Gambling seemed like a natural theme for this next camera phone travel photo dump, since:
1. The last similar post was called Ramblin' Again and it rhymes;
2. We just got back from Reno, a town known as a gambling destination, where we went to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday; and
3. Life is a crapshoot, right? You peek at the odds, you roll the dice, and you take your chances. No no matter how carefully you plan--or whether you don't plan at all--there's no way in hell you can predict exactly what's gonna happen.
Healthy and Unhealthy Choices
The interesting thing about gambling towns is the way they facilitate, in a cheerfully nonjudgmental and capitalistic way, all kinds of impulsive activities.
There are drinks sold by the yard, decadent desserts on offer at every turn, and massive all-you-can-eat buffets. You don't even have to leave your hotel room to blow your calorie budget! (Note: these were NOT OUR pizzas.)
There are also strip clubs, proximity to legal prostitution, easy access to guns, and of course all kinds of games of chance.
Some allow you to sit there for hours and not win or lose much of anything...
My new favorite!
But there are other more exciting games that could shower you with life-changing sums or steal away everything you've worked your entire life for in a few dizzying hours of stupidity.
There were lots of these signs around, hmm, wonder why?
Don't have time to read a long sad poignant novel?
A few seconds at a pawn shop window: way more efficient.
And yet I think it's perfectly healthy to let your hair down and have fun sometimes!
Many who visit gambling destinations stay within their budgets and don't blow their diets or do anything they regret. And even some who do indeed overindulge or take some chances they wouldn't normally, do so in a non-tragic way.
And they have such a blast that the repercussions almost seem worth it.
Anyway, the juxtapositions make for interesting rambling around town. Reno has done a lot to to balance out the seedier enterprises; there is a pleasant River Walk, for example...
And there are various museums and cultural-type things that we probably should have investigated but didn't.
But hey, can you guess where we found this?
It was in the middle of a sporting goods store! Saying a nice Nevada "neiner neiner" to the Big Dicks in Texas.
Yep, it's not a whole mall, it's just ONE friggin' store with a Ferris Wheel.
Workout or Slots, which elevator button would you push?
Sometimes it was the casino floor, duh.
But yes, we did indeed sometimes choose the gym. Yay us!
Reno is not as flashy as Vegas; the visuals tend to be a bit more low-tech, but whatever.
Oh, and speaking of insanely toxic indoor environments, my one quibble with the laissez-faire "everything goes" gambling town attitude is the "hell yeah, you can SMOKE ALL YOU WANT HERE!"
I guess the majority of gamblers must be okay with it, and the casinos don't need to worry about that crazy minority of health freaks who are overly fond of breathing.
Our eyes and lungs hurt and our clothes stunk and we had to take frequent breaks outdoors... but fortunately the weather was lovely and we could escape when necessary.
Yeah, an ordinary blogger would have packed this post with family pictures and fond remembrances and life lessons and all that crap. But I generally have a policy of keeping my family out of blogging as they're fairly private people. And I wasn't in the mood for a whole philosophical post on aging etc.
But I will note that my mother makes very sensible lifestyle choices and balances healthy endeavors and fun stuff, and still plays tennis in the Super Senior League and seems to have many happy years ahead of her. She's an excellent role model for healthy aging.
And our family gathering, which I was a bit nervous about because I was mostly in charge and we rarely get together at all let alone in large numbers, went wonderfully. Everyone seemed to have a great time, and we're all looking forward to a return engagement when my mom turns 90, because once a decade is about as often as we can get it together to gather. But fortunately, plenty of classy venues seemed available!