Saturday, April 30, 2011

Day 4 Road Trip '11: Glorious LA, cont.

So the plan was to get up at 8 but of course that didn't happen. We got to the beach around 10 though, so it wasn't bad at all. We went for Santa Monica Pier and found it devoid of all human activity, which was perfect in my mind. All I wanted to do was lay in the sand for a while anyhow. Since I draw my power from the yellow sun it was a fitting way to recharge in my mind.

Laying on the beach is therapeutic. Try laying on the beach and thinking of your problems. Pretty hard to do, if you ask me. There's just something about being on the sand in the sun, with the smell of the sea and the breeze blowing in your face that will Obliviate! your problems. The beach is a wizard. I would guess Hufflepuff.

The activity level on the beach stayed pretty low throughout the day. There were few people there although there was a promising gaggle of females that turned out to all be under the age of 16. Luckily Kyle's skillfull eye caught on to this fact before we did anything rash like purposefully throw our football into their beach towels while they sunbathed. We're original like that.

We threw around the football, kicked around the soccerball, played on the playground, and soaked up the sun until about 2 PM. Around that time the beach started to pick up significantly in terms of activity, but we were about done with this beach so we decided to head off to the next one. On the way we saw the Hollywood sign, so I checked that off my bucket list and blasted Miley Cyrus while dancing out of the sunroof.

We made a pit stop to drop off our rented boogie boards and pick up my MINI. Luckily I only had to pay TWO THOUSAND FLIPPIN SMACKERS to have all four wheels replaced and the brake pads replaced. I guess I forgot to mention that my tires were starting to rip they were in such bad shape. When I checked my MINI in we had inspected the tires together and the service guy was shocked that the tire was still intact. He pointed out that the tires were actually cracking and peeling horizontally across the treads. That plus my brake pads being so worn out - yeah I should have died, but the magic of California sustained the MINI.

There is a stretch of beaches in LA that we hit up afterwards. The beaches are Manhattan Beach (which we had visited the day before), Hermosa Beach (Spanish for beautiful) and Redondo Beach (Rajan Rondo?). We decided to hit up Hermosa and Redonda beaches this time and walk their piers. Kyle broke out his ukulele and we proceeded to fulfill one of his lifelong dreams: to play the uke on the beach. I think there was a second part of that dream that involved serenading a beautiful woman while on the beach playing the uke, but one dream at a time, people.

We played and sang to random people passing by until we saw the most perfectly formed female from across the beach and hypnotically gathered our gear and followed after. It wasn't just us either, we realized. The entire beach would stop as this woman passed by and just stare. The homeless potsmokers would all whistle and cat call, but everyone else would literally stop walking, watch her go by, and then continue on their way. Kyle tried to tell me that he's seen more beautiful woman in Portugal but I don't believe him. This was the pinnacle of human form and you might get another human that looks similar, but there is no "better looking" than what we witnessed that day. It's like the human form fits into different classes, and while there is variation within the class, everything in that class carries the same attributes. Like a scale of 1-10. All 10's don't look alike, but all 10's are 10's. You can't really say that one 10 is more attractive than another 10. They're both 10's. This woman was of course a 13 easy.

Anyhow, we wandered the pier and recovered our senses in time to get on some beach cruisers and ride the length of the beaches, about 10 miles round trip. Kyle elected to rollerblade while B-Reil and I hoped on the cruisers.

The only thing missing from the bike ride was a little bell to ring at people as they passed. There were a bunch of people on the trail, but not so many as to be crowded or annoying. I settled for yelling "ring ring" at people but it's just not the same. Regardless, the ride was just as magical as any other aspect of LA had been. Just imagine cruising up and down 10 miles of west coast beach at sunset while yelling "ring ring" at people. Man I love California.

The bike/rollerblade ride ended and we begrudgingly turned in our equipment and started to accept the fact that we would soon put LA behind us for an indefinite period of time. We had been planning to get ice cream all day, and after remembering that there was such an establishment near Manhattan beach we went right for it.

This was more than just an ice cream shop, we realized. It WAS Candy Mountain. There were tons of home-made candies and goodies, ranging from chocolate strawberries to cheesecake to EDIBLE LINGERIE (How's that working out for you by the way, Joel?). There were ice cream sandwiches made from homemade cookies and ice cream and chocolate dipped pretzels. I asked about the chocolate covered insects but the cashier said they tasted like mustard so I kept my distance. I didn't take any pictures because I was so distracted by what I was about to eat that I forgot to. They don't make candy shops like this anymore.

