Tech & Work

Work travel: Culture shock

This is my third and last blog about work travel. For those of you who don't know, I went to Las Vegas last week for an ITIL conference. Here are my previous reports on the experience:

I'd like now to talk about the mental strain of just being in a different place. I can't imagine what emotional turmoil people traveling out of their home countries have to experience — I was just traveling across the United States and my brain cells were stretched to the limit. Keep in mind, though, my final destination was...

Las Vegas

I expected the lights and the glitz of Vegas. I even knew that I would see people in the hotel casino at 7 in the morning walking around with cocktails in their hands and no money in their wallets. I'm just thankful I was staying in a luxury hotel, and not some lean-to motel off the strip where I'd be exposed to some of the seedier forms of life.

But here's the deal. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought I was going to be strolling through some glamorous casino and would bump into a celebrity. OK, OK, I thought I'd find George Clooney at a roulette table. Are you happy now?

But do you know who my sole celebrity encounter was? Dog, the Bounty Hunter. Dog, in all his day-glo, power-mullet glory. Wow. That's something you almost don't even want to mention. It was nothing more than a hey-howya-doin' nod to him and his wife in an elevator, but just surreal enough for the memory to last me a lifetime. Maybe if I'd stayed longer, I'd have run into Hulk Hogan.

You know what they used to say about Vegas being a cheap place to eat and drink as long as you were gambling? Not true. The cheapest buffet I found was $30 per person. I guess they've had to kick things up a notch to pay the electric bill for all the jumbo-trons up and down the strip.

My second evening in town, I set out to find a reasonably priced restaurant on the strip. This is where I discovered that every three feet there was a shady looking character handing out what looked to be trading cards for prostitutes. And I mean they handed these cards to everyone. A woman walking alone, a family of six, you name it. They'd hand one to your kid in a stroller if you don't roll him past fast enough.

Then you've got the come-ons from people offering you a free show ticket in exchange for checking out a time-share opportunity. Yeah, after six hours of flying in a fetal position, the thing I really want to do is listen to a sales presentation. I actually saw people slow down to hear these people out. I wanted to shout, "Run Forrest run!"

Let's hear from those of you who've found yourself in alien territory on a business trip.

About Toni Bowers

Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox