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.


theHolism said...

It figures. This event had too much hype pumped into it. End result? An over-rated EXPO. I watched some of the videos coming from some of the vloggers and do saw how severely distracted they were.

Anonymous said...

What about the workshops? Did you attend some of them? Were some of the workshops cancelled?

Deaf Tea Lady said...

Barry - yes. The vloggers did get together for a picture session and to do some vlogging while at the expo. I imagine they were distracted with that kind of number of people at the expo.

What made the expo fun for many was that they COULD drink anywhere and get drunk without getting arrested, and they did not have to drive. They were given the opportunity to drink and act silly. Regress back to their younger days. I think that's all to it as to why they enjoyed LV and not because of the expo. The expo did absolutely nothing to make our experience enjoyable. It was the climate of LV.


there were various workshops but they took place mostly in the earlier part of the week which I missed as I arrived on Wednesday which was the day before the last day of expo and the workshops were pretty much over. I wonder why they put all workshops to the first two-three days, not giving opportunity for the later arrivals to attend in the latter part of the week.

Anonymous said...

What about the sport events? (were the events dodgeball and dartboard?)

(I'm the same anonymous above...thanks for explaining...the workshop aspects are more impt for me than social...I did attend only the Philly NAD workshops/exhibits..that's all I saw, besides the Philly historical spots! :) )

Deaf Tea Lady said...

Anonymous - as far as I know, the poker tournaments on Friday and Saturday and the golf tournament on Sunday were the only sporting events.

These are men-oriented events in my opinion. :-)

Karen Mayes said...

Ahhh... that's why some people call LV a "Sin City". I doubt I'd enjoy LV.

Anonymous said...

theHolism, as usual, you are anti-social & closed society! You were not going to any Deaf events because you are scared to face the deaf people and reality!

As usual, you are a sore loser!

Anonymous said...

DeafNation offered discounts to several hotel rooms, and to Blue Man Group. I saved over $100 using the DeafNation discount for Blue Man Group.

Anonymous said...

Too bad you weren't able to enjoy Las Vegas. As you mentioned, with about 17 of the top 20 largest hotels in the world within a 3 mile radius, it's tough for anyone to enjoy Vegas if you do not like large crowds. It sound to me like you would enjoy Lake Las Vegas or Red Rock Resort better next time.

Anonymous said...

I was unimpressed with the Deaf Expo. The booths were alright. There was nothing special. I detested religious booths. Why on earth would they put religious organizations there??

I had to register it online then print and bring it to the front entrance. Why do we need to print a piece of paper when they already have my name on their system? That was a waste of paper. I feel bad for the trees. Another silly thing is wristband. You'd have to wear it all the time,(4 or 5 dumb is that?)You can't even take it off.... Since the admission is free, why do we need wristband? Again, it was waste of paper/plastic.

I wish they could provide more booths such as jobs (Las Vegas has alot of job openings), helpicopter ride to Grand Canyon, colleges, schools, interpretering agencies, etc. Another sad thing is that Las Vegas Charter School for the Deaf booth was not even there. What's wrong with these people at LVCSD???

There was a DawnSign Press booth. I was browsing and saw a book that I wanted to see inside because it was covered with plastic. I asked one of their staff to open it. He said the owner do not allow it. I said, "If you can't remove the plastic cover, I can't buy your book". He was speechless. Ha!

If they want to have another Deaf World Expo, it'd better be within USA because most of the products such as DVD, electronic stuff such as clock, lamp, etc will NOT work outside USA. Majority of Deaf people's employment are entry level. They'd probably can't afford to travel outside USA.

The pool at TI was unimpressed. There were too many people. You could not swim. There were distractions while trying to talk to my friends. There are good other hotels where they have quite large pools.

The direction to the Deaf Expo were poor. There were no signs in front of the Sands building. I mean there were none.

There are plenty of other places to go such as Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park (in Utah - 3 hrs drive),Flagstaff, AZ or Lake Havasu City, AZ. Most of my friends do not rent a car and couldn't afford to go outside Las Vegas, that was quite sad. they've missed the opportunity.

