‘I’m leaving Los Angeles and I’m moving to Las Vegas . ‘
“Las Vegas ? Do they have houses on the Las Vegas Strip?”
“Do people ACTUALLY live in Las Vegas ? ”
‘Yes, and I’m going to find a place in Downtown Las Vegas . ‘
“Downtown Las Vegas ? There’s really a Downtown Las Vegas ? ”
‘Yes, it’s where Las Vegas actually started.”
“No, seriously. Where are you going to live in Las Vegas , a casino?”
Long before I had even thought about or even considered doing a 30 Plus Teams Tour , well meaning friends and definately many family members who didn’t know that much about Las Vegas asked me questions like this constantly .
I told them that I was leaving Los Angeles after 10 years.
I had quit my job at Malaysia Airlines and like Lebron James, I was taking my talents elsewhere .
I wasn’t moving to South Beach, though.
Nor was I moving back to the East Coast .
I was going to Sin City, Las Vegas , aka New York City on steroids.
What was I going to be doing?
I didn’t know that much about the city, even though I visited there, a lot.
Las Vegas is just about as close to a suburb of Los Angeles as you can get.
I signed up with a temporary agency, but I wasn’t going to do any kind of job in the city until I got fingerprinted by the Las Vegas police department, which EVERYONE in town must do if you’re applying for any kind of job.
Contrary to popular belief though, prostitution is ILLEGAL in Clark County , where the city is located , not that was going to be my job, mind you.
The agency paid for my fingerprints, which I think were either $50 or $75.
(It was 12 years ago, people. My memory isn’t that sharp !)
When I first moved, I had enough money to stay at El Cortez Hotel, which is downtown, and was once owned by Bugsy Siegel, the mobster.
I stayed for about a week or so.
When my money ran out, I didn’t know where to go.
I still didn’t know the city that well enough.
Someone at the agency suggested a place in North Las Vegas called Shade Tree Inn.
It became my home for awhile.
Did I mention that this was a homeless shelter for single women and women with children ?
Yes, I stayed in a homeless shelter for awhile and I’m not ashamed to say so.
You do what you have to do to get by.
I had to learn when to get up at a certain time, when to bathe at a certain time, what time to be in bed, and try to find something to do in the morning because the shelter didn’t let you in your room from the hours of 10am until 4:30pm.
I had to check in with the staff if I came in after 11pm, which was when the staff turned the lights off.
I did find an apartment as well as a job after awhile.
My apartment, which was a studio with kitchen, bathroom and a balcony, cost less than my place in California and a heck of a lot less than what I’m paying here in New York City .
Like my job, my place was located in Downtown Las Vegas , mere blocks from my job on Fremont Street.
Where did I work?
It’s Vegas, I worked at a casino.
I worked at Fitzgeralds Hotel and Casino, which is now known as “The D”.
I was one of those people who make the players cards, which you give to the dealer at the table ,or put in the slot machines .
My fancy schmanzy job title was “card ambassador”.
Did I enjoy those three years that I lived in Las Vegas ?
Yes and no.
I didn’t know what to expect.
I didn’t follow my own advice.
I didn’t do my research .
Visiting Las Vegas is very different than living here.
The cost of living is low.
There’s no state tax.
Now some of you may say what’s wrong with that?
When those tax refund checks come in, I want to see a federal AND a state in my account, just saying.
Need I bring up the heat in the summer?
I don’t care if it’s a ‘dry heat'(my microwave is too.), I can never get used to getting home after midnight and it’s 99 degrees.
Plus my neighbors are in the huge pool that takes up most of the apartment’s courtyard .
Definitely wasn’t used to that.
Nor could I get used to waking up at 9am, and the temperature is 106 degrees and climbing.
Needless to say, the casinos made it very easy for locals to lose money.
Need your paycheck cashed?
We’ll do it for you so you can play those slots.
Even the casinos on the Strip began catering to the locals who rarely gambled there .
I took advantage of everything because I liked playing the slots and getting all the perks that I could.
After work it was always party time.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas , right?
There’s more partying going on now it seems than when I lived in Vegas.
Every day a new restaurant , hotel, dance club or show is opening up or so it seems.
After three years in Vegas, I decided to move again, back home to New York City where most of my family and friends are.
There are times that I question moving back to New York .
However, if you were to ask me if I did move , would it be back to Las Vegas ?
I don’t know honestly .
I have way too much stuff going on and I really don’t have the patience anymore to reapply for services that I’m getting here in New York .
You know, that “senior stuff”.
I enjoy visiting though where for a couple of days or even a week, I can say that I live
in a casino .