It is Friday the thirteenth and I am here in Las Vegas, Sin City!
It has been an interesting couple of days. There was a time in my life when I wanted to live here. My first career was in Casinos. Started off working as a croupier, dealt many of the games, was a craps dealer, ended up in management. What I didn’t know about casinos at that time was not worth knowing. Now, is a different story, the essence of a casino is still the same, but it has changed so much. With the automation of a lot of the games, the heart and soul are now lacking.
I walked a lot while here. I love to take in the sights and sounds. Vegas is a sensory overload, for all senses. All of it is cleverly designed to make you stay longer than you intended, to draw you in and almost hypnotise you. I love watching people as they interact with the slots, table games, dealers, hustlers on the street, taxi drivers, security, the list goes on.
I walked all the way north along the strip past the Strat, to Downtown. I wanted to see Freemont; it has been decades since I was up there. The walk from the Strat to Downtown was an interesting one. This is no mans land, not a lot there, a few shops, new IHOP, a Denny’s, quite a few dispensaries and a lot of homeless people. I walked past three separate women, all of which were screaming and shouting at security guards who, for whatever reason, would not allow them into the various dispensary. Nearly 95% of the homeless I saw were on some kind of drug. Either just lying on the ground, slumped against a wall or staggering along, trying to focus on going forward. I felt sad, uneasy, shocked and yet again not, helpless. What could I do. Nothing? Can I do nothing? I just kept walking.
I walked past the Supreme Court of Nevada and could hear some chanting, shouting, noise. I looked a block ahead and I could see a group of people standing on a street corner with signs and flags, Palestinian flags. I looked across the street and opposite them was another group of people, they were also shouting, screaming, also waving flags, Israeli flags and The Stars and Stripes. I noticed on the edge were US Marshalls, fully armed and down the middle of the road where Nevada State Police. I walked up to the area. I asked a US Marshall if it was okay, and he said it was safe and everything was under control.
I was on the Palestinian side of the street, I stood and watched. Each side had a man on a megaphone, and they were hurling, what can only be termed as abuse at each other. As I stood and watched a lady approached me and said, “I am going to the other side, they are God’s people, you should also come.” I told her that I would walk across with her, but I wasn’t going there for that reason. I asked her, if you do believe in a God then aren’t we all God’s children? She muttered something about those people over there don’t deserve that title.
I was fortunate enough to be able to walk from one side to the other and not be afraid someone could possibly attack me. I let the lady go into the middle of the demonstration.
‘the story pilgrim’ is not aligned to any political or religious belief. We trust in nature and leave nature to teach us how we should be living this life and interacting with others. I reflected how, not more than a few miles away, there were thousands of people just having fun, and yet these people demonstrating are having a completely different day.
This pilgrimage through life is fascinating. We are all doing it so different. Don’t be afraid of that. Be strong, be safe and challenge yourself, every day.