I’m in Las Vegas for the family Christmas. So far it has been hilarious.
The night we landed, we checked into the Flamingo downtown, and had a late late dinner at the Haute Doggery. The next morning at 6am we presented ourselves at the bus rendez-vous for a 14 hour bus tour the Grand Canyon and back.
So, the National Parks are America’s Best Idea, yes. Also Grand Canyon is breathtaking and beautiful; geology made art. Yes, absolutely. And I’m happy to say that I enjoyed myself on the tour. But I wouldn’t recommend the tour company. There’s a lot to complain about, so I’ll just give the highlights:
- The 6am pick up was necessary because they first took us to an up-sell processing center, where we were de-bused, herded into an up-sell speech, tagged and processed, and then re-bused.
- There was a hokey automated narrator that seemed to be triggered by GPS location. Pre-recorded, hokey in that Southwestern way, way too loud, and incessant; he popped on every few minutes from 6am to 9:30 pm, telling us a lot of shit we did not care about. They hokey explanations of ethinic segregation and union rabble rousing were especially offensive. Also I don’t really care about mob trivia.
- When it wasn’t the automated narrator, it was Rush Hour. Then it was Rush Hour II. Then it was Rush Hour III, which was particularly annoying because once it got dark, Rush Hour II was the only thing to look at. I popped in my headphones and listened to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.
- The food options they provided were pretty junky.
On the upside; it was a cheap trip: only $80 each, plus a tip for the driver. The best part was getting to spend the day with my mama and sister. Oh also the Grand Canyon.
The next day we went to Jade Cafe for a dimsum brunch. It used to be Cathay; the new name was a first for all of us. They open at 9am, and the food is good; the only weird thing was the service was on us like a rash. I’ve experienced this before, back in Shanghai; when servers are trained to do American service but haven’t actually experienced it themselves. The result is that they keep your water glass full, but they interrupt your conversation to do it. Anyway, the food was good and the servers relaxed a bit after a while.
Later there was a trip to the Apple Store at “Downtown Summerlin,” which is a shopping mall based on a downtown concept; it’s outdoors, there is a street grid… but there’s something weird about it… oh, NO HOUSING. The thing that makes downtown villages charming is that housing above retail demands a density of services; not only restaurants and retail, but barber shops and bakeries, and bagel delis and laundry and stuff.
Luckily, we did find a (kind of corporate) Taiwanese chain, and had a little snack: 小籠包 “juicy dumplings,” a green onion pancake, and wontons in a clear broth.
After that, we came home for Christmas Eve; I got all tired and manipulated everyone into open presents early; like 8pm. Then I went to bed, because old.
The next morning, Christmas day, I got up early and made coffee, and ham and eggs. I like making breakfast. Then we sat around for hours. In the evening we went to see Big Hero 6, which I liked a lot. We thought about bingo and pho afterwards, but then we got tired because old. So instead we came home and played Monument Valley.
This morning, we had ham fried rice and mushroom scrambled eggs for breakfast. We dug around old documents and photos for most of the day. I think tonight we might to see Into the Woods and play bingo, and may get pho. Who knows. We might just go to bed early because old.