Tuesday, 30 September 2008
Nevada - Arizona
Last year's cisco sales meeting took place in Las Vegas. For various reasons, that I am not going to bother you with. Las Vegas in August is not only boring, but torturing. After you spend 2-3 days dazzled by the sizzling neon lights and thinking: wow@! amazing, how could they make them so big, and in the middle of the desert..you start thinking: right, yes, let's move on to something real.
Now, there are people that adore Las Vegas. Truth is that had I gone any other season I might like it myself. But in the middle of august with 50C outdoors and the only thing you can do is hang around blackjack tables, well it was getting into me.
What is good about Vegas is that you can still see Tom Jones (yes, that was the highlight of my week there), and have fun with friends.
Most americans go to vegas to drink, smoke and have unsafe sex as 'whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas'
Whatever. Most people admired the themed hotels, which were an architectural miracle but I was really appauled that there were some cheap imitations of Venice and Paris.
In any case, it is worth going to Vegas just to see what money can do - a lot of money - if poured into the desert.
Well, the good thing was that after teh sales meeting a friend from the office, Mary, and myself had organized to stay a bit longer to go to the Grand Canyon, only five hours drive away.
Talk about amazingness. There is nothing that can describe what one feels when in the edge of the canyon. We arrived there at about 5.30-6pm. The sky was darkening and the Indian that was in charge of the tickets told us that usually in the early evenings there are thundrestorms so we best not set off for the night. We had the choice of either going down the canyon that same night or waiting for the morning, only that if we would go in the mornig we would not be able to go all the way down, as it was not allowed to go down and come up the same day. And we had to leave the following night to get back in Vegas to catch the plane home
We did not toss a coin as we were both too tender feet (if you ever read
Lucky Luke you know what that means) so we decided to go to a town nearby, sleep and set off really early to go down as much as possible.
We drove for about 10-15klm in the midst of a forrest, the Grand Canyon National Park. During the ride we noticed several trees shot down by thunders but the fires were not spreading due to the Rangers that were looking after the forrest (hallo???, Greek Government????)
We arrived in a small indian town, run by indians. Actually the whole Grand Canyon business is run by Indians. They have arrived in some sort of arrangement/agreement with the US government where they dont have to pay taxes as long as they stay within the Canyon area. (HALLO...they used to live there a looooooooooooong time ago)...Anyways.
We dined at the restaurant of the hotel where there was a shop before the restaurant with wonderful indian artifacts. Dinner was simple and they served no alcohol. We had some chicken nachos and some salad with coke. I asked for a beer (without thinking) and the young boy who was serving us was really surprised by my request and answered to me in a very polite manner what I should have known: We don't serve alcohol ma'am. I bit my tongue. I knew, but forgot. Well, no alcohol would not do me any harm
Next morning I wake up at 5.30am. I get up, take a few shots at the sunset and hurry Mary up to go to the canyon as fast as possible. We are there at about 8am - after breakfast, shower, phone calls, etc etc
So we are in the South Rim, the most touristy but also safer area (the path is the wider and less steep)
Whatever people might tell you about the Grand Canyon it is true. What I had not realized is that the feeling is completely different from looking at it at above and going down. Not unless you decide to go down these rocks, do you understand its size. Really. The further down we went, colors changed. Not only that, but the more we went toward Colorado River, the more we understood how big it was and the more we understood that the Canyon is full of life. It is not a set of rocks, but it has its own ecosystem that it is completely autonomous! No wonder so many Indian tribes had gathered around it. Also, if you have seen Indian shapes like the Greek meandros in their garments, they represent the various shapes of the canyon rocks.
The Canyon was formed over the last 250million years if not more, due to the flow of Colorado River. Actually the one thing I would like to do again in my life is to spend a week or so in the Canyon, were you leave by canoe from the South Rim - once you go all the way down - to the North Rim which is more beautiful, wild and steeper.
The further down we go, the rocks change color in geometric symmertry to represent the various geological layers.
Trully amazing, spectacular, unbelievably gorgeous and inviting!
We spend about six hours hiking down and up, going down took us longer because I was taking pictures all the way. We only managed to get to the second reststation and then head up again. That was only because of the time constraints. One thing for sure, is that I am going back to the canyon. Las Vegas maybe never - besides I've already seen Tom Jones now - but the Canyon, definitely
The only other time that man can realize how small we really are is in the middle of the vastness of the ocean. The Grand Canyon also has that effect on you, but also imagine if we could look at the depths of the ocean, how small would that make us feel. And how powerful to be able to explore it. Of course for the Indians, the Canyon was more than their home. It was the home of their Gods, their Olympus.