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When in Rome

...do as the Romans do

sunny 29 °C

Because of the heavy traffic in SIlicon Valley area, and the fact I spent too much time in the Computer History museum, I had to change my plans a bit and do a sleepover on the road to Las Vegas - at Bakersfield, after about 4 hours of driving, which was just about half of the way to Vegas. The next day I arrived in Vegas and met my friend Davor who flew in from Boston to meet me and spend some time off. Davor is a software engineer who managed to get the US green card in a lottery, so I guess he is a lucky guy. But none of that luck kicked in when he tried the slots that day, and I never saw him at a casino table again.
We decided to explore the surrounding areas, and went on two interesting expeditions. The first one was a ride to the Grand Canyon, and originally we thought we'd drive there but after some advice from a few friends, we opted for a helicopter ride. It saves much time, and it provides the views of the Canyon which are impossible to get otherwise. The only downside was, once the helicopter lands in the Canyon, you only get to spend about 30 minutes there, before flying back. The flight itself takes about 30 minutes, and was a nice new experience (but it also has a downside - can make you sick very easily, which almost happened to me). So generally speaking, that adventure was a short, but an intense experience with some breathtaking views from both air and ground. Flying over the Hoover Dam was an additional bonus.

Sunset on the road from San Francisco to Las Vegas

Sunset on the road from San Francisco to Las Vegas

Flying near the Hoover Dam

Flying near the Hoover Dam

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Another view of the Canyon

Another view of the Canyon

Down in the Canyon

Down in the Canyon

Our ride to Grand Canyon

Our ride to Grand Canyon

Another expedition was a drive through the Death Valley, located in the Mojave Desert a few hours away, and it is the lowest, driest, and hottest area in North America. The temperatures of 40-50 degrees Celsius are very common here because of the specific climate and terrain configuration. The lowest point within the Valley is the so-called Badwater Basin, with the elevation of 86m below sea level.
Death Valley has a very interesting history, both the geological one and the one related to human exploration and even the native inhabitants: it is home to the Timbisha tribe, also known as the Panamint Shoshone, who have inhabited the valley for more than 1000 years. So it's a very interesting thing to read about and learn.

A view of the Death Valley from Dante's point

A view of the Death Valley from Dante's point


At the Dante's point

At the Dante's point

The Zabriskie point

The Zabriskie point


At the 'devils golf course'

At the 'devils golf course'


Badwater basin

Badwater basin


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We also went to see some shows and concerts (Rod Stewart concert, David Copperfield performance and the Absynthe show), went through all the shiny hotels on the Strip, and even visited Fremont street in the old, downtown part (if you remember the old video for that U2 song "I still haven't found what I'm looking for" - that was filmed on Fremont street.)

After my friend left for Boston, I was on my own, and as the old saying goes: When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
So I just learned to play some new games and even went to the Bellagio for a Holdem no limit tournament. Although just a casual player, after more than eight exhausting hours and surrounded by professional players, I managed to win the 2nd place in a 50 player tournament, which was a great success and a perfect ending of the Vegas adventure.

Veni, vidi, (almost) vici!

The winner and the runner-up

The winner and the runner-up


Las Vegas by night (taken from the Stratosphere top deck)

Las Vegas by night (taken from the Stratosphere top deck)

Posted by VukomanovicIgor 01:54 Archived in USA Tagged grand_canyon las_vegas death_valley

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Comments

predivne fotke! da sam prije znala da ces se zaustaviti u bakersfieldu, dala bih ti kontakt moje rodbine koja tamo zivi pa da te ugoste:) super putopis, citamo te dalje!
PS jesu skupi ti chopper rides u grand canyon?

by eva

E to bi bilo bas super, ali evo ni sam nisam znao da cu se tamo zaustaviti. Mislio sam krenuti ujutro iz San Francisca i doci navecer u Vegas, ali kako sam krenuo tek kasno popodne, morao sam stati, a Bakersfield je bio taman. Choppera ima za 200-400 dolara, ako se dobro sjecam, ovisi o kompaniji i o tome slijeces li u kanjon ili radis samo prelet.

by VukomanovicIgor

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