They mentioned that there were going to be 50,000. I had to laugh because it was not that even close to 50,000. It was way less than 50,000.

Anonymous said...

I was totally unimpressed with the Deaf Expo. The direction to the Deaf Expo were poor. There was no signs on how to get there.

I detested religious booths. I was surprised to see that there were NO Las Vegas Charter School for the Deaf booth!!!! What's wrong with these people? They should provide more booths such as employment (LV has alot of job openings), helicopter ride to Grand Canyon, other tours such as Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, etc.,

When I registered it,, I had to print and bring it to the front entrance. Since the admission is free, why do we need to register and bring a piece of paper? That was a waste of paper. I feel bad for the tree. Since they have my name on their system, why bother print and bring it ? Another silliest thing is WRISTBAND. You'd have to wear it all the time for 3 or 4 days. You can't even take it off. That was a waste of plastic/paper.

Anonymous said...

Wow, At first, I was envy people who showed up at DeafNation Expo in LV recently after saw many videos and photos on youtube and DVTV.
But now I have second thought , I can't deal with crowd, long line, rude people and poor planned parties.
Thank for the honest observation. I rather stay home and enjoy my martini.

Deaf Tea Lady said...

Anonymous #2, I did ask around for Blue Man discounted tickets and did not find any, and DeafNation sure did not advertise it. So, how did you get yours? Most people I know bought the Blue Man tickets at full price at over $150 each. Looks like you got the discounted tickets by word of mouth from your friends and got lucky?

Anonymous #4
I did not need to bring the registration form. It did say on DeafNation homepage that they would not need the paper since my name would be in the system. I arrived without the paper and had no trouble getting the wristband. And yes, I agree...I didn't enjoy wearing the wristband as a fashion statement either.

You missed nothing, really.

Anonymous said...

I was at Deaf Expo and lined up for autography from Marlee Matlin. I noticed she was "talking" (meaning she was using her voice not ASL)with her favorite interpreter. I was so disgusted. I think that offended to deaf people and their community. If she represents for the deaf community, she should be using ASL, not talk like a hearing person.

Deaf Tea Lady said...


It is not at all surprising about Marlee Matlin. She is always rude and acts inappropriately around deaf people. She is not culturally deaf and I know she has been introduced to deaf culture but she chose not to abide by it. She grew up in public schools and did not use ASL until she was an older teen, nearly finished with high school. She is more comfortable around hearing people.

I've seen her several times throughout my adult life, a few times in LA and other few times at Gallaudet and I was never impressed with her or awed by her.
She nailed the last nail on her coffin when she chose to speak at the Oscars. She spent a month learning to speak that one sentence in event she might win the Oscar. She gave the wrong impression to many hearing parents that their children could do the same. My own aunt turned to me and exclaimed that I could do that too. I had to explain to her that she spent one month to learn to speak that ONE sentence clearly enough for national TV. I told her once the Oscars was over, she would slip back to her normal communication habits. She can speak but has a very "deaf" voice which would not carry too well on TV so she was heavily coached. What turned me off was she chose to speak rather than sign on national TV. She tried to hide who she was. Ugh! Because of that, she's been always rude to deaf people because she felt she is above us. She hides behind a persona.

Anonymous said...

I just spoke to a bartender there. He grumbled about the lack of tipping from deaf patrons.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah! I was heartbroken because I didn't win money!, second I was drunk all the way so I didn't remember what I did! I am worry how many women I go with? hope they don't make babies from me! But you are right it was out of control! big time! oh well that's Deaf Culture!! love it down to my bone!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great blog. I'm glad we didn't attend this event. I wouldn't have enjoyed being there after seeing some videos and pictures. These pools were too full of people like some sardines in a can. Ick.

Lisa C.

Anonymous said...

iDeafNews, in one of their daily video report on the Expo, said DeafNation did not allow them to film the exhibit floor.

Sonma Wine Experience made a recent vlog announcing their five winners (for a bottle of wine) and it was said there that "65,000 deaf people attending..."!

