Live from Las Vegas --  05/03/06

So here I am in Las Vegas...

I flew Southwest -- leaving Providence on Sunday morning -- delighted that I could get a direct non-stop flight to Las Vegas (no changing planes in Chicago or Cleveland or Detroit or...). Despite it being about a six hour flight and Southwest having a no-meals policy, I did not bring anything to eat on the flight. We had gone out to dinner at the Mews Tavern on Saturday night (Jeremy had to work so "we" = Nancy and me plus Gillian and her boyfriend Eli) to celebrate my birthday. We all ate large amounts of food (and I had a Guinness while waiting for a table and then two more with dinner) and then we went home for birthday cake.

This was the first time that I can recall flying Southwest but I was favorably impressed by their efficiency and their friendliness. (One of the flight attendants was even singing to the passengers.) I wonder if the happy atmosphere is due to Southwest being an airline that is actually turning a profit while many of its major competitors are flirting with bankruptcy? I was even more pleased with this direct flight after learing of the troubles encountered by some of my colleagues who also flew from Providence. One of them arrived in Las Vegas late Sunday night, seventeen hours after his departure from Providence. Stormy weather in the mid-West apparently caused chaos with schedules in Chicago so his flight from Providence had been held back and then when he did land, he found that he had missed his Las Vegas flight, so they sent him to Denver and then from Denver to Las Vegas. His luggage apparently stayed in Chicago. Another colleague was coming here on Monday but also ran into connection problems in Chicago -- although his airline repeatedly assured him that he would be able to make his connecting flight to Las Vegas, when he reached Chicago it was to find the other flight had left and they claimed to be unable to find him an alternate flight, so he had to stay overnight in Chicago -- and he arrived here on Tuesday in the same clothing he had worn on Monday because he was not connected with his suitcase until he arrived in Las Vegas.

Ah, the joys of air travel.

Anyway... I arrived here on Sunday to find a beautiful summer-like sunny day -- at least thirty degrees warmer than Rhode Island had been.

No photos to post -- although I do have my digital camera with me and have taken some pictures, I do not have the photo manipulation software on my laptop that I do on my desktop machine back home (and you wouldn't really want to download 400KB pictures that were 1600 pixels wide).

Sunday night there was an opening reception with food served buffet style... a nice way to meet and greet many colleagues whom we only get to see at these kinds of annual meetings. I think I slipped away to get some sleep before the reception ended. Not only is there a three hour time difference (so that when it was 8:00 here, it was 11:00 back in Rhode Island) but I had gotten up around 4:00 a.m. after not much more than three hours of sleep). I woke up at 3:10 a.m. Las Vegas time -- which, of course, was 6:10 a.m. Rhode Island time, just a few minutes later than I usually get up. So I phoned Nancy to say "good morning" and then managed to sleep a while longer before getting up and going for a 6:00 a.m. run. (There is a fitness center at the hotel -- with exercise bikes and treadmills, etc. -- and they will give those of us attending the technical conference a ten percent discount from the regular price of twenty dollars per day. No thanks... I'll just go running.)

It is almost ten p.m. here and I am very tired and need to get up early enough to get in a run, etc. and also have enough sleep so I won't doze off during any of the conference sessions, so I'll just note that except for my early morning running, I have not left the grounds of the Rio since I got here on Sunday except for a trip to an Italian restaurant for dinner on Monday (along with about seventy of my co-workers) and, except for running, will probably not leave again until it is time to head for the airport on Friday.

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