Competition: Grand Canyon vs Las Vegas
You know the big difference between the Grand Canyon and Vegas (besides real vs fake, deep vs tall)? Free vs FREAKING EXPENSIVE. That's the difference.
The economizing began as we descended into the Flagstaff airport. It was a gusty day and a small plane. I usually like turbulence (bouncy!), but not this time. I moved the barf bag to the front of the seat pocket.
When we landed I pried my hand off my mouth and said, "Well, we just saved five hundred bucks. I'm not getting in any helicopters over the Grand Canyon after that."
I'll admit, most things were thirty percent more expensive than you'd find in the suburbs, but that was countered by all the free stuff you got after you paid the $25 entrance fee. Free transportation on the shuttles, free geology museum, free visitor's center, free ranger talks.
Why free? I suppose previous generations built all the walls and paths and bathrooms with their tax dollars? Thank you, previous generations. It's a place to be proud of.
While the Grand Canyon is all about getting value for your pre-paid tax dollars, Las Vegas is all about extracting all the rest of your money and giving as little as possible in return. As always, I'm okay spending money for good seats and good food, but I'm not okay spending twenty dollars for a taxi ride down the Strip that crossed the Strip four times. They made the switchbacks at the Grand Canyon look like a straight line.
Gary pointed out the roundabout route taxis charged only two dollars more than the drivers who turned left on to the Strip, drove, then let us out. Grr. Still. Then again, some busker conned me into giving him ten dollars for his book of "poetry," so I can't talk.
We took taxis this time because they've changed the Strip radically since the last time we were here. Now you can't just walk directly down the road. They've built all these pedestrian bridges and free trams that funnel you through every casino, shop, and money trap.
Winner: Grand Canyon.
In fact, forget museums and concerts, we're all about the National Parks now. Oh, well after the Rock Boat next winter, when BNL will be sailing the seas again, which is the best vacation ever.