Travelogue: Las Vegas

Las Vegas sign as seen from a red, double-decker tour bus.

It has been long-thought that Las Vegas was recession proof.  Apparently not.  After spending a few days there recently, I can attest that the city is enduring struggles of its own.  As is usually the case, I gathered most of my information from taxi cab drivers.  An unscientific poll of about 10 drivers revealed that they are hurting financially, the hotels are hurting, and most importantly, the casinos are hurting.  We heard all kinds of horror stories.  Vegas is a very “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back” kind of city.  And if one segment isn’t getting its back scratched, well, you get the picture.  There were also several outward signs of trouble in Sin City.  Table betting minimums at most casinos were down significantly from previous trips.  But the most obvious sign was the sheer volume of construction work stopped in its tracks.  If I saw 20 large-scale projects, 19 of them were at a standstill with nary a construction worker in sight, which is not the norm in Vegas.  Construction crews usually work around the clock, 24-hours a day.  Below is one such site:

Construction Halted

I’m not sure that people should feel sorry for Las Vegas.  They’ve held the upper-hand for quite a while, as evidenced by the size of the buildings.  But I will say that the timing is right if you’re on the fence about whether to go or not.

Over the next couple of days I’m going to write about a couple shows that we saw in Vegas:  Frank Caliendo and Carrot Top.  Yes, Carrot Top.  But first, a couple of travel notes:

Travel Notes:

*This does not fall under the category of “Look Alikes.”  Instead, this is the real deal.  While waiting to leave Vegas, I saw NFL Hall of Famer and former Minnesota Viking John Randle waiting for the same flight to Minneapolis.  I timidly approached him because, well, he’s still really scary looking.  We talked for about 90 seconds.  He was very nice and gracious when I asked if I could take a picture.  It’s not my best work.  In fact, it kind of looks like I’m creeping in from the side.  Whatever.

John Randle (L), Me (R)

True story:  Randle moved around the gate area like he was going to rip the head off a quarterback.  He looked like he could still play.  Apparently, I was the only person brave stupid enough to approach him.

*Travel Note #2:  Watched the movie “Cyrus” on the flight yesterday starring John C. Reilly.  Very good and underrated movie.

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