If you follow my Twitter feed
, you know that I did a lot
of shopping in Las Vegas over the weekend. You'd be perfectly reasonable in thinking all I did was shop, in fact--and considering my haul (an Eddie Bauer sling bag, a Johnston & Murphy briefcase, a Merkur safety razor from Truefitt & Hill, a pair of Bostonian leather-soled dress shoes, and my big score, a Ted Baker suit), you'd be justified in my thinking. Over the last few years, Las Vegas has turned into a bit of a shopping mecca, attracting not only the best stores in the country, but also stores you simply can't find anywhere else: The Truefitt & Hill shop is one of only two in the US (the other is in Chicago), and the Ted Baker outlet is the only one in all of North America, period.
Las Vegas has morphed quite a bit in many other ways, too, becoming home to some truly world-class dining and some equally terrific entertainment, even if the Cher show wasn't nearly as good as I had hoped. Too many costume changes--17!--created constant breaks in the performance, and the dozen poorly-choreographed Cirque Du Soleil dancers who served as Cher's back-up not only failed to fill the empty spaces, but weren't even on their marks most of the time. I am now convinced that Madonna's rejects must make their living working for the Cirque mafia, which apparently inserts itself into any show that isn't done by the Blue Man Group.
There's life in Las Vegas off the Strip, too, and a short rental car ride away will find it. One of the things we tracked down was the Neon Boneyard
, which works to preserve the old neon signs from now-demolished Vegas hotels. I'd first learned about it after Ford shot the promos for their Interceptor Concept
there, and had been wanting to locate it ever since. My eagle-eyed sister spotted it while we were driving on the far north part of Las Vegas Boulevard, and it was definitely a sight to behold, even from outside the fence. Next time I have time in Vegas, I definitely plan on taking a tour.
Another sight not to be missed is a little farther north still--the Valley of Fire state park, located a mere 20 miles north of the city. One of two excursions we made--the other was to another pair of state parks just west of town--Valley of Fire absolutely lives up to its name, with blood red rocks stained with black that eventually change to yellow, peach and finally a pure white. Braving the 104 degree heat--the car's outside thermometer read 111, but I think it was being a tad over-optimistic--we walked around and took in the literally hundreds of petroglpyhs scattered nearly everywhere. Photographs can't do it justice, in terms of width or height; the scope of this blasted paradise on the edge of the Mojave is truly unimaginable.
Speaking of photographs, I took about 300 on the trip, but uploaded less than half that. Being as I was using the cheap Sony digital instamatic I bought from veetor
, I was unable to really do much with night shots, which is why what's left after extensive deletion has such a fuzzy feel. As for the rest, those were lost when the extra memory card I bought at the Sony Style store in Caeser's turned out to be defective, something I only learned well after I got back to Atlanta. I'm quite annoyed, because it ruined some really great shots, and now I'm definitely going to have to go back there to take them all over again.