Monday, May 11, 2009

Notes from a parched country

Got back from Vegas yesterday. A few days in the navel of sin and I've reacted far closer to Sayyid Qutb than I would have previously guessed. Had a great time with friends, but boy does a further adventure not interest me.

Some thoughts:

--Jesus effing Christ, you people choose to live in a desert? On purpose? From the point of view of a Canadian who's used to living on the shore of a Great Lake, this makes no sense at all. If the lack of freshwater wasn't enough, the heat was really oppressive. You get used to it quickly enough, but stepping out of the airport on the first day was a bit of a shock. And it was allegedly only 35 degrees or so. Yes, I'm a Canadian who's apparently not comfortable too far from the freezing point of water.

--Saw the Hoover Dam. Very impressive. You realize something rather important about the Hoover when you realize that hydroelectricity is its secondary purpose. Providing regular control over the Colorado River is the main mission, and one it's done pretty well. The bypass bridge they're building over the Dam is really impressive in construction too. No doubt it will provide drivers with an impressive view of the Dam (travelling west at least) when it's complete.

--A very observant friend suggests that the construction of the Hoover Dam is basically America's most successful experiment with actual socialism: government contractors, working in an isolated town with substantial social controls to prevent "deviance", all working for the good of the state. It's America's Magnitogorsk.

--When the sun goes down, the American Southwest actually has a bearable climate, one that's really well experienced driving through the desert, even if you're only driving a rented minivan with five friends. If you squint hard, you're basically bullseyeing whomp rats on a landspeeder in Beggar's Canyon back home.

--My friends mentioned these on the plane ride down to Vegas, and even if it was all that I'd experienced as a result of the trip, it would still be worth the price of the plane ticket:

--Prostitutes don't look like they do in the movies. And strippers aren't really that charming. But then, I wasn't the one getting the lap dance.

1 comment:

Gar Lipow said...

I lived in Houston for a time, which is hot and humid. There were a fair number of retired Canadians there notorious for their love of the heat. When it was 95 degrees Farenheit out and 95% humidity, and most Houstonians were indoors running their air conditioning, Canadians would be outside enjoying the heat. Maybe the reaction would have been different to dry heat. Also obviously not claiming that this was a representative sample. Obviously Canadians who choose to retire in Houston are self-selecting for heat tolerance.