An oasis in the desert

Duunnn dunnn… duuuunnnn duun… duuunnnnnnnn dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dunnnnnnnnnn…

These are a few of the residents at the shark aquarium at Mandalay Bay Hotel.  I love sharks!  Teddy ate local basking shark with Vietnamese sauce at our wedding lunch in Wales.  Before I set off for the Grand Canyon, I had an afternoon to visit this aquarium.  It was good, not the best I have been to, but gave some respite to the chaos of Vegas.

Lion Fish – Rawrrrr!

I had my new camera with me and I am so impatient that I didn’t read the instructions.  It took me a while to figure out how to turn the flash off.  Once I did, the photographs were great quality through glass.  Wouldn’t this lioness’ costume inspire a lovely dress?

Fashionable rays

These rays had the most beautiful outfits on.  The black one looked like velvet.

Handsome Whiskers

Catfish are my favorite type of fish, probably because of their whiskers.  They taste quite nice too, especially blackened.

Starfish

Starfish just make me feel happy – they look like little hands waving at you.  I loved the delicate brocade on her seams.

Rays in flight

Until this moment, I have never seen rays flapping their fins.  So graceful and elegant.

Wings up!

A perfect predator

The last photograph of jelly fish is my favorite – it looks like some alien world.  Beautifully different and somehow alluring.

My long hot walk along the Strip to get to the Mandalay Bay Hotel was worth it just to see these wonderful creatures and I didn’t gamble a cent.

Advertisements

I went to the Grand Canyon and it wasn’t…

Silhouetted crow on the Western Rim of the Grand Canyon

…that grand.  To be fair, the canyon was a really Grand natural spectacle, it was the arduous trip to get there that took the gleam off the visit.  Air travel has never been more popular, especially to tourist destinations.  The flight to Vegas was completely full and my heart sank as I walked towards my aisle seat.  Two rather large people completely filled the THREE seats.  They managed to squish up a bit and I had a little sliver of seat.  My airline should have dealt with the situation but I didn’t complain knowing it was pointless.

Finally we arrived at Las Vegas and even the airport seemed a little shabbier than it did a decade ago, on my last visit.  Still, I laughed at the slot machines right beside the gates.  My ‘I work at an airport’ aura followed me west and I helped a party of French people communicate with their Serbian Uber driver.  My Uber arrived and I drove off, shouting “Au revoir!” while thinking, ‘good luck finding someone else who speaks French…and enjoy our Freedom Fries!’

My hotel lived up to all its recommendations, just off the Strip but incredibly quiet.  Each room was a little suite and I could have happily lived there.  Perhaps some of the very elderly residents did? I felt like the young groovy chick that I am.  After I unpacked, I went off to see the sights of Vegas before my long trip to the canyon the following day.  Waiting at the crosswalk, I got talking to an older man (my age) who had his even older mother in a wheelchair.  I wasn’t sure she was alive…mummified?  Was his name Bates?  I kept bumping into them at the Mall across the street and she didn’t seem to move.  Welcome to Vegas!

As I was trying, with thousands of other people, to negotiate the Strip’s overhead walkways, I noticed that there were many homeless people; some drunk and some mentally ill.  One poor guy got in the large elevators with 15 or so other tourists.  He was shouting at nothing, terrifying the other occupants. My ‘I worked in mental health’ aura was about to appear when the doors opened and he stumbled out.  It is really hard to enjoy visiting a place when you can see the underside right in front of you.

What mortified me even more were the British tourists behaving crassly.  I really tried to manage my Trans-Atlantic twang so I could travel incognito.  There was a really loud English couple, from up north like Jon Stark, in Victoria’s Secret who were trying to find something classy for her mother (presumably my age or less).  They eventually found a sexy little something in leopard silk polyester.  I struggled to contain my mirth…  Later I came across some Scots men in a hotel bar and every second word was a loud cuss word.  Sigh.

I took some shots close to my hotel as night was falling.  It was as though the night added some dark glamour to the previously tawdry street.

Do you see the truck at the bottom?  Sin City Indeed.