Thursday, March 05, 2009

Spring flowers

It’s been warming up here in Vegas. Fruit trees around the valley have started to bloom, not in big magnificent displays but with small flowers coming out here and there. Our peach, almond and plum trees have put out a few flowers. Our yellow feathery cassia bushes are in full bloom, putting out a sweet scent that is noticeable all over the yard.

The ash and mulberry trees are also in bloom, putting out tons of light pollen that is causing allergy sufferers to notice all over the valley. High temp today is supposed to be 74f (23c) which is rather nice for this time of year. Much better than that 9f I see back in Rochester, but supposedly cold is coming this weekend along with rain.

I’m sitting here at work listening to all the noises above me. I work down in the basement and when shows are moving in there are big trucks and forklifts and all kinds of stuff driving in the hall right over my head making all kinds of noise, and right now the Halloween show is moving into three of the halls upstairs. That’s about 1,000 booths in 500,000 square feet of things aimed to frighten and amuse. The show opens tomorrow, so today is vendor move in. Show decorators, the big company responsible for the overhead of a show, usually take three days to mark floors, have power and internet drops put it, lay carpet and set basic booths and curtains. Vendors then get a day to fill up their booths, unless it’s a big company then they usually take two days to build the booth itself. The Halloween show is in March because it is aimed at people that profit from that holiday; costume store owners, party stores, places that put up those portable haunted houses, those kinds of people, it’s not open to the general public. There are lots of booths filled with costumes, fake blood and bones, flashing lights and noise generators, one corner was aimed at bigger places with robots thirty feet tall, a huge dinosaur robot that breathed flames, smoke machines that filled the whole hall with fog and haunted houses made from six or seven big trailers. It was a lot of fun to walk around that show.

Death Valley is just an hour drive southwest of us. Reports in the paper say that with the intermittent rain they have been having this winter the Spring crop of wildflowers should be pretty good. I haven’t driven down there in a few years, the last time we went the wildflowers were supposed to be ‘spectacular’, but I guess they mean in a desert sense, as it still looked like a lot of bare open ground to me. Nothing like an English country garden, or even our back yard down in San Diego, everything in Death Valley was low to the ground and pretty random. But it is a nice drive down; we go through the famous town of Pahrump and some other small towns before entering the park, with a little restaurant that makes great crepes near the entrance. Yes, I am driven by food most of the time.

The big Resort Hotel Casino next door recently started adding to the daytime entertainment. We take a walk at lunch every day, if the weather is nice we walk outside around the building, if not then we walk inside, through the casino, upstairs past the canal and listen to the gondoliers, then on through the shopping mall, the other casino, past the restaurants and back here. It’s about a half hour walk, depending on how many tourists we have to avoid, what we stop to look at on the way and how many cigarettes J smokes. Over at the waterfall between the two casino floors we noticed a new piece of entertainment art

Entitled ‘The Living Garden’ on signs in the area, three women painted grey come out and pose in the fountain. They periodically change positions, but basically just stand there. Very similar to the people painted white that stand for hours at different points while crowds stand looking at them taking photos. I don’t understand the fascination of watching somebody just stand there, but I can stand and watch people standing and watching someone so I guess there is a circle there somewhere. When the young ladies are finished standing they then slowly walk away, usually pausing so people can have their photos taken along side.

They then go up the escalator and exit back into the internal areas of the shopping center, to await their next exposure an hour later. I find it more amusing to see granite statues on an escalator. Usually with a ‘handler’ following along mopping up the water, after all they were standing in the fountain.

Photos were taken last month during Chinese New Year, when the lanterns were festively hung.

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