Friday, December 19, 2014

We Gambled!

As I told you in my earlier posts, we went on a 4 day tour to see Yosemite park, Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon.  The bus was very comfortable.  The driver was a huge man and he was cracking jokes with passengers often! My husband was game and he too was joining him.

I forgot to tell you in the beginning.  We caught this tour bus at Oakland. When we entered the bus we heard a Hindi movie song, that too a melodious song! Not, 'jab we met' type song.  A couple of Chinese were already sitting and then the driver who had gone out came back and asked us if we won't mind hearing Hindi songs! He, a white man, was asking us if we would mind hearing Hindi film songs! Hindi songs were his favourite, it seems! We were so happy to hear a couple more songs from Hindi films.  The bus was going to some other points to pick up passengers and after sometime, the music stopped! Our music is going everywhere!

We had started early and had Jalapeno buns and orange juice for breakfast.  I had lot of croissants in this trip! Had Latte coffee often, but one by two.  The cup always was large.  Both of us had half cup each.  But it was very tasty.  We were cruising through the desert area.  I never expected the desert to look so beautiful.  Most of the area were full of cacti plants/trees.  We saw some trees and they were called Joshua trees, the guide said.  We came across Murray's family farms in the middle of the desert area.   Have a look:

The Murray's Family farms at Bakers Field, on our way to Las Vegas.  It was a Sunday and we saw many locals with family, shopping here.  Many jeeps and tractors were there in the parking lot! They were selling fruits, vegetables, provisions and food items too! It was clean everywhere!

I noticed some small back birds in front of the Murray Family Farms.  This was near the entrance.  Doesn't this picture look beautiful?!
It was Halloween time when we went on this tour.  Saw this at the Murray's family farm.  We bought some fresh grapes and apples here which was very very tasty!

On our way to Las Vegas.  The desert area but saw a lot of vegetation.  I noticed long trucks had separate roads on the far end of the highway.  I liked the sky/clouds in the picture.  These desert pictures were taken from the running bus, so won't be very clear, sorry!

Joshua trees and other vegetation on the desert
Saw these wind mills on our way to Las Vegas.  This is one of the important power supplier for this area, the guide said.   The towers with high voltage power cables were built very low, my husband said.  He is an electrical man.  The lamp posts on the road were made of wood unlike our concrete posts!

Since we were travelling on the highway, we didn't see much houses or residential areas in this desert area.  Wherever we saw, the houses were single storied and had tiled roofs.  California area is prone to earthquakes and so mostly they build single storied houses esp. in the Bay area etc.   We saw huge multi storied buildings only in San Francisco.  I think Berkeley also didn't have high buildings.

Then we reached Las Vegas!

We stayed at Excalibur hotel which had 3,700 rooms! 
The guide took us to the hotel and we were asked to register with our passports! They gave a card for gambling (whether we asked for it or not, everybody was given a card!).  They gave a 'gift' also. It was a porcelain tower replica of their hotel!

I had seen these gambling places in movies.  I saw many Roulette tables and other machines here with lots of bright lights, coloured flashing bulbs!

These tables were full in the evening and night.  Early mornings the area was deserted.

Husband and I played in a machine for 1 dollar each! Husband got back 6 dollars and I, 10 cents! I was interested in watching roulette tables... Watching people is interesting for me, always!

The tables were taken care of mainly by women, esp. South Asians! Very smart women.  Many women were also playing.  And smoking too! The next day we went to a dance drama in a taxi.  The driver was from Florida.  He said that people cannot find gambling casinos outside this area. It is banned actually.  He himself gambled like others here, he said.  Everybody is attracted to gambling in this place, he said.  People who gamble, lose everything and for going back home, they pledge their watches and other things at the surrounding small shops and the tourists can buy them cheap from them! I don't know how true this story is, though!

Let me write more about this, no more gambling stories but about other attractions we saw at this gambling capital!

Before finishing this post, I have to tell you about an incident.  We noticed some heavy duty security people everywhere at the hotel which had the casino too.  The next day, we came back after attending a dance drama at 11 pm. One huge man stopped us before we entered the lift and asked us to show our key in a sign language! I look so tiny and both of us are senior citizens and he must have thought that we were bursting into the hotel without keys! I started laughing while showing the keys! Husband was glaring at me!



