woensdag 12 oktober 2016

sept 26th: trek to the West: s.Decatur Blvd, and bubble bath fun.


South Decatur Boulevard is not some hip hot shopping area/place to be like Melrose Avenue in LA or Haight/Ashbury in San Francisco. It just was strange coincidence that the shops that Robert and I really wanted to see, were all located here. But that made it automatically our favorite street in Las Vegas.

I slept untill Robert woke me up at 8! Unbelievable!
First breakfast at home, I made scrambled eggs on the big stove with view on the Strip and the ferrishwheel that still didnt move.
We decided to walk a bit in the right direction first and then take a cab. It was superconfusing to walk because the foothpath on the Strip leads through casinos and shops and its not always easy to find the street back. Annoying.

doing the Strip parcours

the Bellagio. we waved at Brian but not sure if he saw us

 As we were 15 minutes outside we changed our plan: we were NOW getting a cab, because it was way to hot to walk far.
we tried to stop a cab on the street but that didnt work so we went to an hotel and got one there quick. We broke down the cab while getting in. Sorry, we’re European! we also broke down the cab when we got out. Sorry, we’re stupid!

First stop was the famous Wax Trax who had a very cute guarding dog called Charley. Robert stayed for a while and Betty Lou and I had long conversations in the shade outside, and went inside to say bye when Robert was going to leave. There was a nice old jukebox and when I looked at it the owner said „go ahead and try it“
I replied „no i’m a bit scared to touch anything, we just broke down a cab“
„broke down a cab? how thats possible“
„we’re European“ :-D

famous Wax Trax

with Charley the guard dog

After saying goodbye and not breaking down the jukebox we walked towards Zia records. It was okay-ish to walk but still hot.
It is actually a pretty boring street to walk if you dont count the Americana feeling: lots of boring appartements, officebuildings, car related stuff. All spread out because theres enough room to spread out. Everything surrounded by parkinglots. Lots of palm trees (cool!) and excotic bushes. Every now and then a small mall or on intersections with bigger streets, a bigger mall.
We noticed the other pedestrians we met didnt look very wealthy. I think the only reason to walk here is if you dont have a car or come/go to a bus, but at least theres a sidewalk everywhere.
We even saw two bicyclists pass.

Looking for restrooms we went inside a supermarket called „Savers" that turned out to be a gigantic thriftshop where I found a nice dress and a bikini!! ugly bottoms but worked and cheap! And my credit card works <3
Savers: thriftshop the size of an arena!! <3

Went to Starbucks for a break and had a coffee I didnt need (cos BL Europenized the coffee)
I started to notice that none of the Starbuckseses I saw this far, had the „trenta" 800ml size coffee cups and wondered if it was maybe a hoax.
Tried the next door Chase bank: debetcard (pinnen) works too!!

Robert went to Zia, we crossed a 25 lane street (Sahara blvd) to another trhiftshop across the road where I found a cute vest that I only took off next two weeks to sleep and for a quick wash. great find!

When Robert came back Betty Lou took us to two shops I’ve never been too:TJ Max and Dress for Less, that were on the way. Interesting outlet kind of stores. Betty Lou was looking for a new backpack and we invented the word „fleather" for faux leather.
I’m not gonna bore you with all the details, but when we’re together with Betty Lou its always almost nonstop laugh attacks :-D
It was very hot outside now. We did bring enough water with us, learned that lession in a prior visit to this desert town: dont leave without enough water! We passed the Trader Joes that we were going to visit as last.  Been there a few times before and it feels familiar by now.
We just missed the bus up Decatur to my craftshop so we walked. It was ok but hot. Have to keep an eye on eachother to see if everyone is really ok. By then I started to regret that we didnt have a car.
(we all have a tan right now but not as much as the german lobster we later met at the pool    :-D ) It was only 1 km/ not even 0.75 mile and actually the only distance of the day that wasnt as far (or further) as it had looked on the map.

The Fantastik Swap Meet was also on Decatur but closed on mondays....

Micheaels craftshop was nice but not hysterical. It turned out to be very expensive apart from some things on special sale. Also they didnt have much that I couldnt get here in Europe/NL/B apart from some bigger items like storage etc that I couldnt take with me.
But I’m glad I saw it. Rather see it and dont like it, than dont see it and wonder forever what it would have been like :-) Also glad Robert and Betty Lou had a seat and that they didnt complain.

