I recently got back from Las Vegas. My daughter was traveling to Sin City for a Hairdressing Symposium and my husband and I decided to tag along. For several weeks before our departure I dreamt all kinds of scenarios relating to the city. It’s usually the way for me. It seems I always travel the World from two different dimensions: Dream and waking reality. Yet, to be honest the realms share many similarities like the landscape and the actual impression of the area and the people.
I’ve often heard Las Vegas compared to Sodom and Gomorrah (cities from the Old Testament of the Bible). Whether we are exploring Sin City of antiquity or Sin City of modern times – it basically refers to humanity exploring the notion of sins and vices; which often refers to shopping and gambling (money); sex; and food and spirits (food/alcohol / drugs / and ego). I don’t think I’ve ever watched a movie that’s about Vegas; which doesn’t mention the motto: “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” Clearly Vegas or Sodom and Gomorrah speak of humanity’s need for darkness and the freedom of will.
First thing we noticed is how Vegas still allow smoking in public areas. In Montreal, smoking is not allowed in restaurants, hotels and even in bars. Yet no matter how grateful we are of our Canadian laws – we heard many people even from our home Province, Quebec – praise the fact that smokers can do whatever they want in Sin City. Time and time again, while we were there, we heard people comment on how “anything goes in Las Vegas.” Most statements seemed to come with a double edge. While some individuals liked the idea of “having no rules” dictate their personal choices and explorations; many seemed to despise the fact that too many people take it too far.
At first appearance Vegas seem to be all about fun and games; but it didn’t take long to get a whole other story from many of the locals. For starters Vegas is the home to a huge number of “outsiders”: People from other States in the U.S. and from other countries. We were told this town attracted a lot of people who were struggling with drug and gambling addictions.
“They stay for a while,” our chauffer explained, “and then, when they get close to dying to their addictions they leave for some healing. Most won’t come back.”
On an afternoon, guided tour of Las Vegas we learnt that Sin City started after the 1st World War when gangsters saw potential in the desert location. Since there weren’t too many laws out there – it inspired quite a good number of people to make their move. In the 1930’s many of the people who arrived in Vegas were out there for mining, money laundering, and hiding. It created a unique melting pot of individuals who made of Sin City what it is today.
One of the first Hotel / Casino in Las Vegas, the Golden Nugget, is still a very popular place to visit; but it’s found on the lower part of the strip and makes it somewhat difficult to reach all of the more prestigious, newly built buildings. It all depends on why you are visiting Las Vegas.
· For shows, shopping or restaurants.
· For a bit history and site seeing.
· For some peace and quiet – with a bit lights.
· For gambling or a social night out.
It seems all four directions of Las Vegas offer different possibilities. We stayed at the Mandalay Bay Hotel near the airport. We didn’t know much about this Hotel before arriving. We basically went for what was most practical when it came to having easy and quick access to the Symposium. Nevertheless after exploring the area for a few days I was quite happy with our Hotel’s Shark Reef Aquarium and close location to the airport where we enjoyed an afternoon exploring the Grand Canyon by helicopter.
Since I’ve arrived from Las Vegas, I’ve been asked by a swarm of people: “Did you enjoy your trip?
It seems quite a good number of individuals expected me to come back with a good number of complaints. It seems Las Vegas is not exactly the city of choice for someone who lives her life – the Shaman’s Way. Strangely enough, I had a whole other perspective.
I had several calls since my return asking for a “conference” on my Las Vegas tip. Honestly, it left me somewhat surprised. One young lady said: “I love the way you can always come up with new perspective to any given subject. Learning how to explore and approach something as common as a Las Vegas experience is definitely something we could all benefit from. “
It seems several people waited impatiently for my return. It was nice to hear from a huge number of people that they were eager to hear my reaction and response to Sin City. It kind of confirmed me as a Wheel Keeper. One of the first things a teacher of Sacred Circle tradition tells her initiates is: “You’ll be valued and recognized as a Keeper of the Wheel when people give a shit about your perspective.” At least that’s what my teacher told me…. J
Frankly even before I left for Las Vegas I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy the gambling, drinking and “night life.” Montreal offers the same commodities – and I stay away from them. Yet, I knew I would enjoy the desert climate and according to several of the dreams I had before leaving – I would also enjoy the impression of the land. We were lucky enough to meet up with some First Nation people who were in Vegas to talk about their Blue Corn Farms. Many of the tribes in the Vegas area are economically independent because of farming.
These days the Pueblo people use all of the latest technology and farming equipment to farm Blue Corn. They are definitely entrepreneurs and sell a huge amount of Blue Corn products; but they haven’t forgotten that their ancestors used to do the same thing. It was quite incredible to see how they were able to successfully bring together the old and the new. When they spoke of their achievement they also made sure to mention their ancestry and their Spiritual beliefs. There was reverence through their sharing and their stories.
The Pueblo presence during our trip certainly reminded me of the old “Cowboy and Indian” movies I used to watch as a child. The desert may have grown into Las Vegas in the early 1930’s but it was the home and the battlefield of many First Nation people for centuries before that. When you travel through Las Vegas towards the Grand Canyon you leave a lot of the Mafia stories behind and start touching more of the Indigenous memories.
Like anywhere you go on the Planet, there’s so much more to cities, villages and scenery then what we learn about as tourists or even as residents. Just in my own city, Montreal there are many people who have never been to the Atwater Market; or the St-Joseph Shrine; or even have some idea of the town’s history. We seem to dig deeper only if it touches us personally or if it’s tied to some individual study or interest.
I’m a traditional dreamer and I seem to see the World from the perspective of a Dreamer. No doubt this perspective is very different then the usual and average Western point of view. For those who were waiting for a blog entry on the topic of Vegas – it may help for you to leave me with some questions. Honestly, I’ve written a 200 page journal on Vegas – so far. There would be lots to say about this trip and by so many different angles.