Friday, July 17, 2009

On the Road - day 6

Lots more pictures today.. from Ogden to Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah, is not that long of a drive. I noticed that even though we arrived during what ought to be rush hour, there were no traffic jams.

Our first stop was the state capitol building. Very impressive and very clean. Everything was spotless. Maybe they cleaned it up the day before because they knew we were coming. Thing is, we saw nary an actual worker inside of the building.

Oh, here's a picture out of order. This is our room at the Days Inn the night before.

Okay, back to the capitol building.

Just a few blocks away was the Mormon Temple. They had arranged a short tour for us and split the group into two: one group went with the Chinese-speaking guides and our group went with the English-speakers. This first picture shows the massive pipe organ in one of the sanctuaries.

Below is a painting of Jesus, although he looks suspiciously caucasian..

The statue below is supposed to be Adam and Eve in the garden of eden, although once again, they don't seem to look particularly like middle-eastern folks.

Salt Lake City looks like a very clean place. Certainly a lot cleaner than the dump we call Los Angeles and environs. From there we went to the Salt Lake Marina but I didn't post any pictures since that was probably the most boring sight on our trip. Aside from some dragonflies and damselflies, there wasn't much to see.

Not too far from the lake was what I thought a much more interesting place - the largest copper mine in the world, the Bingham Canyon Mine, owned by Kennecott (which is itself a subsidiary of Rio Tinto corporation).

It is 2.75 miles wide at the top and .75 of a mile deep. It's large enough to be seen from space.

The equipment kind of looks like Tonka toy miniatures.

Looks are deceiving, though. The machinery and trucks are huge. The truck below has tires that I would estimate at around 10 feet tall. One of them costs $3.5 million and can haul 255-320 tons of rock in one trip.

After the mine we headed back towards the outskirts of Salt Lake City for lunch at.. you guessed it.. a $10 all you can eat Chinese buffet. The food was decent. I was thinking gee, the restaurant was probably owned by an immigrant Chinese family who moved way out to Utah to earn a living. And now their second-generation kids are living there and working in the restaurant because that's where their parents chose to relocate. On top of that, they don't know how to spell "customer" (see below). How different my life would have been had I been born and raised in Utah!

We left Utah and drove to that night's stayover destination, Las Vegas. I feel that the pictures below present a good overview of what that town is all about.

We stayed at the Stratosphere, which is on the northern end of the Strip. I really don't care much for Las Vegas. We had a pretty nice room, although they charge $11.95 to access the wireless internet connection so I did without for a night. And the buffet in the hotel wasn't bad at all. But that's about it. Everything else about the place is so garish and overblown, like most of the singers on American Idol.

Sex is all over the place. You walk down the street where the major hotels are, and there are literally lines of about 20 really sleazy looking men standing there handing out little cards advertising sex shows. Why do they need 20 people in a row? And they all look like they just got out of jail after serving their child molestation charges. Plenty of women dressed like hookers. You've got the people lined up to go to the clubs, all dressed to kill and then you've got the tourists sitting on stools in front of slot machines in the casinos that reminded me of the cows we saw in the pasture lands during our bus rides. Just sitting there looking dense as they fed the machines. Lots of really loud, obnoxious drunk people were out and about, too. I really didn't see very many people who looked happy. Sex is everywhere. Even the women card dealers in the casinos were standing there dressed in short shorts moving their hips back and forth as they dealt the cards. Has everyone gone nuts??

As you can tell, I don't like Las Vegas.

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