Travel Blog (Vegas Adventure Part 14)

Vegas is a city where dreams go to die. 

In the old days, when the Mob ran the Vegas, there was a saying that if you went broke, the casino would ensure you would get home by buying you a bus ticket. 

When the corporations and suits took over Vegas, things changed. Nobody gives a shit about the homeless and those that lose everything, not even the city. 

This is sad. 

In a city that millions are wagered, and some high rollers bet as much as $100k on a hand, just outside, literally on the bridge between the opulent Palazzo and the Wynn, there was one homeless woman begging for money, and another who evidently had turned in for the night and decided to sleep on the there. 

Go down the escalator and enter the Wynn promenade and you can buy Rolex and Loius Vuitton and Chanel, and just outside people are destitute. 

Back when I used to live in Vegas, I saw all sorts of stuff. I lived behind the strip for 3 months as I was trying to close on my house. 

There is a huge homeless problem surrounding the strip with people suffering all kinds of addictions and bad turns in life. 

In fact, they estimate 2000 people actually live in the storm drain tunnels beneath Las Vegas. 

I know, because I have seen it. When people lost their homes in the housing collapse, some people even moved their entire furniture sets inside. They sleep at night and come out in the day and roam the strip. You’ll see them scavenging casinos looking for dropped money or tickets. They hand out those club tickets and ask for a donation. 

Some efforts are made by charities to get folks on their feet, but many don’t break the cycle. 

And sadly, many are vets. 

Here is one story I have, from my first week in Vegas in 2008. I was at chipotle next to Harrahs and a homeless man with torn up clothing, bloodshot eyes, was hogging the corner table just outside. He watched as a woman was done with her burrito bowl and she tossed it in the garbage. 

The homeless/drugged man then walked inside and reached in and grabbed the remainder of her bowl from the trash. He took it outside and mumbled to himself and ten started eating it with his fingers as tourists walked by. 

The next time you are in Vegas take a look, the homeless are not as invisible as you may think.

Travel Blog (Vegas Adventure Part 7)

So there was a bizarre thing I did with my travel package. I did maybe 50 different variations of searches and combinations of dates to determine which was the best value. What I discovered was the weekends are expensive in Vegas, especially for the hotels I wanted to stay at. For the cost 9 days at the Palazzo plus airfare through Allegiant and a rental car, it was going to be $2900, not including hotel tax and resort fees plus rental car facility fees ($90).

When I searched again for Sunday through Friday for the last 5 days in a partial hotel search, the total cost was a little under $1100 with the same fees. Wow. The first 4 days were gonna cost me a ton. So like the adventurer and seasoned Vegas traveler I was, I took the cheaper option. My plan was simple; I would get to Vegas without a hotel room the first 4 days and Priceline the last minute deals. 

So I got to Vegas on Wednesday afternoon and played some poker and before I knew, it turned into a marathon session. My stuff was still packed in the rental car. So I simply used Priceline and scored a cheap place off the strip, Stay America for $45 (out the door with tax price) on that Thursday. 

Am I a cheapskate? Maybe.

But on the strip, you pay an average of $30 in resort fees plus $10 in hotel tax (plus $10 parking a fees at MGM properties) each day. Add that up and you are talking up to $450 in hidden fees. 

Yes, I did pay for a rental car, but I consider this a mandatory expense as taxis are a complete waste of money when seeing Vegas on the go. The math works out if you just use the rental once per day vs taking a taxi. (Other good option is to use “The Deuce” which pretty much runs 24/7 up and down the strip).

So I checked in and they welcomed me with the hospitality that you would expect for a $45 deal on Priceline.  The place comes with a kitchen and wifi (slower than 1994 dial up) but reminded me of those types of hotels that people pay by the week. I didn’t care much. I seriously took a shower and slept for 10 hours. 

Think about it. The only place cheaper than this with no resort fees are the hostels, which might only cost $15 but you are sharing the room with 7 people, sleeping in bunk beds.

So that was my room after waking up. Not very nice but not stank either. There was a certain aroma in the air that reminded me of the scent of what happens when people don’t exactly abide by the no smoking rule. 
Stay America did come with “breakfast.” There was coffee, some fruit, some muffins and some granola bars. After 10 hours of sleeping I needed something so I scarfed down on everything to get something in.

All in all, Stay America is a good cheap option to crash if you need to do something funky for a day or two to beat pricing anomalies. With friends, you save even more money. If this had resort fees of the strip (only a few blocks east) the place would have been equivalent of $5 at circus circus (plus all the crazy fees).

Travel Blog (Vegas Adventure Part 5)

I took this picture on Thursday as I walked out of the Palazzo to find my rental car. It’s a subterranean oven that is hot as hell during the day. 

Today, when I arrived early due to some weird as hell hours, the parking garage was mostly empty. It was around 4:50am and I was honestly chilling in the rental car eating some Pringles and hydrating on Gatorade because I was hungry as a hippo and needed to get back to gambling after winning over at the Rio. 

I don’t know about you, but I believe heaters are meant to be pressed.

Then I heard what I think were a couple of some sort arguing on the way back to the car. It got louder and louder with the dude ordering her to take a taxi back home, so I assume they were locals. The girl was saying “I don’t know” and the guy was saying “I told you not to talk to him.” There were expletives and name calling all on a woman with no coherent comeback.

Then the guy began yelling like a maniac,  “I told you not to talk to him. It’s over.” Then he started punching what I think was his steering wheel or dashboard like a maniac. He then repeated himself over and over as if this was his “redrum.”

I was trying to peice together what the hell was going on. I narrowed it down to a few scenarios. 

1)She was a prostitute and the guy didn’t pay up, and the pimp was like “what the hell? I warned you.” But to be honest, this didn’t make sense for how angry he was. Do pimps get that angry?

2)The nightclubs had closed maybe an hour or so before, and maybe she went with some guy in the club back to the room, and the boyfriend couldn’t find her for a damn hour while two people went with the flow of it. 

3)The guy was truly a jealous psychotic and was drunk and enraged she simply talked to some dudes while she got drinks. Maybe he had caught them bumping and grinding, or is just the possessive type (but why the hell would you go to a high end club on a Friday night if she can’t have a little fun too?) 

The fight ended with the guy saying “it’s over.” And the girl was kind of disbelief-crying. Then like the douchebag-who-cried-wolf, the guy said “well, if you get in a fucking taxi now and go home you have a chance.” 


If she knew better, she should have probably gone to the airport and flown as far away as she could. 

But this is Vegas, where dreams go to die. 

I stayed in my car and ate more Pringles.