What happens in Vegas……….

So, we’re doing our marathon one thousand mile tour of Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon and Lake Powell and need a starting and end point, so we reluctantly book flights for Las Vegas. We were absolutely determined to hate the city, the global emblem of excess, waste, artificiality, eternal Britney weddings, insincerity, ‘holes-in-the-desert’ where Joe Pesci hid his victims, and bad dress sense, yet instead had the best time ever.

……but I’m not in France?

Obviously helped that a friend treated us to the hotel and shows, but even so, it really is a fun town. Anyway, we flew into Gomorrah at some unearthly hour and were corralled to our room via the hotels casino in the hope that no matter how exhausted you are, you might still be in the mood to lose the kids college fund, or in our case, the fees for the puppies sociability training sessions. Yet in our full four days there, we didn’t spend a single cent in the casinos. I lived in Cannes for five years and once a month we’d put on our party frocks and go to Monte Carlo with a few hundred Euros, though without our wallets, credit cards, or delusional belief that we were going to beat the house. So once we’d lost the agreed sum, the evening was over. It was more about having a fun night out in the super-glamorous principality rather than me imaging I was Rain Man. I’d seen enough lives ruined by gambling, so had a healthy skepticism as to my chances of winning my fortune on the tables, instead, card games were best enjoyed in a family environment where the stakes were matchsticks or washing-up duties. Anyway, we were only here ten hours on the first night before the adventure began, so more about Vegas after the culture and natural beauty.

The next morning we head off to Zion National Park. Beautiful gorges and rock formations with rivers running through, and often we’d find ourselves in eerily still and hushed spots where there were no people and no noise, apart from the sounds of nature doing what it did everyday, whether or not homo sapiens sapiens were in the hood.

We’re doing one destination per day, so the second morning we continue onto Bryce. Really quite remarkable spot, where thousands of sandstone pillars, or needles, as dense as a Max Ernst forest, bask in glorious afternoon light that paints their skeletal frames the most hellish red and orange hues. We stayed in a house that ran a bed and breakfast formula, where all ten, or twelve residents ate at one large breakfast table. Really was a pleasant experience.

Off to Arches and Canyonlands. These sites are amazing, even though I remember this area is the one Hollywood always chooses for a particular genre of movie, the type where the last inhabitants of a town that was contaminated by the fallout from some nuclear weapon tests in the 50’s and 60’s, or the outcome of too much processed meat products, now live out a hellish existence with their inbred families waiting for tourists like Chaos and I to break down in their backyard, have lost their telephone signal, ask for directions, and are thereafter chopped-up and boiled in large casseroles or made into lampshades. Thankfully the Dodge doesn’t break down and we get to destinations without incident. Only problem is that three days into the trip and we haven’t eaten a single fresh fruit or vegetable and the healthiest looking dish is the pizza. Seems weird that we’re looking forward to a detoxing once we get back to Vegas.

Onwards to Monument Valley, yet another stunning space. God as architect has extraordinary talent. If you think of some of the truly hideous buildings we suffer in an urban environment, the solution can only be that we should try to get out into the countryside as often as possible, not to mention try to protect that environment so it will always available in its most unspoilt condition.

Onto the Antelope Canyon, Page, and the Grand Canyon. All the places as beautiful as the next, really does remind you that it is a privilege to travel. Go anywhere nice, be respectful, keep your eyes open, stay alert, watch how the same spot changes a dozen times over the course of a single day.

Sometime soon after we arrive back in Vegas and start a very different adventure. The Wynn is great and we have fantastic sunset views across the city, ones that I’m enjoying as I try to slip the top of the salted almonds from the exorbitantly priced room snack selection and wonder how many little stones from the trip I can replace them with, without activating the billing alarm.

We loved his wolf tatt.

So, whilst here, the friend has booked us in at the Cirque du Soleil Ka and O shows and left the tickets for us at the Bellagio. Trouble is, I only know his first name and have no telephone number, so with great trepidation, I ask at the desk for the tickets with just a Christian name as reference.“Here they are” announces the unflustered concierge! Another ‘amazing’ to add to the trip. The shows are fantastic. I’ve seen a few acrobatic spectacles, but absolutely nothing of this calibre. The rest of the stay is like a three day party. Not at all debauched, but just being in a place where everyone is smiling. Of course I understand that they were probably all high, drunk, or intent on parting us from our money, but nice all the same to be in an ostensibly happy place. On our travel report card, the Vegas/natural beauty Tour definitely gets an A+.

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