Forcing people to register and wear pink bands to get into the floor despite it being free allows DN to build their marketing database to sell & promote. So they should have a good count number to tell us...will they??? They probably will not bother as 65K is already on our "hands". ha.

DeafTeaTime, how many do u think attended total attendees and international attendees?

Anonymous said...

I just saw iDeafnews interviewing Joel Barish (day 5 video)...Joel said they were overwhelmed and the numbers seem to be over 25,000 attendees and that they are still counting.

Deaf Tea Lady said...

Sadly, as a teacher, I had gone on field trips with my students. They did not know how to order and did not understand what tipping is for. That observation led me to wonder if that is the reason why many deaf people tend not to tip - because they do not realize service people are paid below minimum wage and depends on tips to earn enough to meet or above the minimum wage. Their parents don't explain those things because they usually take care of those things for them such as ordering for them and paying for their orders.

Deaf Culture is not about being drunk all the way through the expo - it is the LAS VEGAS culture. I think you acted irresponsibly if you are wondering if you "made babies." I am okay with drinking only if the person is capable of being responsible and aware of their limits.

I doubt the attendees number went as many as 65,000. However, I may have overlooked the international attendees as they don't use ASL and often looked like hearing tourists. However, there were not very many internationals, anyway. 25,000 looks about right. That is a lot, still.

Yes - we went through the expo packed like sardines.

Anonymous said...

They're adults, not children. Surely, they're aware of tipping but they chose not to tip.

Anonymous said...

Deaf Tea Lady

I wish you would ban Barry TheHolism from your blogsite. He is one sick man. He brings so much negative energy to everything. Nothing positive comes out of his hands. He will go after you, your family, and employment if he happens to dislike what you say.

Sam the Deaf said...

I don't like "Anonymous". Who or how can I reply to, specs?

Anyway, turn out it's under 25,000. The specs number is actual 23,400 or whatever, from 73 different countries.

Deaf Tea Lady said...

Sam, I am not too crazy about the anonymous commenters either but we are protected under US Constitution's right to assembly without prosecution which I believe including giving their names in a non-legal assembly. Most anonymous commenters do so to avoid prosecution by others who may know them or criticism.

The number 23K sounds right - the 65,000 was an exaggeration - I just did not see that kind of number in LV.

Anonymous - Yes, I am aware of Barry's reputation. He has the right to criticize the deaf expo just as I did with the exception that he didn't attend. I had the more valid reason to do so because I did attend. He had his own reason for criticizing, and I don't care or need to know why. No need to provoke people.

CAM said...

Anonymous on tipping:

Actually, it is a gratuity tipping when it comes to ordering drinks through a bartender. Gratuity means "gift tipping" or "tipping for appreciation" and is not actually required. Bartenders are one of few service people who are not paid below minimum wages. The restaurant industry pool the tips and pay them out to waitstaff and cook staff, but not to the bartenders and and the management (when the restaurant includes a bar). For a club that has a bar, tipping is not necessary. Imagine tipping for each of 4 - 7 beer? Beer average $7 -$9 in LV so for 20% tip, it'd be $1.40 - $1.80 for each drink and for 4 - 7 of them, it'd be $5.60 - $12.60 in tips on top of $21.00 - $63.00 beer bill? Why, if EVERYONE in the bar tipped the bartenders, they all would be very wealthy.

So, tipping the bartenders is optional. Of course they would grumble about it. They liked being tipped. And tipping is NOT required by law, anyway. It is just courtesy on the part of the guests. That is an occupational hazard working in a service job. They can always look elsewhere if they don't like not being tipped.

Incognito said...

Regarding tipping being optional, that's beside the point. Apparently, that commenter was referring to unusually high incidence of under-tipping in the Deaf community.

Deaf Tea Lady said...


The anonymous commenter was actually referring to the BARTENDER complaining about not being tipped for serving drinks therefore CAM pointed out that bartenders do NOT make BELOW minimum wage like most of the service workers such as waitresses, hairdressers, valets, etc. Bartenders work the minimum wage or more, depending on their years of experience, therefore rendering tipping them unnecessary.

