Pre-AU 2006: Grand Canyon/Arrival/Registration

After my last post, we had a lovely breakfast at our hotel, then reentered the park to take in the gorgeous scenery in the full (WARM) daylight. It was awe-inspiring. I took many, many photos. :) It was fantastic, but, soon it was time to leave. We got into our rental and came back toward 'civilization'. The drive was a little over four hours... but, we did take about an hour to get back past Hoover Dam. Wow did traffic slow to a crawl there!!! We didn't stop for lunch on the way back, we just wanted to get here, check into our rooms and do AU registration, then hit one of the buffets. Getting into the right traffic lane at the Venetian garage and/or dropoff was tons of fun (rolling eyes), but, we managed at last. The Dodge Durango we ended up driving had remarkably good turning radius for a vehicle that size (there were four of us on a long drive with a lot of luggage, you need lots of room to be comfortable and that thing wasn't bad at all). We ran into Donnia in the dropoff zone when unloading our luggage, which was good, because she'd accidentally deleted a message and the number for our Raster Design Queen, Jane Smith (she teaches for the AUGI Training program if you're interested in learning); so I gave her Jane's digits so they could chat. We checked in to our rooms and left Bill and Karen to return the car. We decided to do our Autodesk University registration then as well. The Venetian is HUGE. The conference center is just massive. We finally got to the end and the registration hall. Right up front to the right is a place with comfy chairs to just chill at (hopefully with good wi-fi access because, honestly, what I'm getting in the room here is pretty spotty, I couldn't even stay on for more than two seconds last night. There were four open WiFi networks showing for me, but, nothing would stick. This morning is a bit better, although I keep seeing a message pop up saying I've lost my connection to blogger.com, but, it keeps coming back, thank goodness.), and straight ahead was the Subscription registration. Oh, and I know the 'Red Carpet' thing was sounding impressive... it's more like Reddish area rugs, so the signage was actually more eye-catching. I was through registration in about two seconds. As part of our registration we received a fleece vest, a shoulder bag (NOT girly-looking at all, very nice actually), and subscription members received a t-shirt and a bracelet. I've still got to read up on what the bracelet is for. You do have to walk around a corner past the non-subscription registration to pick up your bag, and the guy who registered Mike didn't tell him about the bag, so I told him and showed him where it was. Each industry 'campus' is embroidered on their respective bags. I'm 'Building' and dear hubby doesn't remember choosing a campus, he was like 'oh, I guess I'm "general design"', so, there ya go. We dropped off the car and the guys at Payless car rental were nice enough to give us a ride back up here to the hotel. It was great and very nice of them. Everyone else gets back on their free shuttle to go to the airport, we assumed we could easily catch a taxi, but, there weren't any places nearby to do so, we would have had to call for one. The rooms here in the Venetian are pretty posh. They're actually all suites (don't touch the mini-bar, it charges you for wiggling it or something). I'm down in the lower part of the room right now at the table overlooking the still-dark Strip, while Mike is snoring away up in the cushy King-sized bed. There is a desk (fax machine included, nice touch), but, it faces the wall and not the strip, so I opted for the table. Not to mention, my laptop might be a bit crowded for that desk, I don't think I'd have enough room for my mouse. They don't have in-room coffee machines, you can rent one for $20. blah. Jane actually walked down to a WalGreen's and bought her own for about the same price. Go girl. All of the staff (Venetian and AU2006 Registration) have been great. Very courteous and helpful. After we returned from the car rental, we met back up with Bill and Karen and saw some of the other AUGI Board members in a restaurant with Scott MacFarlane and another gentleman whose name escapes me right now, he seemed nice and knew a bit about my work, so I look forward to speaking with him again. We also ran into Jane as she was leaving registration and she came along with us. Bill registered and got Karen's guest pass in about two minutes time... and we went in search of food. Rather than joining those back in the restaurant, we decided that we just had our heart's set on a buffet. We went for the one at the Bellagio ('Dishes'). It was fantastic. GREAT sushi, crab legs, shrimp, chinese area, italian area, salad bar (gourmet), barbeque, pizza bar and a FANTASTIC dessert area and espresso/cappucino maker past the ice cream area. The local guidebook said $20, but, it was actually $26. I'm not complaining, the food was fantastic, I'm THRILLED with the sushi, the meat was very good quality. After that, Mike and I just came to bed. It was a long day yesterday, and today will be another long one. Mike starts AUGI stuff at 8am and doesn't finish until nearly 9pm. I don't start till around 2 or 2:30, I've got to check with Bill or my notes or the AU website to see the exact time and location of the Local Chapter Leaders seminar. I'm looking forward to some great conversations with all of the folks running Local Chapters around the world. I suppose this is it for now, I hope to keep up the blogging throughout the week, we'll see how that goes. I think the sun is just starting to come up now, the sky off to the east is starting to turn lovely colors, I think I might have some more room on my camera's memory card for another sunrise.

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