Las Vegas is on a flat section of desert, bordered by mountains. I found the views of the mountains to be fascinating. I wished that I could be exploring them... not rope and piton mountain climbing, just hiking
||My group was staying at the Flamingo. There were about eighteen thousand
of us divided among half a dozen hotels, so usually no matter where you
looked you would see people wearing conference badges (as I am in this
picture). This is at the Flamingo Hotel and, yes, those are real flamingos
walking around behind me.
||Of course not all of our time could be spent sitting in training sessions or attending speeches (it only seemed that way sometimes). Here, for instance, you can see me flanked by two colleagues in Margaritaville. (That's Hamid on the left side of the picture -- he and I worked together in Nice and Oslo back in 2000.)
||What can I say -- this is Las Vegas -- or, more exactly, the entrance to
Bally's from the Strip -- Las Vegas Blvd. (The picture was taken one night
when I walked back to the Flamingo from a meeting at the MGM Grand.) When
we went to Las Vegas for last year's conference I was staying in Bally's.
This entrance feeds you into the casino level of the hotel -- that is a
moving walkway in the middle of those neon hoops.
||And here's a rainbow that followed some of the rain we had early in the
week. After having rain on and off on Sunday and Monday, the rest of the
week was pleasant (well, even the rainy days were pleasant) with highs
in the fifties (although I understand that it warmed up into the low sixties
-- even hitting seventy -- after we left).
During the course of the week I attended several large "meetings" (i.e., was in an audience of thousands), wandered about various displays set up by business partners, spent some time in a convention book store (and ordered four books), and attended seventeen seminars/presentations of an hour and a quarter in length. Along with thousands of my colleagues I ate too much food served buffet style. I walked many miles, logging up the distances between hotels and between various ballrooms and temporary meeting rooms where sessions were being held, plus I hiked at least three miles on Thursday night (to no avail) attempting to find the German restaurant where I was supposed to meet about two dozen colleagues for dinner. (Not to fear, we did manage to meet up later that evening at JimmyBuffett's Margaritaville, as you can see from a picture above.) I drank eight bottles of beer and one glass of wine. (No, not all on Thursday night; I mean spread out over the course of the entire week.)
Saturday morning coming home was close to a repeat of Sunday morning on
the way there. I took an early shuttle bus to the airport, checked my bag
(curbside), bypassed a huge line for international travel (probably mostly
from my company because this was a worldwide conference, bringing thousands
from Europe and Asia) and only had to wait perhaps fifteen or twenty minutes
in the security line. I commented to one of the TSA people that I was impressed
with how quickly the security lines had moved (it was obvious they had
added more stations) and he told me that the amount of time required varied
tremendously -- "You should have seen us yesterday; we really got
hammered!" However, the quick passage through check-in and security
when I had allowed for really long lines meant that I reached the gate
area for my flight with almost two hours to kill. I sat and read a book
even though (this being Las Vegas) the gate area was filled with slot machines.