We took off on a sugar high and headed out of the city for Vegas where we would stay the night again. I led the way and we got separated. I ended up being a good twenty minutes ahead of them when I started seeing signs for Norwalk. I was like... "Why does that seem so familiar?" And then I was like OH YEAH OUR STRIPPER FRIEND. I lold and thought it'd be funny if our route out of the city took us by there again and what do you know? It took us right past there. What. Are. The. Odds. Seriously. This whole trip has been a series of extremely well placed coincidences. A Quantum Physicist would say that I have achieved Quantum Immortality. Course, a Quantum Physicist would also say that the cat is both dead and alive at the same time so go figure that one out.

I just couldn't pass this up. I had to get a saucy picture with our stripper friend and text it to Kyle. I resolved that I would park, get out, and get in immediately or I wouldn't do it. So I bucked up went in before I could think twice about it.

You have to realize that until the day before I had not even ever seen a real life pair of boobs so I was way in over my head here. I was braced for the worst as I went in, and to be honest I was a bit disappointed with all the hype about strip clubs. First of all, there were no naked people. I was like, "wut?" I had been expecting to be bombarded with depravity and debauchery of unprecedented magnitude, but nope. I didn't even have to cover my eyes like Terell and I did in the tenth grade during the Matrix II sex scene in theaters (by the way that whole scene was like WTF?). All the girls (and by "all" I mean like all four of the females I saw in the establishment) were wearing MORE clothes than what I had seen on the girls at the beach all day. There were maybe five guys total in there watching the NBA playoffs, and one girl (with clothes on) standing next to the TV, seemingly watching it as well. I had texted our friend and she said she would be right out so I waited there trying not to look ridiculously awkward but failed miserably at that. I was the only guy not looking at stage, for suddenly there was a commercial on the TV and then something resembling the hype of strip clubs going on next to it. I thought, "oh that's clever" when our friend tapped me on the shoulder and led me into the back before more and more clever things started happening.

Our friend and I laughed as I explained what I was after, and she was more than happy to oblige. We posed for a saucy picture, which coming from me means that raunchier things have been seen on Nickelodeon. One flash (of the camera) and motorboat later, I shot out the door and into the MINI and sent the picture text to Blue Falcon feeling extremely pleased with myself. ...Wait, that didn't sound right. Feeling very satisfied? ...That doesn't sound right either... I felt like the mission had been accomplished with minimal collateral damage? Closer, warmer, better.

Kyle laughed his head off as we talked over the radio and drove our way out of LA.

Out of glorious LA.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Day 3 Road Trip '11: Vegas to Glorious LA

I woke up and went for a quick workout at this extremely nice park near B-Reil's house. We woke up late and got started late but it wasn't really late per se. Everything happened right at the perfect time (a reoccurring theme on this trip).

The drive to LA was one to remember, and not because of the geography. We were on the lookout for some chickadees heading to LA that maybe we could befriend and hook up with later, and after a few failed attempts, Kyle and B-Reil found some. Kind of.

All I know is that suddenly Kyle is on the radio (we had a walkie-talkie app on our phones) saying, "SKYLAR. Look to your right." I did and there was a BMW with two girls in it. I smiled and they laughed at something. It was weird, because even though it happened so fast I knew what was going to happen the second they had started laughing. And even though her technique was unique (she went with the pull-the-neckline-down as opposed to the lift the shirt up) I had this brief instant where I was like, "She's about to flash me." And flash me she did.

Turns out she was a stripper in LA. Not exactly what we had in mind, but it made for interesting conversation. Very interesting conversation. They had apparently seen Kyle and B-Reil and they made faces at each other until the girls gave them their number and said to call. Kyle told them that we were celebrating my graduation and she had said "Well lets give him a graduation present." How kind. For the rest of the ride they kept trying to get us to come to their strip club and we kept trying to get them to come to the beach. We kept the conversation (via a mix of calls, texts, and pantomiming) going until all of a sudden we were in LA.

Glorious LA.

California is a magical place. You can tell when you're in California somehow. I don't know if it was the sudden release of endorphins, the absolutely perfect weather, or some kind of surfer zen wafting through the very air itself, but everything seemed lighter and more manageable, like my cares were suddenly this abstract concept floating somewhere "up there."

