My First Week In Reno
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Dec 7, 2008
Officially I’ve been in Reno over 168 hours, so that counts as a week. I thought I’d get some impressions down while they’re still in my mind. This is an “I’m Just Sharing” post, and not an internet marketing post, so if you’re not up to being entertained by a story, stop reading here and come back tomorrow morning, when another post is already scheduled to appear, and a guest post at that.
I talked already about the time issues I’ve been dealing with. Those remain, but I’m starting to get more acclimated to it; not really. I’ve just figured out how to do it my way; but I’m jumping ahead of the story.
When I arrived in Reno, I found the same thing I found in Las Vegas many years ago; there are slot machines in the airport. All over the place, mind you, though I didn’t use the bathroom so I can’t confirm or deny that one. I guess they want to put it in your mind that this is the thing to do; it’s probably the reason most people come to Reno. I got a great rental vehicle, a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe, red mind you, and it’s been great.
There are also a goodly number of casinos here. I’ve counted 10 thus far, and if there are more I won’t be finding them, or looking for them. If I get on the main highway to where I work I pass 2 casinos, and there’s one that’s one block away from where I’m working, and it’s connected to two other casinos. I learned that they’re now all owned by the same corporation, which explains the arrangement. If I go a different way, the back way so to speak, I pass three other casinos, though it takes a little bit longer to get to where I work. But not much; I’m in a pretty good way with where I work and where I’m staying.
I’ve mentioned brown, and I’ve mentioned casinos; at that point is where the similarities between Las Vegas and Reno end. The image of Reno is much different from the reality of Reno.
In the other post, I showed you the famous Reno sign. What I didn’t mention is that, because of the economy, the area where that sign resides isn’t as active as it used to be, even on the weekends. During the week, the casinos are fairly dead.
Where I’m working is downtown Reno, as are the casinos, and one day last week I walked over to one of the casinos to eat lunch at one of the buffets. I was amazed at how easily I could walk to the casino, as there wasn’t a car moving on what’s supposed to be the second busiest street in town, and very few moving on the busiest street. There weren’t many people in the casino, and I walked right up, paid my money, and was immediately seated at a buffet; that just doesn’t happen in Vegas.
It doesn’t often happen at the casino where I live during lunch time or dinner time. The place where I’ve played poker has only 9 tables in the poker room, and the three times I’ve been has never had that room full; that’s shocking to me. Even today, a Saturday, four of the tables weren’t in use most of the day, and by the time I left, they’d closed another table. That’s shocking to me, but I guess the people who live in a casino town aren’t the ones who’d be going all that often. So, parts of Reno are suffering because the economy is killing the number of visitors.
Reno is also set up for lots of shopping. There are all sorts of malls around the city, though nothing downtown, which seems to fit a pattern I’ve seen in many other travels of mine. I’m within range of a bunch of them, though thus far I’ve only gone in one direction, which leads me to the places I want to go. The cost of groceries is higher than where I live also, but I’m not sure if that’s a thing out this way or if it’s specific to the town.
My hotel is great, but I’ve had a problem here and there. I finally had to turn on the heat on Wednesday, and the smell was horrible. Like most smells, you get used to it when you’re in it, but the minute you get out of it and come back, it’s horrible once again. The water in the bathroom area was also messed up. I was brushing my teeth and went to rinse, and I noticed the water was hot. So I turned it further to what I thought was the cold water and it got hotter. I turned it all the way to the other side and it was also very hot. I’d never heard of a water problem where there was no cold water, which was the reverse problem I had in my hotel room in Chicago back in October. Because of those two issues, Friday night I was moved to a different room, now on the 4th floor by request, where the view of the mountains is better and the problems that existed are gone.
There is one more problem I’m having, though I’m not quite sure which problem it is. I’ve developed itching all over my body, and it’s either attributed to the sheets on my bed, or the very dry air here. You don’t tend to think about dry air when it’s cooler, but they haven’t had any precipitation in this area in a very long time, and none is predicted at least for another week, and I’m just not used to that.
