ARRIVED IN VEGAS
I am in Las Vegas after a long flight yesterday from Portland-Newark-Vegas. You are hit with high-tech slot machines as soon as you come off the plane at the airport. The terminal is quite grand, but also quite unimaginative. In one massive rotunda they have four tall plastic palm trees standing there. Kind of a true symbol of the unreality of this place.
I am staying in a $35 a night motel (who knew you could get a room in the US at that price anymore) sharing with Catholic Worker (CW) activist Dennis Apel who got me invited to speak to this west coast gathering of CW activists. Dennis serves on our Global Network board and is hosting our conference next week in Santa Barbara, California. He lives near there in a farmworker town called Santa Maria and runs a CW house.
Our cheap motel is one block off the original Vegas main drag. These days the real action is in another part of town where the massive hotels have been built. This place is a desert and water is at a premium, especially after several years of drought. I just can't imagine all the water that is wasted to keep this city humming.
The CW retreat began last night with dinner and then introductions. About 65 folks will be here. I speak later today. I know some of the people here having met them on many of my trips back and forth across the country over the years.
I've not been able to keep up so closely with the Ukraine situation during the last 24 hours but I notice that much interest is falling off anyway. My blog hits dropped from over 2,000 in one day during this past week to just 690 yesterday. It's hard to maintain that focus and interest over time. Especially when you live in a country that has places such a premium on entertainment - just like here in Vegas.
I won't be throwing any $$$ into the gambling system while here. I grew up poor and know the value of a dollar, even though it is shrinking. I'd rather spend my money on food than hand it over to the mega-gambling corporations.
My oldest sister, a nurse, lives here in Vegas. I'll have dinner with her tonight. How can she stand this place? It's hard to see much to like here - although the mountains in the distance do look lovely.
Update: My talk was well received and we had a great Q & A session afterward. Vegas has a massive homeless population. It's kind of like the scar that exists on the injured public body in a city that sells itself on the "get rich quick" mythology that is such a big part of the capitalist system.