Posts Tagged With: USA

Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas!



It is not an everyday thing to see human absurdity at its best and yet here it is, announced as:”Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas!”  Which person, smart enough to know that 1+1 equals 2, would idea building in the middle of a ‘dry, hot, dusty, far away from everything’-desert a place that has to attract people.  Or maybe just because this person knows how to sum that Las Vegas exists.  Far away from everything with the desert isolating the city, is it the perfect trap: you are thirsty and hungry, you will spend money there…  A glorious brise lifts you up where you belong: at the stratosphere of the human layers.  Welt and happiness is your future, you become instantly famous as every card dealer treats you as VIP, and bit by bit you get trapped by the American dream: spin the wheel and become the richest man in the universe!!!

Each casino has its own way of hunting their share of your wallet.  Treasure Island with immense open air shows where a full sized pirate ship crewed by half naked gogo’s  brings down the Chippendale ‘bad’ ship.  Bellagio with astonishing fountains dancing on music that fills up a enormous lake by the entrance of the hotel every ten minutes.  New York-New York, a building made in the exact shape of the skyline of this city where a roller-coaster comes out of the casino, goes around the hotel passing by Lady Liberty.

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Or how about the Venetian with a water channel on the hotels 2nd floor, where people can make a ride in a Gondola under the blue marvelous painted sky, passing the many bridges that simulate the streets of the north Italian city.  And there is so much more, Caesars Palace the biggest of all where someone would enter, been seen for the last time at the Coliseum… and is never of heard again… lost in the endless labyrinth of poker table galleries and slot machines halls. Luxor’s pyramid with giant sfinks guarding the entrance, Paris Casino with its 1:2 scale Eiffel tower and Arc du Triumph and we can go on and on…

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Each big casino has a Cirque Du Soleil show going on, there are 60 lanes bowling halls, pop-art wedding chapels, concerts, theater, and musicals…all top level.  Bars and restaurants of famous cooks such as Gordon Ramsey or Mario Batali

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But nothing is perfect and Las Vegas has a very dark side in the same range of excess as its bright side… There are men winning 1000’s of dollars and still look bored as happiness is sucked out of them after all those years, you see  excitement around dice tables where people lose their live savings, older women loosing dignity by every push on a machine that’s “hot” but doesn’t warm or consulate their lonely cold hart.  They would win with a full house and be the man of the moment but early on the morning arriving at their empty home…

Las Vegas has it all!!! And you are the money you have…or pretend to have.

And then there is the Hoover Dam, the one and only that makes the dream comes true.  A massive construction that blocks the Colorado River, absorbed 2 years of its caudal and flooded the land behind this immense wall.  Creating a lake of unbelievable proportions:  640 square kilometers, a 35,2 cubic kilometers of locked in water that produce about 2000 megawatt of clean energy!!! The first time I ever read about this manmade-wonder was in Jeremy Clarkson’s book: “I know you got soul!” wherein he writes about the machines that he believes have ‘soul’. Here is the link to the article: I know you got soul

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Categories: U.S.A. | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Nevada, the Silver State


Dopo le ultime settimane di intense attivitá, escursioni, hiking e pennichelle sotto le stelle, Bert e io abbiamo deciso di comune accordo di concederci un paio di giorni di relax e festeggiare cosí il nostro primo mese di viaggio. Dopo un abbondante brunch nella ridente cittadina di St. George, in cui Bert assaggia un deliziosa zuppa di fagioli neri contenuta in un soffice panino caldo (finalmente qualcosa che non sia un hamburger), continuiamo verso Sud direzione Las Vegas.

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Arriviamo cosí  a Mesquite, un tempo terra di indiani Paiute e antiche tradizioni, oggi completamente trasformata e urbanizzata probabilmente a causa dell’estrema vicinanza con la cittá del gioco per eccellenza. Entriamo quindi in Nevada, soprannominata the Silver State, data l’influenza che in passato l’argento ha avuto sulla sua economia,  ma anche il Paese del gioco e del vizio. Ci fermiamo in un paio di hotel per informarci su prezzi e disponibilitá per passare la notte ma ci rendiamo subito conto che i prezzi sono al di sopra del nostro budget. Chiediamo quindi ai gentili ragazzi del front desk se c’è la possibilitá nei dintorni di trovare qualcosa di piú abordabile. La risposta alla nostra domanda per loro sembra essere piú che scontata, per noi invece alquanto insolita. Ci dicono: “Provate al Casinó all’angolo”. C A S I N Ò??? Quel casinó lí, quel palazzo accanto di non so quanti piani, ricoperto di luci e led imponenti dove la gente cerca di ingannare la fortuna e sbarcare il lunario??? O_O Io, personalmente, non sapevo nemmeno si potesse dormire in un casinó, figuriamoci immaginare che fosse l’opzione piú economica in giro!!! Ebbene sí gente, quasi tutti i casinó in zona sono anche hotel con un fantastico rapporto qualitá -prezzo. Il ragionamento in fin dei conti é piú che logico: attirare piú gente possibile offrendo una vasta gamma di servizi  a prezzi ultra modici per poi guadagnarci tutto con il gioco. Perché chiedere ai propri clienti di pagare un prezzo esagerato per passare la notte, lasciandoli senza un centesimo da investire nelle scommesse? Perché invece non coccolarli e farli sentire a proprio agio mettendoli cosí nelle condizioni migliori per sperperare i risparmi di una vita?? Dei geni!!! Indubbiamente! Il trucco per risparmiare sta quindi semplicemente nel non cascarci, chiudere gli occhi e non cedere alle tentazioni del Blackjack.

