Tag Archives: Travel

Las Vegas and VMworld 2008

Last month we were lucky enough to go to Las Vegas. I went to attend the VMworld 2008 conference, the largest gathering of virtualization professionals in the world. It seemed too good an opportunity to miss, so Vic came along too.

Bally's, Paris and Planet Hollywood

We flew via Chicago, and had added a couple of extra days on at the start of the week so we could get some time to look around Vegas. We were staying at The Venetian hotel on the main strip in Vegas. Fantastic hotel, and our room was great with a lounge area and bedroom both with large TVs.

The Venetian is an experience in itself, having replicas of famous Venetian buildings outside, along with a canal complete with gondolas which continues inside alongside a shopping centre.

The Grand Canal at The Venetian

On the Saturday afternoon we went on a helicopter trip over the Hoover Dam and into the Grand Canyon. Neither of us had ever been in a helicopter before so it was a new experience. There were 7 in the helicopter including the pilot and we had a commentary pointing out places of interest as we flew over the Hoover Dam and saw its new road bridge being constructed.

Landing in the Grand Canyon

We landed in the Canyon for half an hour for a glass of champagne and a small picnic before heading back to Vegas. We approached the city as the sun set, giving a great view of the Vegas Strip in the dark.

The conference started on the Monday and lasted until Friday afternoon. Each day saw an early start with the keynote speeches starting at 8am, and most days lasting until 5pm. I attended mostly technical sessions, along with a few about the future direction of VMware and their products. There were 14.000 attendees, the scale of the conference was quite astonishing. The lunchroom alone was the size of several aircraft hangers.

We also visited the Atomic Testing Museum, which was interesting and showed a different side to Nevada.

The Fountains at The Bellagio

We had a look at quite a few other hotels on the Strip and watched the famous fountains outside the Bellagio hotel. Vegas is a very strange place but we quite enjoyed the feeling of being in a city where almost everyone was a visitor. We had a look round some of the casinos, but didn’t gamble, we were too busy spending our money on food and shopping.

See more photos in my Las Vegas album on Flickr.


A couple of weekends ago we went to Southwold in Suffolk, a small town where my Mum lived before the war. Vic and I both went there on holiday when we were kids so it was a return to old haunts in some ways.

We drove down to the Harbour Campsite on the Friday evening, arriving at about 9pm and putting the tent up as the night drew in. We then popped down the road to the Casa Mia bar for some food as we didn’t fancy heating anything up on the gas stove. After a good pizza and a beer (possibly the only drinking establishment in the area that doesn’t have Adnams!) we returned for the tent to sleep.

The next morning we were woken by the sound of rain falling on the tent. Not what we wanted to hear really, but we got up and cooked some bacon for breakfast.

Raindrops on the tent

Once we were fed we decided to walk into Southwold along the beach. That proved to be, well, not a mistake, more of a challenge. The wind was howling down the beach, blowing the rain horizontally into us. By the time we got to the beach huts marking the start of the the town, we were drenched, cold and red in the face from the wind. We retired to a coffee shop for a hot drink and to dry out a bit.


Having had a breather we wandered around Southwold, visited a few shops and popped into the Kings Head for lunch by which time the weather had improved, at least to the stage where the rain had stopped even if it was still overcast and a bit windy. We walked back along the edge of the common to the campsite and stopped to take a few photos along the way.


After a bit of time back at the tent reading the paper, we walked down the harbour to the Harbour Inn for some dinner and a couple of pints of Adnams beer. Back at the tent it was going to be a cold night so we wrapped up warm and went to bed.

Southwold Beach

Sunday was much brighter, though there was still a biting wind. We packed the tent up and went for a walk on the beach before popping into town for some fish and chips.

We then headed back home, having enjoyed the weekend, though better weather would have made it more fun.

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggetty Jig

We’ve been back for more than a week now.

Singapore was fun in a “how many shopping malls” kind of way. Bought a few bits and pieces; new camera lens, bag, trainers etc.

Vic had an allergic reaction to the anti-malarial antibiotics we were taking, so we had to visit the Raffles Hospital. As with our visits to hospital in Malaysia, the level of service, speed and cost really put the UK health service to shame.

Ophir Road, Singapore

Watched loads of films on the flight back home and stayed awake through the entire twelve and a half hour flight.

Sunday was London Marathon Day so we left town and drove down to Rye in Sussex, and then on to Camber Sands for a walk along the beach.

Mermaid Street, Rye

It was a bit fresh but it was nice to sit by the car and eat fish and chips.

Fish & chips by the car

Photos can be found in the usual place on my Flickr photostream.

Camber Sands

We decided against going to the Glastonbury Festival this year, after the mudscape that was last years festival. Instead we’re going back to Bestival on the Isle of Wight in September, which we attended in 2006.

Bali & Lombok

We’ve been away for two weeks now and I’ve not been able to update the blog yet. I’ve got a bunch of photos to upload to my Bali and Lombok Flickr set which should appear about the same time as this blog entry.

I’m writing this offline as we’ve been unable to find a decent internet connection. We did get online for half an hour on a shared dial-up connection in an internet cafe on Lombok but that’s been it. I brought the Macbook with me but none of the places we’ve stayed have had WiFi connections easily available.

We flew out from Heathrow around 6pm on 14th March. Fortunately the flight wasn’t delayed by the person running onto the runway that day. Changed at Singapore and flew on to Bali, arriving on the evening of the 15th.

Picked up from the airport by a driver from our hotel, the Bali Niksoma in Legian, which was a pleasant and unexpected surprise. We had a couple of nights in Kuta, picking up a few supplies and enjoying the warmth.

View from Bali Niksoma Resort

It was then on to the Tegal Sari cottages near Ubud in-land. The cottages were great, two storeys with plenty of lounging space and views over paddy fields. Three nights there, giving us plenty of time to look round Ubud and visit the sacred Monkey Forest there.

Rice paddies, Ubud.

Ubud Monkey Forest

Next stop was Candi Dasa, on the East coast for just a single night. Didn’t like Candi Dasa much, there was no beach to speak of, the place we stayed (Kubu Bali) was a bit of a hole and the town seemed pretty empty. Had a couple of good meals at Vincent’s and Toke but I wouldn’t recommend Candi Dasa to anyone.

Early start next day for a short taxi ride to Padang Bai to catch the GiliCat fast boat to Lombok, which is about 35km from Bali. This takes two hours rather than the 4 hours by normal ferry, but costs much more.

We were picked up at Teluk Kode and driven the half-hour journey to Windy Beach Resort at Mengsit where we had a lovely bungalow on the seafront. Stayed there for 6 nights and really relaxed.

Our bungalow at Windy Beach Resort, Lombok

We’re currently back on Bali, staying near Tanah Lot.

More when I get a chance….