The road to Vegas is Paved with good intentions

I’m sitting at the bar in my off-strip hotel – a Best Western dressed as the ‘Mardi Gras’ but hey, it was cheap. I didn’t know you could smoke indoors in Vegas. It’s a bizarre sight to my googling post-regulation eyes.

I can’t gamble because I don’t know how to. So I threw money away on the LCD slots. A few dollars.

On the way here I saw …
…A huge donkey pump drilling oil in a graveyard
…Towns with welcome signs bigger than they were
… How I’ve changed since the last long drive alone

And such unimaginable beauty in the dessert dollying by, which was unexpected because derided the drive as boring, scenically.


Abandoned. There’s a lot of these – you could see them as evidence of failure, or proof of someone’s dreams lived out. A story in every one.


I’m on my way, apparently.


Leading up to this: a series of quoted 10 Commandments on signs.


Guff. Aware. What does it mean?


I am happy when I am traveling.


This is not ugly.


There’s a weird glow in the sky opposite the sunset that’s just as beautiful.
Vegas. Aaah. LIGHTS. It’s hard to describe until you’ve driven in off the darkening desert into it.

Now this is sorta ugly… I fed all my $1 bills into it and won nothing. It happened so fast, I was amazed… haven’t gambled since I was 12, when I had to drag my parents away from the slots in a Sun City in Lesotho. They let kids wander around in the casino back then.


What I don’t want to become. This tiny little lady was drunk and crazy and feeding the machine, feeding the machine… she is about 60 and I swear everybody in here is chain smoking. I didn’t know you could still smoke indoors in the USA, but in Vegas, everything goes it seems. People bring their tiny dogs in too.

I feel so strongly for this Land after three years here. I realize I’ve become sorta American. And yet not quite. And when I’m home not quite there either. Perhaps I’m destined to really belong nowhere.

Having planned to simply stop and sleep in the cheapest place possible, I wound up having a couple of beers, throwing about $5 into the slots and ordering some food from the restaurant (which, like the hotel, is pretending to be something it’s not – the menu is clearly Chili’s). Anyhow, it’s bedtime soon. I can’t wait.

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One Response to “The road to Vegas is Paved with good intentions”

  1. . Says:

    On the I-15 road trip back to LA divert past Barstow on the 58 then 395 to find yourself in Johannesburg. Many years ago it was just rundown trailers with junk inhabited by retired old cowboys, the kind of “character” location found in Natural Born Killers, or U Turn by Oliver Stone. There must be thousands of South Africans who take a photograph next to the town sign (population 172). Randsburg is also near.

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