Monday, July 26, 2010

4th of July, Vegas and Death Valley

I always wondered how are the famous American holydays celebrated in America and before starting the travel I also told Jan to calculate more or less our schedule in order to be in an important city for the 4th of July celebrations. We were lucky to be invited at the house of the parents of Justin and so I also offered to cook a Romanian dish ( cabbage with meet). Once arrived there we were expected with a table with hot dogs, hamburgers, fruits, muffins and drinks. It did not take us long to become full and as soon as it was 7.30 pm we left with Justin in his car towards the Strip. It was here the place where all the action (fireworks) was going to happen. We visited first the famous sign that appears in most American films – the famous Las Vegas sign and after a few photos we went down on the strip trying to park the car with the intention to find a good spot to watch the fireworks. The strip was full of people, almost bursting into the strip, but the police was patrolling all the time so no one was aloud on the road. We could not park the car at the Bellagio but we were lucky because few moments after going out of the parking the fireworks started, first with low intensity and then raising the frequency and beauty probably competing with some of the best fireworks I ever saw plus it lasted about 30 min. until all the sky was full of smoke. All the people of so many nations and ethnics of the world were all in an huge awe after each firework . It was amazing and at the end the deserved applauses came. After that, Justin took us to the oldest casinos of Vegas, a place that as Hollywood bvd. looked poorly taken care of and decadent with loads drunk or drugged people, prostitutes but also families, old people and tourist. It was the kind of mix that can both amaze you and make you sick. Not so late in the evening we went back home. Next day Justin was receiving 2 new guests so we had to go but because we wanted to spend more time in Las Vegas we contacted with Jordan from Los Angeles who is originally from Las Vegas and who recommended to visit his parents once arrived into the city. Annie and Steve received us into their beautiful home closed into a community of private luxurious houses in Henderson. We even had to get approved at the gate to be able to get in. So anyway, after just a few moments spent in the house we discovered they had these two little baby dogs Maggie and Annie whom I loved from th first moment. That night we were invited to a restaurant and we managed to talk a bit about our travels and about Jordan’s future travel. We were about 3 days in their house and I just loved being their. The decoration of the house was amazing. Steve in building houses for rich people….houses over 5 mil dollars but at least he has ethics…he does not build for anyone. Jordan is a lucky guy to have his family support him in his adventurous plans of life traveling. Lets see how long it will take him until settles down.
After these 3 marvelous relaxing days ( the night before going we went out in Vegas and played some dollars at the roulette, a game that we have been watching for a while, a game that has less possibility of wining – we saw a guy lose 3000 dollars in one hand)…but anyway it was time to go so Friday morning we packed our backpacks, said goodbye to Annie and Steve and to the precious little dogs and left towards Death Valley. The night before Jan advised that we should leave early in the morning from Vegas to be able to skip the terrible heat of the Death Valley region but I thought that if in Vegas the temperature arrives to 46C how much worse can it be right?....but I was dead wrong…the temperature arrived to 51…it was just painful, you could not breathe and the moment we got out of Vegas we realized we will be completely miserable because the air con of the car stopped functioning , but maybe in a way it was for better because our old little van might have gotten into trouble by using power to cool down and also drive through the region. Heat makes me a very angry and frustrated person because the whole rising in temperature completely goes against my surviving system. I have to admit though that Death Valley has some impressive views, especially from Dante’s Peak. The Valley is set about 100m below sea level so it feels like a oven even during the night when long after the sunset the temperature was still about 47C. I said to Jan to be prepared to drive till we get out of this terrible heat and we did find in the same park a peak that was only at 27C and we spent a relaxing night after a nice refreshing shower into the wilderness.

Next morning I woke up with new energy and I was so inspire that I told Jan that I wanted to drive the car trough the park also because there is no one as crazy as us to be 2 days in Death Valley. I drove at least 30 miles and I enjoyed a lot…sometimes Jan was telling me DRIVE SLOWER!!!!!hehe

Going out of Death Valley was a relief but still the heat in California seem to persist. That day we drove through the mountains on the side of a mountain river with many camping places, even Jan wanted to take a bath in the river until he realized it is too cold to get into the river and he calmed down. We were on our way to Sequoia National Park and Yosemite. The night before arriving to Sequoia we stopped in small village where we went to the only bar that seemed to be in town and we could watch the final of the World Cup and of course after a hard job Spain got the well deserved title and so we celebrated in the American way …going to a fast food..hehe.

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