Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Las Vegas In New Light

Another cochlear implant first for this boy: I went to a business conference in Las Vegas!
I have been many times on business, and towards the end of trips as a hearing person, quite frankly I was tired of Vegas. The allure and shine seemed to have gone out of it, and Vegas started to get to me. My last trip was 2005.I lost my hearing in 2007.

Fast forward 5 years to "Magnet boy" on his voyage back to the shiny city that stays up all night and pumps oxygen to ensure this is indeed the case.

I saw new buildings (they build bigger and shinier every year), the old and one time favorites (I loved the Belagio and Paris) and all of the noise and traffic through a cochlear implant.

I had a bit of an Epiphany of sorts this trip. I saw so much excess, so much waste, so much decadence. Funny how deafness caused this paradigm shift. A city that at one time I looked up and stared in awe and wonder was now a city that made me react with dismay and dismissal.

Some people look at chair, and don't see a chair. They see see some wood which could be teak or mahogany, which quite possible comes from Malaysia, and then they wonder if people got kicked out of their homes where these trees once grew by the corporations who came and stripped the land of it's natural growth.

Some people look at an Ikea store and fail to see a shiny coloured store filled with bobbles, knick knacks and brick-a-brack. What they perhaps see a big corporation that strips the rain forests to get material, and then adds brominated flame retardants and PVC chemicals to the at one time natural materials and contaminate us in our homes.The score is always Ikea 1, Rain Forest 0.

So this trip I saw Vegas as this big behemoth of a rich mans playground. I saw more Hummers (H3's of course) then any other vehicles. I stared in awe at the noise of people in restaurants dining on more seafood than I am sure there exists off the coast of Newfoundland, then picking at it whilst drinking copious amounts of expensive wines. I saw power grids jumping off the map as lights buzzed, flashed, beckoned and blinked. I saw money being tossed on tables like leaf lettuce at an all you can eat buffet.
An oh yes, I saw buffets that in a one hour sitting would go through enough food to feed an African nation for years!

I watched at one of our business dinners as a group of eight men spent $2500 on the event.
Drinks flowed and laughter ensued as more exotic cocktails were ordered.
Appetizers arrived and Stone crabs were eaten like crackers by children.I saw the Stone crab population in Mexico tremor in fear.
More drinks flowed and wine was poured by waiters who licked their proverbial chops imagining the tip that this inebriated group of business people would drop with their Gold and Platinum cards.
I cringed as $200 and $300 bottles of wines were brought to tables and poured like water from a tap.

Entrees arrived and by this point most of these folks had long forgotten how to speak or use utensils, but the laughter ensued, as did the wines and drinks with three olives adorning them.

At the end of this eating exhibition the "service" staff arrives to clear the tables. The white jacketed waiters were busy processing the house of cards and calculating their tips while the service staff arrived .
These Mexican and South American staff dressed in their service smocks, ventured out of "somewhere" to take plates away and clean up the "crime scene".

All I could read with my eyes was look of awe as they took away each plate. Many still had 90% of a "Bone in" Rib Eye or Porterhouse half cow. There was more meat left to be scraped in 8 plates than I myself had seen in years! The pieces of Beef were the size of the small turkey that graces our family table at holiday to feed many. The size, in my opinion, still did not justify the $75 price considering the "side" dishes were extra!

I was wide eyed as I saw most of the ordered dinner being scrapped off into bins of composte.
Not mine! NO sir, I ate every bean and pea on my plate and thanked God for it.

What struck me the most was the wonder of what this group of service staff must of thought. Were they thinking about the waste of these 8 and the fact it would feed their families for a month?
I was.

Did they consider the gas consumed by the limos, Hummers and Cadilacs that would ferry this group to hotels be the amount of gas that they would use in a year?
I did.

Did it go through their minds that these business people would sleep in rooms costing for one night what it would cost them to perhaps build a home and live for a year?
The thought was on my mind.

Or did they just give thanks for the opportunity of being employed and go home to their families and kiss them goodnight.

It will be hard to go back to Vegas. I saw waste, excess, greed. I saw fossil fuels being burned like the earth had unlimited supply. I watched lights that never go out, saw screens always on. I saw money being tossed like it fell from trees.

I went home after 5 days and thanked God for what I have and kissed my family.




Kay Dennison said...

I am not a fan of Vegas for many of the reasons you addressed here.

I also don't gamble: 1) I'm not lucky; 2) I'm very frugal.

I call it the citadel of conspicuous consumption and flash.

Laurie said...

Amen, David. Amen.

Life As I Know It Now said...

As I was reading this post I could see these scenes of excess very clearly. It isn't right and it isn't good, and it happens all to often in my country I am ashamed to say.

Peace be with you.

Laura ~Peach~ said...

i have never been there but i so see what you are talking about each day and when i go out with friends or family I am appaled that they complain of what they dont have... while ordering insanely costly things, then toss most out... to be sure it is no where near the vulgarness you see in a place like vegas but same principal...

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Kay wrote what I could have written.

We drove through when I was a kid. I have had zero desire to return. To be fair to my parents, they also drove us through Tijuana, Mexico, so we could see what true poverty looked like (we ourselves didn't have much money). I can still see in my mind much of what we saw that day, and it wasn't pretty.

Chris H said...

I have never been to Vegas, but dearly want to go just to meet a delightful blogger named Terri who lives there with her husband and son.

Government Funded Blogger said...

Vegas is like what Babylon and Nineveh must have been.
Today they are huge mounds full of garbage.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, it's generally just repulsive. I was there on New Year's Eve many moons ago and the people watching was stunning, but you feel like you've got to do a cleanse after just a few hours in the place.

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