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The Big O

149

When I want change, I don't approach the situation in a half-assed manner.

For instance, when I finally got tired of the sun, the heat, and the people of Las Vegas ... I didn't just move to a slightly different place (like say, Los Angeles) ... I moved to a town that is the complete opposite ... namely Gloom City.

With a nearly imperceptible 4" of annual rain and 210 days of sunshine each year, Las Vegas is the driest, sunniest city in the entire USA.

Where I am now, is, well, not.

According to an MSNBC study, Olympia, Washington is the rainiest city in the lower 48 states (with an average of 165 days of rain per year), and is also the cloudiest city in the contiguous states (with an average of 75% year-round cloud cover).  Olympia is, without question, the gloomiest city in the USA.  Even though it is a satellite city of Seattle -- Olympia is a city which averages 40%-50% more rain than Seattle proper.  This is due to Olympia being south of the Olympic Mountain rain shadow (a shadow that partially protects Seattle from Pacific Ocean storms).  I have a small place in Seattle as well, and there have been several occasions in the past month when I have left Downtown Seattle under overcast skies, and arrived at my home in Olympia to downpours.

Weather is not the only difference between here and Las Vegas, though.

Unemployment in Olympia is low, 98%+ of the people speak English, it has a busy downtown, a thriving music/art scene, and excellent public transportation.  The town is very human-scaled, and both walking and bicycling are extremely viable (and encouraged) means of transport.

Of course it absolutely has negatives ... greeners and hipsters are insufferable, and traffic on the I-5 is worthy of a citizen's revolt, but all things considered, Western Washington is alright.

 

"We don't give a damn about Olympia and Seattle, Rex, what's your point?"

I don't really have a point, I was just illustrating that the area in which I live now, is indeed, the anti-Vegas.  I honestly cannot think of two more dissimilar places in the entire United States.  Las Vegas and Olympia are antonyms in every sense of the word, and because of this I can almost ... almost see the appeal of lobster again.  It's still going to take some more time, but I think I will eventually ... once again ... "get" the appeal of Las Vegas.

Why do I think this?

Well, last week it rained, and rained, and rained.  As a matter of fact, take a look at our September so far, and while you are looking at it, keep in mind that we are still in the DRY SEASON up here.  It doesn't actually begin "raining" until late October:

 

After 5 days of pretty much rain/clouds/fog/rain/clouds ... the sun finally broke out a couple of days ago ... and for the first time in a decade, I actually welcomed it.  I took a long walk, played in a local park, took off my knit cap, and just sat out and got some rays on my pasty vampire face.  On this day, the sun was good.  On this day, I thought "hey, I can see why people might like to experience this every now and then."  I could not have imagined feeling this way a mere 3 months ago.

Now, just as I am coming around ever-so-slightly to the appeal of Vegas again, I opened the lid of my trusty MacBook this morning, pulled up my news feed, and what did I see?

http://www.ktnv.com/Global/story.asp?S=13212668

Travel editor Peter Greenberg has come out with his list of places in the world not to go. He's listing the state of Nevada, and here's why:

"Between crime statistics from the FBI and personal experience, I can tell you that Nevada is one of the most dangerous states in America. Fortunately for most Nevada-bound travelers, Las Vegas is one of the less dangerous cities there, but there are definitely times to avoid it; for example, during the annual Consumer Electronics Show in January, the city grinds to a halt. And if the NBA has another All-Star game there, don't go (the number of arrests soars exponentially)."

Whoa.

You know, I've said some harsh, shitty things about Nevada, and I meant every word at the time, but I don't think I've ever (seriously) said "Nevada is too dangerous for tourism, avoid it for safety reasons."

Yes, having a family member drive you to the emergency room in Vegas is risky business.  A cop might stop and harass you as you lose consciousness; Yes, asking a police officer for directions could result in your interrogation; Yes, "exchanging words" with an officer on Las Vegas Boulevard could get your rear window shot out; Yes, taking a photograph in a casino could get you pelted with a drinking glass or detained by officers for over an hour; Yes, playing your stereo too loudly on Las Vegas Boulevard could result in your being shot by police officers; Yes, making a "furtive movement" could end with your summary execution by cops; Sure, shopping at Costco after taking 200,000 Xanax tablets could get you shot in the back 5 times by police, but Nevada ... dangerous ... nawwww.

I refuse to believe it.

You see, I am going to come out and do something that I almost never do.  At least not something I have done in the last couple of years.  I am going to defend the dirty, corrupt, greedy, incompetent hellhole known colloquially as "Sin City", and by extention, the State of Nevada.

As a mainstream and supposedly respected travel journalist, Peter Greenberg made completely ridiculous, unsupportable claims in the statement above, and these claims should be exposed as the nonsense that they are.

Read: Defending the Dirt


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