Monday, July 26, 2010

Deaf Expo at Las Vegas: Mundane Experience

I literally slept through the 5-day stay in Las Vegas. I found the social events and the casinos filled to capacity by deaf people - too crowded for pleasant conversations. A lot of conversations got cut off by rude passer-bys or people stopping by to exclaim about not seeing my conversing partner in ages. Of course that's normal and to be expected but annoying, nevertheless. So it was definitely not fun meeting old friends there if I could not hold a decent conversation with them. It was mostly "Hi. How are you/How have you been doing," and then distracted by others.

The expo booths themselves were nothing special. It looked just like a regular expo that DeafNation hosts in different cities. I did not see anything different. They were monopolized by relay service providers as usual. I did enjoy a few art and crafts booths. Some of the artists were awesome. My husband, the sweet guy, got me a "I Love You" mold of his own hand. I love it. He surprised me with it.

I enjoyed lounging in my hotel room more than hanging out at Treasure Island where most of the deaf people converged to socialize. It was simply too crowded, too much standing, too much walking, aching back, legs, etc. It took the fun out of it. I missed many old friends due to large number of deaf people. I was disappointed about that. I believe there was about 10 to 20,000 deaf people there. Imagine that number in one hotel?

The Treasure Island pool social party? Forget it. Limited capacity. It couldn't accommodate 10-20,000 people. The pool area was just too small. Most people ended up staying in the hot hallway leading to the pool all night socializing. We walked into the pool area during a clean-up. I wondered why they chose that pool for social party? Other hotels had way bigger pools and decks than the one at Treasure Island. Planet Hollywood, Venetian, The Mirage, Excalibur, Cesar Palace, among others, would provide for better pool party than at Treasure Island.

The last time I went to Las Vegas was when I was a Gallaudet student in my teens. I went to the old strip with my mom. Back then, cars drove through the old strip. We went there to find the tar street covered in concrete for pedestrian use only with a video roof covering the old strip. And after 33 years after his death, Elvis still rules in Las Vegas at the old strip!

We watched Mystere by Cirque du Soliel - the only tickets that had discounts. I would have liked to see Blue Men and gone up to the top of the Stratosphere. I was disappointed that there were no discounts available for those. I think DeafNation people would do better if they had worked with the hotels to give discounts for those places. More people raved about Blue Men than Mystere. Yeah, they paid the full price anyway.

So, I enjoyed more staying cool in my hotel room on a soft sofa drinking cool non-alcoholic drinks and watching HBO movies on TV. I don't have HBO at home. I saw beer and cocktails every where outside my hotel room. Literally everyone were holding cans of beer or mixed drinks on sidewalks, in the mall, in hotels, in the casinos. That is the culture of Las Vegas.

I wish I had gone to the Caribbean to go snorkeling in their beautiful lagoons instead. I am not fond of drunken people in a crowd. I was so happy to be back home and swam in my pool for two hours in peace alone with the sparkling blue water.

I think DeafNation could do better by improving their expo and working more with the hotels to give the deaf people with more options other than socializing in their hallways and casinos. The options outside of the expo were limited. Only those with a lot of money could fully enjoy Las Vegas. It is a city for spending money. I am aware most of the deaf people went to Las Vegas just to see friends and not to do other things. I was not one of those. I wanted to do both.

Thus the rating of so-so for my Las Vegas Deaf Expo experience.