Sunday, 10 November 2013

Day 2: Nashville amble and flight to Vegas

Around the motel. 
I'd set my alarm to give me 10 hours sleep, but was awake enough to emerge from my morning dozing after 6 hours pillow time, such was the effects of jet lag. After a lazy early morning spent online and streaming the lunch time Premier League game, Mark and I headed out for a stroll and to get some breakfast. There wasn't much around our motel of any interest, just a car wash, a few petrol stations and a selection of diners, but the fabric of America itself was both interesting and exciting. We walked up a small hill towards a leafy residential area. A chorus of crickets erupted from the long grass to sing the morning hymns, grey squirrels scurried and rustled in the dry fallen leaves, and a smell of autumn and pine cones hung in the warm blue air. The houses were neat, stars and stripes flags were hung on some of the porches and fluttered in the breeze, sagging pumpkins slumped on verandas left over from Halloween, and the odd lone person picked up the newspaper from the end of their driveway, much like the start of each Sopranos series. The suburb was gentle and still. It felt as familiar as any US TV drama of the past 20 years, and like we were sneaking around the set, as wide residential streets unwound in front of us. 

Sleepy suburbia.
Autumn was almost over.

Halloween decorations left up. Mark's reflection in the door.
We called in a rough looking sports bar which was advertising breakfast, from a sign missing half of its letters. Inside was smokey, and we sat at a dark sticky table and looked around at the neon Miller Lite signs and observed the curiously dressed locals – a mixture of bikers in bandanas and unfit sports fans – and listened as they talked with their Tennessee drawls. The barman asked if we were Australian. "No. English". And the cast of this scene collectively threw a glance towards us. I ordered a stack of pancakes, bacon and a bottle of beer for breakfast. It was all exactly what I wanted, and it was the beginning of America. 

The JC Bullseye Sports Bar for breakfast. A wonderful dive.
Just after noon I took a cab to the airport and allowed myself plenty of time. The taxi driver was from the Ivory Coast, and we chatted a little in French on the five minute journey, as colourful African beats danced behind joyous guitars from his CD player. A lot of the people I'd encountered so far in service jobs were immigrants. I know the States is a nation of immigrants, but these were all first generations and hadn't shaken off their accents. I was surprised by this, I didn't imagine America to be as porous as the UK in terms of recent migrations, but then again, how would I know. At the airport the camp check-in guy on the desk looked at my ID and said 'UK! Cool!'. I gave a smug nod. I could get used to this undeserved currency. I sat and waited for my flight to Denver airport, the camouflage for the supposed New World Order's underground bunker, as Taylor Swift's album played over the airport tannoy. At least that saved some of my iPod battery.

Nashville airport.
Through a window.
An old couple wait for the flight.
I arrived in Denver airport 10 minutes after my gate opened for my connecting flight to Las Vegas. Not again. I managed to get off the plane and sprint 150 metres down the departures lounge to my awaiting gate, which was about to close. I didn't have time to have a look around Denver airport –which is an item of curiosity for those who wear tin-foil hats – but in the brief time I did have I didn't see anything of which I had read about. I'll just have to wait for a personal invite from a Rothschild to uncover the hidden truths of the place. Google it. 

Denver airport. 
Departing Denver.
Looking over Denver.
The geographical seam between the Rockies and the Great Plains.
Snowcapped mountain tops.
I had a window seat on the connecting flight to Vegas, and was squeezed in next to a fat toe-headed mother and daughter, the seatbelt a cheese wire through their ample guts. As we took off from Denver I saw the Rocky Mountains slump to a halt on the edge of the Great Plains, just on the edge of the city. The mountains were snow capped and the plane hung in a dark orange dusk all the way west to Las Vegas. After touch down I collected my bags from the carousel, adjacent to which were a host of one-armed-bandits and gambling machines, and then made my way over to the other terminal to meet Matt. 

Flying into Las Vegas.
Gambling machines by the baggage carousels.


  1. Class, great photos again Ben, I like that silhouetted old couple and always enjoy a bit of baggage room gamblin'! looking forward to the other posts man....

  2. Cheers Deccy, will try and find the time to keep them coming, it's a bit rushed and intense compared to last time.

  3. Traveling throughout? Get the nashville cab actual MTA tour bus from your air port in order to the downtown area intended for merely $1. 80 each person. Some sort of pickup truck's cab will set you back regarding $30. Spend less which money intended for cocktails.

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