August 15 To Las Vegas!!!
Page has a tendency to grow on you: just as the Navajo warm up to you as they get to know you – this tiny town of a thousand churches perched on top of a gigantic red hill like on top of a primordial whale – is suddenly charming and warm.
We spent a very insightful evening in the “Navajo Village” – a center where tourists can meet with actual Navajo artisans and learn some basics of the native culture. We were mesmerized by the cosmogony of the Navajo as was told to us by an elderly man wearing a blue bandanna on his forhead, an elaborate silver cuff, rather dusty clothes – and clutching a 4-colored staff in his hand. His story was like a dance, every sentence supported by an expressive if laconic gesture. We learned that Navajo believe that number four rules the Universe, and they tend to see it everywhere – four directions, four seasons, four states of matter, etc… They believe that there are 4 worlds that human spirit can inhabit – we move from the dark black world of the awakening of awareness to the blue world of spirits, then to our present yellow world – the Sun, the egg… and onward, to the Rainbow world of higher awareness…
We left Page not without sadness, as if we were leaving a friend…
The road led us past the Vermillion Cliffs to Las Vegas… We crossed deserts and mountains, unusual mountain forests… more deserts… It was almost dark when we arrived. But hey! It’s Las Vegas, who would want to sleep! So – we went for a walk, and watched the Belaggio fountains show.
The next day we decided to take it slow – we just walk around, admiring the architecture and the overwhelming grandeur of the famous casinos. I was completely taken by the opulence of the Cesar’s Palace. My parents enjoyed the Venetian. We had a most delightful meal at the Venetian, and after some needed rest watched a Circ de Soleil show “O” at the Belaggio.
Describing a Circ de Soleil show is an exercise in futility. I sat on the edge of my chair forgetting to breathe during the whole performance. It is everything I admire and enjoy – whimsical costumes, daring acrobatics, a story that reads like a poem, and clowns who cut one’s heart.
The next day we had a long tour to the Western Rim of the Grand Canyon. That was a rather different affair. I have learned that one must never ever do group tours.
We were picked up at 6:15 and delivered to some kind of tour center. There, we were sorted into two groups and lined along two walls. Some got red and some got green stickers we had to wear. Then we were moved through a window where we got some papers signed, then to a window with a Danish pastry and coffee, then to a bus. Hoover Dam was a disappointment – we saw it from far, but there was no actual sightseeing. Next, we drove through endless dusty roads covered with thickets of Josua trees. A stop. A terminal. We are divided yet again, into 2 buses. On the sticker, we add letter J. A step right or left means death, at least someone rushes to you and says: You cannot go there!!!! We were on the tribal lands. Next, another terminal. The heat is oppressive. No shade. We are unloaded and marched through some fences to a place where we are supposed to catch yet anoter bus – a shuttle. We are already not interested, but we go through the motions. We arrive at the Skywalk – a smallish balcony created so that Native Huallap tribe could charge you 35 bucks for a picture. We walked it, but declined to pay for the photos, and took perfectly fine pictures 20 yards away from the said walk.
As an entertainment, two very elderly Native women were tiredly sidestepping (or dancing?) to the accompaniment of a boom-box… Another elderly lady was posing at the edge of the abyss in her yellow traditional dress in the hopes of a tip… I cannot find words to describe the depressing picture of the people who were herded away from fertile lands into this desert and left here in misery and humiliation! And what else is there for them, when even potable water is brought in cisterns?
We were somewhat relieved in the Wild West village – even though it was a Disneyland-like affair, the food was good and there was a live band that played cheerful country music.
I love these movies!
- The Fall, directed by Tarsem
- Amelie, directed by Jean-Pierre Jennet
- Lord of the Rings, directed by Peter Jackson
- Moulan Rouge, directed by Baz Luhrman
- Moonsoon Wedding, directed by Mira Nair
- Australia, directed by Baz Luhrman
- Despereately seeking Susan, directed by Susan Seidelman
- Miss Pettigrew lives for a day, directed by Bharat Nalluri
Favorite books and authors
- Boris Vassiliev, historical novels
- C.Cherryh, Morgaine Sagas
- Ch.Dickens, The Bleak House
- George Martin, The Chronicles of Ice and Fire
- Gregory Frost, Shadow Bridge novels
- Heinrich Mann, Henry the IV
- J.R.R.Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
- Jane Austin, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Emma
- Robert Jordan, The Wheel of Time
- Sir Thomas Mallory, Le Mort D'Artur
- Ted Williams, Green Angel Tower
- Terry Goodkind, Magician's First Rule and the following books in this saga
- Thomas Mann, Joseph and his Brothers