I had to the MINI in at this point for brake pads. Actually, right when we had left the Vegas city limits I noticed that some warning light was on and thought it was just tire pressure. We stopped to check it and ruh-roh: the brake pads were worn to the minimal safety levels. Luckily MINIs are the coolest cars ever made, and I just pulled out the dealer/repair directory that comes with every single MINI you buy. It has EVERY SINGLE dealer and repair shop in America in a little booklet. I found the one in LA and scheduled an appointment for later in the day. They said they could fix it in one night and I could be back on the road the next day. <3 MINIs.

We have it on video, but Kyle was like, "I can feel the ocean right over this hill. Get ready." We started rolling and BAM! It was there in all of its splendor just over the said hill. (The video is taking too long I'll upload it later.)

There's something about the Ocean... some primal connection I feel to it deep in my soul. If I had lived anytime pre-1800's, I would have been a sailor, no question. When I saw the ocean I just sighed and realized that if the trip ended now, it would have been worth it. Lucky for me it was just starting.

The sand... oh em gee. The beach (Manhattan Beach), the water... I touched the Pacific Ocean. We bodyboarded through the waves and got owned by them. I had forgotten how powerful the ocean is till I tried to beat the oncoming waves and got pushed back 15 yards for every 5 yards I went forward.

We were there for a couple hours, but it was getting late so we took off for McArthur AFB and checked into our kush little unit for a whopping FORTY DOLLARS. I realized how much like an exclusive club the military is. They have all these deals and benefits but only if you're a member. Granted that you earn them rather than buying or being born in, but still. Fortunately for us we got lost on the way. We turned the wrong corner and all of a sudden the sun was there, setting just above the water. I had talked about how I wanted to see the sunset in the west and rise in the east, and this was the perfect sunset picture. I couldn't believe it. What are the odds?

We checked in and unloaded quickly. After getting dressed, we wanted to hit the town but it was already late and we couldn't agree what to do so we drove around aimlessly for a while. B-Reil was starving so we started looking for a place. Problem was, we were on the very southern tip of the city, far removed from anything commercial and the base was literally ten housing units/buildings and a parade field - no food court.

We drove around FOREVER but got a good look at how huge the dock operations are. Geez there are a lot of docks and berths for commercial ships. We finally ended up right next to this diner that was (coincidentally) recommended to us by my friend Victor Calderon. We munched and peaced out only to find that we were right next door to our stripper friend's club. What. Are. The. Odds. We were tripping out. We texted the girls and were like, "is this it? We didn't see you" as if we had went in. I don't think they bought it.

We stood outside the club debating what to do. We had one for, one against, and one abstaining on the motion to go into the club and help our friend out of that lifestyle. There were compelling arguments all around, but in the absence of a quorum, you do nothing. So we piled into the car and took off in search of another adventure but ultimately were too tired to do anything else. Plus it was like midnight or later anyhow. So we turned in, I wrote my first blog post, and we planned the next day. And with that, our first day in LA came to a close.
Our first day in glorious LA.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Day 2 Road Trip '11: The Prologue, cont.

We woke up later than we wanted (which would become a recurring theme during this trip) and headed out to pick up the Lion King tickets. It took forever. The lines were not long and the traffic wasn't bad but HOLY MOSES' STUTTER the tellers were slow. When we finally got out of there we had burned up a lot of our time for Hoover Dam. We were afraid we wouldn't make it: the traffic going out of the city was horrendous; apparently it was the last day of spring break so everyone was returning home via this highway. We almost bailed on the dam due to time constraints, but we rolled the dice and scored big.
We curtailed some of the traffic via a more scenic route and came up on the Dam. If you don't know, the Hoover Damn is huge. Also if you don't know, the canyon that it is built in is HUGE. And also if you hadn't heard, they just built a bridge that spans the enormous canyon. It took 10 years or so to plan/build and it is an epic achievement.

Now, as a kid, I swear I had Gephyrophobia. It's a deathly and irrational fear of bridges, although I would contend that it's perfectly rational. I would have nightmares (and still do) of driving on a bridge over the ocean with NO LEDGE and only ONE LANE. Any movement to the left or right would send me plummeting into the crushing depths of some nameless ocean. Of course, the car would be full of passengers and something would be wrong with the car, like a blown tire or something.

Well I conquered this fear of bridges. I would force myself to look over the edge and see what was below us. I wanted to be a fighter pilot at the time, you see, so I couldn't be scared by something as trivial as bridges. I would look at the cars around me and be like, "See, they are driving over just fine and they haven't died yet." I would wait for them to spontaneously combust or fall through the road into some hidden, never-ending chasm, but they never would. Soon I didn't even get butterflies when driving over one.

