An Exercise In Trivial Pursuits

Fatshion, Food & Frivolities – Life in Las Vegas & Singapore

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Elvis, Atomic Testing and Sex (museums) in Las Vegas

During our 3 day “mini-moon” where T’s company gave him extra days to celebrate our wedding, we became tourists in the city we currently live in. T is originally from upstate New York and while he’s lived here for about 5 years, there is still a lot he hasn’t seen. To be honest, Las Vegas is one of those cities where there’s just so much to see and do, you’ll never be bored! Just the major shows and exhibits alone, keep changing all the time. We however skipped the bright lights and headed for lesser known museums with Groupon offers. YUP! I’m couponing again!

We spent a total of USD45 for the both of us visiting:

20131112-182542.jpg1. Atomic Testing Museum (with a visit to the AREA 51 exhibit) $20

We started with this museum because we wanted an off-the-Strip experience. No neon lights, no crazy partying. Some serious stuff, you know? Why this museum is so important is that the testing were done in Nevada. I’ve always kinda-sorta known some stuff about the bombs used in WWII but I never knew much otherwise. The atomic testing here definitely changed the history of this State and the world – affecting the land, the forced migration of Native Americans and devastation that followed after.

If you’re curious about the related historical events, there are films, photos, depiction of life in that era and lots of archived materials from the atomic testing programme itself. Extremely informative and educational (might not be something you want to bring your 3-8 year old kids to unless they are into this kind of thing).

The Area 51 exhibit though, was a total let-down for me. T rated 6/10 because he actually found some of the information about planes and technology (minimally explained) interesting. It was more like 4/10 for me. Poor quality displays and unclear curation that looked like it could have been done by some secondary school class (with a little bit of help from a teacher).

20131112-182710.jpg2. The King’s Ransom Museum – Personal Treasures of Elvis Presley $10

I think at $5 per person, this was really worth our time (even if it took us a while to find this place which is actually on Fremont Street and not The Strip). While this was really quite fun, I wouldn’t call it a museum. It’s a good-sized collection of random Elvis-related items. Some photos and trivia from his childhood, many were clothes he wore in movies and concerts, personal possessions that were given away to miscellaneous people in his life and even a section with Lisa-Marie’s childhood toys.

My favourite item in the entire collection was a library slip of a book he signed out for as an Elementary School kid. I’m not sure if it’s real or a copy but I think that if it is real, it’s awesome! I love books and as a child, I was always borrowing books in school and my mother would take us to the library in Toa Payoh every weekend to loan new ones. How did they even find that book with the slip? It wasn’t till much later that he became famous. Who’d have thought to save every single library loan slip signed!?


3. Erotic Heritage Museum $15

$7.50 per person is reasonable, I think – plus it’s near The Strip and very appropriate for Vegas! If you think it’s all pornography and smut, you’re only 1/3 right. It’s not pure pornography because it’s called the Erotic Heritage Museum for a reason (though maybe a little thinly disguised). There are videos, porn movies, sex toys, ancient artwork (Chinese porcelain figurines, Japanese paintings, handwritten Persian sex manuals etc), the evolution of selling sex throughout history, celebrity scandals etc. There’s also a small library outside the curated space of the museum with books on human sexuality.

I wouldn’t recommend this place if you’re purely looking for porn, also it’s a museum – how things get to be in a museum is that they are dead (or too freaking old). The porn stuff on display are the classics (if you can even call them that) that don’t seem to go beyond 1988. It was quite fascinating though and we spent about an hour in there.

Because Las Vegas is largely a tourist destination, there are so many other interesting little places to visit. I’ll definitely be checking out everything from Madame Tussauds, to Bodies… The Exhibition, to the Pinball Hall of Fame and all the little odd ones that are waiting to be discovered! So fun!!!


Red Rock Canyon

When I explored the possibility of leaving Singapore and moving to the US to be with T, many of my friends were excited until they found out that it’s Las Vegas. To them, the cities “worth” moving to are places like New York City, Los Angeles or even Seattle – big and cosmopolitan, culturally diverse, artistic, etc. What little we know of Las Vegas is essentially casinos, quickie weddings, gentleman’s clubs and the likes.

That is… until I actually lived here long enough to start discovering a whole new world outside the Las Vegas Strip… (Okay, I have seen the Strip maybe 5 times since May this year, so it’s still exciting and fun for me to explore.)

IMG_1470And this brings me to the Red Rock Canyon which is only a 10 minute drive from where T and I now live, straight down Blue Diamond Road, in the direction of Summerlin.

Here are 10 things you need to know about Red Rock Canyon:

  1. It’s only 24km west of the Las Vegas Strip – not too far away.
  2. The highest point is 2, 485m called La Madre Mountain.
  3. The conservation area is one of the easternmost part of the Mojave Desert. (There are different types of deserts even within the same continent. I didn’t know that!)
  4. As many as 6 different Native American cultures may have been present in this area over the millennia – including the most recent, Southern Paiute (900 –  modern times) and the earliest, Paleo-Indians (11000 – 8000 BC).
  5. There are numerous Petroglyphs and pottery fragments that can be found in this area. (Most people leave these ancient artwork alone so others can enjoy them too.)
  6. This area is the protected habitat of the Desert Tortoise. (There are signs along the road telling you to slow down and be careful of tortoise crossing.)
  7. There are many wild animals that can be seen in the Red Rock Canyon – from wild burrows to big horn sheep to rabbits and squirrels.
  8. The Red Rock was located under an ocean basin during the Paleozoic Era 600 million years ago. (Yes you get to walk on a prehistoric seabed!)
  9. The varicoloured landscape is a result of the movement of a fault millions of years ago. (Giant lands crash into each other and things are pushed up and around.)
  10. There are hiking trails and picnic spots but if you’re too lazy, you can take a scenic drive through the entire area instead.

IMG_1471We took Max the Maximum Dog there to run leash free (in some parts where it’s further in and has less people) on his Adoption Day Anniversary. As it was just 1 day before Veterans Day (11 November), the park entry fee of USD7 per car was waived. As you’ve seen from a previous entry, I was all dressed up and I refused to change out of my pretty tulle skirt and sparkly sweater. We chose a relatively moderate trail and we slow walked it for maybe 20-25 minutes before turning back – so it didn’t require crazy hiking equipment or more protective gear anyway. I had a good pair of hiking boots that helped me go up and down the slopes, as well as walk the uneven red rock, which I can’t help but romantically imagine being formed millions of years ago by undulating, prehistoric sea currents as I walked upon them.

If I sound like crazy city folk, I am. When T drove me through the roads that passed Red Rock Canyon (not within the conservation area), I was in awe of the rock formations, the quietness and fresh air… for all of 20 minutes before falling asleep (because his Corvette drives so smoothly *koffkoff*). I also never understood his excitement until I got to walk down the slopes into the basin and see it for myself upclose. It was amazing and breathtaking.IMG_1472While I miss my big city roads with brightly lit street lamps (even in the suburbs) and my efficiently organised public transportation network, I can’t wait to see more of nature and maybe discover an unbeaten path. T has seen petroglyphs in person on hikes and I can only imagine how I’d feel when I do stumble upon some. So not too far away from the neon lights, debauchery and commercially produced musicals, Las Vegas has way more to offer.

Wish me luck as I start falling in love with my new home…IMG_1469