We were next door to Wal Mart Supercenter and hungry so went inside for a small snack. I’m not really a fan of Wal Mart as a business, but I have to say they had an enormous produce/fresh department. They also sell huge sandwiches.... seriously not footlong but leg-long! Managed to find a small snack somewhere and thought while I’m here might as well buy chamommile tea. On my way to the tea I passed a couple that were discussing the contents of a box of cereals in Flemish :-) Also got a night shirt because I forgot to bring mine and that was one of the smart desecions of the week. The rest of the trip I felt cosy and at home walking around in my night shirt around the apartement in the morning and evening!
couldnt pass the beef jerky without bringing some (ultimate tour/road snack).
With 50 plastic bags we teamed up at the Mac Donalds were Robert managed to score french fries with mayonaise. They did have to get it in the back for him.

after the rest and the snack we all felt capable to walk back to the Trader Joe’s.

<3 <3 !!

I can write pages and pages and pages about Trader Joe’s but I wont. I love it. Its my favorite supermarket, or even shop,in the US. They have fantastic ready to go meals and salads, delicious sushi, weird snacks and crazy snacks. And speculoospasta :-D Lots of things they sell are organic but not all. They are owned by Aldi!! In European Aldi’s you can find nuts and dried fruits of the „Trader Joe’s“ brand but it doesnt have anything to do with the style of the American shop.
Trader Joe’s staff is young and depending on the location, weird, and always friendly. In other supermarkets you might not get the job with visuable tattoos or piercings, here you might not get the job if you DONT have that :-) Pricetags look like they’re handpainted and the walls of the supermarket have cool paintings with local scenery on it. So thats what it looks like.
Its not cheap, but I just love to roam through the aisles and study everything they have.
Again, gratefull that Betty Lou and Robert let me.


"yeah in Europe we always put the basket in the cart so we dont have to carry it"
 I had an actuall shopping list! Really wanted fresh ginger cause I’m on a bit of a gingertrip these days (its superhealthy!! check it out!) and it tastes great. Also great to have when traveling and not always feeling very well. The main reason i wanted to have it was that I was going to have my periods started on wednesday! TIMING!! I can get really sick, and I didnt wanna spend half the day or the night with my head in a toilet somewhere. Good strong cup of gingertea will sort it all out :-)
Though I knew better, I checked the cereals to find ordinary oatmeal without sugar. Nope. I still cant believe it. Just normal plain oatmeal flakes! nowhere to be find in the US. Cant be true.
I did find something based on sugar free oatmeal so I got that and it was delicious. Also got lots of snacks, crazy snacks (dried brocolli flowers anyone? They were horrible) but managed to leave the sweets and the cookies where they were.
Robert walked in and said he „felt like having a bit of chips“ and the only one he thought he would like was a 450grams pack :-D (edit: it took him 2 weeks to eat it)

dont fall for this trap! also, shame on me, I should know by now that "European style" doesnt mean what it looks like that it means :-)

Satisfied we went to the checkout. Earlier I used to be sad that there are not TJ’s in Europe, or even Belgium, or Hasselt, but I know by now that it wont be as special anymore when you have one near. Also it would be totally different.

One thing thats almost always the same at TJ’s is... The Awkward Checkout.
Guy didnt say anything and threw all the groceries on a big pile. Robert and I looked at eachother. Were *we* suppose to bag them ourself? if not, why was he turning it into such a big chaos? When the stuff was about to fall on the floor we grabbed our Delhaize Durable Shoppingbag and started bagging ourself. I saw a real cool cotton TJ’s shopper (have a small collection of TJ’s bags at home) and handed it to him.
„also this please“
I felt totally uncomfortable by now. I must admit that if its always like this, I wouldnt go shopping here!
I wanted to pay with creditcard and said „you gotta help me out here a bit, I’m European“
Apparently those were the magic words. The guy all of a sudden bloomed up and smiled, and showed me how to use the device (new devices almost everywhere by the way, easy to use and work like „pin“ at home) and said „oh and thanks man, for bagging the groceries for me“
we said goodbye and left.
maybe a few days later I would have told him „we had to because they were about to fall on the floor“ but the first day in the US  i didnt wanna be too rude or smart yet.

