How strange, I forgot how long we have been here! I had to look at the Archives… 3 weeks!!! I could not believe it and suddenly today there was an empty space as Sandra and Michael left yesterday afternoon. I wonder if they got tired of us in their driveway. Not. True Friends, never crowding us and yet having some what I call true "human conversations" almost on a daily basis. So when I took my cup of coffee toward the house this morning, well, I had to discuss my mind with Spirit. He understood. It was back to the old times, in parallel with our part coming in, as we are headed onto new roads tomorrow.
It is tomorrow now. Flagstaff was our first destination, it was planned and… just a few miles out of St George, what can I say, I made a U turn. I have been trying to get in touch with my Friends from Kingman for months now, Mark and Anjie, e mails kept coming back, Mark’s voice mail box had been full for a while and I had a bad premonition. A couple weeks ago finally his call back came in and Anjie had been very ill in the Hospital. I just could not head south east without paying them a visit in due time to make myself available if nothing else to cook a couple good meals as she is now home. We have been at their home 3 times already these past two years. Twice to visit and once after a major breakage.
We have some fond memories of those days when I let Mark tap a hole into the engine to mount a new bigger bolt, and his anxiety regarding working on someone else’s bike transforming his face into a bath of sweat and much added color. In conjunction it always has been my fantasy to stop in Las Vegas and take some photos of all those neon lights at night… So we are in Las Vegas now, and besides my head wanting to burst open all I can say is "WOW"… what happened? I am a bit speechless, well aware of the crowds and with much strength I am getting ready to join them. Really!
This is not a town for dogs, it is not even a town for myself and as I left Spirit behind for a few hours, wandering on the Strip, walking, as the $5 for 24hr busses were full and would not stop, I started questioning my own decision to stop here for a couple of nights. I bypassed that decision last year and seem to regret it since, I figured "nothing tried, nothing gained". The town, well the strip, is interesting and that is an understatement. It smells of money, the lights probably generated by enough electricity to light up for years any of those little towns we have been in, the Casinos themselves with today’s expensive menus such as a Lunch for $24 and I did not even glance at the dinner one. I could not help feeling a bit taken back, a change from the vast empty spaces we had been in, the quiet skies now filed instead with dozens of helicopters flying around probably taking the wealthy to their destinations avoiding the human traffic.
At the same time as the evening progressed I felt as I was settling in amongst the crowd. I believe I was being self conscience within this new environment but finally realizing that truly I was still alone and no one really cared. No that they should, was just a thought! Just the difference of space between the desert and the crowded city. I even spoke with a few tourists while waiting for the bus which never stopped. One does not see many smiles walking around. Everyone is tired and probably broke, the Strip is seven miles long, filled with so many attractions that it would take weeks to see it all if it was the case.
I knew by the camera’s monitor that I was having a hard time with picture taking. I carried my monopod but did not want to take the time to use it until I realized that it would be an impossible task considering the amount of time my exposures where. In reality I was kind of rushing worrying about Spirit. We are so rarely apart, I might be outside at times without him, but as smart as he is, this time when he saw me grab both my bag and camera he sprang wanting to come with me. This was a good test though. He was alright when I returned a few hours later passed his bedtime.
My goal was to end up in front of the Bellagio to see the water show at night with music and all. By close to ten o’clock a crowd was forming in front of the Treasure Island Casino for their own Pirate show and if I had known I would have tried to get a better seat. As someone said, the price of admission was right, free, so if the show was a bit cheesy I would not have much rights to complain. It was cheesy.
The photo of the Pirate coming out of the water however turned out to be my favorite one of the night. Will try again tonight, maybe trying to get a head start to reach the Ballegio as I never made it that far. Suddenly it was like a panic attack thinking about Spirit and just wanted to return and hug my buddy! The looks he had given me when I left were not comforting, he sure found a way to make me feel guilty with his piercing look and ears propped up…
I did manage to reach the Venetian, crossing the street from a hanging walkway, the photos through the suicide preventive plexiglas did not amount to anything but it was fun walking through the Casino and even splurge $5 on the slot machines which also did not amount to anything. I guessed that I did not need the big jackpot, my wealth is within another path that we are on. I cannot help thinking the "place" is strange, filled with imitations of the so many destinations throughout the World. This was Venice, there is New York, the Pyramids, Paris. Monte Carlo, Mandalay Bay and on and on. There were along the strip some empty spaces ready for a new Casino. The one called "Frontier" was leveled off with only with its old sign as an art deco cross standing still in the darkness, its lights turned off. But times are slow I was told and for now those empty spaces will remain vacant only surrounded by the high fences as to protect them from the non existent slot machines.
I had a chance to see the latest fashion as a big crowd was gathered at some point. Thought they were waiting for a concert but it was just the entrance of the latest and trendiest night club. The skirts have become shorter and shorter, the tops have lowered their own seams not leaving much anymore to the imagination, the hair spikier and the jeans holier than ever as I realized that I also had a pair of those somewhere, tucked away in my not to wear in public clothe. Turning 60 I feel must have hit me hard as for the first time reminiscing when witnessing such youth becomes almost a routine. There was a time I would also have been in line to shake my body unconsciously with the rhythm of ear blasting sounds, there was a time surrounded by Friends of all gender I would also try to join that mainstream to only looks alike as the many surrounding me. Life is strange when one realizes such changes and I can only feel fortunate that I do know in these present times what texture my path need to feel like.
Youth such as seen always reminds me of Lance. They reminded me that he loved Las Vegas! I had forgotten about it. What kid would not, thirty one year old kid as his Birthday next month is approaching. Old enough to have a good time as suddenly I felt his presence. Maybe some here where his Friends… maybe as them he was surrounded by the beautiful women present. One of his girl friends was a San Francisco cheerleader, another one was a Sand Diego Charger cheerleader and I knew they would also come here for the fun, the excitement that youth looks for in the luxurious setting of the latest and trendiest night clubs.
Suddenly more then ever I wanted to return, I think I found myself being overcrowded and totally out of my comfort zone unable to express my own feelings as I have the freedom to do so within a vast empty space. Will try again tonight and so totally looking forward to reaching Kingman tomorrow, specially to see my Friends Anjie and Mark and take over the kitchen for a couple days! I will take pictures… I already feel this pork loin stuffed with prosciutto, sundried tomatoes, spinach and goat cheese… a roasted garlic mashed potatoes and who knows what else coming on throughout my taste buds.
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Be well, always. Ara & Spirit