Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Irmena and fam.
The first stop was Irmena's. I needed to borrow their scale to weigh my suitcase. If you go over 50 pounds there's a extra fee that gets added on to your air fare. If my suitcase was too stuffed I'd have to leave stuff at home. I had heard that the venue lighting was pretty poor and since there were no outdoor skating events this year chances of getting any good photos would be pretty limited. I decided to pack my flash gear. The SB-800s with the cheap light stands I had. It was this or more clothing.
After packing all the light gear I weighed the suitcase and it came to 46 pounds. Woo woo!
YYZ - Toronto's Pearson airport.
My first time travelling with Delta. Generally I would go with Westjet but was booked on Delta through the travel agent. The cost difference was almost $400.00 between the two airlines, Delta being the less expensive of the two.
I was dinged with a luggage fee of $25 and another $25 to bring the luggage back. Plus it's not a direct flight. There's a stop over in Detroit. The seats felt a bit narrow. I was squashed between two guys that had iPad/iPhone technology and were catching up on what looked to be news in Chinese.
Despite this he stewardess, Louryne, was quite a nice distraction. We talked a bit about the city (Toronto). She had flown there many times but never stayed there overnight. It got me to thinking about working in an industry where you're moving around all the time. While it's kind of neat to see the world you really don't have a lot of time to have a base of operations or a decent relationship. Louryne said she was pretty old for a flight attendant, I would have guessed she was in her40s, she could have been a grandmother perhaps. She had a great intercom speaker voice. It sounded like something you would hear in a movie narration.
Looking out the window
The barf /"air sickness" bag.
The air sickness bags had "I'll be back" printed on them. I thought this funny as I could imagine if a bad egg salad sandwich sitting on a radiator over night could speak, would say something like this... with the Arnold accent of course. Maybe the bag should have said "I have returned".
Looking out the smudged window
Detroit has an amazing airport, who knew? It's gigantic. It even has a monorail in it! Wow. There's also food places all over the place (including Popeye's chicken). Unfortunately my incoming flight was stuck on the Tarmac leaving Toronto so the time to be had in Detroit eating and taking in the environment was cut short. I managed to grab a cheese steak sandwich at Charley's, inhaling it before getting on the next flight.
The underground tunnel in the Detroit airport
Impressive water fountain
17:30 hey Allie gator is on this flight!
With Montreal playing in Texas and only a handful of skaters from Hamilton or Toronto going to Rollercon this year I figured chances of bumping into any skaters that I knew on the way down to Las Vegas would be non-existent. With the added connection on my non-direct flight I suppose the odds improved. Sure enough a skater from Madison.
19:00 pacific standard time
We arrived at the McCarran airport. Like other trips I have going to Vegas I remember that it's hot (but a dry heat) but I forget how hot it actually is. I believe my brain is blocking out these uncomfortable experiences and just remembering the general overall sun of experiences. Las Vegas fun? Definitely! Hot? sure... maybe.
Being to Las Vegas now for the fifth time (three previous RollerCons, one NAB conference) I am still surprised at the amount of heat that blasts at you as you first walk out the airport doors to the bus stop. While not humid (like New Orleans), it's like opening an oven and sticking your whole body in. The automated doors open to the outside and Bawhooosh you're sweating like a pig.
Eventually your body gets acclimatized to a certain degree but five out of five times I have felt the weather change a shock to the system. So what if it's dry heat, it's still hot.
Waiting at the airport bus stop for our shuttle bus
There's this great service in Las Vegas called the airport shuttle bus. Not only does the shuttle bus take you to your hotel front doorstep but you can buy a two way pass so it can bring you back to the airport. I'm not sure if it's cheaper but it's a nice option to have while you have money, at least you'll be able to make it back to your plane if by the end of your trip you're broke (just don't lose your ticket stub).
Now in the lobby of the Riviera, Wendy checks her messages.
The line for registration was about 12 people long. While this doesn't sound that long we still ended up being in line for over 40 minutes. The people at the front desk were pretty understaffed or slow to get us all in. Being RollerCon and all though the 40 minutes didn't seem so long if you knew people in the derby world. I stopped some girls to take their photo on the account that one of them was wearing the Neon Skates T-shirt.
A Neon Skates T-shirt worn by a Guelph skater.
Neon Skates is the Montreal skate apparel shop owned by Marc and Tush. So seeing the familiar logo was a nice reminder of home I suppose. The girls as it turned out were from Guelph, Ontario (Canada). Hammer City just played them (How did I miss that game?) recently.
"Bagelhot!" I looked toward the front of the line and it was B-Train from Wicked Skatewear. Yay! My first West Coastie of Rollercon. Like most people you like it's always good to see the person in real life and not just on the internet.
The hotel room
Skaters from Houston.
After checking in I decide that it's time for food and wander back downstairs to scout out nearby food places. On the main floor next to the Queen Victoria Pub I bump into some people from Houston. One guy thinks he remembers me from the previous year. After a bit of talking I figure out he actually remembers Marcus. Asian looking guy with camera, wearing shorts, and camera bag.
Kim Supersonik (on right)
Wondering around the lobby, especially the registration line, I kept bumping into people I knew or people from Canada. It was like attending a family reunion of sorts. Even with out Montreal, Hamilton or Toronto there, it was nice to see familiar faces.
Skaters from west Canada!
Our hotel signage
The hotel had a few things around it that would be useful. There was a Wallgreen's (drug store) just down the street, some food places (including a Denny's), a McDonalds and Subway sandwich shop across the street and a food court inside the hotel itself.
In the hotel food court
I ended up getting dinner at the Wok Express. It didn't really matter what type of food I ate, at this point I just needed to eat something. The Wok Express food was nothing out of the ordinary but it was just what I needed to keep my stomach from rumbling.
My first dinner of the night
A skater from San Diego left watching luggage
While heading back to my room (and trying to find it through the maze of slot machines) I found myself back in front of the registration line. This is where I saw this girl surrounded by luggage sitting on the floor. She was from San Diego. Her team mates had left her holding the bag, sitting next to a few of them actually. It was at this point I hear "Hey!". It was Marcus.
That same guy that the guy from Houston mixed me up with. Marcus had just gotten in from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He hadn't had dinner yet so we ventured out to find food.
A San Diego girl looking for other San Diego girls
On our way through the hotel we saw this skater looking for her peeps. As it turned out she was from San Diego. I told her about the lonely skater sitting next to all the luggage downstairs.
Marcus at Denny's
Marcus and I ended up at Denny's where I ordered a round two order of food. Mostly light desserty stuff. Some Hawaiian tropical pancake puppies chased down by a rootbeer float.
Dinner two. Hawaiian tropical pancake puppies.
It should be noted that while the Hawaiian pancake puppies sould good having pineapple in them, if there was pineapple it was in powder form. The pancake puppies were pretty dry and hard, equivalent of eating a timbit that sat outside for a couple of days. The rootbeer float was good though.
The bronze Crazy Girls statue at the entrance of the Riviera