1. Las Vegas is bigger than I thought
The Mandalay Bay Resort Hotel where I stayed probably holds more people than the 4.8 square mile (12.5 km²) area I live in. In Noosa we have two sets of traffic lights. Las Vegas is a sea of flashing lights and shooting laser beams. I wandered round with my mouth gaping, getting lost for six days.
2. Australia is backwards with the Internet and social media
Las Vegas has massive billboards everywhere encouraging people to follow different businesses on Twitter and Facebook. The entire Las Vegas Airport has wireless Internet and powerpoint connections. Contrast that with Brisbane Airport where there are four computers each lying empty waiting for someone to insert $2 in the slot for 20 minutes of Internet time. It’s like going back to the dark ages.
3. Food is cheap in the States
Once you step out of your hotel there are a plethora of cheap chain restaurants where you can dine like a king for $5-7. I went to Chipotle twice in honor of Chris Guillebeau who recently wrote about Chipotle. Chris didn’t make it to Vegas so Chipotle’s veggie tacos were as close to him as I could get and very nice they were too. For about $7 the tacos come with beans, rice, veggies, guacamole and a choice of three spicy sauces. I didn’t eat at Dick’s Last Resort – the restaurant advertised above but I like the way they paired Fat Dick with the buffed boys of Thunder From Down Under in the photo of a billboard above. Nice juxtaposition.
4. The top bloggers don’t swagger around BlogWorld with bodyguard protection
They are nice, normal people. In fact they seem to be even nicer in real life than they are on the Internet. They’re generous with their time and wisdom. Happy to share their tips and have their photo taken with all and sundry.
5. Elvis Presley is alive and well in Las Vegas
I saw him four times and he still looks and sound great. I went to an Elvis wedding and a karaoke hall where a couple of former Elvis impersonators, now gone to seed, still had fun singing Elvis tracks. There was another guy with a big quiff who I asked if he was an Elvis impersonator but he denied it:
“Nope, the Elvis impersonators have gone home now.”
6. Leo Babauta is a star
He’s incredibly smart, kind, generous and inspirational. The way he’s managed to set up his life and benefit from his blogging success is inspiring. The expert on simple living and productivity doesn’t just talk the talk, he lives his philosophy every day. I admire his constant focus on all things simple, authenticity as he buys his clothes in the Goodwill stores (apart from undies) and amazing positive outlook on life.
Leo spent a lot of time meeting his readers and speaking but brought his family to Las Vegas and was able to stay away from all the madness with his wife and kids. Find out more about Leo Babauta or watch the eight minute video of me interviewing Leo Babauta here.
7. Darren Rowse is in denial about his blogging prowess and notoriety
Leo Babauta told me he can walk around BlogWorld unnoticed which is hard to believe but when I first saw him he was alone. Problogger Darren Rowse, self-professed shy man, isn’t so lucky. Everyone wants a piece of him. Given his shy retiring personality you’d expect Darren to lurk in his hotel room, foraying out only for one of his six talks. But no, Darren holds not one party but two with his friends from Sitepoint and puts up with endless over-excited bloggers and embarrassing photo opportunities.
Here’s a funny photo of the kind of things Darren has to put up with. That’s me with Darren in the middle looking bemused and Irish Polygot Benny.
8. Jonathan Fields loiters in corridors and is quite used to being accosted by strange women
Even when he tries to disguise himself under a baseball cap and a few day’s worth of stubble it’s easy to recognise Jonathan Fields from his pictures. When you’ve travelled over 11,000 miles to meet people and you unexpectedly bump into someone you love you have to go and say hi so that’s what I did. Jonathan knows me because I’ve commented on his blog posts a lot, written a post inspired by him about surfing and we’ve exchanged a few emails.
As a bonus Valeria Maltoni came up for a chat with Jonathan so I got to meet the “made in Italy” Conversation Agent. Jonathan and Valeria make a lovely pair on the left and that’s me with JF on the right.
9. Old friends are forever
Here’s a photo of me (on the right) and my friend Molly Kelash sandwiching an elderly, dapper gent. Molly and I met in the south of France in 1992 when we were both teaching english in french high schools. We last saw each other 15 years ago at Molly’s wedding and were happily reunited in Las Vegas. When there’s a lot of shared history you can always hook back up with people and you’ll always get on. Plus hot people are still a few decades later.
Molly and I spotted this old gent having his photo taken with some of the many young girls dressed in hooker style. He asked to have his photo taken with us too. He’s from New York and told us with a wink:
“Vegas is Disneyland for grown ups.”
His name is Leo and when I sent this photo to my husband (Mucho Man Rich Candy) he thought it was Leo Babauta. Lol.
10. You are not allowed to take photos of the bunny girls’ bottoms in the Playboy Nightclub.
But we got an exclusive shot for you anyway. I don’t know how or why we ended up in the Playboy Nightclub. I suspect that we were tricked into it by some BlogWorld blokes who knew they’d never get in without any girls in tow. But that’s the kind of thing that happens if you go to Las Vegas. That’s why it’s best not to stay too long.
11. Get In the Hot Spot readers are the best readers in the world
I met many people at BlogWorld who told me they’d met someone who recommended my blog or said they read or loved Get In the Hot Spot. I’ve formed amazing online connections with my smart, diverse and positive readers like Amy, Jen (who got her pic taken with me instead of Leo Babauta) and Sid and it was an honor to meet them in person. BlogWorld was exhausting but it was fun. I’m glad I got the chance to go and I learnt a lot of interesting lessons.