My Heart's True Home | My Family Travels
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This summer’s end, I was invited to join into the life and glamour of two most fabulous cities of the west coast – Los Angeles, California and Las Vegas, Nevada.

When I first heard of the two cities, two words came to my mind – luxury and excitement. I was excited to join the millions of people in these cities, but another thought appeared in my mind – would I find a feeling of home in either one? A traveler at heart, one of my goals is to find true hometown, where I can start my new family – my new life.

Upon arrival at Los Angeles International Airport, I began to grow impatient to witness the glamour of one of the biggest, and busiest, cities of the United States. But as I was riding through numerous streets and neighborhoods, not once did I see what we are shown in Hollywood movies. Nothing to be seen, nothing to take a picture of. Deserted neighborhoods, miles away from the nearest shopping centers.

After this poor first impression, the drive to the sleepless Las Vegas seemed to be more promising. On the way to the life of the desert, the sights were breathtaking. The infinite hills and mountains painted the vast deserted landscapes. Only occasionally would a hamlet emerge, conserving the endless beauty of this emptiness.

To my immense disappointment, even the true Las Vegas failed to meet my expectations. “Welcome to Las Vegas,” said the lonely sign set in the dry sands of Nevada. The only glamour to be seen was the famous Strip, but even that looked more appealing in the pictures.

There was nothing to see, but the endless casinos with age discriminatory policies. To them, it did not matter if I was a guest of their hotel, it did not matter if I was just sitting – to them I was loitering. It did not matter that the only things the hotel’s lobby possessed were infinite slot machines and poker tables. I found my refuge in countless caramel frappuccinos so famously brewed in Starbucks. Food options were scarce, too. Going out into the city alone, the closest I could find to my favorite chicken vegetable soup was poorly prepared, and overly spicy, Thai rice soup. And then an image came to my mind – infinite food choices: Chinese, Italian, Japanese and Russian cuisines! Every corner’s bodega filled with junk chips and sodas. Las Vegas came nowhere close to it.

My only voyage left was the short flight to the Grand Canyon. Once aboard the small plane, I took my assigned seat at the window and awaited take off. On our way there, we passed one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen – Lake Mead. Its eternal depth, its luminous clarity, left me gasping for air, hungry to see more.

As soon as the little plane landed, I rushed out to be the first to make it to the bus that would take us all closer to the Grand Canyon. Once I came forward to the edge of the canyon, I could feel my heart stop. It was beautiful. I was overwhelmed with fear, but what I saw would stay in my mind. Standing at that edge, I was looking down into the soul of North America, nature’s most beautiful creation. This was worth the whole trip.

I was finally on the plane back home, and as it was minutes before we landed, I looked out below, and returned with a realization that New York City will always be my heart’s true home.

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