From Destinations, General, Las Vegas, News & Notes

Change Can’t Come Quick Enough for Vegas

The entrance to the Monorail station at MGM Grand in Las Vegas shows the lack of riders.

What's missing from the entrance to the Monorail station at MGM Grand in Las Vegas? In a word - riders.

Having just gotten back from almost five days in Las Vegas, I have been puzzling over what subject to post about first in regards to this trip.  We visited the new Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, ate at a number of good and not-so-good restaurants, traipsed up and down the Strip, traveled to a couple of outlying casino properties, played a lot of games including a video poker tournament and indulged in my favorite activity – the always interesting Las Vegas people-watching.   All of these experiences and more will be subjects for future posts.

But today, as I sit here this morning organizing notes and photos, trying to make some sort of logical sense of all the information and images we collected, I am watching and listening to today’s remarkable historical event – the inauguration of our 44th president, Barack Obama.  As we all know (unless you’ve been living under not only a rock but a virtual boulder these past few months,) this is the candidate who ran on an almost single-word platform:  change.  Speaking in economic terms, for Las Vegas that change cannot come quickly enough.

We report here regularly on the downward trend of “numbers” coming out of Nevada’s Gaming Control Board but when you can leave your hotel at eight o’clock on a Saturday night and have no cab line – none – that is when those black-and-white numbers become a full-color reality.  Or take Thursday night when we decided to hop the Monorail for a quick trip down to MGM Grand and found maybe ten people (again during the peak dinner hours) on the whole train.  These instances along with the sight of half-full restaurants and bars, sidewalks not clogged with tourists, and the rows of empty blackjack and poker tables told us much more than numbers on a page ever could.

The good news?  Las Vegas – crowded or not – remains the city of joyful extravagance and neon lights and fabulous restaurants and over-the-top design and world-class shopping and the promise of riches gleaned from a dollar dropped into a slot machine.  Oh, and desserts – luscious, decadent, gaudy desserts.   NONE of that has changed a bit.

We, as always, had a terrific time in Las Vegas and can hope, along with the rest of the country, that this new administration will bring with it a change in our collective economic condition.  I don’t even mind if Las Vegas goes first.

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