I have to leave Vegas –

Fremone Casino

I have to leave Vegas.

There’s a foul energy here that’s making me not well.

I’ve been around. I’ve seen a lot of sleazy stuff, believe me. There’s not much I haven’t seen. I’m not a prude. By no means… Consenting adults, and all that stuff.

Glitter spot

But there’s something about this place that saps my soul. Etches it. Leeches it.

Or tries to.

We came in yesterday afternoon. A stopover from Provo in Utah, heading to Palm Springs. It was too long a haul in one day. We had to break it up. And looking at a map, there weren’t many options. So Vegas it was.

My wife and I had been to Vegas before. We were living in LA at the time, and thought we’d take our kids there for Easter. We tried to buy them Easter eggs. It wasn’t possible. We discovered that Las Vegas doesn’t celebrate Easter at all. No acknowledgement of it.

My wife and I aren’t church goers. We follow no established religious faith. But Easter is Easter. And some eggs for the kids, and a certain respect for what Easter represents, is always appropriate.

But in Vegas, Easter doesn’t exist.


That was then. We stayed on the Strip back then, in one of those very large fancy Casinos.

I don’t gamble. I gamble with my work every day. I don’t need to put coins in a slot. I think gambling is throwing money away. I have real issues with the way gambling is advertised in Australia. Gambling has become a huge social problem.


If you’ve got the money to lose and you want to gamble, then fine. Consenting adults and all that stuff. But gambling in Australia, and probably in the US as well, is targeted at lower income earners who don’t have the money to lose.

free pull

It plays on their hopes. On their dreams. On their belief that the next coin in the slot, the next throw of the dice, is going to hit the jackpot. Make it all worthwhile.

The House always wins in the long run.


This trip I didn’t want to go back to the Strip, with all that glitz. I wanted to get a sense of the old Vegas, when Sinatra and Dean Martin and those guys were kings.

So I booked us into a hotel on Fremont Street, in downtown Vegas. It was built in 1901, and called the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, situated right opposite the original Greyhound Bus Depot. I love the architecture and design of that era.

This would be cool, I thought.

Golden Gate sign

And it was cool.

Walking through to the lobby, you are channeled through the Casino, of course, and I noticed the beautiful old fashioned slot machines with leather chairs and foot stools. As a piece of design, they were wonderful.

The room had chunky iron taps in the bathroom, and tiling of the era. Again, beautiful.

As it turned out, the hotel was at the top of what was called the Fremont Street Experience – a closed walkway which straddles about three blocks – about half a mile  – covered by a canopy which at night becomes an extraordinary light show.

the who

We had dinner in a Casino buffet – subsidised by gambling, it was an amazing “all you can eat” for $13.99. Steaks cooked to order, crab, shrimp, delectable desserts, bottomless drinks. What they lose on the buffet, they more than make up in the Casino.


I went out last night to go to the drug store and take some photos – and at 10pm all the lights of the surrounding Casinos and shops dimmed, and the The Fremont Street Experience began.

There were massive speakers all through the walkway, and The Who’s Tommy – Pinball Wizard boomed out. Some drunk bikers started playing air guitar. Above on the canopy, an extraordinary light-show started up. Everyone stopped and stared upwards. Out came the cellphones to record it all.



It lasted about five minutes, and it was an amazing spectacle. And then the lights of the Casinos came back up again, and everyone resumed normal programming.

Normal programming was getting shitfaced and ogling the sexy girl/dancers and the Chippendale-esque men with their buffed bodies and socks down their fronts.


I didn’t need to be there.

I’d gone out to get some Vitamin C from Walgreens. I was coming down with something. Vegas had attacked my immune system.

Street hero shark

I took the photos I wanted to take, got my Vit C, and headed back to the hotel room where Jennifer was happily reading.

There are places on this earth that have beatific energies. Santiago is one of them. Lourdes is another. So too are the Himalayas. And the Ganges.

And following the laws of nature – Newton’s Third Law of Motion – that for each force there is an equal and opposite force; for each energy there is an equal and opposite energy – then there are places on this earth that have foul energies.

For me, Las Vegas is such a place.

I have to leave. I’ve seen what I wanted to see. I’ve taken my photos and I’ve had a rest.  Now it’s time to continue my journey…

fish in aquarium

37 thoughts on “I have to leave Vegas –

  1. Bill, like you i dont need Vegas to gamble. I am in the oil business and i trade stock options. That is enough gambling for me. Maybe too much. I agree that gambling preys on those least able to lose. Sells cheap hopes and dreams. Aside from great entertainment I like nothing about Vegas. No Caminos to Vegas please.


    • haha = you won’t get us taking a Camino to Vegas Steve, don’t worry!

