See Spot Run and I have arrived in Las Vegas. Nellis Air Force Base, to be exact, where my husband is starting a job managing airlift operations for a huge military exercise called Red Flag.
We will be here through Thursday, and going home to Montana on Friday. Would you like to come along and see some of what we’ve seen?
First item the list of things I like: The sunshine. There is snow on the ground at home in Montana. But here, we’ve had constant sun and days warm enough to wear sandals with my jeans.
I also like that the air base where my husband is now stationed happens to have the largest solar power plant in North America. It’s easy to find things not to like about the military establishment, but I’m proud of this fact.
Here’s a picture of President Obama visiting the solar array at Nellis in June 2009.
Moving away from the base, we have started looking around Las Vegas. While I generally didn’t like the Las Vegas Strip at all, especially the people handing out pornography to my husband on the street, in front of my twelve-year-old daughter—which caused me eventually to walk in front of both of them and loudly tell the hawkers to leave us alone—I did like the ceiling at the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace. Here’s a view of the inside of the shops taken outside Spago, which was not open yet when we arrived there.
We did have delicious salads for lunch at a surprisingly elegant place at the other end of the mall. Oddly, it’s called The Cheesecake Factory. I liked our lunch, too.
Today we visited Hoover Dam, about an hour to the east on the border of Nevada and Arizona. I was especially taken by the bronze sculptures called Winged Figures of the Republic. Whatever you think about the U.S. government damming the Colorado River within an inch of its life for the sake of “making the desert bloom as a rose,” it’s hard not to admire the engineering prowess inherent in this dam, and the artistic vision of the Norwegian sculptor Oskar J.W. Hansen, who designed these figures in the 1930s.
Without the dam on the river, there would be no water for Las Vegas. Would that be a bad thing? I’m not sure. Certainly I wouldn’t want anyone to question the worth of my hometown. I’m doing my best to appreciate this one.
Tomorrow we look at thrift shops and neighborhoods where my husband might find accommodations. I have some work to do and SSR has homework. The next day, we’ll visit Death Valley, California. I’m looking forward to that, as well as Thanksgiving Dinner at Todd’s Unique Dining, a local restaurant that comes with high marks for its innovative young chef.
After that, SSR and I will be on an airplane back to Montana, and my hubby will stay here until Christmas.
As with all situations, there are things to like and not to like about this one. Mostly we’re glad we’re together.
With best wishes to all my American friends celebrating Thanksgiving this week, and international readers who have visited in the past weeks. I’m thankful for you.