The best experience I ever had in Las Vegas
I come to Vegas a lot, been there at least 15 times for work, and in general, I am not a fan. Dont get me wrong I get the attractions, the shows, the FOOD, oh my, the food, but in general, if you come here alone, its a sad place, especially if you are like me, dont gamble, not a drinker, not a smoker, and to go to a fancy restaurant alone is just not fun.
Last night was the last night at a convention I was attending in Vegas. One of the vendor has sponsored a dinner at Stratosphere and we got an invite. By the time the trade show floor closed, I was beat. To start with, I am operating on a 3 hour time difference, and add to that 12 hours of standing on my feet, and the thought of 2 more hours of being on my feet was just revolting. So at the last minute (when I saw that the dinner was going to be 80% vendors, 20% customers) I decided to bail out, grab a quick bite, and head back to my room to catch some much needed rest, Oh and catch up on the hundreds of emails that have pilled up since I left.
I ran to my room, put on my running shoes, jeans, T-shirt, and I headed down the Las Vegas Strip from the Wynn Resort. About 1K or so, I stopped at a mall that has a bunch of things that are cheap, When in Vegas, I prefer to eat with the locals if possible, not into spending $100 on a bogus meal. The mall is like your standard strip mall, there is a CVS, A couple of restaurants, etc… Yum, Thai food, can dig me some Pad Thai. I walked in and ordered the vegetarian Pad Thai, which was loaded with Tofu (which for the record, is bad for you). Any how, $7.99 later and I got me a giant take out container of noodles, a fork and chopsticks and some napkins. Since the restaurant was a good walk from the hotel, I decided to eat while I was walking and kinda stroll and take it easy. I stuck my fork in, and started eating.
Not even 100 meters into my walk, I heard some one saying to me, “Hey, if you dont finish that, can I have the left overs?” I looked over, and saw this older man, maybe 55ish, beard, homeless for sure, and my heart just broke. There is no way, I am going to eat all that, but by the time I am at my full, I am 1K away from him.
“I’ll split it with you”, So, I ripped off the top of the take out container, and split the meal and gave it to him. Since I was using the fork already, I asked,
“do you want to use the chop sticks?”
“I can’t eat with that”.
How is this man gonna eat this food. “Do you want to use my folk? I already used it?”.
“I dont care man, I am starving”
Very well, here is my fork. Problem is, how am I gonna walk and eat with chop sticks, impossible. And by the time I get to the hotel my food will just not taste good.
“Can I sit here and eat with you?” I asked,
“You sure, you wanna do that?.
“Yea, why not”
“Well no one wants to talk to a guy like me”
“I dont mind, if you dont mind”
So, I sat with him, had dinner, talked about everything under the sun. From the lack of work in Vegas, to how security and cops give him a hard time, how he gets little help, how he has no idea where his kids are, but misses them a lot and would do anyting to see them. And of course our grand discussion about Tofu and why its bad for you, and he could not understand why I ordered it, if it’s as bad for me as I say, but he did not care, it was food and never mind all this “bull shit research”.
Vegas is a fun town, if you come with friends, but its also a nasty town and has a very dark side. 500 meters from where I had dinner is Encore, one of the most glamorous hotels in Vegas, you would walk by and see the odd person spinning a slot machine at $100 per pull. Or walk a bit more and check out the 300K Ferrari at the Wynn, or grab a bite at Alex for $200 a meal. What a difference in perspective, and makes you take a hard look at whats around you and yourself.
Thank you Bill my vegas homeless friend for that experience, it was by far the most enjoyable experience ever in this miserable town.