A guilty pleasure

I have a serious confession to make.  My heart is heavy.  This past weekend Jacob and I took our first vacation away from Beckett.  Please, take a deep breath before you read the next sentence… We headed to Las Vegas.  This desert oasis has been a longtime hot spot for us and we tend to migrate like birds during the winter to soak up some Vitamin D and blur reality a bit with a few fruity cocktails {me!} and hard drinks {Jacob!}.  We have also been known to gorge until we waddle with gluttonous guts and squander away hours while plopped in front of a blinking slot machine {don’t worry – it’s only pennies}.

The reservations for the trip were coincidently made right about the time we figured out what our tax refund was going to be.  It was early January and we had only begun to take baby steps in this journey.  We were struggling with cupboards full of non-organic, artificially colored and sweetened foods and just starting to open our eyes wider to the big picture.  But, this journey is a learning process and a transition.  So, come the third week of April as our plane taxied out of the airport, my mind started to whirl.

A wrestling match of mixed feelings was battling inside of me.  My thoughts raced.

Tears rolled as we prepared to leave Beckett for 72 hours.  My eyes smiled when I realized we were embarking on a three day long date night full of uninterrupted dinners, sleeping in past dawn (possibly even staying awake until the sun came up!), quality time with my best friend.  My stomach ached as we landed and I looked out the window.  We were arriving to a desert mirage sustained by fossil fuels.

Las Vegas is truly a city built from nothing.  The city is centered around a glitzy, blinking, never-ending circus of indulgence.  Perfect jigsaw grids of suburbia hug the strip’s core and end with a finality only a barren wasteland can provide.  There is nothing for miles – and then there is Vegas, a Mecca out of place on a mind-numbingly boring canvas of brown.   It’s a strange sight to behold.

Vegas has gained the moniker “Sin City” for good reason and individuals with weakness(s) for pretty much any of the Seven Deadly Sins should steer clear.  I don’t partake in sexual deviancy or uninhibited pickling by way of alcohol.   I gamble with pennies for goodness sake (yes, literally, one-cent at a time).  But, right about January, when daylight only lasts six hours, my barometer starts craving some sunshine.  And, Vegas offers that at reasonable price.

But, the price you pay is different than the price you PAY.

What’s the real price? That question was the overwhelming dark cloud that hovered the entire weekend.  Here’s the thing.  Nothing grows in Vegas.  There is no local.  Everything comes from far away by default.  The cantaloupe that I gorged on came from somewhere.  The roasted broccoli wasn’t grown on a neighboring farm.  The apple I snagged from the buffet line flew in from Washington (ironic, I know!).  Las Vegas has tapped into the only natural resource nearby and is literally sucking the Colorado River dry.  The electricity is driven by the Hoover Dam and the water is detoured directly to the glittery hotel strip.  Las Vegas offers everything under the sun.  You name it – you can get it.

It’s an affordable luxury when you pay the hotel bill and price out your flights.  But, the air is choked with exhaust.  The skyline offers a glitzy glow offset by dingy, desert brown.  The buffets are a smorgasbord of imported sustenance.  The price tag is much higher than what shows up on our bank statement.  The bill is being paid with a finite supply of fossil fuels and an intricate network tapped into resources that cannot support a city of that magnitude.

A person can only stew on something so long.  So, now I am left with the question of: What am I going to do about it?

Believe me, vacations in the sun are still in the forecast for Jacob and me (listen up, Grandma Ginny!), but the place has changed.  Maybe a road trip to Harrison Hot Springs is in order.  Or, a bed and breakfast east of the mountains.  Wherever the place and whatever we do – it’s going to be different.  Local is the name of the game.  Let the search begin…

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One Response to A guilty pleasure

  1. Anita says:

    You can find plenty of relaxing gorgeous scenery in California with nearby food of the earth…but, then again, maybe you should try for vacation destinations with a purpose in mind…like seafood? Try the Potomac and Patuxent Rivers of southern Maryland, where tobacco crops are being replaced with more healthy foodstuffs. Like citrus? Try any orange/lemon/grapefruit/lime growing state…and discover other pleasures, too…as for me, send me to Savannah where Paula Deen can fill my plate!

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