Friday, March 05, 2010

One more about Vegas...

Emaw has a post up right now about his overall hate for Vegas, since he happened to be there at the same time that I was last weekend. Weird timing, but he wasn't the only person I knew that was there the same weekend...I ran into a coworker and her husband returning from a trip they took out there to celebrate her husband's birthday, too. What can we say? It's a popular getaway for people from Kansas City.

I think this was my favorite part of his post:

"But the sight of bleary eyed, hungover, newly broke frat boys is comical compared to the poverty that you see if you drive 10 minutes from the Las Vegas strip. There, are people living in concrete block hovels (in the desert, mind you) just a mile or two from ostentatious water displays."

I think very few people take random side-trips off the strip, or off the 15, or any of the other main highways, to see how the people who basically run Vegas actually live. My family and I were out there to meet and discuss the family business, and in doing that, we had a chance on Friday afternoon to check out a couple of shopping centers that we own out there, about 15 minutes from the downtown/strip area.

I've been to Vegas and it's various surrounding parts many times in my life, since my older sister and her ex-husband used to live there when he was a marketing manager for a local casino many years back. It's no different from the area of California that I grew up in, and what it turned into in the few years after we moved away from the place I was born. Parts of it are very nice...million dollar homes are successfully sold with relative speed, while other newer construction can be found (according to the Pesimistic Cabby we had on Saturday afternoon) for rockbottom prices on one side of town. There's also a fair amount of rundown housing, old shopping centers, and houses surrounded by odd little gates that apparently are built to make it hard for a little person to rob was all very normal to me, so I wasn't all that surprised by it.

The first property my brother took us to was kind of a mess. Tenants are moving out in the middle of the night to escape their leases. The cameras that were set up on the building to deter criminal activity were stolen within a week of being placed there. The back alley is full of tumble weeds, and I feel really sorry for the person that has to clean them up, because they have those thorny things on 'em, and they were half the height of the building, and that's just gonna suck. We're on our way to being rid of that location, though, so hopefully, the new owners will be able to bring it back to it's former glory. (Eh-em. Whatever that may be!)

The 2nd property we went to visit was much more bustling. Mostly full tenant-wise, it has a grocery store, and a large well-known retailer in it as anchors. And a Taco Bell on one side of the parking lot, which generally guarantees a level of success in an area of town like that.

But it's located directly next to a park that has a group of drug dealers/users and homeless people living in it. People who, before we put up a fence, would routinely manage their drug deals on the edge of our parking lot, and would use the bushes and dumpster by Taco Bell as a toilet. According to my brother, the fence he installed stopped all that from happening. Which is nice.

We have 24 hour security on the premises, because it's simply required there. Unfortunately, that security can only do so much, and other precautions need to be taken with regards to the dumpsters around the back of the buildings...when we were there, there were 4 of them in various locations around the rear of the stores. Our brother explained that when they keep them within the confines of the secured dumpster corral walls, they have dead bodies dumped in them. After the 4th body was discovered, they went ahead and rolled the dumpsters out into the open. No more dead bodies! (Which is a nice change, if ever there was one.) (Kinda makes me wonder where the bodies are being dumped now, though. Hmm....)

It's an ugly part of town, but every town has one. Hell, there are even parts of Overland Park that manage to surprise me when I run across them!

Vegas isn't all pretty, that's for damned sure. And I agree with what Emaw says about the overwhelming amount of ridiculous architecture on the strip, and how crazy it's all gotten over the years. My sisters and I were remembering our trips out there years ago, when it seemed like the drive to the airport took quite a while because it was so far from everything. This trip, the room I stayed in on Thursday night overlooked the runways.

But people need and want a place like that to visit. I'm not so keen on the gambling aspect of it all, but the nice rooms, spas, and restaurants are definitely welcome in my world! I'm not sure it's the worst city EVAR, though, is the thing. I can see why someone would feel that way, but just isn't. (Maybe a visit to Bakersfield, CA, or someplace like that might help put some perspective on that view!) It's just another place where people go to play. And that, in turn, leads to commerce and jobs and a churning economy. It is what it is. I don't think it's as evil as Emaw makes it out to be...

Maybe he shoulda come over to our hotel for the spa treatments on Saturday morning! That could've changed his mind, I bet.

Happy weekend, everyone. I'll post more photos of the kitchen progress next week. This week, there just wasn't much going on. Hopefully, that's being remedied today, and on Monday, the floors are getting done! WOOT!


faithstwin said...

See? There is a way to talk about the dead bodies without being crass. Nicely done.

I know there wasn't a way to bring up the neighboring business that used the backside of the grocery store to test their paint colors on, but I think that was one of my favorite parts of the tour. Four paint samples rolled on in giant 4'x4' squares. Besides the Bro pointing out that the security guard was sitting on the very wall he was supposed to be preventing others from sitting on. =D

It was a good 24 hours for me. I still am bummed I missed out on more yummy food, though.

Have a good weekend everyone!

emawkc said...

You make some solid points. I guess I was just sad and venting the frustration at the realization that, as Marc Maron recently put it, "this place is the most honest representation of what America is right now."