Just in from that darling Tim…
Well, here’s the postcard of the trip with Ritch, in a (coco)nut-shell. 10 days of his divine presence, as you can imagine was extreme, but we all survived. He arrived with a suitcase straining the belts and buckles with packets of Tim Tams. The first few days, Ritch was content, once he’d amassed supplies of Scotch (Mother’s Milk), to hang out, TALK, recover from his long flight, and TALK some more. Plus take in some quality “retail therapy”, all the interest of propping up the US economy. Ritch is hereby to known as “The Stimulator”. Bags seemed to become the focus of his souvenirs. “Boss Lady” was one my favorites, which has a Joan Crawford-like character regaled in Western gear. As the photos will reveal he ended up with quite a collection, each evening re-art-directing his room into a stylish boutique, complete with glorious vintage cowboy shirt and snakeskin belt with bronze snakehead buckle, and a poker-dot flamenco apron.
Anyway, taking him on a road trip helped us all cope significantly… I mean… was good fun. We left on a Saturday morning, and lunched at Acoma Pueblo after touring the Mesa-topped adobe town which has been continuously inhabited for nearly 1000 years (surprised Acoma, instead of Saint Augustine, isn’t recognized as the oldest continental establishment…) Drove on through the Painted Desert, staying in Flagstaff, Arizona, overnight.
Trucked into Las Vegas by early afternoon the next day. Perhaps the most exciting moment was driving down the main strip, attempting to take in the bombardment of reproduced international architectural icons that lined Las Vegas Boulevard: from the Doge’s Palace, canals and bridges of the Venetian, and the mish-mash of Eiffel Tower/Louvre/Garnier of Paris Las Vegas Casino, to the towering imperial heights of Caesar’s Palace where we stayed.
Inside Caesar’s, even Ritch admitted it looked just like Chadstone Shopping Mall, only with scantily clad Asian women delivering drinks to gamblers determined not to leave their slot machines. Slavery is alive and well at Caesar’s … no irony intended. Let’s face it; it’s slaves that keep the US right-side up. We also must thank his holiness, “The Stimulator”, for his contribution, dressed in his best Warwick Capper shorts. Spent most of the afternoon at the Liberace Museum viewing Liver’s fleet of sequined Rolls Royce and a marching band of mannequins kitted out in feather capes, spangled knickers and platform shoes.
The monkey fur cape was extreme. Photographed Ritch wearing a Liberace cape, along with the helpful docent who gave us the low-down on old Twinkle Toes himself. Dashed back to Caesar’s in time to shower, and be down inside the Coliseum for Bette Milder’s performance that evening. Funny staying in the same place as the show we were headed to …not like we had to drive anywhere … I felt just like going down in my pajamas. The cab driver on the way back from Liver’s had described Bette as “having a potty mouth…” adding, “she should have been a sailor”. Bette didn’t fail to deliver. My favorite part of the revue was the finale, “The Show-Girl Must Go On”, where she revived her character Sophie Tucker, in song and dance, along with the sensational Caesar Salad girls, to the tune of “pretty legs … great big knockers”. What would a trip to Vegas be without a troop of showgirls parading in pink ostrich feathers and rhinestones? Following the show, we dined, then walked the strip, taking in the lights and sights, and figured we’d done best by seeing Bette, and not Donny and Marie Osmond, who were performing across the road at the Flamingo.
Next morning, packed up and headed off to the Grand Canyon, via the Hoover Dam. Ritch was intent on experiencing all the tourist attractions the south west could offer in the 4 days we had available, and the glass horse shoe-shaped “Sky Walk” was one of the them. Staring at the Grand Canyon, long before we got to the glass-viewing ramp, was like seeing every clichéd photograph, only better. It’s truly one of nature’s masterpieces. Sky Walk didn’t offer any better view (and the no camera rule means no photos) of the Canyon. Once you’ve overcome the initial fear of stepping out onto a tempered glass with the floor of the canyon 4000 ft below, it all comes down to being yet another novelty designed at relieving tourists of their dollars. I much preferred Guano Point, further down the road, where you have a finer view of the Colorado River and the intersection of several canyons.
Then on to Winslow, Arizona, for our final night, staying at a fabulous old Mission-style railway hotel, which has had a facelift, La Posada. We made it just in time to dine in their beautiful restaurant, which featured an interesting menu with such regional specialties as Pheasant and Morel Mushroom Tamales. Slept like logs, then drove on home the next day via the Petrified Forest.
Once home, there was one more bag to acquire, before the New Mexican leg of his tour was complete. Ritch spent his last day with us out on a walk, where he refused to wear sun block or hat, and so arrived home like a hot pink sausage. Was great to see the old bugger. He’s been talking about coming to the US for the past 25 years. And finally he made it. Goodness knows what a dent he left in New York, San Francisco and LA, though hopefully he will arrive home, safe and sound, with all his bits and bags intact.
Thanks Timmy!! Love the sunnies, Ritchie. Wish we wuz there.
More snaps here.