It took a while to write something as I was lucky enough in this year to make ma way to DEC which took place in Las Vegas this year. My DEC trip was followed by few days of holidays, we have in May in Poland a little “longer” weekend because of some public holidays – in this year this gave me 9 free days, almost completely free from computer. Today I had to clean my notebook cover from dust as it was covered with it completely (strange view :) ).

Getting back to DEC, I’ve decided to describe it in two parts – first about Las Vegas as a place and second about conference itself. This is the first one.

 

Travel

 
This was my first time in Las Vegas – after almost 16 hours of flight with one stop in Chicago (with perfect weather we had great view on Michigan Lake on our descending approach to O’Hare airport – really impressive)  we had finally arrived with few other folks from Poland to Vegas around 9 PM. After picking up our luggage we made our trip with cab to Red Rock resort which lead with highway on outskirts of Vegas, nothing really exciting except nice talk with cab driver (who had of course some Polish roots in the family :) ). After check-in and long trip to my hotel room (in Vegas word “hotel” has a little different meaning than in other parts of the world – this means “very large building with very, very long corridors and huge casino”) I was impressed for a first time with perfect “Strip view” from Red Rock room window. If you will be there be sure to take Strip side when you will be asked at a reception. Red Rock view is also nice, but strip view in the night it is really something you want to see.  During the day it gives you also perfect view on the large part of the valley in which Las Vegas is located.

 

I tried also to take a quick look at casino and to look for some friends who should be there but I was so tired and stunned with jet-lag that this day ended up around 11 PM when I fall asleep as a baby. 


The Strip

Because I wasn’t attending to pre-conference workshops (which had some problems from what I’ve heard from other attendees – it’s a pity as I know that a lot of DEC crew and MVPs were working hard to make it running) I’ve decided to spend this day to see The Strip.

Strip is the place which gathers all these peoples in Vegas and this is the center of the city. What I can say about this place – You have to see it by yourself. From one hand there is something amazing about all these huge (really huge) hotels which only purpose is to gather as many people as it is possible in casino which is in each of these hotels. From other hand – for European guy arriving there this is biggest gathering of kitsch one can see in one place. All these hotels which were build to look like a part of different places in the world. I think that this is only place in the world when you can see Eifel Tower through Brooklyn Bridge and have pyramid behind your back.

 

Strip during the day is OK but it changes completely in the night. On our last day in Vegas together with some other guys from Poland we went to the strip to have some fun and beers. The view is completely amazing. To be honest – this isn’t amazing in the way some nice view of the mountains etc can amaze. There is something completely weird in the mixture of all those hotels, casinos, people walking around with beers, having fun and losing money with cards and slot machines. And this circus keeps running 24 hours per day. Of course in the morning it is a little slower than in the night but this place in Vegas called strip is living all the time with people, lights and fun.

 

This doesn’t have to amaze everyone. But I think that if somebody is in Vegas for the first time and despite if one will love or hate Vegas later this is something completely impressive for the first time. Definitely worth to see and spent few days there, be a part of this weird place at least once in a lifetime.

 

Casinos

Casinos are these places which makes people to go to Vegas. There are other thing but casinos are THIS places.

I’ve spent one night hanging around with some Microsoft guys (thanks Mike for showing me how to have fun in casinos in Vegas) in Red Rock casino, mostly just watching other of our crew playing Black Jack and other card games. If somebody thinks that playing cards in casino are only about playing card I think that this is mistake. It is also about having fun, chatting with croupier, looking for a right table and other magic around gambling. But of course - at the end gambling is about losing money. Even if somebody will win from time to time I’m sure that at the end casino is winning all the time.

And this whole machine around gambling is running 24 hours a day, with all this lights, noise and cigarette smoke around it.

 

Hoover Dam

Except strip and all that casinos there is plenty of places one can visit when You are in Vegas. Even view on the city surrounded with mountains gives an idea that there is something besides the strip in this place. With perfect weather this is really perfect place to spend some time on sightseeing and travel.

Unfortunately, because of time constraints I wasn’t able to  see a lot of these places – to be honest I had only a chance to make short trip and see Hoover Dam which is located close to Vegas. Great Canyon was not so far away but not for this time – but I will definitely make it next time (Yes, I’m planning to make trip there again but this time with more free time for travel).

Back to Hoover Dam – it takes about 40 minutes to get there with highway from center of Las Vegas. One can say “Just a construction”, but it is really huge construction and if you will consider that it was built in 30’s this is really impressive thing.

 

When you are there of course you can have a walk on the Dam and if you want to you can attend guided tour which shows inside of the Dam. This tour takes about 30 minutes and it goes only through two places – generator room and room located over huge pipe which is used to flow water around the Dam if needed.  At the end you can enjoy nice view from viewing platform.

 

 

Not something which will strike you on the ground but if you have some free time or you are going to Grand Canyon you should take some time and see Hoover Dam.

 

If there is a chance to go there …

… don’t hesitate, grab You bag and go spent some time in Vegas. If You will start to feel that You are not in a control of Your money anymore, grab Your bag and get back home as soon as You can. This place can be nice.

 

Actual DEC part will be here tomorrow :)