The Pat Tillman Bridge at the Hoover Dam brought it all back full force. I walked out on that bridge and felt my whole body seize up. The bridge had a walkway for pedestrians with a chest-high wall on both the canyon and road side (the road is like four a four lane highway for cars to pass over). This one guy was sitting on the edge of the walkway but on the road side, which made me envision sitting on the CANYON side. As soon I as did so, I physically convulsed and my back kinked up. I involuntarily shifted to the road side of the walkway and hugged the wall. No joke.

The wind was blowing so hard I thought it might actually pick me up and toss me over like a rag doll. The wind in that canyon is powerful (they should put some windmills up there and just add to the power being generated by the dam). I took my sunglasses off because I felt them getting lifted off my face.

As I made my way out onto the bridge it only got worse because I could now see fully the grandeur of my death should the bridge suddenly collapse or the wind toss me over the edge. I felt the sharp stab of the rocks ripping my body in half as I peered over the edge. My heart was seriously pounding. And it wasn't the height, I realized. I mean, I've been skydiving and I LUVED it. Here it was the combination of height, bridgeness, and SHARP ROCKS that awaited my inevitable and involuntary descent. I finally caught up to Kyle and B-Reil (I was going pretty slow) and we agreed that when we did fall off, we would die from a massive heart attack before hitting anything below. Kyle told me some fact about that being the case, and I believe it. If (or rather, when) I fell from there my heart would literally explode the second I started free falling.

Anyway I survived (somehow) and we made our way off the bridge to the dam. We were really pressed for time but B-Reil insisted that it would be worth it so we rolled the dice and scored big again.

The Dam is just incredible. The whole time I was thinking about the bottom 1% of the gene pool that I had mucked through the night before, and how it had taken the top 1% of the human gene pool to create something like this. I was awed. The Dam is also right on the Nevada/Arizona state line so you can be in both states at once. There is a clock on each side that has the states' times, and a really, really cool memorial with some kind of cherubic figures guarding a diagram of the galaxy. If I had more time I coulda spent the whole day looking at the diagram. I'm gonna have to find a picture of it if I can...

I had another chance for reflection here. Mainly I just reflected on the immensity of what human beings had accomplished here. This canyon was about the most powerful earthly landmark that I had ever witnessed. The sheer volume of water, the size of the chasm, the force of the wind... how could man tame such a landscape? I was awed.

Finally, I will just point out that the water level of the dam's lake is SIGNIFICANTLY reduced from when the dam was built. You can see in the rock face the discoloration from decades of water and can clearly see the past water levels. At one point in history the surface of the lake was close enough to jump into quite comfortably, as long as you didn't mind getting sucked into the depths of hydrologic madness. Now though, if you jumped you'd be falling for a while and contact wit the surface would be anything but comfortable.

We peaced out and sped towards the city. The traffic was more or less clear, but we missed our turn and fretted about having to stand outside the doors for the whole first act. But SOMEHOW we made it to the theater, changed in the parking lot, and sat in our seats 2 minutes before the show started. I couldn't believe it but I was like "I'll take it."

As for the show... meh. My only regret about Las Vegas is not going to see Cirque du Soleil. I mean, you can see Lion King anywhere but not Cirque du Soleil. Do they have it in NYC? If they do I'll hit it up there. But Kyle really wanted to see Lion King ("I'll fight people to get into that show") and I was indifferent about what show we watched so long as we watched one while in Vegas. But Dad, you were right.

In any case, Lion King was still enjoyable save a few points which I will point out.

1) Little Simba should be fired, flogged, and kept out of show business forever. That kid was so annoying that I had to cover my ears when he was on stage sometimes. He spoke through his nose the whole time and was completely off tempo and just... sucky. I was really getting tired of the show by the time Act I was over and that dumb kid's part finished.

2) Scar fell flat. His role in the play has even more show-stealing potential than the movie, but he and the director didn't seem to think so. They made him into this obnoxiously animated squealer of a schemer as opposed to the Scar from the movie who is (seemingly) lazy, lackadaisical, and yet fueled with a seething with hatred for Simba and Mufasa. He is sinister and cunning in the movie, but was more cartoonish, loud, and clumsy in the play. Oh well. Kyle and I both said that we coulda done a better Scar. Even if we could have directed it we could have fixed it, so I blame both the director and actor.