Rama Ananth said...

Lovely post, Sandhya, enjoyed it very much. Nice photos too.

Destination Infinity said...

This seems to be a 'tiny' hotel :) When you got $6, did you put it back into gambling and try again?

Destination Infinity

BK Chowla, said...

Very interesting post for sure.
Pictures are very nice and wonder who clicked those.
Best bet for gambling is to put back the winning back into the bets to win more

Sandhya said...

RAMA ANANTH: Thank you, Rama!

DESTINATION INFINITY: Yes, it was a very 'tiny' hotel!

If we had started putting the gambling money back to play, we would have sat there the whole night like many people do there!

BK CHOWLA: Thank you, Chowlaji!
The desert pictures were taken from the moving bus, so look blurred! All the photographs here were taken by me! My husband was the main photographer at the Grand Canyon! You will see them later! husband would have sat there to play more if he had been alone!

KParthasarathi said...

Thanks.It makes for an enjoyable reading.Good you had fun at a casino

Onkar said...

Very interesting. Great pictures

Ramakrishnan Ramanathan said...

Great pictures and fascinating narrative ! Was on a similar trip in 2006 ! Las Vegas is an incredible entertainment center !

umsreflections said...

Very entertaining trip account there, Sandhya :)
LOL @ the last para incident :D :D
Those pumpkins looks damn good na ?? Did you happen to take any pics where they light up the pumpkin from inside, with faces carved on it ??

radha said...

Las Vegas is a city to visit. But I doubt if I want to go back. Everything is unreal. And sad to see old women all alone, gambling all night. And such a waste of energy, lights all over. But it is a marvel in the middle of a desert.

sharu said...

hi, mami, that was a good narration which tempts others to go and excellent photos..

logic said...

Good post and pics :)

Rahul Bhatia said...

A very enjoyable narrative Sandhaya! Felt I was there on the trip and gambling too:)

Sandhya said...

KPARTHASARATHY: Thank you! But we were inside the casino for a few hours! But the experience is great!

ONKAR: Thank you, Onkar!

RAMAKRISHNAN RAMANATHAN: Yes, I love to experience everything and this is one. It was fun, watching people here!

UMSREFLECTIONS: Yes, I saw some lights inside the pumpkins but we were on the move at that time and couldn't take pictures. Thank you, Uma!

RADHA: No, I am not interested in going back there too! The atmosphere makes me uncomfortable. I noticed the place was deserted early in the morning but all the flickering lights were on in the machines and outside. Sheer waste. Staff were cleaning the stairs with tiny clothes, sitting and scrubbing until they were shining and most of them were from from our sub-continent. These people also might gamble the money they earn here.

Women were smoking and drinking (it is not odd for that atmosphere though) but they were not playing happily...they had a tensed look on their faces. We didn't have a happy mood here. As you say, we can admire these places, once!

SHARU: Thank you, Sharada! You will go one day soon!

LOGIC: Welcome to my space, Logic and thank you!

RAHUL BHATIA: Gambling? You? I know you are kidding! Thank you! OK, maybe 1 dollar like we did!

Shail Mohan said...

I have not been checking my feeds. That's why I have missed reading all your posts. Quite enjoyed this one. I really love how you tell us of your trip!
Thank you for sharing. I was also laughing thinking of you gatecrashing the hotel :)

Sandhya said...

SHAIL: Thank you, Shail! It was real fun over there! said...

Hi Sandhya, I am back after a long hibernation! so made it a point to refresh from where I left by catching up on yours and R Ramesh ( Global Madrasi) posts! its such a delight to read them. I really want to thank you for this post, because, I rely so much on blogs when ever we plan an overseas trips to get to know the real feed back/ tips/ guidance for the place. Now I know where to look for in case I need tips for Las Vegas!

Sandhya said...

THELONGROAD.IN: Welcome back, Jyoti!

One more part is coming soon on this subject.

Thanks for the comment!

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