It was on 2008, during my assignment in the U.S., that I was able to visit this spot in the great desert state of Nevada. This little oasis, on the otherwise arid and desolate expanse, is Reno, so called “the biggest little city in the world”.
Nevada can squeeze careless people dry in two ways. One is by dehydration due to the desert heat. The second is by bankruptcy due to excessive gambling, and the temptation starts the moment you step off the aircraft. There are no porters here, to get your money by hauling your “balikbayan” stuff. Instead you are greeted by rows of slot machines, who would also get your money, but be of no practical assistance to you, unless you’re lucky.
Reno sits on the North-western edge of Nevada, very close to the border with California. The city grew on the banks of the Truckee River, and today has become the second largest gaming destination in Nevada, though a far second at that. Even though the scale of the gambling (and manic hotel-casino development) here does not nearly approach that of its big sister, Las Vegas, a walk in downtown Reno will still affirm that the city is all about the casinos. Reno is the casinos, and the casinos are Reno.
Reno is a pretty “compact” city, and so you “casino-hop”, on most establishments without losing breath. There are some few casinos outside of the downtown area, but by and large, you can find all the gambling you want within a few blocks downtown. The large casinos are also interconnected, so you can go from one casino to another without going outdoors.
Casino’s where ever you put them, will always have to look grand, not just in its facade, but more so in its interiors. Would people dig deeper into their pockets if they acquire a sense of grandeur? Maybe.
There certainly are other things to do though, when in Reno, besides trying out your luck. Within an hour’s driving distance away is a beautiful mountain lake, and a preserved old city. Those will be next.
*This trip was taken July 2008. All photos taken with Sony DSC-H50.