Some say that the number 13 is unlucky, but in my experience it has been the complete opposite to that (touch wood). It was my room number at Lancaster and my athlete number and both were full of good memories. Week 13 certainly didn’t let this trend down!!
I have to admit, at the beginning of the week, this week didn’t seem like it was going o be so good. I was up until 2am for 4 nights in a row revising for midterms and writing a development proposal for Burundi. Honestly, what I don’t know about Burundi now is not worth knowing!! I think I may have spent more time in the library than sleeping by a considerable margin. Also, to mix things up a little, I met with the rest of my future colleagues at the Natural Hazards Center, and I was even invited to the staff meeting. It all seems very official. Being in a proper board room certainly made me feel all grown up.
By Thursday evening the majority of my work was completed. Hoorah! Thankfully, in the evening Model UN had a meal out and presented MUNdies. For those of you who don’t watch the US version of the Office, the MUNdies are a spin-off of the Dundies, which are awards given out to each member of the Office. For my sins, I was awarded with the ‘Best American Accent’. Who said the Americans don’t get irony?
On Friday and Saturday morning, I applied the finishing touches to our upcoming road trip. Even though I do enjoy organising things, I certainly feel a lot of responsibility and pressure. Boulder felt like a bit of a ghost town by this point as most of the students had gone home for fall break.
Saturday Afternoon, we set off on the AB bus for Denver Airport. When I say we, I mean Philipp, Saori, Woosin, Yusuke and myself. It’s the same group of people who I went to the Rocky Mountain National Park more than a month ago. We got to the airport in plenty of time and eventually took off at 6.15pm for Las Vegas. The flight was only short but we managed to save a 15 hour drive. Descending into Vegas was beautiful, especially the strip which could be seen clearly from the air. We picked up our rental car, and fortunately got a free upgrade as they had run out of full size cars. Therefore, we had a lovely spacious Chrysler 4×4 thing. A bit giddy on excitement at this news and the bright lights of Vegas, we made the short drive to our hotel, The Mirage. Yes, that’s right, we were staying in one of those posh Casino/hotels on the strip. Our car was valet parked, then Philipp and Woosin checked in as technically there were only supposed to be 2 people in our room. The rest of the gang went up and joined them. The rooms were divine, with possibly the plushest bed I have ever slept on. After a quick spruce up, we hit the town at 9.30pm. First we grabbed a bit of food and then watched the ‘Volcano Show’ outside our hotel. This basically consisted of a huge volcano replica bellowing out fire and imitation lava. Pretty decent actually. Of course we also saw the Bellagio fountains and the replica of the Eiffel tower. I had a small flutter in a few places, and somehow came out with a mighty $0.14 profit. Very proud. We stayed out until 3am before calling it a night. My overview of Vegas is that it is a place that is ‘good’ to see, but I would not like to spend more than a night there. It is soul-less. Capitalism in colour you could say. There were so many tragic figures roaming the casino’s, glued to their chairs on the slot machines and drinking heavily. There was one women who particularly stuck with me. She was probably in her late 40’s, and was slumped over a slot machine swigging out of a bottle of red like it was going out of fashion. This human being was probably someone’s mother, sister or friend, but gambling had destroyed her. Very sad.
We departed on sunday morning for the short 3 hour drive to Zion National Park in Utah. Arriving at Zion was a welcome contrast to Vegas. As we didn’t arrive until the afternoon, we only had time for a small hike, but nevertheless it was stunning, with breath-taking views. When darkness began to descend with checked into our motel, which I have to say was pretty nice for the money. A bit of a coincidence meant that another group of our friends – Ash, Ben, Joe, Louise and Saskia – were actually staying in the same motel as us. Therefore, we joined forces and went for a lovely dinner together. After this, we went back to their room and had a mini party. Great to see them!
In next weeks post, I will continue to reveal my adventures in Zion, the Grand Canyon and San Deigo amongst others. So keep tuned!
I will also add some more Vegas Pics…