Tuesday, March 29, 2016

March 10, part 1


Very nice sky over Reno at about 8:00 am.

You can't see it very well, but there is snow on the mountain on the horizon at left.  (The white blob nearer the right edge of the image is a cloud.)

Layers of clouds.

Tour-bus parking lot.  There are apparently a lot of people who take a tour bus to get to Reno.

Note little flowering trees planted around the parking lot -- they will come into full bloom in a few days.

The building with all the white triangular structure above it, in the lower left quadrant, is Walgreens.  It is built over the expressway, and all of that structure is suspending it.

This is the sort of thing I'm going to be showing you, mostly.  That nice sky...........

This?  Not so much.  I was totally spoiled by my excellent and lovely view in Chicago last summer.  The park.  The fountain.  The lake......................

Here, the freeway was two blocks away.  Luckily, from the 21st floor, through multiple panes of window, we couldn't hear it.

Our hotel was part of the section of Reno that is a section -- two solid blocks worth -- of casinos.  Three of them are mashed up against each other.  You can walk from one to another without even being aware of having left the previous one.  The slot machines (noisy and flashing their lights at you), the cigarette smoke, and the dim windowless ambient light are identical as you try to find the room where you will play bridge (or try to find something edible to consume) are identical from one casino to the next.

All of the casinos have enormous hotels, and huge parking lots.

The bridge tournament (our reason for coming here) was in a couple of these contiguous hotels.

Let's look at this, instead.

We traveled to Reno via Southwest.  Thank you, Southwest, for letting us bring our cooler for free.  We would travel with you any time.

The cooler means we can get milk and Cheerios and have breakfast in front of the nice sky view from our room.  Rather than in a windowless restaurant somewhere in the bowels of the casinos.

Note boarded-up windows in small houses and small motels.  The big giant hotels were charging around $40 a night when we were there -- how can the small ones compete?  We saw many that were closed.

This was the first sign I saw that there are people living in Reno whose lives are not focused on the process of fleecing the marks.

And this was the only really big tree I saw in Reno.

One side of the street is all enormous casinos.  The other is all tiny liquor stores, and pawn shops, and the kind of restaurant you look at from the sidewalk and say ... "no."  With the occasional "ordinary business" (like a tire store) scattered here and there.

In ancient Rome, the "circus" was the place where the chariot races took place.  As with the Roman Colosseum, the point of the Roman circus was to entertain the marks, in ways that weren't good for anyone (except for the State?).  This Circus is here for the same purpose.  I believe this one doesn't take as high a toll in blood as the Roman "entertainments," but I suspect that more lives are ruined.  Or damaged in unsustainable ways, at the very least.....................

Back in our small bubble of what passed for civilization. 

(I'll try not to dwell on the fact that the ventilation system delivered tobacco smoke to our bathroom.  If we kept the bathroom door shut, the air in the room was better, but the "air" in the bathroom....................  I bet we breathed more smoke while we were in Reno than we had breathed in the previous MANY years.  And we were on a no-smoking floor...............................)

Isn't the sky nice?

My better half did not have any bridge lined up for the 10th, so we rented a car (which turned out to be an enormous Jeep Cherokee), and went south to Lake Tahoe.



Jeanie said...

I heart Southwest. They're so good.

I need orange said...

It's such a treat to take an airline where the staff don't seem to wish they were anywhere but at work!