Lets talk of two places

By Royal Hopper


In one place you enter a room at the end of a hallway to conduct your business the first thing you notice is the shiny white marble _ so clean and so polished to an unnatural sheen that it looks fake. It is kind of like all the neon beach scenes, volcanoes, abstract art shows ..French gardens and 30 story buildings that make up the City of Sin…
You notice is the overpowering scent of lilacs that smells like a fresh clean spring day. Every Hotel and casino in Las Vegas has its own smell, coconut, jasmine, orange blossom. It covers up the smell of cigarette smoke, flop sweat gallons of alcohol and heat seared flesh.

whale tail 3

Thar’ she blows _ Royal Hopper

In another place you are cruising along looking for whales and you spy three fat, hairy males lounging on a brightly colored object in the middle of your path. The air smells like the salty sea and freshness of snow melt and the sugar covered almonds the locals were selling before trip. Underneath that you smell dead fish, live fish, large animals passing gas and the remains of the the group leaders lunch.

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Last week my wife and I started the day at McCarren airport in the City of Sin and an hour and a half later give or take landed in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada and got on a ship bound for Alaska. For a week I was the tourist everyone catered too. I was the one finding adventure in things the locals found was ordinary and I was the one asking annoying questions of people who would calmly smile and act like I was the cleverest person on the planet. It was fun. I will talk more about my wonderful vacay later but for today’s point lets compare two situations where a shiny beautiful exterior covers up a smelly fact often overlooked. For whatever reason I remember walking into a bathroom somewhere in the city of sin that was attractive by any standards.

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In the first place this beautiful room music plays on a public address system millions of dollars in the making just like in every casino on the Sin City Strip.
In this beautiful room the musak plays classic songs of days gone by and uplifting ballads and rebellious anthems of courage and love. Frank Sinatra, classic Rock, The Ramones and the Parrot Head ballad Cheese Burger in Paradise It is clean beyond the standard of clean artful and shiny like a new polished penny. That is the first thing you notice.
Then another smell, one overwhelming as it is subtle, filters into your nose penetrating the polished marble and lilac air freshener like an armor piercing bullet plowing its way through a foot of artistic tissue paper. Aleutian ballad.JPG
The smell very nearly knocks you down as you approach the object of your journey ..a porcelain urine receptacle in one corner of the highly polished lilac scented room ….It is a casino bathroom you have walked into and he smell is the remains of a 100 dinners processed in 100 large intestines and chased down with liquor and over priced hotdogs…..IMG_0902.JPG

In Alaska the excursion boat captain pulls up to a buoy where three seal lions are sitting. They are used to people and barely notice these people snapping pictures furiously and waving at them and speaking to them in three or four languages as if they could understand them. The captains name is Larry of all things and he looks like an extra in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie spurting out facts about whales and seals in between smokers coughs including how many babies his favorite whale has had. The captain waits for the passengers to snap pictures of the sleeping sea lions and then heads out to look for whales for people to take pics of.
In the bathroom you think about turning aronud of walking back to someplace that smells better to complete your business but there is urgency in your mission so you forge ahead to one of the porcelain receptacles and pause to do your business….
In Alaska after catching several glimpses of whale backs and butts the whale finally decides to dive deep and exposes her tail and the captain explains what they call the whale, how many babies she has had and about how old the giant marine mammal is and why they eat so much in Alaska and not in Hawaii – go figure …IMG_1254
No more about the magical room. It is after all just a bathroom in a casino and not an art gallery.
Now think for a minute if there was no magical room with polished marble and lilac scented air freshner and themed music playing over a computer assisted loud public adress. If there were no Vegas, no City of Sin for the Sinful to vent their desires…..Imagine where all that crap would end up if there were no place like that to vent it…
Now imagine if there were no place for the Capt, Larry’s of the world to live and work if there were no place the whale went to pork out before their sojurn to warmer waters ….Imagine if there were no cruises for adventerous older couples to bore you about …. You’d have to listen to them all the time..

Thts life in the City of Sin and I Alaska
Love you Sinners

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