      When we were there years back, we allowed ourselves $100 a night to spend on gambling. WE figured that would be the cost of our entertainment for the time spent there, which was three nights I think from memory. So in total, $300.

      We won some, then we lost some – and when we won, we spent our winnings, so we lost the lot. But for $300, we had a good time. But we set a limit, and never thought of going over it. Some people just get out their credit card – or worse still, they tap into a line of credit on their house, then blow the lot. That’s not good…


      • I used to do that in London. In those days, go to the Playboy Club casino and blow $200. If I won, I always plowed it back and then considered that was the cost of entertainment. Not being a card shark, it was not gambling for me. I knew I would lose.


  2. Bill, I agree, No good vibes. I avoid this place like a plague, but sometimes on road trips it is the only place to stop. I never have had a great experience. here, and a few times it was awful. So, I continue avoiding. We did have one Work trip for a conference that we stayed at a lovely hotel, but you still had to walk through the Casinos going in and out. Ugh! Kathryn


    • Hey Kathryn – yep, like you I’m over it. I remember when I worked in New Orleans, there were times when I would walk through the French Quarter and everyone was drinking these huge margaritas out of milk-shake containers, getting absolutely blind. it was a bit like that in Fremont Street last night. Mind you, I’m no puritan here. Some of those who witnessed my drinking habits on the tour, particularly in the vicinity of white port, would attest to that… 🙂


      • Bill
        I don’t approve generally of over indulging but there times that it is sort of ok in my mind (if you aren’t driving). Most of those people on Fremont Street are on vacation (generally a time to let loose, have a good time and relax). The people in the French Quarter are generally tourists on vacation. The people sharing five or six bottles of white port may have called what they were doing a pilgrimage but it was their vacation.
        Not trying to go against you here but I think there are different ways of looking at these places.
        What you experience in each of these places sometimes is up to the individual as to what they see and experience.
        I am not meaning to applaud Las Vegas on drinking and the sex oriented everything or New Orleans on drink to you drop but I think all could have a good time in each place if you look to do things they offer that you enjoy.
        Now the white port, I’m looking forward to five or six bottles as long as the van is near or we are almost at the next hotel.


          • Not calling you on it! Just a different view. When I knew you were stopping in North Bend aka Twin Peaks, I went to the liquor store in search of White Port. It was a large place but only 1 bottle which I bought. Close to it I spotted Almond Roca flavored wine. As I told you, Almond Roca is one of my favorite candies and it is made here by Brown & Haley. I bought that bottle too. Didn’t have much expectations for candy flavored wine but wanted to try it anyway. The port was delicious and I have it still hidden in the back of the fridge. One small glass left. The Almond Roca flavored wine was really really good. Kind of tasted like Bailey’s Irish Cream. Got a glass of it left too. Didn’t tell Dale it was good so I could have the whole thing. Just a couple more hours work and I will indulge in both! Hooly Dooly!!
            PS Where’s Jenny and Britta? Steve and I can’t make ALL the comments.


  3. Confession time!!
    We do or have enjoyed Las Vegas in the past. Las Vegas has earned the nickname of “Sin City” but as in city you can avoid partaking in those happenings. True, many of the cocktail waitresses are in skimpy outfits but the beaches anywhere are that way too. There are many shows that are covered up and very enjoyable. I learned on the camino last year that Americans work longer and have less vacation than almost anywhere else on earth. So, sometimes it is a nice getaway from our rain to go lay by the pool, see a show and contribute a small amount to the casino in lieu of paying full price for the buffet.
    We used to go once a year or so. Then the Native Americans started opening casinos here so I haven’t been to Vegas in probably seven years. My daughters both work at the Snoqualmie Casino which was a mile up the street from the Twin Peaks restaurant. One is a valet and wears a long pants uniform. The other is a cocktail waitress and wears a costume that respectably covers the boobs and rear mostly. We went once in awhile but last June we stopped. In anticipation of our Camino we figured the extra few bucks would be nice on the Way. We now have not been for over a year. Did go to the buffet a couple times in the last year and have to take my grand daughter next week on “crab” night as she made the honor roll at school.


    • Hey Lynda, as we left today, we drove past the Strip which we saw from the interstate, and it reminded me just how amazing it is. The incredible buildings – it’s like a gigantic theme park. Jen and I had fun there last time – we spent $100 a night on gambling – kept strictly to that amount – and of course we lost everything, but we had a good time. The Casinos employ a lot of people and pump a lot of money into the community. A good thing. My gripe in that post was principally to do with how gambling in Australia is targeting the low income earners who can’t afford to lose money. And also how energetically I felt very disquieted there. But I don’t like nightclubs either… never have…

      Liked by 1 person

      • When we went there we were the ones they were targeting, we didn’t have the money to lose. We generally lost what we took to spend but came back knowing we had a good time losing it, had a tan, had read a book or two, and felt refreshed to save for the next year’s vacation! Didn’t care for the Fremont St area kinda seedy other than the light show. The strip has all sorts of themes and lots to do other than gamble. 46 years ago I saw the Ann Margaret show there but never any Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin or Sammy Davis Jr shows.
        Several years ago I told Dale we were going to Paris for our anniversary. He had always wanted to see France. We went to the Paris hotel in Las Vegas!!!! Ate a delicious dinner in the Eiffel Tower there. Last year we were in the REAL Paris for our anniversary.
        It’s the same thing with lottery tickets. Lower income people often buy tickets hoping to move up a notch in financial status.