Sounds like an odd thing to complain about, but my skin is also drying out, and when a black man’s skin dries out, this thing called “ash” makes us look,… well, we don’t look good. I tried putting the hotel’s lotion on parts of my body, and other than my hands, the rest of my body seems to be saying “are you kidding; that stuff isn’t going to work on me”. It absorbs into my body and nothing changes; the oddest thing I’ve ever seen.
I’ve noticed that I’m drinking lots of bottles of water at work, though I didn’t think about it until today, and in the hotel I’m always drinking something, but then I did that at home so I hadn’t really noticed the change there. The women down at the front desk said they’d ask someone to put older sheets on my bed, but that was before I changed rooms, plus the hotel’s only been open, as of today, seven weeks; just how old could the sheets be? After talking to my wife earlier in the day, I’ve bought something called Eucerin, which is supposed to both moisturize my skin and help stop the itching; we’ll see how well it works, as it’s a very uncomfortable feeling.
The diabetes news is that, for the most part, it’s holding its own. I had one really bad day where I just lost my mind and ate lots of stuff that just isn’t good for me, and it jumped drastically high. I have to be more careful about that, but I’m not used to the availability of some things I really love where I’m working, some of it things I haven’t seen in years where I live.
That’s not even counting the groceries I bought Wednesday night, as I’m staying in a Homewood Suites, which means I have a kitchen where I can prepare some of my own meals. If my wife was with me, we all know I’d have purchased much different stuff, but it still might have come to more than $100. The price of food here is more expensive than at home, as I mentioned before; lucky for me, I had it, but we’ll get back to that part later on. Today, being Saturday, I prepared my own brunch, and right now I’m cooking something to eat for a very late dinner, as I forgot to eat earlier; oops.
To get this out of the way, this is a pretty good consulting assignment. Everyone has been extremely nice, and the first week I’ve even made my own impact on things, as I’ve been able to get some folks to do some things they’ve never thought of doing before. Once again, I’m the only American black person in a position of leadership, but Reno’s demographics at least make sense with that one.
he time thing I talked about I’ve solved by doing something that would be considered as unconventional by most people, but hey, this is me. I’ve started staying up until at least 1AM, which would be 4AM at home, and since I usually sleep 5-6 hours, I’ve been able to stay in bed until at least 7AM. I don’t think I can continue in that vein for long, though, because if I have problems sleeping, like I did Thursday night, it makes for a miserable tiring day, and I was quite miserable Friday, and having a high glucose number in the morning didn’t help matters much. It came way down by the evening, as I took care of how and what I ate during the day, but the headache started around 10AM and didn’t go away until very late Friday night, just before I decided to go to the casino.
The final piece I’m going to talk about is the poker playing at the casino. This is for Khaled, who’d asked me to give an update from time to time on my poker games, though I may not be talking about it all that often.
I went Monday night, which was unexpected, and I ended up coming back to the hotel up over $650. Friday night, when my headache finally went away after changing rooms and eating something, I decided to go again. When I finally left that night, I had added another $305 to my winnings. Then today, I went again, after working on another business project for almost 5 hours that I had thought would only take 2 hours, and I didn’t play as well. I lost about $400 of the money I’d won, but that means I’m still up over $500 since I’ve been here. I’ve had to eat, and I bought those groceries, but my money is holding up really well otherwise, and I get paid after this week, so life is looking pretty good.
Except for the meal I just made, which tastes terrible. It was a can of Chunky Soup, a brand we have at home but not this particular kind, and I don’t like it; oh well, I’ll just eat something else, since I have the food here. Anyway, that’s the story of Reno from my eyes, and I’m going to be here a long time, except for the two weeks during the holidays. My wife is having fun at home without me; guess I haven’t made myself indispensable yet. I’m going to have to work on that.