I left Yosemite for Vegas at maybe 5p.m. – way too late for an eight hour drive. But I had the radio and my ipod and my laptop, and, after hours of conducting the soundtrack to Pirates of the Caribbean and singing the Wicked Musical at the top of my lungs to my pet rock, I made it – at about 2am. Other stops along my route are not that great in the dark – the Grand Canyon is just a big black hole, a waterfall in Yosemite is nonexistent – but Vegas is made for the night.
So part of the reason I haven’t stayed in a hotel this entire trip (besides the expense) is that most hotels require you be at least 21. And I am 20. I will be 21 in a few days but that does not help me right now in Vegas, where I do not want to sleep in my car and there are no campgrounds. I ended up begging, telling the night manager of the Motel 6 I would be 21 in just a few days, that I wouldn’t be a problem whatsoever – and that I could pay in cash.
I hit the streets with my camera. The security guards and I made knowing glances at each other as we both eyed the hilariously bedazzled drunk girls parading down the streets, leaning on one another and the occasional dude for support. I found the city enchanting: the volume of lights and showy architecture encompassing ridiculously happy people. It was almost better than New York – the buildings are prettier here, the streets (ok, so just the one I was on) were cleaner, and there were just as many if not more Broadway shows and concerts. The one difference I had to reel myself back with was that New York is actually productive – beyond all the glitz and glam real work is being done – like research and innovation and economy stuff, and when the lights come up here, I don’t see much. It’s flashy entertainment with no substance. Then again, I didn’t wake up until noon the next day.