitude (13). I have never witnessed such place and wanna see some day.

    • You’re right, there are high mountains and very low places very near to each other. I love that. Harsh is an understatement! But that difficult environment has created an extraordinary array of adaptations in the plants and animal life. You could spend a month there and barely scratch the surface of understanding it. I’ll be posting more photos from the trip next week, so maybe you’ll find more of interest. Thank you!

  7. Hahaha!!! >>> love your pictures of Las Vegas – you really have an eye. Do you have any more? The pictures of the desert are spectacular – I’ve spent time in deserts and love them (while respecting them), and I love your pictures. For me, one picture really stands out, and that is number 6: this is really seriously good; thank goodness you kept it in colour; the colour of the road and its yellow borders make it, nut the overall palette is excellent too, A 🙂

    • Ah, good, someone comments on the Vegas pictures! 😉 I didn’t take many in town because we weren’t there much. We took our obligatory Saturday night walk on the Strip, which is when I saw the showgirls – it was the funniest moment of the trip! They were so nonchalant. I appreciate your thoughts on the photos, and #6. As I was saying to someone above, it’s more dramatic than my typical work, and I think maybe it’s time to look at increasing the drama….without losing the interest in subtlety, of course, but I doubt there’s any danger I would. Thank you, Adrian, and have a good weekend!

      • With 6, I might have brought the top of the frame down just a little, to have less sky and concentrate interest more on the road. Reading other comments, I never think about “what’s around the bend” in the road but I know many others do. Wonderful image!!! A 🙂

  8. What an all-encompassing and spectacular overview of the area, Lynn, both man-made attractions and natural areas. Both can be a photographer’s dream, but I love nature best. After living in Oman for two years, I have an affinity for the desert and bare rocks. Your photos are wonderful; I especially love 4, 8 & 9, and the striations of color in 10. So were you able to spend more time in Death Valley, or just this small bit? I went to Death Valley with my first husband on a road trip in 1979. Those were the days of print film, and I wasn’t much of a photographer then. I’d love to go back. I appreciate how you have given us some resources and information about the parks. I’m adding Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon to my list. I’m hoping to make it to the Four Corners area in April and I hope it won’t be too hot then to see the National Parks and Monuments in that area.

    What a fun expedition all around to escape the dreariness of winter. 🙂

    • I remember your photos of Oman, Cathy – they were fascinating. No surprise that in spite of the debilitating heat, you came to love that landscape. It’s a very spiritual one, and I think that’s part of it, don’t you? You’re going to Four Corners! Wonderful! Yes, hopefully the heat won’t be too bad in April – who knows! Valley of Fire is wonderful, but as I think you know, driving distances are very long in the region. Depends on where you’re staying, etc. Canyon de Chelly is another great place to see, and has fewer tourists than the larger landmarks. We only spent one day in Death Valley; we’d planned a second day but it rained and we knew that with the lack of vegetation (cover) we’d be miserable, so we went to Red Rock in the rain, where there’s more vegetation. It hadn’t rained for 117 days in Vegas; the day we left it poured, flooded the roads and delayed flights out. Funny, coming from rainy Seattle! Thanks for you thoughts on the photos – I like to know which ones people like the most.

      • I’m looking forward to exploring so many different parks around the Four Corners area in April, Lynn. I’ll also visit my son in Denver at that time as he just moved there on New Year’s Eve. Canyon de Chelly is on my list, as are Mesa Verde National Park, Monument Valley, Chaco Culture National Historic Park, and Navajo National Monument… Maybe more too. We’ll see. I need to start planning soon. I do miss the desert landscape, so I’m really looking forward to it. 🙂

  9. Not a Las Vegas fan but your shot of the dancers and feathers… 🙂 And, of course, I love your desert shots…magnificent Lynn. the colors and formations are fabulous. Wonderful post.

    • Jane, I’m glad you enjoyed the dancers – it was one of those priceless travel moments, just amazing to see them walking down the street, off the Strip, seemingly on the way to their car, done for the day. But how do they sit down? Why didn’t they change clothes after the show? I have no idea. Maybe I read it wrong. But what a great sight. 🙂 Thank you, Jane – more coming next week!

      • Haha! How do they sit down…why leave your feathers on? I’m sure Vegas is full of curious scenes! Makes for fabulous street photography. Looking forward to more. 🙂

      • We have to get Patti Kuche over there (Nylon Daze) She’s the street photographer – I didn’t have much luck with it, but there should be some decent images from the desert. Thanks, Jane.

  10. Isn’t it amazing that such beauty could be so close to…..well, whatever you want to call it. A couple years ago I landed in Las Vegas in order to get to Valley Of Fire State Park and Death Valley. I really had no desire to visit Vegas😳

    • Whatever you want to call it, right! You did exactly what we did, and we came away agreeing we’re unlikely to return. The next time we want to see the desert, we’ll probably go to southern Utah or New Mexico. I love Arizona, too.

