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Vicki’s Travel Diary

Monday, 03 Oct 2011

Location: Las Vegas, USA

MapWell, I survived Death Valley! In fact it was an amazing place. Very hot, vast, almost lifeless, and very stunning in places. I went to Badwater, which is the lowest place in the USA, and one of the lowest in the world, at 85m below sea level. It was strange to think that the day before I had been at an altitude of 11972 feet, then there I was at -282 feet (it sounds better in feet - I have to keep coverting to meters to make it meaningful). There was a stunning drive around a route called Artist's Drive, which went past colourful volcanic and mineral deposits, and through very narrow canyons. Photos wouldn't do it justice - it's the sort of thing that needs to be filmed (Youtube?). And I watched the sunset fron Zabriski Point. I stayed at the Furnace Creek Ranch for the night - very expensive but it was great. No snakes or scorpions, but a large cabin with 2 huge beds and all the usual motel facilities. And it had a huge outdoor swimming pool, which I made use of in the evening, after dark.
On Saturday I left Death Valley and drove to Las Vegas. I have to say it is so hot in this part of the world that I have had to put the a/c on in the car sometimes!!!
Las Vegas is stunning in a very different way to the national parks. The strip is huge and the casinos are mind boggling! My Dad was wrong - it's nothing like Blackpool! You can spend days wandering about in each casino, as there's so much to see. Highlights for me included the evening fountain show at Belagias, the siren show at Treasure Island, Venice, New York New York, and the lions (real ones) at MGM. Saturday night was interesting. I joined the night club outing that the hostel organised. (it was to be a limo ride down the strip, but not enough people, so it was a minibus instead). After stopping off in a bar for cheap drinks we went to a nightclub in Luxor, which is an enourmous pyramid. I've never liked nightclubs, and this reminded me why. There was free "champagne" for females (it was prettty digusting), the music was incredibly loud, and I was hit on almost immediately by someone. It felt very much like a cattlemarket - I'm getting too old for that sort of thing! Anyway, at about 2am I decided I'd had enough and tried to find my way out. It was about as complicated inside as a real pyramid, but eventually I found the taxis, and had a very expensive ride home. An experience not to be missed, but defintely not to be repeated!
Yesterday I went to visit the Hoover Dam. My first impression was - is that it? But that soon changed when I learned about it and took the tour. It's such an important structure that security is like being in an airport. And it was an amazing feat of engineering and forethought. At the end I was very impressed! After visiting the strip again, I spent the evening in the hostel, enjoying their outdoor pool then catching up with my diary and plans.
So I'm heading off to Zion today. I'll try to find a campground - hope it's not too cold! More updates when I next find a computer.