No umbrellas in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Anyone from the Philippines who comes to this city at this time of the year will surely stop complaining about the summer heat in good old Phl. The heat of the sun here is so intense, one gets the feeling of facing an open fire while just crossing a brief space from the parking lot to whatever establishment one goes to. And the moment one gets out of an air-conditioned haven, one gets the feeling of having a blow-torch aimed at one’s face.
And that is no exaggeration, because wherever one goes, the same complaint is heard from people one meets. Talking about the weather here is no longer just small talk – one cannot help talking about it at all. My own wonder is that, as prone to perspiration as I am, I hardly ever sweat here, despite the terrible heat. Yet, thousands are still willing to suffer that, as shown by those hordes of humanity flocking to this city from all over the country and abroad.
I notice, though, that despite what seems to be unbearable heat, people continue to walk up and down the streets, particularly the one called The Strip, where the bright and most picturesque structures are located. I know that back home in the Philippines, people – women especially – would be using umbrellas all day long but I have never seen anybody using it here. For them, maybe, umbrellas are only covers for rain and not for the heat of the sun.
The Fourth of July fever is already peaking and everywhere you see signs announcing sales and big discounts and, naturally, gullible shoppers flock to the establishments announcing them. Since it is summer and classes are off, one can see lots of families driving in, some with luggage piled up on top of their vehicles. How can one ever picture the Nevada of history classes that was almost an entire country of desert land, unproductive and arid with hardly any home or buildings? Even today, Las Vegas seems to be the “solitaire”, the jewel in the center of it all.
Sunday, we heard mass at the Guardian Angel Cathedral, a beautiful modern house of worship with what I sensed to be a very committed congregation. No wonder, because their parish priest seems to be a really good shepherd. He gave a very thought-provoking homily that made me sad because I thought of some priests back home who seem to think that making the congregation laugh is what it is all about. An honest-to-goodness orchestra composed of elderly people playing violins, percussions and other instruments played during the mass and it is no surprise that everybody joined the singing of hymns fervently.
We had a delightful Sunday dinner hosted by our dear friends, sisters May and Mary Ann, their husbands Don Kiefer and Chris Bird and their mother Fernanda Bais at the Keifer home in North Las Vegas. It was such a wonderful feeling to be welcomed at the door by the entire family, May and Don’s son Jonathan, Mary Ann’s sons, newly married JP and JN. I had really been hoping that Don would delight us again with his very special rib-eye a la Keifer, having tasted it before during a previous Pacquiao fight. And sure enough, he was soon asking everyone their preferences: rare, medium, well done, as the smell of cooking steak wafted in. And I was so happy that this family hit it off with Allan and Lourdes (Gomez) so beautifully.*
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