3) The movie had the comedic timing down perfectly. Since the lines were taken right from the movie, it would make sense to follow the tempo and timing, right? But in what was clearly an effort to "not be the movie" the director changed up the tempo and timing for the worse. Just stick to what works, people.

4) Finally, some of the extra songs were just crap. "Chow down" was stupid and pointless and blaringly obnoxious, and get this: SCAR WAS HITTING ON NALA TRYING TO GET HER TO MARRY HIM LIKE WTFFFFF. Anyway, some of those extra songs sucked majorly.

However, there were some amazing things about the show:

1) The costumes and scenery were mind-blowing. The animals were so imaginative in their execution, and the scenery was just breathtaking. I was constantly impressed with how they used the stage. It rotated and elevated during the scenes which added this depth that really moved the audience during key moments.

2) There were these little African dances interspersed throughout the show that were just wonderful. They mainly focused on the lionesses, who would come out, sing and dance, and then the next scene would start. Very well done.

3) Although some of the extra songs sucked, some were really impressive and felt like they had always been a part of the show. Nala sang a song as she left the pridelands to look for a better life and better lands for her people that was really moving. Rafiki and Mufasa (at different times) sang this song about how the great kings of the past live in you. "He lives in you" was a such a great song, you should check it out. Very powerful, I though, especially with the way they did the starts all over the theater for that number.

4) The stampede scene was AMAZING. I was blown away by how they did it. I don't know if I could adequately explain how they did it... They had four ledges, and at the very top ledge they had shadows of the wildebeasts grazing. Simba was situated on the third ledge. When he roars, the ground shakes and he looks up. Then there are a series of cylinders with wildebeests on each ledge which turn towards the audience, giving the effect of the the wildebeest running up over a ridge and then down the terrace, only to reappear at a lower terrace. Then on the very bottom ledge, below Simba, they had people in wildebeest costumes stampeding. It was an incredible effect. And Mufasa's death was just epic. That scene was so well done (except for Scar).

5) Finally, Rafiki was just on point the whole time. What a great performer and a great part. Kudos to the writers, director, and actor for pulling off this role.

We left hungry; we hadn't eaten all day in order to make the Dam and the show, and we were starving. All I'll say about it is that after eating I felt completely energized. It was like night and day. I was so energized and pumped, and I realized right then how important a full stomach is to your mood.

We ended the night with me and Kyle hitting up the strip again and B-Reil going to visit some friends. Kyle and I had some shopping to do.

Two things I noticed this time:

1) Good grief THIS is the city that never sleeps. NYC goes to bed, trust me I know I've lived there. Las Vegas DOES NOT SLEEP. It was ONE A.M. and all the shopping malls were still open and PACKED. You can seriously go shopping at any time on the strip. Any. Time.

2) You get desensitised very quickly by the materialistic dogma of the city. The nudy pictures and the constant barrage of smutty ads didn't phase me as much, and I started wanted things like cars and houses and clothes that I didn't really want before. I realized how easy it would be to fall into that trap of a lifestyle. I remember saying that if I lived in this city, all I would think about is getting money so I could get a sweet place in the city center to live.

Anyhow, I got some socks and Kyle some.. something I can't remember, and we headed home. Guess I'll get my shoes in LA.

((PS I know some of the pics are sideways. I just don't have time to straighten them right now. If you know how to do it in the blogger let me know.))

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 1 Road Trip '11: The Prologue

So I graduated, right? Now what?

A cross country roadtrip in the MINI Cooper, of course.

I'm on my way from SLC to LA to NYC to GA to get (in a very scenic and roundabout way) to my first training station at Ft. Benning. Graduation was meh (although there is a good story that I will tell you about when I get to NYC), so I'm just gonna go straight to the trip.


We woke up at around nine AM, and after getting all of our last minute errands out of the way we were off. We headed for Walmart to stock up on snacks and such before starting the meat of the drive to Vegas.

Southern Utah is seriously beautiful country. Almost immediately after getting past Spanish Fork it was just pristine, untouched nature. The red rocks of southern Utah caught us by surprise (they just all of a sudden cropped up), and St. George was more scenic than I remember. Of course, the last time I was there I had just run twenty-some miles through the night during the Red Rock Relay so...

We made great time to St. George and stopped for some snackage and to get ready for the last leg to Vegas. About this time we decided to stop and see Kyle's friend from the mission en route.

We passed the Wild Gorge at a blazing 80 mph. B-Real was driving like an animal while I was driving like a grandma. Up to that point I had been blazing through Utah at 90mph but I dropped to 50 mph for this windy, breathtaking canyon.