breakfast for the rest of the week settled. I took the European Style yoghurt because it was sugarfree and fatfree, and it was very good. (the empty bucket is a pencil holder now) 
 We asked the welcome desk (if thats a word) to call us a cab and it was no problem, said it would take 10 mins so we waited outside.
Ofcourse it didnt take long:
„can you please call us a cab?“
„sure. you’re a cab!!“  
By the time the cab showed up BL and I were super slaphappy and couldnt stop laughing anymore all the way back to the hotel, bringing up crazy memories like „do you remember when we lost Lisa’s cat?’ or driving around California with 5 adults in a Ford Mustang using a superlarge piece of underwear as sunscreen. (or, trying to explain it to John Fogerty later that day, who looked at me with the biggest puzzled look I ever saw) Or, that time we saw a palmtree riding around in Costco. Anyway. We’re tired and supersilly.
(disclaimer: the cat wasnt really lost but totally fine)

The cabdriver took the I-15 interstate west for a few minutes to avoid the Strip’s traffic and then it hit me and I realised that if we kept on driving we would end in Los Angeles, and that felt superweird. we were really in America! Las Vegas is a bit of a planet of its own! But we’re near my favorite state; California!
Long before we reached the state border the driver left the highway and took us to the hotel.

Betty Lou went straight to the hot tub and Robert and me decided to check out the small restaurants in front of the hotel for a cheap meal. Well. The Chinese restaurant was closed. The Indian restaurant was over crowded. The Taco stand was too weird. The italian stand didnt have salads nor pinaple pizza. Aaaahh!!
I gave up and went inside Wal Greens for a salad (horrible choice) Robert got a hamburger (from the Mexican stand, not from Wal Greens) and we went back to our suite. I was pissed off because the salad was so bad and ate the bowl of guacemole I just bought at Trader Joe’s, while looking at the neonlights and the Strip. We stared at the ferriswheel and it didnt move.

after that it was hot tub time! it was our first day here so I forgot that you just easily can dress in your bikini, wrap a towel around you and take the elevator to the pool. Instead we dressed up nicely :-D

Betty Lou was chatting in the hot tub with 3 guys who turned out to be German. One of them was sunburned to a whole new level. red as a firetruck, and also drunk enough to jump in the swimmingpool thats only 3 feet/90cm deep, so he hurt his knees.
Other than that, they were really friendly! they shared all their beer with us!
Slowly more people joined us and before we kow it we had a super fun pool „party“ having drinks and chatting, people from all around! we met two Canadian girls that were also going to Fogerty, and a couple from San Francisco, and two people from Scotland. (someone asked them howcome their english was so good)  Also a couple from Seatle. She was very chatty, they were very nice but he was either drunk or just chaotic and kept mixing up all the info he got. He thought it was amazing that we came all the way from Germany and Belgium and Canada to see John Fogerty. Hey, sir, thats not really how it is. Its coincidence that these candadian girls go to Fogerty, and we just met the Germans and they’re not going to John Fogerty.
Doesnt matter. It kept getting weirder :-D
it was way too hot for me so I climbed out. I was tired and wanted to go back, but at the same time I didnt wanna leave this awesome pool happening. On my right Robert and a german guy were chatting in German about the green polution sticker for your car.
The other German guy was chatting with the Seattle couple because they had lived in Germany.
Others were sharing roadtrip stories or talking about their kids or their jobs.
Everybody was talking to someone else, no one was left out!
8 total strangers in a hot tub in Las Vegas having a super fun evening. Everything was just perfect.
I was sitting on the edge in my bikini with a towel wrapped around my waist and a warm desert town breeze on my shoulders. Perfect.

I was the first one to leave though because I was really tired and wanted to have a tea before bedtime. I said bye and left. Bit with a sore heart, to be honest, but the chamomile tea was waiting!
Unfortunately there was no kettle. I wondered if I could use the coffee maker, and then noticed this HUGE monster behind me; the maxi-microwave.
Our microwave has an on and off button and a timer. This thing had more buttons than an aircrafts cockpit. Puzzled I started trying them out. Not sure how I managed but I ended up with hot water in the end, and enjoyed a nice tea while looking out on the Strip, the neonlights and the ferrishwheel that didnt move.

Robert and Betty Lou came back just after midnight because the pool closes at 12. we all agreed that it was a perfect ending for the day.

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