Glowing LasVegas

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Last week, I had the privilege to spend four days in Las Vegas to celebrate my mother’s birthday. We left my husband and son in charge of the house and our dog, Sasha, and ventured to Sin City.

The last time I visited the jewel of Nevada was 2007. That year, according to Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the city received 39,196,761 tourists who accounted for a record revenue of $10.8 billion.

Eleven years later, in 2018, the number of tourists were 42,116,800 and the revenue was $10.2 billion. By comparing the numbers, I reached a conclusion that was evident during our stay.

Even though the number of visitors increased by almost three million, the revenue decreased more than $600 million. Why? The current tourism in Las Vegas does not revolve 100% around gambling, but rather entertainment.

One factor that has contributed to this change is the marketing of the hospitality industry.  They are targeting young families with little children and teens, as well as single people.

My mom and I saw countless couples with babies in their arms or in strollers; during the late evening hours, they were walking through the halls and gambling tables breathing the second-hand cigarette smoke of the players.

Another factor is the effect of social media and apps that have created a “traveling savvy community” which teaches people to save money on food, accommodation, and transportation.

I am sure that the catchy motto, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” is pretty much alive for forbidden experiences, but the stories and memories of a big segment of the visitors are family-oriented and don’t need to be kept secret.

Today, Las Vegas is known as the world capital of entertainment, with shows tailored to every desire and budget. Whatever one is interested in, culinary, sports, singers, illusionists, comedians, etc., the city has it all seven days a week, 365 days a year.

However, if your wallet is on a diet, walking through the casinos and hotels is a plan in itself. Anyone can enjoy the lavish decorations and stores, as well as the street shows happen on every corner. But keep in mind that you will be surrounded by large crowds people in 100 degree heat, so the experience can turn into torture, quickly.

Another option is connecting to nature by visiting the Hualapai (people of the ponderosa tree) Nation. A ten-hour guided tour through the Mojave Desert, with temperatures reaching the 115 Fahrenheit, is a prerequisite to marvel at the majestic Grand Canyon, which is simply breathtaking.

In the past, Las Vegas was considered an expensive and sometimes a morally reprehensible destination. Not anymore. The price of luxury is more affordable than ever and without sin.

One last warning: if you have an addictive personality, beware of the seductive glow of the casinos. Gambling lures the most susceptible and could end up loosing the kid’s college fund of the mortgage payment.

Thanks for reading and sharing,

Xiomara Spadafora

This column was sponsored by Zellner Insurance Agency. Many things in life don’t have insurance. For everything else call Zellner (888) 208-8119

The team behind Egan Bernal’s triumph

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Last Friday, July 26, Egan Bernal conquered the Col de L’Iseran as if he were a French goat. He demonstrated in the Tour de France what he learned climbing the Colombian mountains, embossing on each curve his love for cycling. A love passed to him by his father and nurtured with the aspirations of an entire country.

Watching the replay of Stage 19 to write this blog, I imagined the radio conversation between Egan Bernal, Geraint Thomas, (2018 Tour Champion,) and David Brailsford, (Team Ineos General Manager.) This is the transcript I came up with:

Brailsford: Thomas, Alaphilippe is hurting. How are you?

Thomas: My legs are dying. Ask Egan.

Brailsford: Egan, how are your legs son?

Egal: Cool coach.

Brailsford: Then go on. Your turn has come to make Colombia’s dream come true.

Continue reading “The team behind Egan Bernal’s triumph”

Heroes that bleed in vain

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Picture: Revista Semana 

Last Saturday, July 20th, was Colombia’s Independence Day. During the patriotic celebration, there was a moment that caught the attention of the media. A strong hug and tears were shared between the President, Iván Duque, and a policeman, José Fernando Carvajal Rueda, who lost both legs after stepping on a land mine last year. (See video).

I don’t know what motivated the President to walk over the serviceman in the middle of the parade, but as a regular citizen, the image of a disabled law enforcement officer or soldier, fills me up with gratitude. Their sacrifice ensures my safety, a life free from the dangers and horrors of war. Continue reading “Heroes that bleed in vain”

100% fruit juice is also 100% sugar

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Sugary beverages have had a bulls-eye on their back for many years due to their impact on obesity and the part they play in many types of cancer, including mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophageal, stomach, pancreas, gallbladder, kidney, colorectal, liver, breast, endometrial, and prostate.

Nevertheless, no previous investigation had equalized 100% fruit juices to sugary drinks like sodas or sport and energy beverages until last week. On July 10th, the British Medical Journal published the results of a cohort study of Nutri-Net Santé in France.

Since 2009 and until 2017, more than 101,000 volunteers over 18 and without cancer (21.3% male and 78.7% female) completed lifestyle questionnaires, 24 hour eating diaries, and weight measurements every six months. See study.  Continue reading “100% fruit juice is also 100% sugar”

Corruption Lifesaver

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During my recent vacation in my home country, my son and I had the opportunity to spend a few leisurely days with my best friend and her three sons at a countryside house. My friend and I became the referees in charge of controlling the emotions of four kids ages eight to four.

As it could be expected, many situations arose in which a kid claimed justice especially when another one took the floating doughnut away. Nonetheless, they knew just how far they could go because the moms were ready to discipline them if necessary.

Now, on June 19th, 2019, Colombia’s congressmen behaved like kids taking advantage of their lack of supervision. They passed around the floatie of the so-called Anti-Corruption Law; for almost two years they have told their countrymen that they are willing to “clean house.” But, in the end, they popped the floatie and sunk it. Continue reading “Corruption Lifesaver”

Coffee Appropriation

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I live by a popular quote in my country that translates “Deaf ears to foolish words”. Believe me, it is the secret to a tranquil life. Nonetheless, Nicolas Maduro’s speech last Wednesday, May 22, in which he affirmed that the best coffee in the world is not Colombian but Venezuelan, caught the attention of all my senses.

During a broadcast on the nationalized T.V. channel, a loyalist to the regime warned farmers about buying coffee seeds from Colombia because, according to him, they were plagued with biological diseases.

Then, Maduro added to the commentary and said that Colombians “are taking the coffee out of here. Half of the coffee Colombia is selling to the world is Venezuelan. They are taking it. Paramilitary armies are threatening the farmers. We are investigating all this. The best coffee in the world is from Venezuela.” (See video in Spanish)

Continue reading “Coffee Appropriation”

The sour side of diabetes

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Even though there are more than 30 million diabetics in the United States, unfortunately this illness flies under the radar of many people. This is especially true in the Hispanic community, even though they are the second group at risk in the country.

Diabetes is not only the seventh cause of death in America, but also the number one cause for kidney failure, blindness, and lower limbs amputations in adults.

The last condition named above was detailed in a spine-chilling reportage published on CNN Health last week, which included the most recent statistics of the state of California–the state with the third largest Hispanic population in the U.S.

Continue reading “The sour side of diabetes”