San Francisco, Vegas and New Zealand

Hello, Internet, today is Saturday, October 6th, and I’M IN NEW ZEALAND!

I know I missed Friday. The thing is, unlike most of the time when that happens because I’m busy or I forgot or I couldn’t think of anything to write about, this time I missed Friday because I didn’t get one.

I boarded a plane in San Francisco at 8:30pm on Thursday. I landed in Auckland at 5:30am on Saturday.

So there you go. I’m in New Zealand.

So far, I have seen the airport, the silhouetted outline of Mt. Eden, some storefronts in Mt. Eden village, and the inside of my hostel, where I can’t check in for another couple of minutes because it is so frigging early in the morning. However, I was able to buy myself some internet access, so here we are.

San Francisco was lovely. I had a great visit with my cousin, drank some wine, and took in a clarinet concert in the Castro, complete with audience interaction and streetcar interruptions. And then I went to Vegas.

Las Vegas is ridiculous. That’s the term that came out of my mouth when my airport shuttle driver asked me what I’d thought of the city on my visit, and I think it’s the best word for it.

There is no reason that Las Vegas should be a city. It’s in a desert, surrounded by mountains. There is no sensible source of water, so it is pumped in from California and Utah. It was founded by, as my 1 friend who lives there full-time put it, Mobsters and Mormons, so it has weird weird laws and a lot of generally accepted breaking of those laws.

And then, in addition to the overall unlikely location for this city, it has many major landmarks from many places in the world, recreated to varying degrees of accuracy. You can see the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, a behemoth version of Michaelangelo’s David, Duomo San Marco, and any number of other things that totally aren’t in the Nevada desert. For instance, here’s a picture of gondolas on the Venetian Canal:

Actual Venice

…and here’s a picture of the gondolas on the “canal” at the Venetian:

Vegas Venice

Note the swimming-pool-blue water.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I had an excellent time in Vegas. I made some new friends, hung out with some old friends, and got to see one old and one new friend get married to each other. By Elvis. It was tremendous. And I saw Mac King’s comedy magic show, which was both hilarious and impressive. I also saw Cirque du Soleil’s KA, which was just… just… here’s the trailer.

So good. SO GOOD.

Vegas itself? It’s the American Dream run amok in the loudest, brightest, most obnoxiously money-driven way.

It’s sure pretty at night, though.