breakfast in Luang Prabang, Laos, 2009
Always nice enjoying breakfast outdoors on the porch of the restaurant with the sun coming up driving the morning chill away. Hot coffee and eggs and sausages. What does one need more. What I remember the most of all my trips are these kind of outdoor breakfasts. Back in Indochina, where i had my own little cottage and breakfast was served on the porch. Back in Nepal the last day of the Anapurna trip when i had e few hours of sleep in the storeroom of potatoes on a wooden shell...aboven the ktichen which was oprative as sunbreak (5 in the morning) with the golden view of the Himalaya shivering down my bones.
And so we wen ton, packing the Tuscon and calppin gthe trunk with force to close it as puzzling the luggage went more difficult at those times ha! Long trips over the dusty roads right to nevada, the other state and to another state of mind LAS VEGAS.
I really did not knwo what to expect. Traffic was more hectic and rushing than evrywhere else we have been before but hey we Belgians are used to that kid of driving. we had reserved ourselves a suit in de Signature at the MGM grand through internet. We chekced in the car, and ourselves. I stayd at floor 28 and my friend at floor 19 I believe. A huge suite!!! The one of my friends was almost as big as the place where I live back here in Ghent. And the got a little terrace with a nice lookout but big noise from the dancing bar at the pool. A pol which i never went visiting. A pity as i really got tired after a few hours of aimlessly dwellin gcasino by casino. Las Vegas was meant to be relaxing to have somethign else, to drown a bit in luxury. But gambling, no... I really was tempted and i went looking at tables to follow the games a lot but i never went for it. As i did not fully understand the rules it would have been the same as just throwing my money away. Temptation was really hard anyway. Bt i spent it on frozen yoghurt and good food. Becasue one thing Vegas has is good food. OK you pay average Belgian princes for a dish but it's really good. And that made me happy. I wnet walking the night to shoot some nightpictures. But where i was, really there was nothgin but stupid crowds...not like in the TV-series with beuatifull stylish people. i guess that all happens behind the corridorwith teh 'high limits"-signs.
Anyway the roller girls who went to Vegas todl me I had to go to the old strip but anyway what could i've been doing over ther eon my own?
So Vegas, really i can't give you any points. Glad I saw it but it's even more dump than the local Kermis or Sinksenfoor in Antwerpen.
Good food thoug, We went eating our first dish at the rainforest restaurant, exceptional place for kids, but gloomy and every 15 minurtes the animated animals make a deafening noise.
Mister E was fascinated. We also at at great fresh ravioli with truffles at Fiamma's, and italian restaurant near our hotel with great friendly service and they didn't even mind Mister E throwing all things in his neughbourhood with full force to the ground. I even drank a big coffee after dinner, which i normally don't because of the fact I fukking can not sleep at night when i drink coffee.
It's also ironic, that now i had my own place far away from my friends and baby, sleep was really not that good. And seems my friend spent a horrible night that night too :s which had some consequences on the tempo of our trip but we managed to go on anyway luckily!
So because we really were not able to do big things in Vegas we bought ourselves tickets for Cirque du Soleil, they had their own Ka-theatre. I've never seen such breathtaking things like this. The full theatre is used as a decor with moving floor and spectacular smoke and light illusions. I really really enjoyed it so much. I think the tickets were like 170 dollars or somethign per person. We didn't care. It was worth it. I also did finish my enormous ginger drink without having to pee in the middle of the show. Afterwards my friends went sleepig and i wnet for a little strool through the casino's as people seemed to be dressed up , typically for a fridaynight. But no bet placed.
Finding good breakfast in vegas is anohter weird thing. The little bar at our hotel didn't serve what i wanted and all other restaurants served also greasy stuff. Coffe I could find in the starbucks. And I bought myself some egg-dish with toast but I really didn't enjoy it.
Back to nature!!!!
So The next day, there was no alarmclock from another room that was waking me up from 6 o'clock in the morning. Even Mister E managed to sleep a bit longer. And after breakfast we packed the car and drove off to Death Valley. A long road. A very long trip. But as I said traffic on US-highways is really relaxing. And beautiful weather and again marvelous landscapes. And ok, watch the fuel! And yes there it happens. We're driving for hours in dusty desert planes with no town or gasstations for miles. And suddenly when you think you will get to the next city, the range of miles drops like a rock in the sky. So you drive for minutes with zero miles on your computer till you find a very little gasstation at the side of the road. You also want something to eat because it's way in the afternoon it's hot and you're tired and thirsty. Luckily the lady of the house tells us we can drive the next road off and follow the road for 14 miles to California City where we have plent of choices in gas and food. And so we do.... so the civilization in the desert lies far beneath the dusty roadtracks.
Lots of sand covers the road as do warning signs and yes police speedcontrols like in the movies hidden beyong a littel bush...really...
We entered the city...and had some Subway. We really did get addcited to subway during our roadtrip. And actually i kinda liked it and always took the BMT. Lot's of charcuterie like we call it in Belgium and i love the jalapeños and pickles.
At the local gas station you see those idiot warnings like "no shirt, no service" and other really offending warnings that makes you watch your moves and behaviour. Anyway the kind of people you see in these kind of town is what you can expect: what kind of business or employment is there here in the middle of the desert?
So now we had our tummy filled the diapers refreshed and hydrated ourselves and our car, we could go on through Death valley. And there it lied, breathtaking surroundings. Panamint Springs Resort.
A camping along the road full of tough bikers and campers, a cottage, the only cottage we had reserved for us and some other buildings with rooms. We had to register ourselves at the gasstation next to the restaurant and bar. The lady at the gasstation is kind of robotic in her answering and doings...i couldn't help laughing. Really really weird lady. Anyway we got the keys of the cottage and installed ourselves and just enjoyed the tranquillity of the vast surroundings. The mountains at the horizon where the moon rose that evening. Amazing. The restaurant serves quite nice food, not that much choice and if you want alcohol you have to buy it at the gasstation which opens till late at night luckily.
Breakfast is all you can eat for 10 dollars and coffee is not that bad!
From Panamint Springs you just drive 45 minutes to Stovepipe Wells and the Mezquite Sand Dunes: amazing again and early morning it's still not that hot in the sand. From Stovepipe Wells you drive further to Furnace Creek: the most recent village and resort. We moved further on the Bad Water: the lowest point of the park beneath sea level: salt lakes But when you have seen Uyuni Desert in Bolivia: this is nothing. Actually whole of Death Valley reminds me of the Bolivian Andes but less pretty. Anyway the desolated vast landscapes still are mindblowing and makes one wonder about existential things. But maybe that's just me. I love this kind of nothingness. You can learn a lot about the history, geology and things like that. So there we went back to Zabriskie Point: the most amazing look out I've ever seen. Such colourfull rocks, mountains, i never could have imagined that.
Really die hard people can go hiking in Death Valley and even to the famous Peak you see from everywhere around 12.000 ft high.
I'd do it on other occasions!
When we returned after lunch in Furnace Creek and after I send some postcards to the home front, of which the most important one arrived, the one to my grandmother arrived at the wrong adress and the one to my godchild never came through as I was mistaken in the road...again, now that i had the housenumber right..., we stopped by a old mine. This was where the 20-mule -team was going back in the dark days. Borax transported by a 20-mule-train over hundreds of miles.
Chinese workers sleeping on the spot. Tough life conditions...
After we returned I went also to visit the Mosaic Canyon but it was not that spectacular.