Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Las Vegas

I don't know if I've mentioned how much I hate Las Vegas, but it's almost all-encompassing. I've been staying at the Mandalay Bay in preparation for my session at Windows Connections. (Trivia fact: Mandalay is the only hotel on the Strip that's named after a male enhancement creme.)

I spent a couple of days in the glorious perma-twilight of the big hotel, prepping and praying. I was actually happy at the way my session went off. I spoke clearly and slowly, I didn't repeat too much, and I gave some good examples. I had 40 or 50 people hanging on my every word. I ended a few minutes early and even got enough Q&A to go past my allotted time.

I've been suffering from some sort of sinus infection, which was nice enough to hold off while I spoke. After I stepped off the podium, it started to get worse. I also had to check out of the hotel today - Mandalay went from $200/night to $489/night because The Who are playing there on Friday. I've moved to the Orleans, which went down to $89/night because Suzanne Somers is appearing there.

I spent the late afternoon chasing the sunset up at Valley of Fire, where I took a few nice panos. Dark fell pretty quickly, and left me realizing how easy it would be to hide a body in these parts. The one vista I want to figure out for next time is the view of Vegas you get when you drive back south through Apex on I-15. You have a pitch-black valley with the city lights outstretched beneath you. It's pretty cool, but I couldn't figure out where to go for the best angle.

Of course, all the fresh desert air did nothing for my sinuses, and I collapsed in a pool of crud at the Orleans. It's surprisingly run-down for a ten-year-old hotel. Not that it's in tatters, but it feels dated and cheap. Across the street is a porn emporium where you can get your porn 24/7. Up the road a bit is a billboard for a Chinese restaurant that shows a scantily clad waitress and the slogan "Nice Dumplings." There really is very little to recommend this city.

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