Spinti dalla curiositá ci dirigiamo increduli verso il Virgin River Hotel Casino. Entriamo nella hall e mentre la vita reale si chiude alle nostre spalle, davanti a noi si apre un nuovo mondo fatto di luci accecanti, cameriere in mini gonne e grembiulini, tintinnio di monete e slot machines, tavoli da poker e videogames.

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Alla fine il prezzo risulta essere davvero cosí conveniente come ci avevano riferito. Appena 38 dollari per una stanza con due mega letti e bagno privato, servizio di lavanderia, ristorante aperto h24, vista sulla piscina e idromassaggio 😉 Niente male non vi pare?

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Ne approfittiamo quindi per lavare un pó di roba, riprenderci dal caldo opprimente degli ultimi giorni e aggiornare il nostro blog che ha davvero bisogno di una bella rinfrescata.

Categories: U.S.A. | Tags: , | Leave a comment

The Zoo of Hell


Waking up in a tent brings back good memories and smelling like smoked meat even more!  The campfire gave food and the smoke purified us from other not so pleasant smells.  After a quick breakfast, we sit a moment in the shadow for our writing and photo updating, email check and “like it” Facebook clicking.  KOA’s campgrounds have Wi-Fi so this is our moment…where we transform 5 minutes into 3 hours of working.  So after all, we start the journey at midday, our long way till the capital of Utah and its 180.000habitants. Snuggled up against the soaring peaks of the Wasatch Mountains, Salt Lake City is a small town with just enough edge to satisfy city slickers.  It is also the Mormon equivalent of Vatican City, luckily a redeveloped downtown and local food scene balance out the city charming anachronisms.  Temple square is like “Piazza San Pietro” a 10-acre square filled with LDS (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) buildings, flower gardens and fountains.

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Disarmingly nice LDS members “sister” and “brother” volunteers answer any question but Giorgia, wisely did not allowed me to sit down and have a nice chat with them…she is always sooo wright!  Lording over the square, the 210ft-tall Salt Lake Temple is at its most ethereal whet lit up at night!

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On the top of the tallest tower/spire stands a statue of the angel Moroni, who appeared to first LDS prophet, Joseph Smith, and let him the Book of Mormon.  Mormons…just for the name itself…who needs to know more…Wikipedia can help a bit!

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Later on the evening we walk through City Creek, a 20-acre pedestrian LDS-funded in different leaves divided plaza with nice shops, fountains and of course a food court.  Where again sushi was the most cheap and healthy choice.(although the American way of sushi is…you guessed wright: fried rolls!!!)

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We loved KOA’s kamping grounds and find one in this city to, a nice oasis of green just outside the city guaranties our night rest.

Driving from the capital, direction the south border of Utah was definitely interesting, and not only because we broke our record and drove an 8 strokes highway (just in one direction) but more because with every mile driven to the different Canyon National Parks, the temperature raised a degree.  Hot and dry endless highways seem to be our destination.  We stop to get some ice  for our cool box and find ourselves in the most amazing/disturbing place ever… a gasoline station with a small zoo as attraction in the middle of this steaming heat!!! This is just too crazy!

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So while dad fills up the car and mum stuffs herself with some ‘blueberry filled, chocolate topped doughnut’, the kids can happily watch a zebra, scary an emoe and look how an African buffalo shares his way to small habit with two donkeys.  They can even pet some underfeed young goats searching the moving shade of the enormous American flag.  When is humanity going to realize that some things are just not wright?!?

Later on the day we arrive at Panguitch , our basecamp to visit Bryce Canyon.  We put our tent down, make a fire for some food and fall asleep under a star filled sky.

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Categories: U.S.A. | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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