  11. I hadn’t really considered Vegas in this vein, good idea. I’m going to go against the comment grain; #6 really isn’t my thing. I might have considered it for B/W, maybe with a slight sepia tone. Favs: 4,5,9,11,13,15.

    • Dave, I really appreciate your frankness, how refreshing! Always feel free to tell me what doesn’t appeal – we all tend to be too easy on each other, I think, and I’m a big offender. Of course I’m happy to hear what you like, too! 😉

  12. So… you wanted comments on the Vegas shots? I suspect I avoided it because of my negative feelings for the absurd ‘city’ in the middle of a desert, but then I had to take a closer look. What annoys me most to begin with is the profligate waste of water and resources. On the other hand, I think the image of the woman hanging onto that toxic looking drink encapsulates the chimera of hoping to win that ever elusive jackpot. She doesn’t look like she’s enjoying herself at all. You also managed to convey what is so phony: the bright lights and bare butts, mostly a lot of promises that don’t deliver.

    • 🙂 I am happy to hear your thoughts about that strange place, plunked down on a landscape it totally ignores. We managed OK there, but the walk down the strip was mostly unpleasant, and we have no interest in returning – we can find desert habitats elsewhere that don’t require the derangement of going back and forth between a bizarre city and the outdoors. Here’s to plenty of roaming in beautiful places!

  13. Oh dear Lynn! It is no surprise to me you preferred the surrounding landscape to the city. In spite of the filter, I love the way you show the roads leading into the desert.

  14. Lynn, these are wonderful photographs of such an eclectic (and many times surreal!!) city.
    I love all of the wonderful color you have captured in these.
    Happy Sunday to you!

  15. My first thought when I saw that you’d gone to Las Vegas was that if I’d known you were going I would’ve recommended the Valley of Fire. Then I was relieved to see you’d made it there anyhow, and of course had a good time. I visited the place in October of 2016 and ended up doing eight posts about it:

    https://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/?s=valley+of+fire

    We liked it much more than Red Rock Canyon, both intrinsically and because Red Rock was crowded with cars and tourist buses.

    • I’ll have to look at your posts Steve, I think that may be before I found your blog. I wish we could have spent another day or two there, but that’s travel, right? We found a nice corner of Red Rock, a little canyon with lots of interesting plant life, but it was raining at the time, and even then, there was never a time without people around. I do love the desert flora though, in most any situation!

      • We had a similar experience with rain, which cut into our afternoon at the Valley of Fire and reduced my picture-taking. I’d love to go back there and spend more time, as would you. And it’s interesting that your touristy impression of Red Rock accords with ours.

  16. The photography, as ever in your posts, is excellent but I have difficulty comprehending the scale of everything! Vegas itself sounds like my idea of hell and the vast open spaces are unlike anywhere in the UK. As with all of your work you convey a wonderful sense of place and I’m grateful for the experience you have provided. I’ll not be going to Vegas anytime soon!

    • That makes perfect sense, that it’s hard to grasp the scale. The scale of “over-the-topness” in Vegas and the enormous scale of the landscape in the west in general. Death Valley in particular is just huge. That’a one of the pleasures, feeling the exhilaration of those wide spaces. Thanks for your thoughts, Louis – wish I could make it real, real easy for you to see beauty of the desert in person…but the photos are a start. 🙂

  17. When I see the pictures I imagine you have been to the moon not to Las Vegas 🙂 Wow, what an amazing landscape!!!!! What a special habitat ! Even this oak with the peak / pinnacle on its leaves is so well adapted to the desert as it seems. Fantastic. I love your fotos. The ones with the street and landscape, especially Nr. 2 and 6 are inspiring, 7, 9 and 13 are great too. And the vegetation is exciting. Thank you for taking us on this trip to Death Valley (an impressive name…!), respectively Las Vegas 😉

  18. It is really a strange contrast of this luxurious and wasteful town in the middle of a desert, which looks on the first sight so empty and sparse and has in reality a rich enviroment….we have a saying in german and I think I can’t translate it really: all that glitters is not gold…here it is vice versa: not all that does not glitter is worthless…on the contrary!!!

  19. You’ve captured it perfectly here: the real treasure isn’t the mass of neon lights–though they are incredible in their own way–it’s what you see on the journey to and from Vegas.

  20. Gorgeous. I especially like the progression of 6,7,8 where it shows 3 views of lines/roads through the landscape. I never thought of using a Vegas offer to finally get to see the desert closely. I always think of AZ and NM but this might be a quick and affordable way to visit the basic environment of the desert. Nice!

    • It seems you can get some good package rates for flight & hotel, and Valley of Fire, which is very beautiful, isn’t a long drive at all. Plus you can get very good food. 🙂 But you can probably say the same for L.A. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos – I like the spareness of the desert for many reasons, not least among them, the fact that you can make compositions like the ones you noted – #6,7,&8 – so much more easily than here!

