I went to Vegas this past Spring for an academic conference. I know I'm not supposed to tell what happened in Vegas, but I really found my stay to be delightful in non-traditional ways, and because I'm doing this series of Cell Phone Photo Dump / Memories To Live By blogposts....
why not talk about Vegas?
I should preface my story by admitting that I hate gambling. I'm not opposed to it any more than I'm opposed to television, I just find it to be dull. I love risk and games, so it doesn't make sense but it just doesn't do anything for me. Preface Number Two: I hate disnefication. I don't hate people who love Disney and there's many Disney products that I respect, appreciate and even like. But the process whereby everything gets turned into an amusement park -- amplification to the Nth degree? Not my thing. Excess also bores me.
So I was clearly not made for Vegas and so I brought an inordinate amount of work with me to this conference so that my downtime would be productive. I stayed in the low-end Stratosphere (pictured above) and was disappointed when I arrived to find that the windows pictured on the website were not at all the reality in the rooms. It looked like a cellblock with a minor hole that you could peer through on your tiptoes. Since I had brought work with me, I had hoped to at least overlook mountainous vistas while working...
So far disappointment. Right?
Then I started running.
I ran North of the stratosphere. Through the ghetto / arts district and up to the old strip. The weather was amazing. The evening light was long and beautiful. The graffiti was elaborate, unique and specific. And my lungs went on forever. Wonderful runs.
I started eating and walking and running only in the ghetto/arts district and pretending that the big excessive strip didn't even exist.
I found this great Mexican dive from a converted KFC and got cheap delicious burritos every day. I found a great thai barbecue wedged into an unexpected corner right before the ghetto gave way to wedding chapel row. I did it all alone (and quiet, peace and alone time are scarce commodities in middle age).
I think the Vegas experience I had might not fly with their tourist bureau. But it was perfect for me.