I’ve just returned from my 5th trip to Las Vegas. It’s not what you think. My husband had a work conference and I went along for fun. Ok, maybe it is what you think. I admit it, I like the glitz of the Strip.
When people who have never been to the Las Vegas Strip ask me what it’s like, I usually reply, “It’s just like Disney World, but if Disney World was a drunk crack whore.”
On my previous trips I stayed on or near the strip. This time we stayed off-the-strip. Off-off-the-strip. Really off-off- “are we still driving?”-off-off- “Oh my god, does that taxi meter say $40?”-off-the-strip. And the hotel/ casino that served as our conference center is an older building that particularly caters to local residents. Local residents that really like to smoke.
Funny thing about Las Vegas and its relationship to tobacco. I have noticed that in the rest of the country smokers shyly stand outside with apologetic looks as they suck down their share of carcinogenic fumes. But in Vegas, the smokers stand unabashedly inside buildings with expressions that proudly says, “Smoke ’em if you got ’em. Oh look, we got ’em.”
The newer casinos on the strip implement air filtration systems that I think NASA must have some hand in. For example, on this trip our casino hopping included the very shiny Aria. A man sitting directly across the roulette table from me lit up and I did not smell a thing.
By sad contrast, the older casinos do not have such great air filtration. In fact, while our room was freshly and fabulously remodeled, from the moment I stepped off the elevator onto the first floor, I was hit by that unmistakable stench. I’m sure that it comes as no surprise that after, um, let’s call it 3 hours in the casino, my lungs were desperately expelling caramel colored mucus.
Behold my salvation, Easy Breather. While a wonderful formula for maintaining overall upper respiratory health, I give a special shout out to two herbs in particular. First, astragalus root should be applauded for its adaptogenic properties. Specifically, thanks to this fine herb I managed to fly on an airplane twice in 3 days, withstand an onslaught of bacterial and viral invaders, and despite the physical stress of breathing “air” in the casinos, not catch a cold. Second, a less well known but equally valiant champion, I commend trichosanthes root. In traditional Chinese medicine texts its indications include, “use when heat [in the lungs] injures fluids, giving rise to thirst and irritability.”* Between the dry desert air, the smoky casinos, and the free flow of dehydrating alcohol, I was definitely in threat of developing heat in the lungs, which happily I did not. Sadly, trichosanthes root does very little to reduce irritability caused by losses at the blackjack table.
And before you ask, I will tell you. I happily hit on black 4! But then like an idiot proceeded to continue playing until my chip stack was worth less than the Social Security check that the woman in front of me in line at the cashier’s cage signed over. Oh well, I guess I will stay in the herb business then.
Picture by woosh2007
*that book we TCM herbalists all have, but I still have the second edition because I did not win enough money to spring for the third edition