Friday, May 27, 2011

A New Las Vegas for Us

Las Vegas continually redefines itself. Historical casinos change (Tropicana). Historical casinos close (Sahara). New casinos open (Palazzo), and the landscape itself changes, such as with the proposed ferris wheel that is soon to be built, that will be taller than the one in London and change Vegas's skyline. You have to expect that kind of change and adapt to it if you're either a repeat visitor or a resident. But when that change first happens, it's a shock. Not so much that you hoped it wouldn't happen (And believe me, I wish it hadn't happened), but that first time, you just can't believe that it's happening.

Dad called the America's Best Value Inn on Tropicana Avenue, the one we always stay at. We've known the manager there ever since we first came to Las Vegas because our dog Tigger was allowed there. There were pet-friendly rooms, not so much pet-friendly landscape for Tigger to do his business easily (He hated walking those rocks to find a spot to piss on), but just that we could do that was a relief because there was no one in Santa Clarita, no place that was reliable enough that we could feel good about boarding Tigger there.

The manager provided us with a decent, manageable rate every time we were there, well aware that we intended to become residents soon enough, as soon as the Clark County School District loosened up enough for Dad so he could find a teaching position there. Not only that, but he was such a nice guy, and was our introduction to the good people of Las Vegas, and we've found many others since, such as the two guys I met who run that movie poster business at the Fantastic Indoor Swapmeet on Decatur Boulevard.

When we last saw him, he had gone to the doctor about growths that he had and had the physical evidence of it with bandages. Unfortunately, it's gotten worse. Dad learned that he's completely cancer-ridden, couldn't continue on in the job, and was replaced. The new manager told us that she couldn't accomodate the rate the former manager had given us.

So Vegas changes around us. And we change with it. Dad's at the dining room table right now, thumbing through a AAA travel guide that he picked up at the AAA office across from the Valencia library on the way home, figuring out not only where we should stay (possibly nearest to or in Henderson, since we've got to look for apartments there and see what Boulder City has, too), but what hotel would provide the best rate for us. I don't mind not going to Hooters Casino Hotel as often as we did because of its proximity to America's Best Value Inn, but it really sucks that that great good man has to contend with cancer. He always made the time to chat with us whenever we saw his door open, and that made all the difference to us. It helped make us even more comfortable with the area, and certainly when I had my doubts when we got out of our rented SUV on that first night, and I looked around and thought that Vegas was even more desolate than I had imagined. It took a walk through the Mirage, and dinner at the Carnegie Deli to make me less uncertain, and that manager completely eliminated the rest of my doubts just in listening to our story about where we had come from, what we had intended to do, and recommending to us areas to look at to live and some restaurants, too. I truly won't forget that or him. The cancer news doesn't sound good, and I hope he's at least comfortable enough and can do whatever he has his heart set on in this forced retirement. He deserves that.

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