S ometimes I just observe what goes on around me — no matter how minor or insignificant it might be — which causes my mind to wander. Here are four vignettes of Las Vegas based on my observations on this last trip:
I Lost My Pants in Vegas?
“Did I just hear that security person say that someone lost their pants?” I asked the person behind the security desk at one particular casino while I was waiting for someone. “I mean, I have heard of people losing their shirts in Las Vegas — but not literally.”
“No, that is not what he said”, she replied. “But I have seen worse. A lot worse.”
“We have picked up all sorts of things. There are times we retrieve entire dresses. I mean, how can someone forget an entire dress?”
“An entire dress? How do people leave that area of the building without wearing a dress?!?”
“I do not know — but this place is much different at around 3:00 in the morning.”
“People are just so beyond drunk that they do completely stupid things. They have no idea where they are, what time it is, how they got there or where they are going. It is pretty pathetic, actually.”
Why pay good money for a show in Las Vegas when you can apparently get entertained free of charge? Just show up in a casino at 3:00 in the morning, I suppose; but because I do not drink, gamble or am not usually in public places at 3:00 in the morning, I guess I will never find out…
A Bloody Good Time?
I was walking with several “bloggers” from BoardingArea on Las Vegas Boulevard one evening heading back to the hotel property from the High Roller, which purportedly is the highest observation wheel in the world…
…or, at least, we were trying to walk back to the hotel property. The sidewalk was so clogged with people that forward movement was virtually impossible at times. There was construction as well as restrictive elements — such as temporary fencing — which further narrowed the sidewalk.
Suddenly, the sidewalk opened up, revealing one man jumping and punching another man, who emerged from the fracas with blood streaming down his nose and around his mouth. The air was laced with a mixture of epithets and profanity as onlookers watched in confusion and curiosity, not knowing what provoked the violence — or what was going to happen next.
One man held the other back from continuing the confrontation; and I am not sure to where the bloodied victim disappeared. I could not tell you definitively whether or not they were drunk or high on drugs; and there were no police officers to be found. We eventually continued on our way long after the combatants disappeared into the crowds in the night.
I do wonder how one moment there was no room for anyone to move and the next moment the portion of the sidewalk with the two fighting men was cleared almost instantly. Where did the extra people go?!?
Sex and the City
Not far from where I saw two young girls — think elementary school age — with whom I assumed was their mother quite late at night happily dancing to some extremely loud disco music on the sidewalk of Las Vegas Boulevard near the Brooklyn Bridge replica in front of a hotel and casino property, there was a lone woman who was wearing nothing more than a skimpy bikini bottom, two small pasties each covering a nipple, and stiletto shoes attempting to pass out cards to sell something.
Can someone please tell me why seeing both full breasts on a woman with the nipples barely covered is all right; but without the nipples covered is not all right? Is this similar to why men have no problem walking around in public without a shirt — nipples exposed and all — whereas women are usually not allowed to do that in many places?!?
It is so difficult to walk up The Strip without being bombarded by peddlers hawking literature for escorts — some of whom can be delivered to your room — as well as adult nightclubs and other assorted sleaziness.
I would never take them up on their offers, of course; but I did wonder if you could earn frequent flier loyalty program miles or points with payment for the service — not counting affiliate credit cards, of course. I thought that would be a great cartoon for InsideFlyer magazine.
How many forests were destroyed in the creation of all of the cards and flyers being distributed on The Strip at any given time? I hope they were printed with recycled paper and biodegradable inks.
More important to me was what were those two young girls — as well as a lot of other children of school age — doing in a place like Las Vegas late at night not long after the school year started?
“I Don’t Gamble For The Money”
An older couple entered the elevator and were talking loudly — almost as though they wanted me to hear what they were saying.
“How did you do at the tables?”, she asked.
“Not too well”, he answered. “Lost ten out of 12 times at one table; and 20 out of 25 times at another.”
He then looks at me as I am really trying to ignore them. “But the money don’t matter to me. I gamble ’cause it’s fun.”
Yeah. Right. “Well, that’s what counts”, I replied, not knowing what else to say.
Being someone who does not smoke, drink or gamble — I may have gambled five times in my life in Las Vegas and Atlantic City but have not gambled in years — I found that comment amusing. I mean, if it is fun you are after and not about money, why not play a video game where you do not lose money? “Oh, I just lost at poker. I am down $4,297,483.66 — but not really, because this is a video game and not real. Double or nothing, my good man.”
To this day — while there may be more and more places on this planet where you can gamble — I still have not yet found a place similar to Las Vegas.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, I suppose — but I will not stay in Vegas. Rather, I am writing this article at the airport, looking forward to heading home and finishing the plans for my unintentional trip around the world…
…but to me, observing other people involved in seemingly insignificant experiences is every bit as important to me when traveling, as they often open a unique window into the world in which you are currently immersed.
Photographs ©2014 by Brian Cohen.