Friday, October 19, 2012

Mother-Daugther time in Las Vegas

A couple of days ago, my mom and I returned from a trip to Las Vegas. This was the first trip we had ever taken together, just the two of us, and we had a wonderful time.

My mom lives in Peru and she visits my sister and I every year and stays with each of us for a month. This is the first time I’m really hosting her, and I wanted to do something special with her, show her something different, go somewhere she hadn’t been before, so we went to Vegas.

We got there on Monday and, after walking around some casinos, we checked into our hotel and then went on to the pool, where we spent some great hours in the sun, baking our not-so-tanned skin for some hours. Once the sun started to go down and the heat started to fade, we went outside, to walk and explore The Strip.

This was my third time in Las Vegas but, nonetheless, it felt like a new experience. The first two times there, Joe and I drove in. First, coming from San Francisco on our way back to Minnesota, and the second time driving from Minnesota on our way to Los Angeles, leaving Minnesota behind us permanently as we relocated to California.

Our first time in Las Vegas was in August and it was 111 degrees, which made it quite hard to enjoy being outside or even to hang out at the pool. The second time, in June, the weather was a lot more pleasant. This time was pleasant too. Even though the daytime heat was overbearing, I knew from our August visit that it could be a lot worse.

Visiting Las Vegas carries some mixed emotions for me. I currently work in an organization that is trying to abolish prostitution, to achieve gender equality, and to see a world free from violence against women ( In Vegas, women are widely objectified as yet another fun Vegas experience, and I had a hard time digesting that. In all city corners, there were several men handing out cards with photos of nude women, simply saying “girls” out loud to all men who walked by. I was happy to see several men turning down such offers in an obviously annoyed way, but I also saw several men who happily took the cards with them, maybe to try to get one of these “girls” to join them later.

That was, in my opinion, the worst part of my time in Las Vegas. I don’t deal well with the fact that women are objectified and sexualized in such a way. Just the thought that some of these women might have been trafficked into Las Vegas really makes me sad, and very upset.

But, I tried to set those thought aside while I was there, and tried to enjoy my time with my mom.

We walked the Strip and poked around several casinos and shopping malls. Our favorite game was the penny slots where, on several occasions, we bet a dollar and made over ten more. Even though I only remember all of those great wins, I don’t think I came out ahead in my gambling. Oh well. That’s why penny slots are so great: you don’t really lose more than a few cents or dollars and then move on to the next!

Because the sun is setting so early now that fall has arrived, I took most of my photos at night. Thinking about it, the Strip is a lot more colorful and alive at night, when the neon lights are beaming. I really enjoyed photographing Las Vegas, at least the places we walked around.

We also had fun at the Aria Mall, where Halloween decorations were quite unique. On the ground level, there were two very tall pumpkin-head characters that were sweeping leaves.  From the ceiling, several orange leaves were hanging, giving the impression that the pumpkin people had raked them into the sky! It was one of the most gorgeously done Halloween art installations I have ever seen!

And, for those who are big pumpkin fans, there was also an award winning pumpkin that was larger than any pumpkin I have ever seen in my life—yes, I’m even including the Blue Ribbon pumpkins at the MN State Fair when I say that!

Everything in Las Vegas is larger than life, even the pumpkins, I guess. 

A few steps away from the Halloween installation, was another installation that consisted of icicles that were sticking straight up from the ground. These were apparently kept frozen (in the middle of a desert city) with tubes that were about 50 degrees below freezing!

Another favorite from the trip was the Miracle Mile mall. I remember this place from my last time in Las Vegas. What’s special about this mall is that, in a certain area, even though you are still walking inside the mall, you feel like you are walking outside. But, not only does it feel like you are outdoor, it feels like you have stepped into the streets of Morocco. My mom really loved this part too. Last time I was there, Joe and I were caught in a “storm,” but this time the weather was good and we only enjoyed blue skies, even if they were just painted blue!

We spent a total of two and a half days in Sin City and we felt it was long enough. We had a wonderful stay, shared a great time together, bonded even more with each other, and had lots of fun walking around, exploring and gambling! I can’t wait to take my mom on another trip and to enjoy discovering the world with her! I’m so lucky to have her with me, and to be able to do this with her! She turns another year tomorrow and she is as active and full of vitality as she has even been!

Back in San Francisco, we were greeted by yet another heat wave. It was funny to arrive to the city and to shed layers of clothing instead of putting more clothes on!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s photos—even if they were posted a bit late! For more fun photos, visit my Etsy store at:

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