A Year Ago Today…

Last year, on November 11, I was here:

Any guesses?

That’s right: the Loy Krathong festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand!

Really, one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen, as…cliche…as that sounds.  For those of you not in the know, Loy Krathong (loy kratone) is a festival in Thailand where you send a lantern into the sky or a boat (kratone) down the river, in deference to the gods. As you send your lanterns/boats out, you’re supposed to make a wish.

It started with the boats, but then spread throughout the land with lanterns to those who didn’t have water anywhere near.

It was beautiful, peaceful…and then suddenly like Fourth of July on crack. Imagine if we didn’t have any firework laws–and you’ll get the picture. We sent our lantern into the sky, then dove for cover as fireworks shot through the crowd.

AND this year?

I’m here:

That’s right, Vegas baby!

Very different from Thailand.

Yet, also not so different.

The festival was insane and somewhat terrifying; Vegas is the same. However, in the daylight Vegas is not a charming Thai city filled with old wats, monks, flower vendors and old city walls. No, in the daylight Vegas, without the lights, is garish and fake, and somehow even more frightening than at night. At night everything is bright and glossed over; even the vans depicting images of women-for-sale on the side look shinier. In the daylight, the vans look poorly cleaned and the women have dead eyes.

Despite that, I had fun in Vegas (even with my boyfriend’s family who are EXHAUSTING). I made about 40 buckaroos gambling (and lost a bit more than that) ate my weight at several buffets, and celebrated a wedding at a hotel where there was an anime convention.

And it’s nice to be able to say, “Only in Vegas….”

would a man wearing a giant dinosaur head be lurking in your wedding pictures.

Maybe the charm of Las Vegas is there’s nowhere like it, garishness and all.

Although really, seeing fake-Paris and fake-Venice kind of just makes me want to go to the real places even more…

Maybe next year. 🙂

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