Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dear Diary - America 5, backtracking

So after the Rat Pack show, that was when we went to the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon. My entries are all mixed up. This is from my diary (amended some) on that day, the Grand Canyon day.

So that was last night. We got the wake up phone call at 5am and HAULED ASS to make it to the shuttle bus at the neighbouring Harrah's Imperial Palace hotel in time. Voice: "It's only a model."  
We're on the bus now. 
The sun is rising over Vegas as we drive past the extravagant resorts (so that's where all the scheduled free live shows are; too late now.) through the middle to lower range hotels, the construction zones that seem to stretch forever and thence suburbia. Jarred somewhat to see how this part looks like a 'real' place. Dusty and hot, with ordinary people and a less blinding ambient arsehole quotient. This is where the people who work in Vegas live. It's called Henderson. 
The road to Henderson and beyond, going through the desert, looks in some ways oddly similar to some of the countryside I saw in Egypt: the hills in the far distance, the colours and the greater sense of age the further out you go. I keep half expecting to see a kid riding a donkey alongside the bus, selling cigarettes. 
Though there are plenty of people collecting money out on the streets for charity, I have so far seen only one guy sleeping rough out in the open. I remember captioning an episode of 'Dateline' on SBS that focused on the underground tunnel people of Las Vegas, living in the old sewers and dark, forgotten passageways beneath the city, who go out at night time to gamble. They've lost their children and partners in divorce cases, their homes to the banks and their jobs to their addictions. They've lost just about all their money but what they can scrounge, and they still go out every night hoping to strike it lucky. One day, one magic day, if you just keep on trying and wishing upon that star.... It was a pretty disturbing program. 
So I've been looking out for scurrying mole people since I got here, not without a guilty sense of ghoulish voyeurism, but I don't think I'm in the right end of town for them. I don't imagine they'd be all that welcome in the posher joints around here. Or anywhere, really, poor deluded souls.  
So that's what happened yesterday. 
We're on this bus still - the shuttle to the coach - and it's likely to be a long day. 

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