In my memoir From the Same Quiver I tell the story of a trip across the United States in an old Toyota Tercel. Of all of the stops my friend Miette and I made, Las Vegas was definitely one of the ones that left the biggest impression on us. We had been driving for ages through the desert, and then suddenly a mass of lights appeared in the distance; we were nearing the city.

As part of my series of photos and excerpts, I would like to share a photograph that I describe taking in the book. If you’d like to see more you can refer to previous posts, and to read more you can find my book on Amazon or order it from your local bookstore.

Miette had never been to Vegas before, and as I imagined her in the city of artificial pleasure and twenty-four-hour vices, I couldn’t decide if she would love it or hate it. In reality, I wasn’t entirely sure if I loved it or hated it.

One of my closest childhood friends, Loriana, had moved from Bellingham to Nevada three years before, and she was working in Planet Hollywood on the Strip. We were going to stay with her in her apartment for a few days and let her show us her new world. Loriana was a beautiful person to whom life had given many excuses for which to lose faith, yet she was the person with the most faith of anyone I knew. When I say faith, I’m referring to faith in people being good, the Universe having a plan, and kindness being the most important virtue. Having been adopted by a Mexican father and a Jewish mother and having an Afro-Cuban bloodline and growing up in a predominantly white town, she was constantly questioning her identity. But in the end, she always did what she thought was right and was always true to herself.

The beautiful dusk light was vanquished by nightfall, and all we could see were the twinkling stars and a few meters of the road ahead of us until we saw something glowing—a mass of white light amidst the complete darkness. We were nearing the city.

“It really is just this huge metropolis in the middle of nothing and nowhere, isn’t it?” Miette said as she pulled over onto the side of the road. I pulled out my tripod, suddenly inspired to capture her contemplation about Las Vegas.

“I love this,” I said, showing her the screen of my camera. She nodded.