Las Vegas on business

Better late than never. The past several weeks have been very busy due to work travel and college graduation activities so I am a bit behind on my blog entries.

Vegas, baby!

I actually got to go to Las Vegas on a business trip. Sun Microsystems does not have a facility there, but they are building a new data center
hosted by one of the top data center hosting companies in the world. Check out . The provisioning team needed help in doing the build-out and asked for volunteers. That was an easy decision for me.

So for the week of May 7th through 11th, I was there. Being the first time I have ever been in that part of the country, it was exciting. I am still not sure what to make of that city. On one hand, Las Vegas is a colossal waste of natural resources and energy. On the other hand it is an incredible well-done testimonial to living life to the fullest. The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

The temperate hovered around 100 degrees the entire time I was there, one time peaking at 105 degrees. It really is true that it is dry heat so that it does not feel nearly as bad as the same temperature in a humid climate. I stayed in two hotels, both just off the famous strip. The Flamingo Hilton was mostly geared for vacationers but went out of their way to make me feel wanted. The Westin did not, but was a typical decent hotel.

The Westin did have a casino as part of the lobby. It took me a couple times at first to figure out what they meant by play 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, etc. lines and bet 1, 2, 5, and some of the other options but eventually I got it. One night I started with $5, drained it to less than $2.00 but then hit some jackpot to raise it to $7.50. It eventually got back down to $5.00 when I cashed out. so I broke even and played for one hour. A good night, I would say. Then the next night I started with $10 which yo-yo’d until I eventually lost it but I lasted 90 minutes. $10 for 90 minutes of game playing is not so bad. I did not try any tables. I did watch a couple, and saw one older gent lose his chips at the craps table but then took out his wallet and put down three $100 bills for more. I guess that is nothing compared to the “High limit” rooms behind glass. Not too much activity there from what I could tell.

The first night I went out to dinner with the work gang at a German beer garden restaurant chain called the Hofbrauhaus made exactly like the original in Munich. I had a plate of various sausages and tried several brews.

Another night I ate at Morton’s steak house and had a $46 Chicago Style Bone-In Ribeye Steak. That was one of the cheaper entrees. They had a $96 double porterhouse steak at the high end.

Rounding out the other meals were Lawry’s “The Prime Rib” and excellent Mexican at Cozymel’s.

One night I played tourist and walked the strip taking pictures. The strip takes a while to go up and down. Quite the elaborate buildings. Very different how everyone is dressed to show off, and people walk along with beer and margaritas in-hand.

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Another night I went to see Red Rock Canyon to the west. I got stuck in a traffic jam so the sun was already over the mountains by the time I got there but I made the most of it. Red Rock Canyon was all about colored sandstone. It is a very popular rock climbing and hiking area. I did some power-hiking in the short time I had available before it became too dark. Those rocks make for great footing! I was in a different part than the main visitor’s center and loop road, however. If I ever get back to the Las Vegas area, I would definitely like to visit the Red Rock Canyon again.

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Thursday night I got to fulfill a long desire to see the Hoover Dam. Very impressive engineering accomplishment for its time. They finished the six year project two years early. Worker were paid $4 per day which at the time was a very good wage during the depression. They stayed in a town created to house them at the top of the canyon leading to the work
site called Boulder City. I stopped there on the way back. It is a very nice town, great main street, and excellent microbrewery. The dam was originally called Boulder Dam because it was built in Boulder Canyon. A few years later Congress passed legislation to change the name to Hoover Dam.

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Boulder City brew pub

One souvenir I have that they were selling for $5.00 each is a section of the original copper transmission lines used. They are hollow and make a nice pen holder.

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