August 2009
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Day 33: Hold yer horses

I spent a few minutes taking photographs from the far side of the Excalibur’s garage this evening.

The side closest to the strip I’d already done.  You get a pretty good view of Mandalay Bay and Luxor.

Over the other side, you can see the bronze lion outside MGM Grand, or you can watch the NY-NY roller coaster go round.

You can also look away from the Strip and get an almost unobstructed view of the fabulous In-N-Out Burger neon sign.  If only that pesky freeway ramp wasn’t in the way…

After a few minutes of shooting, a security guard came up to me and asked what I was taking pictures of.

“Just buildings and signs and stuff”, I said.

“Uh huh”, he replied, in a “that’s what they all say” kind of tone.

“Well the girls down in the stables are getting excited”.

Stables?  Apparently, yes.  Stables.

With horses?  Apparently, yes.  With horses.

I really wanted a bit more of an explanation, but I didn’t get one.  I peered down over the wall where he had vaguely motioned his head and indeed there was a bit of a yard but I still didn’t exactly buy it.  More research was required.

True enough, the Excalibur has a dinner show that uses live horses, and I guess those animals would have to live on the property or close by.  But really, who keeps horses in a sandpit in the city, sandwiched between a car park and a freeway.

That’s Interstate 15 along the bottom of the picture with the funky exit ramp onto Tropicana Ave, leading up to the World’s Busiest Intersection.  Apparently the brown bit, bordered by these two busy roads and large surface-level parking lots as well as the three-level garage, is the World’s Smoggiest Stable.

Never mind the air quality though, the aerial photo evidence shows that those lucky horses do actually get to walk around in circles too.

Looks to me a bit like Horse prison.

I was hoping for a bit more of an insight into exactly what I was doing to raise the alarm.

Did “the girls” refer to the horses themselves, and if so why were they getting excited about me leaning on a wall, being quite still and not really making any noise?

Or if he meant the stable hands, were they really anxious that a guy in a distinctly unstealthy Hawaiian shirt who was clearly pointing his camera over their heads towards distant landmarks could have been casing the joint for a horse heist?

Of all the robberies to carry out in Las Vegas, rustling horses doesn’t exactly seem like an obvious one.  Maybe I’m underestimating the black market for animals trained to pretend to joust, but it just seems like there are many more desirable targets.

But whatever.  Either I was inadvertently causing trouble, or I’d met a guard who was quite loopy.  Either way I figured my best move was to get the hell out of there.