  4. I got sick in Vegas, too, Bill. I think it was the seven hours I spent at Circus Circus riding the amusement park thrill rides. I don’t gamble, but I go to Vegas every five years or so for the really great entertainment. I am addicted to Cirque de Sol shows. I even went to see the movie. It is okay for an occasional soirée, but definitely not a place for quiet reflection. Although it does sound like it agreed with Jen’s reading plans. Glad you were able to get back on the road quickly. Julie


    • Hi Julie – I hope I didn’t come across as some kind of moralising prude in that post, because anyone who knows me knows that I am capable of all kinds of mischief myself. Big time. So I can’t judge other people. Nor do I wish to.

      It’s just that when I was there, I could feel it sapping my energy. But Las Vegas has a whole lot to offer – incredible shows, amazing architecture, buffets that defy the laws of cost/return gravity – and just the experience. But for me, maybe because I’d been spending a lot of time driving through pristine desert, it wasn’t a place I really wanted to be.



      • You are right. It can drain you. It is designed to drain you……..of your money. There is no other reason for it to exist. The shows are secondary to making the money from gambling, and the house always wins in the long run.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Not at all. It just isn’t the right space, or place, for you at this given moment. After the Camino it might never be. I know people who go there monthly. I can’t fathom wanting to spend that much time in Vegas. I have never been drawn to it except for the shows and the roller coasters. Personally, I’d much rather be in Yosemite!

        Liked by 1 person

          • God did a much better at creation than Las Vegas developers. All the national parks in the US are spectacular, but Yellowstone remains my favorite.


          • Never thought I’d want a motorhome. But have been thinking lately how cool it would be to have one and visit each and every National Monument & Park. Each one has much beauty. Loved coming around the bend in the road in Yellowstone and finding a huge buffalo walking right down the middle of the street.


          • Try it on a motorcycle or snowmobile if you really want to feel one with that buffalo. I followed a cow moose with her yearling calf one winter on a snow mobile. She did not want to leave the road because it is so much easier for the animals in the winter. She kept nipping at the calf to run faster. I was not going fast and I was not about to pass her. Eventually there was a plowed road to a warming hut and she turned off. Don’t mess with a cow moose. 🙂

            Buffalo literally litter the road in winter. They are trying so desperately to preserve energy and make it till spring, that they avoid having to travel in deep snow when they can. They are not aggressive in winter, but you still need to be cautious when passing them. Don’t loiter.

            Buffalo are interesting. When one of their’s is dying as happens during early spring, several will congregate around it until it does die. I guess they are protecting it from predators. I don’t know that this always occurs, but I have witnessed it in Yellowstone. I think I read somewhere that elephants do the same thing. Animals are really interesting, and the prevalence of wildlife is one reason I am so drawn to Yellowstone.

            Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t worry Bill, you’ll never be misjudged as a ‘moralising prude’ – never in this or other lifetimes! Not that I’ve ever been to Vegas, and have no interest in going there, but have read about it and spoken with people who have visited, just to soak up the atmosphere, or to actually enjoy it as a holiday (like Lynda and Julie talk about), but since I’ve always had this real downer on gambling in any form, I totally get that you can feel it just leaches the life and energy out of you. No doubt you’re both glad to be out of there! 🙂 – (and here I am, Lynda, having spent a holiday Monday going for a glorious walk along and under the Harbour Bridge, through an entertainment quarter called Luna Park and through a lush garden created by a wife of one of our great artists, Brett Whiteley. Sydney has many beautiful pockets like this, easily available to all and sundry – so Bill, hope my ‘picture’ of Milsons Point, Lavender Bay and Blues Point can cheer you up!) 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Britta,
          Sounds beautiful! I can enjoy the sounds and sights of both. I find the casinos entertaining but have been bitten by the Camino bug so will be concentrating more time on getting back there.:) Sydney sounds very picturesque. Hope to visit someday


          • I find the music and the noise of the slot machines incredibly annoying. I don’t even like to fly through the Las Vegas airport because the same sounds permeate the air. I find it auditory pollution.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Hey britta, I love that part of the world. There are few sights prettier than that area under the harbour bridge, on the north side. Yes it did cheer me up, thank you!!


