The Family just returned from five days in sunny and warm Las Vegas, NV while I attended SAS Global Forum 2011 to present a paper entitled Using SAS to Help Fight Crime: Scraping and Reporting Inmate Data in the Data Integration section. The paper was based on the work I’ve done with Dakota and Scott inmate dashboards as well as the Level-3 Sex Offenders and the analysis I’ve done, and not always posted publicly, on the massive datasets I have collected from that work.
We arrived early Sunday morning and spent the day driving to the Utah border and back to add states to my geocache found map and The Rooster’s States Visited Map. Aside from that we spent a lot of time eating overpriced and mostly mediocre food, I spent a lot of time at Caesar’s Palace for the conference, and The Wife and The Rooster spent a lot of time wandering around sight-seeing before nap times.
We stayed at the Flamingo, directly across the street from the conference hotel and directly adjacent to the hotel we stayed at during our 2006 visit to Vegas. The Flamingo is showing its age externally, however, our room was very, very nice—especially when compared to the more expensive Caesar’s Palace.
While I had chosen a large number of places I wanted to try to eat, we ended up doing the usual: buffets or hotel cafes for breakfast, small and fast restaurants for lunch, and random selections for dinner. On Wednesday night a group of us (a SAS employee, another Minneapolis SAS user, a coworker, and me) headed to Bobby Flay’s MESA at Caesar’s Palace for dinner.
I spent the entire day with some sort of 24 hour stomach virus (we had just come off three days of fever/elevated temperatures for The Rooster so perhaps I had some of that) so I did not get to fully appreciate the food but from the half portion of Chile Relleno I had, I was as impressed as I could have been but mostly depressed that I did not get to live out my food-loving self in such a famous restaurant.
After MESA I went over to the PURE nightclub for the final event of the SAS Global Forum. Another famous Vegas institution, I walked in and was not impressed at all. Knowing that Vegas nightclubs, and PURE in particular, charge exorbitant cover fees I could not see one single reason why anyone would enjoy that experience. Even the ever so famed PURE outdoor deck with views of the strip was a bit of a letdown due to the glass fencing and plants blocking my attempts at any photos.
Overall, I took a lot away from SAS Global Forum, being a SAS geek and all, but Vegas again disappointed me as a destination location. I cannot understand how people can enjoy coming here as it’s way overpriced for everything, they let people smoke everywhere (although this was lessened from my 2006 visit), and it’s just way too busy.
I’m looking forward to the chance to attend SAS Global Forum 2012 in Orlando and I really need to start working on my paper submission for that conference now.
Have you ever been to Vegas? What do you think about it? Do you agree that it’s overpriced in every way? Do you enjoy gambling (we didn’t do any) and if so why? Have you been to any of the trendy restaurants or nightclubs? Do you find them better or worse than other options around town? Whatever you have to say about the trip to Vegas this week go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.