Las Vegas to New York City
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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me
I know I’ve got a big day of driving ahead of me and so get up really early and get moving. It feels great to be up before the sun in the cool morning air as I tear down my tent, cook breakfast and move ahead. I put down a few hundred miles before I see the Las Vegas skyline appear on the horizon. The traffic on the interstate crawls to a standstill just as I exit onto Las Vegas Boulevard, better known as “The Strip”.
About ten years ago I stayed at the Luxor, at the southern end of the strip and my memory of the area is spot on. All the major hotels, attractions and elevated walkways are just as I remember them, with thousands of people eagerly getting around. My jaw falls open as I drive the northern end of the strip, a totally different place from ten years ago. I catch every red light as I make my way, allowing plenty of time to stare in awe at the enormity of it all. Buildings and super screens almost entirely cover the road and there are literally hundreds of thousands of people roaming around, at 2pm on a Monday no less. I’m so stunned by the insanity of it all I completely forget to take any photos.
I continue on Interstate 15 all the way into the suburbs of Los Angeles, where I meet up with Jen & Greg, long time family friends. They’ve had a baby boy since I last saw them, and I’m completely engrossed playing with Christopher for an entire day.
My Mum & Dad have recently moved from small town Australia to New York City, their adventurous children apparently rubbing off on them. The relative closeness now combined with not seeing them for two and a half years means a detour to see them is high on my list of things to do. I leave the Jeep with my friends and set out to fly cross-country for a ten day holiday from my life-holiday 😛
It’s a huge day of traveling for me and I have a few experiences that stick out:
- I find for the first time in my life I’m quite apprehensive about flying. When I think about it for a while it occurs to me I’ve been completely in control of my own destination for the last four months, and I am not comfortable giving that up.
- Lunch and dinner are both served to me in plastic containers wrapped in plastic containers wrapped in … you get the idea. When I’m finished, the un-used salt, pepper, hot sauce, ketchup & napkins are all mindlessly swept into the trash. I’m dumbfounded by this needless waste and it occurs to me I have just used up more resources in two meals than I normally would in a week. I watch as the same story is repeated over and over for every person on the plane.
I don’t know why the world works like this, and I really hope we can change sooner rather than later.
- I finish reading “Travels with Charlie” by John Steinbeck, a throughly enjoyable account of Steinbeck’s road trip around America in 1960. He does a fantastic job describing the personality of such a journey that makes me smile from ear to ear.
- I read “The Last Lecture” from start to finish in about two and a half hours and am very strongly affected by it. When Randy Pausch learnt he had terminal cancer he decided to give his last lecture, titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”. It’s an amazing book, which I think everyone should read as soon as possible.
You can read more of Randy’s story at www.thelastlecture.com
My eyes are drooping when I finally get to Mum & Dad’s apartment in Manhattan, which does nothing to lessen the jubilant mood we find ourselves in at 1am.
There is lots to say about New York City, until then I’ll leave you with a photo I took from the Brooklyn Bridge, with a 30 second exposure. The big bright light on the left is the moon