Monday, September 10, 2007

Viva! Day Three

Monday, September 10th.

Yet another morning of waking up in Eastern time, too early, and going back to bed. The hand-washed clothing was completely dry, meaning I’ll be able to pack less clothing for Korea. That’s awesome.

Went to the continental breakfast. It was just OK. From there to the kickoff meeting (rock concert, almost.) with the Infor CEO. After that it was a little time at the vendor show, picking up a little swag for the kids, and meeting up with Randy Bell, Susan Gallagher (the GSK Datastream owner) and Andy J., all from Pennsylvania. We went to the huge lunch buffet, having chicken salad, wraps, bread, and soup. There were probably a dozen or more serving stations for the 6000 attendees, and it seemed like 90% of those people queuing up at the first one. So one thing we learned is that you bypass the fist serving station for everything. There are always others, farther away, and less crowded.

After lunch, it was on to the sessions. All of us were in the 1:00 “Meet Your Peers.” From there it was “Using Inboxes and KPI’s more efficiently” at 2:15. “Utilizing Infor EAM in a Regulated Industry,” presented by Andy at 3:45, and then “Infor EAM Advanced Mobile Computing” from 4 to 5.. Whew!

After that, we heard that the Infor Global Account Manager for GSK wanted to take us to dinner. Twist my arm. We met three other people from Franklin Plaza, and 10 of us piled into three cabs to the Bellagio. Unfortunately, the whole going-out-to-dinner thing was last minute, so there was no time to grab the camera. The Bellagio has an amazing glass ceiling that I’ve seen many times on Zooomr, and I really would’ve liked to have photographed it.

We went to a restaurant called “Olives” that overlooked the Bellagio fountain. This place was impressive, and I was nearly giddy with excitement when I perused the menu, with everything having a “free” price tag.

I started with a fine mojito, and partook of the excellent bread, olives, and multiple olive tapenades. Partook lightly, that is. I was saving my appetite. For the appetizer, I had the squid and baby octopus ($15). It was extremely tender without the slightest bit of rubbery-ness. As I expected, my dining companions were slightly repulsed, as usually happens when I order cephalapods for dinner. Randy had ordered the littleneck clams, and he let me have some. They were awesome too. For the entrée I had the ribeye, medium-rare with haricot vert garlic frites, and some kind of sauce – maybe a demiglace. Randy and Susan had ordered the same. It was exquisite, with a perfect crust, fork-tender meat, and fat that melted like foie gras. All for the virtual price of $46. The best steak I’ve had in years.

For dessert I had some kind of panna cotta with mixed berries and shortbread straws, and a snifter of Grand Marinier. What a meal! I was a little reluctant to give the sales guy my business card, for I fear the Johnson Controls name has less pull than the GSK name does, but the sales guy seemed very excited to have us there regardless.

After dinner, Bill, Susan, and I walked outside to see the fountain show. It was very impressive, plus with temperatures in the 90s, and relative humidity ~ 13%, the evaporational cooling from the water spray was definitely noticeable. After the first show, we walked into the Paris Casino to check it out. I wonder what Parisiennes and other Francophiles would think of Las Vegas’ interpretation of their city. People were smoking everywhere, so in that sense it was a lot like Paris. Other than that, I’m not sure.

We caught the next fountain show, and then went into Caesar’s Palace to explore. I wonder if that place was the big Italian-themed casino before Bellagio/Venetian. Blue-sky painted ceilings with clouds seem to be very popular in European-themed casinos. There are plenty of high-end shops in all these places. And all the regular-end shops are unnaturally high-priced. I guess people need places to spend all their winnings. I couldn’t imagine buying anything of substance in any of them . . . knowing I was being screwed, then again, maybe that’s why I don’t gamble either.

Back to the hotel where I’m able to see bits and pieces of the “Sirens of Treasure Island” show from my window.


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