Good morning everyone. I'll get right down to business since this post is going to have some length to it. I'm now 14 weeks away from being able to move back to the desert, and I decided that today's entry would summarize the things that I did and did not like about living in Las Vegas. I will start with the negatives first so that I can end up with the good stuff. I previously lived in Vegas for 2 years (when the economy was good), from May 05 to April 07. The positives and negatives below are listed in no particular order...
1) The Weather - IT... ALMOST... NEVER... RAINS... Go figure, since the city of Las Vegas is in the state of Nevada, in the middle of the DESERT... I grew up in the Northeast throughout most of my youth, and with the exception of the two years listed above, I have lived in the state of Texas since I moved south to attend college. The thing that I discovered from my previous stint in Vegas was that I have personally become acclimated to humidity. It is pretty much too hot to do anything outside during the summer in Las Vegas, but "it's a dry heat..."
2) There Is No Water - This is a little different from the reason listed above and is a bit of an exaggeration, but let me explain... San Marcos, America has a river running right through the middle of campus at my alma mater (there is a stretch of grass overlooking the river that is nicknamed 'Bikini Hill' - you may have heard of it...). During the hot Texas summer you can jump INTO this river, float the river, etc, etc... I cannot vouch for this with 100% certainty, but when I lived out in Vegas before, I was told that the city would not allow any new homes to have swimming pools and that no new golf courses could be built due to the lack of water. I SWEAR that on my visit to Atlantic City three summers ago I was ready to move up there after walking out of the poker room and staring THE ATLANTIC OCEAN eye-to-eye... AWESOME!
3) The Feeling Of Isolation - There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 million residents in Clark County (depending on which source you trust), so let me explain... San Marcos, America is 30 minutes south of Austin and 30 minutes north of San Antonio. If you drive much farther than 30 minutes in any direction from Vegas, you will run into MOUNTAINS. Yes, Las Vegas is nicknamed 'the valley' (although I prefer 'the desert') on the local Vegas news, etc... The way that I have driven into Vegas many times, from the south (out of California), it's VERY OBVIOUS that you are driving UP a mountain, and then DOWN a mountain. I grant you, it is a VERY BIG BOWL, but for some reason I let that bother me... Let me add that I did not have a Myspace account, facebook did not exist yet, and I felt more than a little separated from my family and friends.
4) The Feeling Of Having To "Watch Your Back" - I guess it's due to the gambling, partying lifestyle out in the desert (what's that you say?), but I always felt like I had to watch my back to avoid being scammed by somebody.
5) The Lost Souls - I really wasn't sure how to title this reason, but it is very depressing to see the poverty level in Las Vegas. This is in a way a reflection of the reason listed above. There are a number of people living in the desert who have gambled above their means or for some other reason have fallen on hard times, and it is very sad to see the poor neighborhoods and the homeless who you do not see in the television or print ads for the city.
1) The Weather - HUH?! Wasn't that number one on the bad list? Forget the fact that Vegas doesn't have much rain and is dry, and the seasonal temperatures are VERY SIMILAR to those in central Texas. It gets a little warmer in the summer and a little cooler in the winter. BUT Vegas does not have a lot of (if any) tornado or hurricane watches and warnings... ;)
2) Poker And Sports Betting - What do I do since there is no river?... In Las Vegas I can make a sports bet/parlay on practically anything, and a casino has NEVER failed to pay me on a winning bet. If you have read this blog at all, I LOVE making predictions, especially when it comes to sports, and especially when it comes to football. In Las Vegas I can play poker RIGHT NOW (whenever right now happens to be). I can ALWAYS find a game. This could be a reason all its own, but since I'm relating it to poker, Las Vegas is 24/7 - Las Vegas is ALWAYS OPEN. You might have to search your Poker Live App. to see where the game is at 4:00 in the morning, but you will be able to find one.
3) You Meet People From Everywhere - I am a people person, and I LOVED the fact that I got to meet people from all over the United States and all over the world. The three rowdy guys from (insert the name of a country here) can really liven up the poker table. I didn't know that there were so many beautiful women from (insert the name of a country here).
4) Your Friends Will Come To Las Vegas - Even without the advent of facebook, I can easily recall meeting up with friends from San Marcos, America and family AT LEAST a half dozen times in the two years that I lived in Las Vegas. We dined together, we gambled together, we had milk and cookies together... ;) DON'T GET ME STARTED on how many of my friends have gone out to Las Vegas in the past year (which I have been made well aware of through my facebook account)... I am sure that having facebook will make the desert feel a little less isolated also...
There you go. I hope that clears things up for you a little. Some things for you to ponder if you have never visited the desert or have thought about moving there yourself. Something that I was evidently too stupid to do was to make the short 5-hourish drive from Vegas to the west coast to see the Pacific Ocean (and yes, I have never been to L.A., or San Diego, or San Francisco, etc, etc...). I hope that you have a great day and I will see you again on Friday with my first-round NBA playoff predictions.