Lost in Las Vegas

Lost in Las Vegas

I like to think I have a decent sense of direction. I won’t say I never get lost, but as I’m walking or driving through unfamiliar territory, I do try to stay oriented and generally mindful of which way I came from and which way I’m going. It helps, of course, that most public spaces are laid out in such a way as to make navigation as easy as possible.

Las Vegas is not one of those places.

The Security Today crew is lucky enough to be staying at The Mirage, which is literally across the street from ISC West’s home base of The Venetian. I’ve never been to Vegas before, but even so, I didn’t think that forging my own path from the hotel room to the conference center 0.3 miles away (according to Google Maps) would pose much of a challenge. I was very, very wrong.

I’d heard about how casinos are deliberately designed to keep people inside as long as possible. The grid system does not exist. Carpeted pathways zig and zag and random through clusters of slot machines. A sign reading “Guest Elevators” with an indicative arrow will lead you the long way around past restaurants, stores, blackjack tables, and bars before begrudgingly depositing you at said elevators. You won’t see a hint of daylight until you’re a stone’s throw from the exit. If you’re looking to get lost in the Vegas experience, I’m sure it’s fantastic. If you’re trying to get to a conference in an unfamiliar city at 7:45 a.m. on zero cups of coffee, it’s a nightmare.

After finally escaping The Mirage, I crossed Las Vegas Boulevard and felt my heart sink as I took in the sheer enormity of The Venetian. I picked a double-door entrance at random and found myself in—you guessed it—another casino maze. Luckily, a steady stream of people wearing ISC West badges appeared to be flowing in a particular direction. I blindly followed them through hallways, around corners, and up and down stairs and escalators for another good quarter mile before the conference materialized around us.

I suppose there’s a metaphor to be contrived from the idea of getting lost in indulgence. If you’re at a casino for the Vegas experience, you don’t need to go looking for it, because it’s all around you. You don’t need to seek out your next place to gamble or drink or eat; it’s right there (and there, and over there, and another one over that way). The idea is to just give in, go with the flow, and enjoy yourself.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning and Campus Security and Life Safety. He can be reached at MJones@1105media.com

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