Acoma Pueblo & Albuquerque, New Mexico and Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.

While in New Mexico travelling to Albuquerque I decided to visit Acoma Pueblo on someone’s recommendation.  This turned out to be a very good recommendation.  It was about an hour’s drive from Santa Fe to Albuquerque and then another hour to Acoma Pueblo which is west from Albuquerque along the I-40.  I am so glad I took the trip – it was fascinating to see the way the Native Americans live and their traditional dwellings.  It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the U.S.A.  No electricity (although some have generators), no running water (they bring in water from one of the three villages) and no sewerage (I noticed they had portaloos).  The Pueblo was atop a hill (a sandstone mesa to be precise) and the scenery was magnificent.  Wide sweeping vistas reminiscent of any of the old westerns I saw as a kid.  It was very hot up at the Pueblo and luckily I had brought an umbrella with me so I was shaded from the sun bearing down on me.  The language of Acoma is Keresan which was an oral language only.  Recently they have taken to writing it down phonetically using the English alphabet (modern Latin alphabet) so that their language may survive.  Many of the inhabitants are artisans and had their wares for sale outside their houses.  There was a cemetery and mission church called San Esteban del Rey.  Out of respect we were asked to not take photos of these areas.

Late afternoon I returned to Albuquerque and checked into my hotel before grabbing some dinner and watching the 4th July fireworks that seemed to be happening in many various places around the city.

It is 15 years since I was last in Las Vegas and boy has it changed!  Whereas before when you were walking down The Strip there would be gaps between casinos now there is very little light between each building.  It is much more built out than I remember and the structures are now even closer to the footpath.  Many people I spoke to complained about the hot weather but I love the dry heat of Vegas.  It is so nice after the wet weather that Melbourne was having before I left.  The sky has been a clear blue one and every now and then you get a slight breeze that just adds to the perfection of the weather.  I had prebooked two shows before I left Australia and was looking forward to seeing them.
The Beatles’ LOVE by Cirque du Soleil
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this show.  The theatre was large and ‘in the round’ style.  It would have seated two thousand or more patrons.  Looking at the performance area before the show I wondered where the performers would be as there appeared to be no stage as such – just deep dark holes.  The show opened with the Beatles’ song Because which is an atmospheric song I love.  Ropes dropped from the ceiling and some performers started climbing up the ropes from below slowly placing hand over hand.  Gradually all the characters appeared in the performance space by various means.  The performers ended up using a series of platforms that dropped and were raised up continuously as needed throughout the show.  There were some very interesting characters as there usually are in the Cirque du Soleil shows.  Some of the characters were: The Walrus, The Fool, Nowhere Men, Sgt Pepper, Lady Madonna, Her Majesty, Krishna and Sugar Plum Fairy.  Then there was a guitar chord and the show shifted up a gear and moved into the song Get Back.  The show’s costumes and makeup design were impeccable and I enjoyed the choreography which fused period steps of the 60s and 70s with present day street styles.  There were acrobatics, dance, comedy, mime and lots and lots of aerial work.  Some of the scenes involving aerial work were so beautiful I was almost prepared to stay reclined in my seat for the rest of the show.  As each song started I kept thinking just how good the Beatles’ songs were.  They were used to advantage in this show and the bonus was that they used original recordings from the group and at times you could hear the awesome foursome speaking to each other.  When it was over I was wishing I could see it again during my stay in Las Vegas but that was not to be as their dark days were my two remaining days I had in the city.
LA REVE at Wynn Las Vegas

Again, this was a huge arena type theatre.  Thick smoke kept the audience guessing what the actual performance space was.  It turned out to be a mysterious water world.  I can only guess that the huge round pool was quite deep as later in the show performers dived from heights that can only suggest the depth of the water.  This show included synchronised swimming, latin ballroom dance styles, what looked like capoeira, aerial work, strength balancing acts, acrobatics and roller skating on large ramps.  The show was highly entertaining and had a narrative of sorts involving two young lovers.  Like Love it was visually spectacular and made great use of vertical space as well as the surface of that dark, deep pool.  There were a number of buff looking young men with well developed arm muscles and watching the show you can see why this would be a requirement.  There was a lot of lifting people out of the water and lifting people in general.  I couldn’t help from thinking that this army of young buff male performers had spent a lot of collective hours in waxing time – not one chest hair to be seen!
My favourite was The Beatles’ Love but the two shows were great and I feel very lucky to have seen them.

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