Yesterday, I shared with you our Fremont Street experience in Las Vegas. It really was a night to remember full of lights, people, and first impressions. While our hotel was cheap and seedy, it was nothing we couldn’t handle. The following day, is what I will always remember about Las Vegas and is full of the many reasons of why I don’t want to return. The city that never sleeps, that was meant for nightlife, looks a lot different when the sun comes up.
On the drive to Vegas, the “Check Engine” light came on in our rental, we needed to exchange it, go to Target, and we had to do laundry. We thought Thursday morning would be a good time to get the chores out-of-the-way, and we would have the rest of the day and night to play. Plus, Scott and I love to find the normal people places in new cities and mingle with the locals. We did our GPS research, set our maps, and set out to conquer our “to do” list.
An hour later, after we had exchanged our car, at the check-out counter at Target, Scott discovered he didn’t have his wallet! We stopped at a drive-thru ATM that morning, so we knew he HAD it, but it was gone! He tried calling the Avis, but the computer couldn’t help him. Damn computers! We drove ALL the way back to the airport to search the first car.
Scott, who never worries, acted like this was no big deal. Me, who hates to fight, got quiet, my mind was racing. “We are 20 hours and miles from home. What if someone has his wallet? How will we prove what expenses are ours and what isn’t? Have we been saving our receipts? Do we have protection on our accounts? Do we have the numbers? Will we have money to get home? Will we go home today? Can we pay for the rest of our trip? Will this cost us? When will Scott learn to be responsible? He is 33 years old. Why can’t he keep track of his stuff? Why do I have to look after him so much??!?!??!” It was a long 5 minutes as we sat in the Avis booth waiting for the technician to search the car. Of course, he returned with the wallet and it had fallen way under the seat.
As we walked back to our car, I started to cry. “What’s wrong?”
“I was so worried,” I cried.
“Why? It was going to work out.” Scott pointed out.
“I know, but what if didn’t. It doesn’t always. I am tired. Vegas is gross. I hate our hotel. I miss the kids so much.”
“Do you want to go home?” Scott asked.
“Yes and no, but I know once we get there, we are there. The kids are not ready for us to come home yet.” (Which was true, our family was giving the kids the time of their lives. They didn’t have time to miss us. Us returning two days early, would not be a welcome sight to our children.)
We stayed and moved on to the laundry mat. We looked up a laundry mat, not far from Target, on our Google Map program. We were about 6 blocks from the new fancy strip and given all of the reviews, and location information, we figured it must be a new clean place. We figured wrong. We were just on the edge of a very run down neighborhood. We went into the un-air conditioned, yet cleanish laundromat, and set out to finish our last chore. While we were waiting, a bird flew through my hair! SERIOUSLY! I normally would have freaked out, but for some reason, it had zero effect on me. Zero. I had moved past the point of emotion about Vegas. Instead, I kept my eye on the bird, and tried to enjoy the tweeting it music it provided to the atmosphere.
I borrowed the key to go the bathroom, and it had been stripped of all paper goods. The children waiting with their parents, had missing and broken teeth, but they were super sweet. They hung around Scott and I and asked questions about the Nook and iPad. I had fun talking with them. Their parents tried to keep them from disturbing us, but I really didn’t mind. They were so sweet. It’s the real people, who I enjoy.
Once our laundry was done, it was 1:30, already, and we headed straight to New York, New York to take advantage of their free parking. It was time to explore Las Vegas, The Strip, the Vegas we wanted to see all along. Scott played Blackjack right away and won us our gambling money for the day ($40!). We spent the afternoon walking from building to building, soaking in the people, decorations, and walking around.
For me, Vegas was ruined. It was all decoration and fake. I couldn’t see past the kids in the laundromat with broken teeth. I couldn’t see past the kids in strollers, sitting by the slot machines as the parents smoked cigarettes over them and played. I couldn’t see past the people in our own hotel wearing jammies, playing slots. The decorations were neat, but that’s all it is. Vegas sells a dream that many people spend money to have, but they are spending money they don’t have to buy that dream. Vegas made me sad. I just wanted to leave.
Hours later, he said, “I didn’t see that at first. I see it now. You are right. Vegas is sad. It’s just decoration. It’s the same.”
I know many people love Las Vegas, I could have too. Sometimes, I wish I wouldn’t see so much. The camera is great because it has opened my eyes to beauty. The camera has also opened my eyes to sadness and reality. It is also opening my heart and true desires to helping others.
Here’s my advice, if you ever go to Las Vegas: Stay on the Strip, go to some shows, and live large. That is the image the city wants to sell. Scott says that is how we will return to Vegas. I say, “Why go back? We’ve there. Let’s go to New Orleans, New York, or another city we have never been.”
Have you ever seen the negative side to a city? How did it affect your memory? Would you return?