Mmm… Toasty

It’s nice and toasty warm in Death Valley! We saw some awesome stuff, including sand dunes, a volcanic crater, and many miles of crazy desert.

There was an amazingly intelligent group of folks at the crater that locked their keys in their car… darwinism at work. This whole concept of “death” in Death Valley was obviously lost on them. On the way out we saw the park ranger headed their way.

There are two hotels in Death Valley Junction, CA… they are both owned by Xanterra Parks and Resorts, who charges $250/night for the decent hotel and $140/night for the touristy motel place. Upon examining their website, I noticed that they also own the hotel in Stovepipe Wells. Nice monopoly, guys. In any case, we drove on…

There are three hotels in Pahrump, NV, and they are all full. We drove on to Las Vegas, where we were pretty much guaranteed to find a room… and we did! A very nice Hilton Garden Inn for only $99/night. I suppose we’ll do a drive-by of the strip today. I suspect it will be a lot like a “shit-hole bar” where it looks really great until someone turns the lights on.

Pictures will be posted when we get home!

Driving to Death Valley

Adrienne and I are driving to Death Valley this weekend to hang out and take some pictures and such. On the way out here we noted that the radio station selection is rather slim. The stations are:

  • 60% spanish-language
  • 20% religious
  • 15% country
  • 4% rap/hip hop
  • 1% decent music

On another note, there is some seriously bad smelling farmland just before Wasco, we nearly gagged.

I am not a Checklist Tourist

It seems like India’s entire tourism business is aimed towards what I’ll call “checklist tourists” — people that go places and are only interested in “seeing” the place and taking one picture to prove they were there. I am not one of those people.

When I visit a place, I want to feel the place, to explore it at my own pace, to see the locals and their customs. I want to take pictures of the soul of the place. Whether that’s random pictures of monkeys, macros of flowers, pictures of a road… it doesn’t matter. I am not that interested in taking the same picture you can buy on a two cent postcard. I want to be original.

Normally when I go to a country, I try not to look like a tourist. I try to blend in, to feel the culture, to be part of the culture. It’s (obviously) a bit harder in India than in Europe, but I try anyway. India’s tourism business is tailored towards pushing as many Americans as possible through the checklist. “Come here, see this.”, “Come come..”, they are always rushing you, always leading you, not going with you. That is not my style.

I am not a checklist tourist.