We made it out alive, even with all of the signal failures of our phones and radios. We stopped in a town called Bunkerville to see Kyle's friend Dallin Magoon from the mission. Home boy is a workin man in the straight up country. He was talkin about driving to his ranch (via four wheeler) to bale some hay at mindnight the night before. He took us out on a pair of four wheelers and we screamed like girls all the way to the river. There was a family on vacation there with a motorpool of four wheelers and dirt bikes driven by 5 year olds that put us to shame.

About this time I had my first real moment of reflection since graduation. I looked out at this river in the middle of absolutely beautiful country untouched by the clutter of modern cities and just took it all in. These families out here were so happy and had such simple lives. It was easy to see how you could be so happy though: there was a dad riding a four wheeler with his seven year old daughter, flanked by three other kids under 13 riding alongside, and of course the family dog trailing behind. Oh and the weather was absolutely amazing. After literally seven months of winter that might have been the single greatest factor of the sudden release of endorphins.

Afterwards we drove to a park and met up with some of Dallin's family. Despite nearly dying on the way, we made it and just sat and talked for an hour or so, cracking walnuts bare handed and shooting the breeze. I was interrogated by the moms about my political leanings and education, and I think I passed their test because they sent for there cute cousins. Unfortunately they were all out at the time.

The Bundy Family told us about their Bundy Family Reunions. Apparently they go out into the wilderness ONE THOUSAND STRONG and have a week long reunion with all kinds of crazy events. They all just camp out there for that week. They told me I could find a real woman out there if I wanted to come. Unfortunately I'll be in Infantry school during the reunion or you better believe I would be there throwing watermelon rines at people and learning to square dance as the only city boy for a hundred miles.

We took off after pictures and made our way to Vegas. It was literally desert and wilderness for an hour and a half when BAM! the whole city came into view. It was getting dark so the lights were already on, giving us a commanding view of the valley.

As if that wasn't enough for one day, we headed to B-Real's house, washed up and slipped into somethin more pimpin, and headed out for Courtney Larschied's wedding reception. We met Courtney at a Youth Conference in St. Louis years ago and then went with her and a big group to the STL zoo. I don't remember it but Kyle and Courtney remained friends afterwards. We hit up her reception in hopes of recruiting some honies for night cliff jumping later.

So this was my first wedding crashing, and it was definitely a wedding crashing. The reception started at like 6:30PM and we got there at 9:15 haha. The gate guard let us in and laughed at us (or maybe at Kyle's beard) and the guy at the reception desk looked at us like we were a bunch of scrubs.

We got to the double doors to the reception and peeked through the cracks. Everyone was sitting at their tables eating, and it was clear that they had been there for a while. We dorked around outside the door while we tried to figure out what we were going to do, when we finally just walked in.

Everyone - and I mean EVERYONE - looked at us. We just stood there. I tried to look like I was looking for someone or something in particular to feel less like a scrub. Courtney saved us. She came up to us and welcomed us and got us a table and SOME STEAK suckers. We porked out while everyone else was finished, made conversation with our table, and asked some married girls to dance. They said no.

We had planned to go night cliff jumping but it was just too cold and too far and too late. The wind chill made the prospect of jumping into mountain water even less appealing than it had before.

Instead, we decided to hit up the strip. We parked on one end and spent the next hour and a half just walking. We walked up and down it, dodging smutty handouts, checking out the stores, and laughing at the silly humans we passed along the way.

I have to say, I was disappointed with 1) the number of attractive girls I saw (very few) 2) the level of class I saw generally speaking 3) how few well-dressed people there were, and 4) how many bridges were on the one side. We had to keep going up stairs to cross the streets on one side.

 The Strip is all about show. It's all about who's is bigger, louder, and brighter. In contrast to New York City, which feels more technological and business oriented (with its entertainment built in, of course, although with much more class in my opinion), this place was like a fairy tale. Everything was larger than life, with more color than usual. The people seemed to follow suit. People looked so odd in some of the getups they were wearing. And i mean ODD. There was a man in a hobgoblin mask, glittered in white power or something from head to foot. He was solid white. And he was just strollin through town.
And of course you can't talk about the strip without talking about the nudy handouts. Seriously every corner there were a handfull of hispanics (with very good technique) trying to get their merchandise in the hands of passerbys.

After a good hour and half or so of walking the strip we called it a night and headed for home. It was a good first day.