Saturday, September 1, 2007

A village somewhere...

...has lost it's idiot!

One evening we met our Friends from Michigan at the Riviera Casino. Me and Karen arrived before they got there and decided that, since we had never been there before, to have a look around. As we were walking around a guy came up to us, dressed fairly nice in a polo type shirt and jeans. He was clean and neatly dressed. He asked us for .50 cents for a bus ride home. Now me and Karen rarely use cash, if ever, preferring to rely on the handy ATM/Debit card. So of course we had none and told him so. Flash forward about 3 hours. Us and our Friends from Michigan were standing outside the Riviera in two separate groups about 10-15 feet apart talking and what not. This same guy came up to the first group and asked them for money. They told them that they had none, but pointed to us(the second group) and said that we had lots of money and that he should go ask us. So he comes up to us and holds out .50 cents and says he needs to swap the .50 cents for a dollar. When I looked at him I could only laugh. I said to him "You mean you haven't gotten home yet?" Of course he is trying to act stupid like he's never seen me before. I told him not 3 hours ago you tried to get .50 cents from me for a bus ride home. He tells me I must be mistaking him for someone else. Needless to say, he left rather quickly, and with out the dollar he wanted. Hahahaha what a fool.

Vegas does indeed have a large homeless population. You see them everywhere. Many of them you feel sorry for. Besides the ones with the obvious physical handicaps, and there are many of those, there are also the ones with more hidden problems. Problems that you can't really see just by looking at them. I think most of the homeless in Vegas fall into one of these two categories. But we also have a third type of homeless people. That is the "Professional Homeless Person". The guy in the story above falls squarely in that category. He was clearly not physically disabled. After a short conversation with him he did not seem to be mentally disabled to any great degree. Now, having worked in the mental health field for many years, I know that you cannot determine these types of things with a short conversation. But having met and talked with a lot of the homeless people in Vegas you learn to quickly categorize them. We have even met homeless people that had cell phones!

One of the reasons we like Fremont Street so much is that, aside from the live music, shows, and street performers, you get a chance to meet a whole slice people there. From the the homeless guy to the tourist and everything in between. Everyone there is having a good time. It is not unusual to see the homeless people out dancing with the tourists.

On this day Herb Rawlings was playing. And I must say he
was great. He played a lot of James Brown and other "Motown" music which I love! And guess what? He's from Michigan!

Here you can see a group of ladies dancing away to some Motown music. They were having a great time although I bet some will be very sore come Saturday.

Here you can see a mix of locals, tourists, and "street people" dancing the night away. This is fascinating aspect to Fremont Street. As best as I can tell, you don't see this anywhere else in Vegas.

I must confess, I do not remember their names. But I do remember that they are transplants from, of all places, Michigan! They moved from Detroit about 2 years ago. We seem to meet more people from Michigan in Las Vegas than when we lived in Michigan!

This lady came to me looking for a light. After giving her one, I asked to take her photo and she agreed. After that she began to tell me how tough she was and how much she liked to fight. She kept saying how "they" were going to get their ass kicked by her and that she was afraid of no one. She then showed me her hands which were indeed all messed up. The fingers had obviously been broken many times and just healed as they were. I asked her who "they" was and she just gestured around and said people with money. Indeed, this is the only conversation with a homeless person I've had that made me un easy. The vast majority of them are, or at least seem to be, happy and friendly even though you know that underneath that veil they are living a tortured life in many ways that are not always apparent. Sadly, after a short conversation, the reasons for her homelessness were readily apparent.

The man on the right had been looking for the "right" lady to give his flowers to. He had asked if I would take a photo of him giving them to her once he found her and I obliged. I believe he said his nick name was "The Gator".


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