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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Sin City, UGH!

USA | Saturday, 21 April 2012 | Views [2672]

It's rare that I journey around the USA and as a result its rare that I write stories about it, but this misadventure would be one to forget! My plan was to hitchhike to Zion National Park, and I was all set to go with plenty of gear and warm clothes. Los Angeles is a huge city and therefore not easy to hitchhike or walk out of, so I opted for a bus to Las Vegas and thought I'll start hitching from there. The 4-hour drive between LA and Vegas is a very monotonous, dull, and boring one. Suddenly, out of nowhere Vegas appears right before your eyes! Stopping only for some money and a few things in Sin City, I make my way to Boulder City where I visit my cousin, camp, and then go to the Hoover Dam. The only other time I've been to Vegas was 15+ years ago, and I must admit I hated it then! Then I was with my mother, grandmother, aunt, and cousin (the one who lives in Boulder City), and the only memories I have are swimming, extreme heat, mosquito bites, and a cool pair of sunglasses. Vegas just has never been my type of place. Many people go there for bachelor/bachelorette parties, loose women, drugs, or just a weekend of debauchery. Not my thing! Vegas is a very hot and (in my eyes) rather depressing place; one of my former customers called it "the trash can of the world." Very accurate as you walk (or stumble, depending on your drunkenness) over the boardwalks above Las Vegas Blvd.; better known as "the Strip." A filthy bum with a piece of cardboard scrawled with "Weed is my way of life" is just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to the world's largest trash can, Vegas could easily be thought of as the world's largest theme park or movie set. The whole setting to the place is surreal; no trees, no greenery on the hillsides, and beyond the city it's a vast expanse of bare desert. I swear that Vegas is probably the closest city visually to being on the Moon. The hotels and other mockery on the Strip look like hastily built movie sets and appear to be torn down every few years (somehow they have to keep people coming back). When I tried to get to Utah I had to wait for nearly an hour in the intense heat for the bus, although an elderly couple gave me $20 which was one of the few positive moments on this trip. On the same bus I had to hear a woman yell out on her mobile phone "I need to go get my medication" which pissed off a number of passengers. Anyways, someone suggested going to a truck stop in North Las Vegas and trying to get a lift from there, but was hot, brutal, and depressing. Overall I just felt out of place, like a lost soul of sorts. Most of the truckers told me they couldn't take passengers, so I thought I'd have a better chance of walking a ways north. There were several vehicles with Utah plates but everyone seemed to be coming from Utah; nobody seemed to be going to Utah. Someone then told me because it's Friday afternoon! People from LA go to Vegas for the killer nightlife, but people from Utah put their religious beliefs on the back burner and head here. After all the saying is "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." Though I should point out that STDs don't stay in Vegas. Finally a young man picked me up and drove me a few miles northeast of Vegas, but I was out in the middle of nowhere, nobody was picking me up and it was getting dark. My mobile phone was dead and I literally felt terrified. It was pitch-black and I was on the side of a highway at like 9 PM. The lights of Vegas were in front of my like a mirage as I walked toward them. That was all I could do: walk, hold out my thumb, be careful, and hope for the best. A vehicle stopped like 50 feet ahead of me! The driver: a single father of 13 children was on his way from Utah to Disneyland, but was staying the night in Vegas. If they were going all the way to California tonight I would have gladly gone with them. I felt extremely lucky; the only luck I had because I wouldn't be playing any slot machines tonight. When I was dropped off I went into a Starbucks and asked about a hostel the barista said "what's a hostel?" All I could do is enjoy Vegas as best I could but I really don't enjoy it. Guys harass me advertising their women and throwing their cards at me! One of them I nearly backhanded and yelled out "I have a girl I love very deeply." When I signed on to Facebook I found out a friend is at one of the nearby hotels, and I caught up with her after searching around. She's getting married in a few months and I met some of her family. Afterward it was a matter of pulling an all-nighter somewhere, and I didn't know the hell where. Eventually I found a Starbucks inside Planet Hollywood where I hung out, sipping tea, and going online. It's hard walking past slutty women on the laps of well-heeled suit-clad men, people smoking at every slot machine, and all this ugliness that I have no interest in. Casinos are open 24/7 and when you're inside it's hard to tell what time of day it is! I'd be getting on a bus the following morning and getting the hell out of this shithole. The only thing I even remotely liked was the oddly-built New York New York Resort. Vegas merits no photos and none of my time, and in the intense heat I was on the first bus and I high-tailed it out of town, never looking back! Overall I can call this a combination of a very poorly planned trip and bad luck. I will NEVER again go back to Las Vegas. If a friend asks me to meet them there I'll tell them they can meet me halfway in Barstow (although there's fuck-all out there as well). "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" doesn't apply to me. What happened in Vegas has forever remained painfully burned into my memory!


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