Bertrand Windows and Doors

Vegas Diary – Chapter I

It's around 7:30, still early, and yet there are a lot of people on the streets. Someone is jogging, someone with a cup of coffee in their hand glides lazily along the main street. Las Vegas welcomes both its residents and guests equally, with beautiful weather and full sun. I'm standing at a traffic light before a pedestrian crossing, one of nearly fifty people heading in the same direction. Some people's faces show that the dawn has come too early, while others, like three girls dressed in black uniform costumes, are chatting merrily.

We differ in appearance, country of origin, the company we represent, even the color of the lanyard on which the badge is hung, but this badge clearly shows that although we are different in virtually everything, we are all heading in the same direction.

Also going to the fair? – the blonde smiles at me, judging by my eyes that she is about thirty. – Yes – I answer, also with a smile, although the answer is obvious. – Good luck! – he says, still smiling, and this is where the pleasant and momentary conversation ends. The light turns green, and at this signal a sea of people flows through the "zebra". And I with them. We are all heading towards the Las Vegas Concention Center, where in about an hour and a half the next edition of the IBS 2024 International Construction Fair will begin - probably the largest event of this type in the world.

I'm in Vegas, in the US in general, for the first time. Everything is new, interesting and cool for me here. Even before I set foot on American soil, although already on my way to the fair, I learned not to have high expectations. This is the advice of Daniel, an architect from Warsaw, who was sitting next to me. As luck would have it, on a plane full of foreigners, a Pole sat next to me. Although neither I nor he knew it at first. My traveling companion helped me load my luggage and, in the language of kings, tried to strike up a conversation. But then I noticed that he was holding a book by Andrzej Pilipiuk, so I smiled and said:

Okay, so maybe let's talk in Polish. - He looked a little surprised, he didn't expect it at all, but he quickly regained his composure. – Cool. Why not? – he smiled broadly. Well, let's talk.

Daniel works in a company with foreign capital. I go to the fair, i.e. to work, and he also goes to work, but in a slightly different capacity - his company organizes such a trip twice a year, more integration than training, each time in a different place in the world. Daniel has already been to Barcelona, in six months he will be in Lisbon, and now, for a week, he will get to know the charms of the city where the Winter Olympics took place in 2002.

If you are in America for the first time, don't expect anything. I mean, don't be disappointed, – the new friend is "bashing" straight away. – Is it that bad? - I'm smiling. – NO… – he replies. – But... I won't tell you. You'll see for yourself – he says, then pauses for a moment to add: – But you know what? What you need to pay attention to is nature. Because you won't see this in Poland – Daniel assures. A few hours later, when our plane flies over the mountains bathed in the sun and the Hudson River, i.e. over Salt Lake City, my Polish colleague nudges me with his elbow:

Look – shows the view from behind a small window. – That's what I was telling you about. – The view from the window is breathtaking. It cannot be described in words.

The airport in Salt Lake City is quite large, but together with my colleague from the company, Minh Dat, who prefers to be called Alex, we have three hours until our next transfer. So we're going to one of the airport bars for a quick beer, as I promised... to the border guard. And so it was. Once the plane had landed safely and soundly, a bit exhausted by the nearly ten-hour flight, we headed for the next flight - this time to Vegas. However, before we could sit comfortably at the bar, there was a mandatory check-up first. It looks like travelers line up in three lines, and then each one is called by one of the guards. This "mine" looked quite homely because, like me, he had bends and a red beard. He also had a menacing expression and a piercing gaze that moved from my passport to me. I didn't know what to expect.

First time in the US? – he asked suddenly. – Yes. – I answer. – Can be seen – he suddenly smiled. – Don't stress, – he said in a friendly way. – You look like you don't know where you are. – at this point he was clearly making fun of me. Joker. But I was soon to find out that people in the United States talk a lot and quickly, that they can easily shorten the distance, and they joke a lot. We talk for a while and the guard asks me about the purpose of my visit. I say I'm going to the trade show in Vegas. He is not particularly interested in construction fairs, but when he hears the word "Vegas" he beams. – Beautiful city, lots of attractions. Just be polite! – he makes a menacing face. – I will be. Although right now I'd rather drink a cold beer. – I say it completely honestly.
At these words, the guard just smiles and then... lectures me about not driving under the influence of alcohol. – This is a very serious crime – he emphasizes these words several times and clearly. He looks like he's serious, although his eyes are still smiling. – Alright. Then go and have fun. – he gives me my passport, and when I walk a few meters away he calls after me. – Hey, buddy! – I stop, a little nervous. If only he wouldn't take me back. – Yes?Remember! No drinking and driving. – he laughs openly, then waves me goodbye.

I didn't expect miracles in an airport bar, and that's good, because it's simple and without fireworks. There's a guy sitting next to me, drinking his beer - he looks to be in his fifties, wearing a cowboy hat, so I assume he's from Texas. On the left, a young nerd is tinkering with his laptop, and behind the bar there is a woman, short, stocky, in her forties, Latina pretty. He reads her name from the name tag: Maleena.

What's for you guys? – he says cheerfully. We place the order and her mouth won't close. – Where are you from? From Poland? Ooooh. I was once in Europe. I lived in Budapest for a few years! – We haven't sat down yet and cheerful Maleena has told us half of her life. That she was in Hungary with her family and husband, but now, for several years, they have settled in Utah. That it was hard at the beginning because they had no job and their savings were disappearing, but now it's better. She's never been to Vegas, she envies us so much. – America is a hospitable and nice country, Salt Lake City is a beautiful place, it's true, but you probably haven't seen Arizona. – He finally leaves us because the man in the hat wants to order another beer. – If you want to order something, darling, call me.– he says again.

It's also interesting and I quickly noticed that people here often call you affectionately and diminutive: Dear. Baby. Sun. Just like in American movies. When I watched them as a child, it seemed artificial and exaggerated.

And that's how it really is. I look at my watch. We have a plane in an hour, then another ninety minutes of travel and we're finally here. It will still be bright when we set foot in the world capital of gambling and debauchery, very tired and slightly disoriented.

But more on that tomorrow.

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