The greatest thing about America

June 8, 2007. Some thoughts after our visit to our American immigrant relatives. The “greatest” thing about America, it woud seem to me–is not its citizens’ relative “prosperity” nor “freedom”–it is debt. The ordinary American can afford the “American dream” of prosperity and freedom–a house, a car and everything else in between–because of credit and fictional money. As a natural consequence, this also means the ordinary American is deeply under debt. The monopoly capitalists of America have created a mirage of robust economic activity through fictional money, the deluge of credit cards, the sale of debts and mortgages, and all its illusory derivatives, while its real economy–the production and manufacture of goods and services–stagnate as a natural consequence of capitalism’s crisis of overproduction. They cannot sustain this inherently insustainable system. A depression is as natural as the bursting of soap bubbles.

US Trip ’07: Hoover Dam

June 6, 2007. Between the states of Nevada and Arizona, less than an hour away from Las Vegas, is Hoover Dam, which supplies electricity to Nevada, Arizona and parts of Southern California.

It was a beautiful dam in the middle of the desert, with a picturesque blue Lake Mead behind the dam. It’s blue-green waters looked great with the pale color of the desert and the bright and clear blue sky. Otherwise, I didn’t actually understand what was so special about the dam.

US Trip ’07: Arriving in Las Vegas

June 5, 2007. It was a Tuesday. A day after we visited Universal Studios, we drove to Las Vegas, Nevada. From Santa Monica and the Los Angeles area of Southern California, we were on the road for a couple of hours through the vast inland desert.

Halfway through, we dropped by an outlet store in what seemed like in the middle of nowhere in the town of Barstow. The place was semi-deserted, and it felt like there was a mild sand storm what with the strength of the wind that was blowing that time.

Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada

We arrived in Las Vegas a little before 8 in the evening. We checked in at Paris Hotel then walked outside for a bit. We went to have dinner with my mom’s friend who lived in Las Vegas. We ate at Todai, a Japanese buffet restaurant in Mile High below Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino.

Las Vegas, Nevada

When I think of Vegas, I think of strippers and gambling and all that so I didn’t feel quite comfortable being with my parents in Vegas.

US Trip ’07: Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood
June 4, 2007. The plan was to spend the day at Universal Studios Hollywood. Before proceeding to the infamous theme park, we dropped by a Catholic church (because my parents felt guilty that we didn’t attend mass the previous day), then, we picked my godmother up in Los Angeles, where she’s working as a caregiver. I actually missed her. It made me feel a little bad that she had to leave the Philippines and work as a caregiver two years ago.

Universal Studios City Walk
Now that I’ve come to think of it, Universal Studios relies much on a century of Hollywood entertainment hegemony for us to desire being there. The rides were okay but not exactly world-exceptional. The backlot tour was so-so. I haven’t seen some of the movies that supposedly used some of the sets we were shown, so it didn’t really feel surreal or special to me when they brought us there.

Universal Studios Hollywood Probably the best thing I enjoyed was the food passes we could use in any of the dining establishments in the park. Boy, it was pigging out galore. I loved it. We had all sorts of large servings of good fried American fast food.

Universal Studios Hollywood Universal Studios Hollywood All in all, Universal Studios Hollywood is a nice place to spend time with friends and family. It would probably feel more special and spectacular if you were a heavy consumer of American entertainment. Otherwise, you’d feel weird when people around you seem to be so amazed at some set or attraction you don’t recognize.