I’ve got a keyboard that was actually meant for typing, I’m wearing jammies and fuzzy slippers and I’ve got a cat on my lap. All is right with my little hobbit world.
Well, I mean, except for the part about my brother’s car getting stolen and stripped, but at least they got a nice new car out of it.
Okay, where was I….
OooooooooooYEAH (little tiny GIR voice), Las Vegas.
The conference was excellent. Because I had very little impetus to go and do anything else (read, there was no one else to go and do fun things with) I scored a LOT of continuing education credits. I listened to some truly spectacular speakers and I came back with two bags full of schwag. One of the big benefits in going to one of these major conferences is that a LOT of veterinary supply companies, labs, marketing concerns, diet manufacturers, book publishers, etc. ad infinitum, send representatives and the exhibitors hall is a FUN place to be. And a lot of the exhibitors are giving away samples of their products and/or holding daily drawings for free stuff. Case in point: Two years ago everyone and (you’ll pardon the expression) their dog was having drawings for an i-Pad. I won one. This year it was i-Pad Airs and Surface tablets none of which I seem to have one which is just fine with me since my current i-Pad works just dandy thankyouverymuch.
And staying at The Mandalay Bay, the site of the convention, is the only way to do it so far as I’m concerned. Western States Veterinary Conference (WVC) is very responsive and very aware of peoples’ requirements so they provide shuttles between the major hotels and the conference venue. And I suppose one _could_ rent a car and park and all that, but I don’t drive in strange cities, and I’m not anywhere near the drooling lunatic it would take to stay somewhere offsite so that I could try and drive in and park every day. The Mandalay Bay is more expensive than some of the other hotels, I’m sure, but I sure as hell made that up in the lack of frustration getting to and from my hotel room!
All that having been said……….The noise! The lights! The over stimulation! My GOD how do people enjoy that?
There are video screens in the elevators, there are video screens in the taxis, there are video screens in the monorail, there’s one restaurant where there are video screens in the restrooms! There. Was. A. Television. In. My. Hotel. Bathroom.
Speakers blaring in the casinos, speakers blaring in every restaurant I was in, flashing lights EVERYWHERE. When there aren’t speakers blaring at you, there are likely drunk people blaring at you. The only time I was on the strip (I walked up and down the strip a lot looking, unsuccessfully, for Legos….another story) when there weren’t drunk people hooting and roaring was at 3 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. And even then there were mobile billboards driving up and down blaring.
And while much of Las Vegas is smoke free, if you go through a casino (and to get pretty much anywhere in The Mandalay Bay at least you’ve got to go through the casino) there are people smoking everything, I swear I’m not making this up, from standard American cigarettes, through those horrendous Turkish cigarettes, on to cloves, and cigars, I even saw one dude smoking a Hobbit pipe. No one smoking ganja (oh please, I graduated from Evergreen, of COURSE I know what marijuana smoke smells like), but the Walgreens drugstore I stopped into on my Lego search did have a green cross on its sign.
My hotel room was high enough up that it was pretty quiet. I did talk to one of the exhibitors who had the room across from mine who had been kept awake Sunday night by a party down the hall. I wasn’t disturbed by it because I sleep in earplugs, but apparently there was rany gazooing past 2 a.m. But even in my hotel room there was airport noise (a brief note: Yes, I live next to SeaTac, yes, I am complaining about the noise from the LV airport. I live near SeaTac, but I CAN’T SEE THE BLOODY RUNWAYS FROM MY BEDROOM WINDOW), and when the jets weren’t flying it was a sterile sort of quiet. No birds, no cats, no other humans besides the annoying idiots down the hall who don’t know how to close a door without letting it slam.
I took a day off in the middle of the week and went to do fun things. I went to The Springs Preserve which is a lovely little nature preserve somewhere within Las Vegas proper, but off the strip (which is the sum total of my knowledge about Las Vegas geography, don’t ask me anything else about how to get anywhere, I was either in lectures or pretty much lost most of the time I was there). Quiet! OMG QUIET!! Gardens full of lovely little tweebly birds and something that I’m fairly sure was a mockingbird. A black chinned hummingbird which I saw zooming but didn’t get a really good look at. And nothing to hear but the breeze which quickly turned into a heckuva wind, but it was still peaceful. Just blowy.
Just as an aside, I’m really happy I don’t have to limit myself to xeriscape gardening. The gardens were lovely and really hip on water conservation, but I like mine better.
Wetlands are in the eye of the beholder. This, granted wetter than the surrounding country side, was what they were calling a wetland. The grass sort of stuff was 8-10 feet tall.
When I got back from The Springs Preserve I wandered down to the Luxor where they’ve got a Titanic artifacts exhibit. I had to decide between the Titanic exhibit and The Bodies exhibit, but I’ve seen at least one of The Bodies, and I figured there’d be fewer idiots at Titanic. The exhibit was sad, and creepy, and horrible all at once, but absolutely astonishing in that I’d never realized exactly how *deluxe* the ship was. Okay, third class was pretty much cattle car, but the recreation of the third class cabins still looked more comfortable than is flying coach on most airlines these days.
Back at the Mandalay Bay it was quite amusing to watch the crowds back and forth from the convention center. There were three, count ‘em *three* conventions at the Mandalay Bay during the same period of time. WVC, a fashion convention, and a pool convention. Wandering the hallways, even without looking at badges, it was super easy to pick out which were veterinarians and which were not. I have _never_ seen such slut wear….er…. high fashion…. as I was seeing on some of the fashion conference attendees. Female AND male.
Which brings up another point. Wednesday evening I was wandering around looking for a sit down dinner that wasn’t the buffet. Because I didn’t have a reservation and I didn’t want to wait close to an hour for dinner, two of the three places I checked were quickly checked off my list.
The third turned me away because I didn’t meet the dress code. Mid thigh length walking shorts, a button down shirt, and walking shoes, not fancy, but tidy……… not appropriate. Painted on skinny jeans with horizontal rips from ankle to, no kidding, ass with a see through crop top (nipples coyly covered) and spike heels……appropriate. I am _obviously_ not meant for The High Life.
So all in all, worth it but exhausting. If the other major conferences this year hadn’t been in stupider locations (c’mon AVMA, who REALLY wants to go to St. Louis in JULY?!) I’d have gone to one of them, but as it was…..
I guess there’s a conference next year in San Francisco. I’ll probably give that a lot of consideration. I think I’m probably better suited to San Francisco than Las Vegas.