B4[0] – Brent’s Birthday in Vegas

I’m back, slept, showered, and clean after the mighty B4[0] conference: Brent’s Birthday in Vegas. I’ve got to tell you, that’s one damn crazy city.

I’ve been through Vegas, but I’ve never really been IN Las Vegas before. For all intents and purposes, this was really my first time wandering through casino’s on the strip, and seeing the sites. Well, OK – I’ve seen the Bellagio in pictures, but that doesn’t really count.

The first thing that struck me was the thought “You’ve got to be kidding” when I walked into the Paris Casino friday evening. It won’t surprise anyone who’s been there – but it’s this monstrous room that has been thoroughly done over to make it actually very difficult to tell if you’re inside or outside. The entire ceiling was painted to look like a sky at twilight, an ambience that the Casino had wether it was 8am, 2pm, or 2am. I can completely see why some folks call Las Vegas “DisneyLand for Grown-ups”. It has that same almost-there theme-park-reality about it. The interior of the Paris is an incredible example of it.

I didn’t even get to all the various places that I thought would be interesting to see. Friday night lasted, well, until well into Saturday morning. I don’t remember what time we went to bed, but I wasn’t moving Saturday afternoon until 1:30pm. Fortunately, the casino’s are well prepared for this eventuality and serve breakfast pretty much any time. Saturday I took it into my head to wander through Ceasar’s Palace, the Bellagio, and some associated shops nearby.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, is as close as it seems in Las Vegas. The scale of the buildings is outrageous, and it completely confuses the senses. I think Mary, Gus, and I (we did our saturday afternoon touring together) clocked in maybe 7 miles of walking just between those three casinos. At least according to my pedometer. Mary even has some pics up on Flickr of that (and other) parts of this amusing venture. I’m just waiting for her (or was it Gus?) to put up the picture of me posing like one of the statues in Ceasar’s Palace. She’s got a good one entitled “The Gus of David” in front of the replica of the statue of David.

The other thing I wasn’t quite prepared for was how dry the air was in the casino’s. I’ve been told that they pump in extra oxygen to make the whole environment seem a little peppy-er. I completely believe it. Fortunately, I only ended up with one nosebleed in the whole trip.

I think the one of the most memorable (and publishable) moments in the trip was Gus stopping Mary and I in Caesar’s Palace, holding out his arms and singing “Ah-ahhhh” – in perfect harmony with the tones of the slot machines. I hadn’t realized that instead of a cacophony, they’re tuned these sucks to have this kind of continuously rising melody/tonal thing that you’d normally think of when someone says “Ta-da!”. Once he pointed that out, it was noticeable everywhere.

The evenings were the social highlights of the trip. I think we had 20 to 22 folks all there for Brent’s birthday – some I’ve met previously, some I met there. Friday and Saturday night were both late nights (although I conked out early on Saturday night) and a hell of a lot of fun. I don’t even think I’m going to try and detail them out to any length, cause it just wouldn’t make sense. I’ll leave it at they were great social events ranging all over the place and with a ton of great folks.

Photo sets from the trip:

To end this up, I’ve got to say that Las Vegas is one damned outrageous place. Oh… and I’m really glad that WWDC is six weeks away so I can recover a bit!

ps: The ceilings in Caesar’s Palace win my vote for most amazing, even though I spent more time commenting about Paris’.

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