Hank – The Fremont Street experience is the main attraction for staying in downtown Las Vegas. It’s a large pedestrian-friendly space with several casinos and many bars, restaurants, and attractions in easy walking distance. At night it is packed with people. It’s a completely different environment early in the morning.
I passed by two crowded craps tables before stepping out onto Fremont Street at 5:30 am. The sun wasn’t up yet but the street was brightly lit, still beckoning revelers to walk around with their drinks. Gone were the street performers, the DJs, the bands, most of the panhandlers, and all of the partiers. The kiosks hawking various wares were buttoned up. Loud music still reverberated throughout from the huge speakers hanging from above. But Fremont Street was not completely still.
Workers were upgrading the overhead cellphone equipment to 5G. A small Zamboni-like machine and a squad of men with mops were working their way along the brick and cement floor cleaning up the drinks spilled in the preceding hours. An elderly man wearing what would be stereotypically referred to as Coke bottle bottom glasses sat in a wheelchair. As people passed by he would turn his sign for them to see. Hungry. Anything helps. God bless you. A crew using a large lift was inspecting parts of the zip line that stretches overhead along the street. The name Slotzilla doesn’t do the zip line any justice except to support the “A zip line unlike any other” byline.
As I walked into Walgreens I noticed the store security person. She was eyeing a tall, thin derelict of a man. They were maybe 15 feet from the door. I grabbed a copy of the local newspaper and walked up to the two cashiers on duty. They were both aware of the shoplifting situation going on and were waiting to see how it was going to turn out. Suddenly one said in a loud voice, “What’s he got in his pants?” As if on cue the suspect made a break for the door. The other cashier yelled, “He’s runnin’! He’s runnin’!” To say the man was running would be a kindness. He moved with the speed and gait of an eight-year-old wearing leg irons. The cashiers and the security person laughed as the man absconded in slow motion. As the lady took my two dollars she shook her head, “I can’t believe how much stealin’ I see at this store.”
I took a seat at the outdoor section of Starbucks where I had an unobstructed view of the few goings on and opened up my newspaper. The sign says the area is for customers only. It was too early so they didn’t chase me off. Seating is at a premium on Fremont Street. Other than this Starbucks you can only sit at a couple of bars. But there are plenty of seats at slot machines, gaming tables, and bars inside the casinos. It’s mostly standing room only on Fremont Street.
A man wearing a shirt commemorating a half marathon he plodded by in the cool morning. Construction of a new hotel casino at the west end of the street was in full swing. The new place promises “The time of your life” and entices us to join “The party that never stops” in 2020. Somehow I don’t think it’ll be much different than what’s already here.
Suddenly the rock music blasting from above was interrupted by a woman yelling at the top of her voice as she walked down the middle of the nearly empty street. “What?! What are you gonna do? You gonna beat me? For three hundred dollars are you going to beat me?” The few eyes that were out were riveted on this unusual spectacle. Given how the woman was dressed one could make an assumption about how she earned a living. The explicitness of her profanity-laced ranting left me in no doubt. Almost elegant in a golden dress with a high slit up one thigh, the woman adopted a combative stance in her stiletto heels. Flicking her long blonde hair back over her shoulders with every other outburst from her lips she gave her pimp an earful about something she was unhappy about. But she also wanted him to take her home and do certain things to her to make her feel good. The pimp kept his voice calm and quiet so I couldn’t hear his responses. Regardless, it was a bizarre exchange that seemed impossible to be normal in any world. But not theirs I guess. Another early morning runner passed by appearing to not notice the woman. He noticed. He just avoided making eye contact. Apparently finished with her tirade, the woman walked away with triumph in her stride. Her pimp left in the opposite direction. The music from above returned to center stage.
Welcome to the Fremont Street experience.
Kathy – Well, as Hank had an eventful early morning on Fremont Street…I slept in my comfy bed. 😊