  21. There’s another city in Nevada that replicates the contrast between Las Vegas and it’s surrounding countryside. That would be Black Rock City, of course: home of Burning Man. I know people who think Burning Man is the ne plus ultra of whatever, and maybe it is, but it’s not to my taste, and it suffers from some of the same issues that make me dislike Vegas. It’s ironic, really, that a supposed “counter-cultural” event would be almost indistinguishable from the culture of commercialization that characterizes Vegas.I know some would disagree, but that’s how I see it.

    The road images are my favorites, but #14 is at the top of the heap. I laughed when I saw it, and my first thought was, “That’s the world’s biggest rock slide. Road closed!” One of my most memorable drives was across Nevada on Highway 51, back in 1983, when it still deserved to be called the “loneliest road in America.” There were no fences, no utility poles, no highway markings: only an utterly still woman with long, black hair astride a pony, watching me as I passed.

    I am curious about what kind of settings you use to take photos from a moving car. I’m not going to be doing that myself, of course, since I’m the one driving, but it is intriguing to see it can be done.

    • I haven’t been to Burning Man, but I guess it too is a very busy place, compared to the surrounding desert. I have a feeling in the early days it might have been a lot less commercial than it is now. I like your description of Hwy 51 so many years ago – it’s hard to imagine finding a similar stretch of road now.
      As for the car photos, it IS recommended that someone else drive. 😉 Sometimes I just use my phone, with no settings. If I use the camera, it’ll be on aperture priority and I tend to keep the aperture pretty wide open. #14 was f 3.2, 1/1250 sec. ISO was on auto. I used a zoom lens that day but often I like using a 45mm prime that’s very sharp and bright (I think you know I use a micro 4/3 system so that 45m lens is like a regular DSLR’s 80mm, I think). #14 was taken head on, which solves some inherent problems with blurring in the foreground, but sometimes that foreground blur is nice.
      #2: f5.6, 1/1000 sec., zoom lens #4: f4.5, 1/800 sec., 60mm prime lens #6: f3.2, 1/100 sec (it was getting dark), 45mm prime lens #8: f4, 1/800 sec, 60mm prime lens #10: f3.5, 1/500 sec, 60mm prime lens.
      Modern cameras can do so much, and with processing, well, it’s amazing. Dehaze in LR is very helpful, as are Darken/lighten center and Detail enhancement in Color efex.
      Intentionally blurring, by panning as you press the shutter is another way to go – I suspect you might be less interested in that, but FYI, there’s a really good book about the technique called, appropriately, Passenger Seat. It’s by an Adobe professional, Julieanne Kost.

  22. My home through a different lens. It’s very interesting read and I do enjoy your outlook on my desert backyard. I’ve lived here my whole life and the only desert I’ve willingly visited were the Red Rock trails.

    • How nice to hear from someone who’s local, Diana! I hope you try Valley of Fire someday – it’s gorgeous, and I guess the trick is to go in the winter! Sorry to bring you so much rain all at once last week, but we just had too much up here in Seattle! 😉

  23. In my teens the first visit, I was unimpressed with Vegas. I do love your Valley of Fire photos and descriptions. You are very organized which helps the viewer to discover what was behind the shots. The red dirt and yucca plants are some of my favorites from trips to the Southwest (Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and yes, Nevada). From all the journeys undertaken, I have come to the conclusion that I see the world differently from most. I enjoy the close-up shots of nature which you abundantly provide. Thank you for a lovely visit.

    • Thanks so much for visiting, Maryanne, and it’s cool to hear someone call me organized. It’s not my strong suit, but I try. Some of the bloggers I know have helped me along the way with better organization. I love all of the southwest too, and I’m thinking the next trip may be southern Utah. I’m really pleased that you found things here that resonated with your point of view, and thanks for letting me know that. The pleasure is mine! And there’s more coming….

  24. Loved coming along with you on your travels here, I really feel the open road! The closest I can compare this to is a casino I was taken to in South Africa, in the middle of the desert. It was so hot, then we suddenly stepped into crazy lights, noises and so many people inside, very disconcerting and incongruous..! I was walking through the slot machine area and I fainted, for the first and only time in my life..! Ha!. So, I’m certain I would find LV overwhelming and much prefer the natural surroundings too, but..I wouldn’t be able to help but want to see it, it’s great to step out of everything you know sometimes!

    • Your description of the S. African casino sounds very similar to the Vegas/desert dichotomy experience – interesting to hear there are casinos there, too. We have a few near where I live but they blend in to their surroundings well. Vegas is very unlike anything I ever saw. If I spent time around the slots, I too might faint….the smoke, the intense lights, the loud noise, it’s insane. You know you ‘d want to check it out, as I did – I knew I wouldn’t like it but I was there, and it would be crazy not to walk down the strip. It was fun for a little bit, in a tawdry way, then quickly became worse than tedious as we became hungry and began searching for food. You can imagine! 😉


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