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Darling Diary - Day 1 of HIMSS12

February 21, 2012
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Lines, Lights, and Ladies Night

So here we go again, the big granddaddy of them all, the annual HIMSS conference. The fact that this year's conference is in Vegas should provide some added excitement and spectacle. Certainly some added spectacle is always welcomed on these trips. I'll do my best to report on the sights and sounds of conference for those of you who couldn't make it this year, and hopefully do so with ease on this slick new keyboard I just purchased for my iPad.

So, Day 1. Today was my travel day, and it went off without a hitch. I knew the day was going to be a good one when I heaved my suitcase on the scale at the airport and realized I had just surpassed my personal best record for lightest suitcase ever - 44 pounds! The way I see it, that means I have 6 pounds of shopping to do - Viva Las Vegas! After collecting my record-setting luggage from the baggage claim, I went outside to hail a taxi, and whoa - so did thousands of other people. The taxi line snaked back and forth six lines deep, and took me 47 minutes to get through. $36 later (including a $3 credit card convenience fee) I arrived at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. What a place! Like most Las Vegas hotels, the Cosmopolitan is enormous, but I still found myself asking the front desk clerk to repeat my floor number. "No, Ms. Darling, you're not on the 4th floor, you're on the 47th floor." (I was waiting for her to add, "And you're not in Oklahoma any more," but to her credit, she didn't. From 47 stories up, the view of the city lights is magnificent, and the best part is, I've got the Bellagio fountains right outside my window - I've seen them dozens of times before, but they are my favorite part about Vegas, so the trip is definitely starting out very well indeed. Rather than attend the HIMSS opening reception, I generally opt to have dinner with a small group of women who I've had the pleasure to work with and get to know over the last few years. After a wonderful few hours of reunions, catching up, sushi and a cocktail or two, we all said goodnight and headed back to our respective hotels to gear up for Day 2. I couldn't resist dropping a few dollars in a slot machine on the way back to my room - Cosmo Casino- $15/Gwen Darling - $0. Tuesday is a very full day - new iPad keyboard willing, I'll be back.



I am a taxi driver in Las Vegas and on days when a convention is to start the airport is very busy, the rest of the time we can wait 45 minutes to more than an hour for a customer. This is because there are too many regular cabs on the street.

About your $36 fare. You were long-hauled which is illegal unless the driver told you it is longer and costs more than the surface streets. You were probably taken through the tunnel under the runways and on the interstate.

There is not enough Taxi Authority Police offices to watch over this problem so many drivers cheat this way without the fear of getting caught.

Thanks for the insight, Mr. Anonymous Taxi Driver! I thought the fee was rather high, and asked several of my colleagues what they paid to get to the same hotel - $36. I guess we all were fleeced! Next time I'll know - I will say, though - nice tunnel!