Main Street Station beer vats are behind the sushi bar.
I needed to take a break from my job, volunteer do-goodism, and a newfound urge to exercise and eat healthy. Too abrupt a conversion to clean living had caused a chemical imbalance in my body: my ichors felt icky.
Fortunately, Mom and Dad gave me a reason to abandon the virtuous life. They were in Las Vegas, and, mindful of their last trip when Dad took sick, I joined them to keep on eye on their wellbeing. Any fun I had would be purely incidental.
We stayed at Main Street Station, which had designated Dad as an elite guest. Attaining that exalted status meant that he had earned hundreds of dollars of meal and room credits by losing thousands of dollars on the casino floor.
My parents like staying in the older section of Las Vegas because the main attractions are easily within walking distance. Sizable by most standards, the Downtown casinos are puny compared to the gaudy Strip palaces and have a friendlier, more informal feel. Crowds are thinner this year, likely the consequence of high fuel costs and the collapse of real estate prices in Nevada and Southern California. Over the weekend I could easily find $5-minimum blackjack and craps games; when I last visited in 2006 it was difficult to find a $10 table.
When I went for a morning walk the streets were still. Buildings were under construction wherever one turned, but the backhoes and cranes weren’t moving. The city’s manic energy of a few years ago was gone.
The desert now looms large. With Lake Mead threatening to go completely dry in about a decade the desert, suppressed for years, may yet be the victor. The Strip and Hoover Dam---the markings of our civilization---perhaps they are just Ozymandias writ large.
I brushed aside these unpleasant thoughts and entered the air-conditioned embrace of the casino. Time for sushi and beer. Time to eat, drink and be merry, for who knows when I’ll pass this way again? © 2008 Stephen Yuen