Since our entire afternoon was eaten up yesterday by that timeshare fiasco, Seanie and I were determined to “do Las Vegas” today. But once we were up, we had to admit that we didn’t really have a game plan for the day. So what to do?
Well, obviously the first thing to get out of the way was to take a picture in front of the Luxor, so we did.
We then commenced wandering aimlessly up and down the Strip. Seanie threw a little bit of money into a slot machine or two, and I poked around in a couple of shops. I mean, Las Vegas is a great place for shopping…if you have money. There are so many designer stores! But I am a woman of limited means, and that will only be exacerbated by the dramatic drop of my income during my internship, so actually purchasing anything is out of the question.
While in Las Vegas we had to stop in at Bauman Rare Books, which was really cool. They were exhibiting documents and rare books either owned or written by the Founding Fathers.
When we were passing through the Venetian, I saw a poster advertising an exhibition of “50 Greatest Photographs” from National Geographic magazine. I became determined to find it, and dragged poor Seanie all over the hotel until we located the show. I’m so glad we found it, though, because it was really cool. Basically, the staff at National Geographic selected fifty iconic photographs and blew them up really big. Then they interviewed the photographers to learn more about how the shot was composed, what dangers were faced and what happened to the people in it. It was really awesome! For ten of the photographs (the most recent ones) they had video interviews with the photographers, and these were incredible. Often, there was footage of what was happening while they were taking the picture – like, there was a composite picture of a giant sequoia, and the video showed all the crazy cables and lifting rigs that had to be constructed in order to get the image. It was a small show, and at $20 per ticket it was rather overpriced, but I’m so glad we went. I remember seeing many of the images when they first appeared in National Geographic, and getting the story behind the pictures was simply fascinating.
At the Venetian, it is currently Carnivale season (I suspect it’s always Carnivale in Vegas…) and there were masked, costumed figures in the lobby. I snapped a couple of quick pictures, but they didn’t turn out very well. Darn tourists kept getting in my way.
I guess today was a good day for museum-like visits. The other major thing that we did was visit the exhibition for Titanic. As we were exchanging our vouchers for tickets, Seanie asked, “Why is everyone making such a big deal about the Titanic lately?” He was talking about re-releasing the film in theaters, the exhibition, and suchlike. I explained that 2012 was the 100th anniversary of the sinking, and he nodded, satisfied.
When we walked into the exhibition, we were each handed a card with the name and brief biography of a passenger on the voyage. We were told that at the end of the show, we’d find out whether our passenger lived or died. I had a card for a woman in first class, so I was pretty darn sure that she’d make it. (That particular demographic had the best chance of getting on the lifeboats.) Seanie’s person was a guy in second class, so the odds were not in his favor.
Titanic: The Exhibition was much, much better than I expected. In each room, there were artifacts from the shipwreck – rusted bits of iron railings, broken china, that sort of thing – but that was only the beginning. There were several recreations of rooms on the ship, so you could see the difference between a third-class, second-class, and first-class cabin. In fact, that was one of the great things about the exhibition – it really went into detail about the differences in each “level” of passage, in terms of meals and service and personal effects. It really drove home just how stratified society was at the beginning of the 20th century. They also had a recreation of the iconic grand staircase (for a fee, you could get your picture taken on it) and the deck on the night of the collision. It was really well done - almost like walking onto a movie set.
Another cool thing that they had was a giant chunk of ice, roughly the size and shape of the iceberg that hit the ship, and you could go ahead and touch it all you wanted. I kept challenging myself to keep my hands on the ice for longer than 30 seconds, but I’d wimp out after my fingers went numb.
In one of the final rooms, a giant piece of the hull of the ship was hung from the ceiling. A video was dedicated to explaining how they’d managed to get such a massive piece o metal dredged up from the bottom of the sea, and it was really interesting to see what technology enables us to do now.
We probably should have booked a show for the evening, but after walking around all day we were pretty tired, so instead of a night out getting drunk on the Strip we snuggled into our hotel room and watched episodes of Chopped on the Food Network. Oh man. Seanie and I are OLD.