There seem to be two kinds of people in this world. Those who like Las Vegas and those who don’t. I don’t. Well, I don’t like what Las Vegas stands for and for the way most people act when they are there.
Now, since I generally try to find the good in every situation, let’s focus on what’s good about Las Vegas. The weather. Leaving Detroit’s 15 degrees last week for a few days at a business conference, even in Vegas, sounded appealing. Of course, at most conferences you spend the days staring at a large expanse of beige walls in nondescript meeting rooms so it doesn’t really matter what city you’re in. And the evenings are for “networking events” which is the reason conference planners book Vegas. So, my time to enjoy some warm weather was on early morning runs before balancing a plate of too-firm pineapple slices, small grapes, and dry muffins plus a plastic cup of watered-down orange juice at the continental breakfast. (Okay, I don’t always try to find the best of every situation.)
The benefit of traveling west is that in the morning your body is still on EST so you can sleep in a little and still have time for a run before an 8:30AM PST breakfast. As I headed south down The Strip at 5:15AM local time it was a warm but breezy 52 degrees. The early morning sights on the Vegas strip are very different than what you see in the Convention Bureaus’ brochures. Dozens of workers in safety-yellow vests trying to clean up the city before the next wave of tourists. Sweeping up piles of discarded little cards advertising girls for rent, hosing down the gutters to wash who-knows-what down the sewers and driving what look like miniature Zamboni’s over the glossy marble and tile casino entrances. I passed eight or ten other runners out enjoying this other side of Vegas. I also got some extra cardio in at the intersections as I raced up and down the stairs to the crossing bridges that were built, I’m sure, to help reduce the number of drunks that step out into traffic as they stumble from casino to casino. I ran down to the old, original (now cheesy) “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign that’s about a half-mile past the Mandalay Bay then turned around and headed back as more cabs and delivery trucks seemed to be filling Las Vegas Blvd.
As I walked into my hotel after a nice 55 minute run in shorts and a long-sleeve t-shirt I felt like a winner in Vegas.