  5. Steve, I just don’t get slot machines. Someone some time ago figured out the psychology of people who play slots, and they must be very very rich now… 🙂


    • Free money is a psychology all it’s on, notwithstanding there is none. Hope and greed. People always buy into hope. Just look at all the self help gurus who do nothing more than sell hope. Look at the diet industry that sells hope, although most of it is total BS. Unregulated. Ugh. 😦


      • I disagree Steve – I think giving hope to people is one of the most enriching things you can do. Most successful movies are based on giving hope to people. During the Depression, it was those movies that kept people going… without hope, we shrivel up and die. There is nothing to live for. We NEED hope.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sure we need hope, but not from slot machines, self help gurus, and diet marketers. That is exploiting the need for hope, which I agree is a basic human need and serves us all well.


          • Ooops! I didn’t mean I agree with Steve. He types faster than me. I agree with Bill that we need hope’ Doesn’t matter the source. If it brings hope to someone looking for it, then good. Many businesses exploit the average or low income for profits! That’s just how it is. And unless everyone walks the Camino – it ain’t gonna change. Many years ago, I went to Romania to take supplies to the orphanages there that were in horrible conditions. While there I stayed with a family and then again as I went back to adopt my now son. The conditions that they had to go through just to get food on a daily basis was like nothing I’d ever seen. No headlights for the cars, no lightbulbs in the homes, not much food. They did have hope though. I came back home thinking that if every American could live like the Romanians did back in 1991, that this would be a better country. But that is impossible. And so we go on. Those with money and those hoping for it.
            Gotta get back to work and make some more of that money!!!


          • False or delusional hope is of no value in my opinion, and keep in mind the context of my comment, which was Las Vegas.

            Glittery Las Vegas hope separates many people from money they can not afford to lose. Just one more pull of the slot, or one more roll of the dice. I have to watch that myself in trading stock options, and at times I take more risk than I should and it usually was a mistake. I succumbed to false, irrational hope. I gambled.

            Bill is right in that many movies instill hope, but all they charge is the price of admission. I love movies like that. My favorite is still Rocky. It was all about hope and beating the odds. We all love those stories and can indeed get motivated by them. The world is full of hope filled true stories, but they are not false hope that is marketed expensively.

            Diet adds that sell the idea that you can simply take this pill or this berry, avoid the gym and eat what you want are total BS. Why do people buy into them and make lots of money for the promotors? They probably know intellectually that it is not true, but just maybe this time is different and they will get those irrational results. Just one example in an industry full of charlatans.

            Yes, hope is good and sustains us all in one way or the other, but marketing hope at the expense of the target audience is not so good in my opinion.

            Please place my comments in the correct context.


          • Steve
            Got it! Just a side note off the track here:
            When we were in France, we noted there were not very many, if any, fat people. They don’t allow antibiotics to be injected in their animals raised for food. Dale and I have been against the growth hormones and antibiotics shoved into the animals here for years. We felt it contributed greatly to obesity and illnesses. Just last night he read that a study was done and the findings were what we’ve been thinking for years. The antibiotics, etc are the root cause. A lot of protests here wanting labels for food with GMO’s. Hoping the whole antibiotic and growth hormone stuff can be eliminated and get back to real food. Yes farmers would lose a lot of profit and quantity but the quality would be better. Would be great if all the lawns in the US could be turned into gardens like they do in Spain. Sorry for rambling but thought you as a fitness and eat well person might be interested. Article also said allergies, asthma, diabetes and many other illnesses are showing a link to this. Sure would be nice to go back to real food not altered or injected.


  6. Steve – invariably the easy way out doesn’t work – my experience is that you have to work for whatever it is you want. But that’s not to discount serendipity and magic – and pure luck – which do exist!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love serendipity and magic. Being a guy who tries to live without expectation, serendipity plays a large role in my life.

      Sent from my iPhone


        • Somehow our contexts are passing today. Yes, I also have expectations of myself, but I try to not have so much expectations of others. Certainly, this is not all inclusive, but I have no control over others or most of the events that impact my life, so I try to just let them be and accept or not, whatever comes along. Most of our future expectations never occur in the format that we might envision them, and most of what we worry about never happens. I prefer to live my life the best I can each day, strive to do better tomorrow, but let the rest of the world be what it may. I don’t know that we are so different, but we are having a time with language today, or perhaps I should say I am.

          On an aside, it is great that you and Jen are able to spend some time with Jill and get to know her a little bit. She is an incredible person. You must think I am nuts because I am not there with her, and perhaps I am, but this is a growing time for each of us, and who knows about tomorrow. Remember, I have no expectations. 🙂


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