Wednesday, April 29, 2015

World Cup Trip: Beyond Horses

All mornings of our World Cup trip, except the first, were without events, so we toured the University of Nevada at Las Vegas campus, which is where the Thomas & Mack Center, where the events were held, is located.

The architecture of the campus buildings is beautiful.

A large "flashlight" sculpture in the center of campus was simply... well... odd.

Ruth liked the statue in front of the Thomas & Mack Center, the university's arena. Tarkanian was a well-loved coach at her husband's high school. Ruth says, "Tarkanian coached at Redlands High while Roy was a student there (and I was too, but I didn’t know anything about the coach). He then moved around—to Riverside, Pasadena, Long Beach, and finally to Nevada. He was known for recruiting at risk kids and making them play with discipline and success."

Las Vegas is in the desert and the campus has many desert gardens and plants that were in bloom. The campus also has a great art museum that we spent time in.


A striated rock? Or petrified wood?

 Of course, I take photos of birds wherever I go. The campus and Las Vegas (at least the part we were in) was full of pigeons, Great-tailed Grackles, and Mockingbirds.

Two Northern Mockingbirds have a stand off

Great-tailed (I presume) Grackles were everywhere

This Lesser Goldfinch was in the xeric gardens on campus

 The world off campus was pure Las Vegas: a zillion taxis and limousines, casinos and flashing lights.

 Even the World Cup events had Las Vegas style entertainments at every break. Here two aerial artists perform above the arena.

 Although Las Vegas is mostly entertainment and overconsumption, we found a bit of environmental awareness in areas near campus. One person, I presume a student, has painted city structures with endangered plants and animals of Nevada.

 Every day we walked two miles to the Thomas & Mack Center... and campus... past casinos and cabarets and glitter. But one horse-drawn carriage with a frozen-in-time driver along our "Paradise" street always made me feel more at home. Here I asked Ruth to fake climbing aboard so I could pretend this was how we went to the World Cup events. It was a pleasant delusion.

 I never got a photo of the enormous Thomas & Mack Center from a good angle. This was taken as we all streamed out of the center Saturday night, after Ruth and my last event.

Sunday we flew home, Ruth to Sacramento, I to Portland via Salt Lake City. The mountains were snow-tipped as I flew into Salt Lake.

 I was on the wrong side of the plane to see Mt. Hood when my Salt Lake flight arrived in Portland that evening. But I was happy to see the green and feel the cool. It was a fun trip, but there's no place like home.

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