Now, generally undertipping the other service people, yes. I am aware. Like I said, my observation is the parents do not speak to their children about tipping because they always order food for them and leave tips, and predictably most deaf children don't ask why they leave money on the table or in the credit card folders, most likely due to communication difficulties.

And I realize many deaf people STILL think the tipping rate is still at 10%. I went to restaurants with some friends and they put in 10% tip and I told them they undertipped and was advised they put in the customary 10%. I had to explain to them due to inflation, that the lowest rate is now 15% and the customary rate for nice restaurants (where we went to) would be 20%. THEN they were at LOSS as how to figure 20%?? Figuring 10% tip is easy. I had to clue them in that it simply doubles upon the 10%. They insisted on leaving 10% because it's easier for them to figure out on top that tipping is actually optional. They DID have a point - tipping IS an act of courtesy...not a requirement. SO, the service people can complain all they want...they went into the job knowing this.

Smile said...

"Often looked like hearing tourists"??

What do you mean by that? Are you implying that the deaf people look "different"? Oh yeah, we love to dress unfashionably. You can spot a deaf woman a mile away because of her fannypack.

Deaf Tea Lady said...


I said that because there are not very many international looking deaf people out there so when we see these, we tend to assume they are hearing, but often they could be deaf. We don't often see deaf Muslims in their headwraps or exotic looking Indian women with red mark on foreheads or Indian men in sandals (non sporting type)...I hope you get the picture? From my personal experience having grown up in deaf community as well as having gone to Gallaudet - they are not a common sight in the deaf community. They tend to stay with their own kind, perhaps due to cultural security/comfort or something like that. So if they did attend the expo in LV in large numbers, I think many of us would have missed them because they could pass for hearing tourists because they would not use ASL and might be likely to quietly observe us and take in the atmosphere. So, I really have no idea how many international deaf visitors I actually saw at the expo. I did speak to some Egyptians about their artifacts...they dressed American and seemed to understand ASL and they signed to each other. So, they dressed American, I wouldn't think them as international were I to walk by them outside the expo. I was just responding about my utter oversight of the possibility of how many internationals were at the expo and this is an offer of my explanation why.

Incognito said...

Oh, okay. I think "American tourists" would be accurate.

Anonymous said...

The sad thing is that a deaf man named Denny Voreck was arrested for fraud at Deaf Expo. Is that a good example for deaf community? I don't think so.

Deaf Tea Lady said...

Really? I know Denny. What fraud did he commit?

Peter said...

The blogs re: DNWE are very interesting with most negative comments and a few positive comments. I was not surprised because I had a bad experience with the DNWE committee before I cancelled my DNEW plan at 11th hour. I did not regret my decision. The reason is that DNWE was poor-planned and ill-organized, with false information. For instance, last June I asked the DNWE committee for information regarding number of registers and their country and they did not have any information for that. They said that 50,000 would attend DWNE. Can you believe that? I was stunned. I think it is the joke of the century because the three hotels would not be able to squeeze such huge number of guests in a pillow case! The hotels would be over-flooded and suffocated the Deaf attendees. Look at Deaf Seniors of America. They are well-organized and provide honest information. For instance, they provide regular update on their website regarding number of registers, even their names and where they come from. Why can’t DNWE do that? What a shame. I hope that DNWE will do better next time in the future. God helps us.

Deaf Tea Lady said...

To the commenter who apparently tried to post a virus with the strange computer-like letters, stop trying to post those "messages" 3 to 4 times a day. I will NOT publish it, period. Who in their right mind would publish it? Have you thought about that?

Deaf Tea Lady said...


While it is true it would be a fantasy trying to squeeze 50,000 into LV hotels, LV does have the capacity to accommodate this number. It is the hotel capital, after all.

As I understand it, it was perhaps 50,000 who registered but not all came. It would not be surprising many changed plans and didn't go. As a committee member, I would expect that not every registrar will come. It looks like around half made it to LV. 25,000 was many, nonetheless.

However, that's too many FOR ME. :-)