Oh, Vegas.

Las Vegas is a beautiful town, but as a client of mine once said, it wasn’t built on winners.

I’ve been here a ton of times, but usually for work. Many Augusts have been spent at Las Vegas Motor Speedway filming commercials, and I’m back in the city again this weekend, but this time with friends – and it’s definitely better than being here with work to do.

Staring out the window, rooms in surrounding hotel towers look like sparkling jewels. Pools of blue, floors below, look like glittering topaz. A golden sunset silhouettes charcoal-colored mountains, its amber glow perhaps one of the few rays of hope that many in this town may have left.

Fremont Street was a haven for the homeless, and in front of some of the most posh hotels sit people making “sculptures” out of bits of trash they’ve found for whatever money people may be willing to pay. You can feel that the foundations of these sky-high hotels are built not only of the best building materials, but also the worst, most depressing broken hearts and shattered dreams.

Almost more plentiful than the buffets are people slapping small, laminated cards together – cards that claim to bring girls to your door 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I saw a group of guys earlier today who were giddy over the information that had just been shoved into their hands.

Really?

Yesterday at check-in, five guys wheeled in their luggage, and also brought with them four 30-packs of beer.

Seriously?

Our Vegas is a chill Vegas. A great dinner overlooking the Venetian canals, followed by retiring to the room early – so early that I was awake sometime during the 7am hour. Today’s breakfast was found at The Hash House, and with our food coma still lingering even after having walked around for over an hour, we’re looking forward to Cirque du Soleil’s “O” followed by a late dinner afterwards. Tomorrow I drive home.

Gone are the days of staying out all night, sleeping all day, losing every last dollar I’d come into town with and scrounging for the cheapest late-hour meal. It’s a far more civilized experience, and one that I’m glad to have embraced.

Today I am thankful for good friends, good times and good fun. Here’s to a good performance tonight and more good trips for years to come.

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