* Michelle Thoughts, Other Travels, Videos

Las Vegas National Park

Though not a National Park and not on our list of places to see, Las Vegas was on the way from Grand Canyon to Sequoia. And so we spent the weekend there. Fortunately, Michelle’s parents and brother, Tyler, were able to join us as well.

If we weren’t already, we are now officially big Cirque du Soleil fans. We were able to see both “O” (the water show) and “Mystere” while in Vegas, and they were absolutely spectacular. We were in awe of all the crazy things human beings are able to do and of the intricate, creative thought that went into every moment on stage.

We likened the city of Las Vegas to a grown up’s Disneyland, a comparison that has no doubt been made before. It’s a land where reality is set aside for the time being, buildings are constructed with no other limit than imagination, and each resort plays its theme out down to the smallest detail.

But it’s not all fun and games. On the streets, a silent story was being told that deeply saddened us. Most people are probably familiar with what happens on the streets of Vegas: the distribution of pornographic prostitution flyers. Many people laugh these off or simply ignore them. But who is distributing these flyers? Is it the pimps? People who want to promote prostitution? I don’t think so. It was people desperate to support their families. People who would have exhausted any other alternative for making a clean living. People who had to set aside their values and moral beliefs in order to scrape by. Can you imagine what kind of situation would cause a person to make this choice? More often than not, it’s someone of hispanic background behind those flyers. Immigrants who have to be paid under the table can be taken advantage of by “employers” because, without papers, they can’t go to the authorities to report unfair wages or other abuses. Behind their stoic faces and the snap snap of the flyers between their fingers, dutifully pushing a flyer at each male pedestrian who passes by, you can start to see that there is more to their story. Something that we push behind facades because it’s too ugly or sad to bear. You can tell that behind all the glitter and lights, something is not right in Vegas. There is plenty to distract us from thinking about it- that’s what Vegas is about: distraction. But it’s definitely there in the dark corners, and we’re all at least a little relieved that someone is covering it up so we don’t have to think about it. For the time being.

See more from our road trip here (videos included):
Epic Road Trip Day One: 4 States in 2 Days
Yellowstone  Jackson  Exploring Utah 
Bryce and Zion  Grand Canyon
Sequoia and King’s Canyon  Yosemite!
Redwoods and the Oregon Coast
A Snapshot of Our Trip So Far
Away We Go! Our National Parks Road Trip Itinerary