Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Jewels coming

It was a quiet weekend here in Vegas. We are fixing up the front courtyard and I picked up the wood that we will be putting up on the overhead (the metal frame went up a while back). It now sits in a big pile in the back yard drying out, as our local home improvement stores only sell green wood in that size. The paint department suggested we let the lumber sit outside for a few weeks to dry out before painting, as our heat and low humidity work very well at sucking out the moisture left in the boards. The only problem there is that most of the boards will warp as they dry, leaving us with a fancy sculpture over our heads as things twist differently.

I spent most of the weekend out in the garage building things. B had some drawings of benches and big planters that she wanted for the revised courtyard, so part of the lumber pile was stuff for the pieces as well as the overhead. Since we dumped the old pickup truck I have a trailer now that I can pull with our car, and it took three trips to two different stores to get all the wood and stuff. I’ve been wanting a radial saw for a while, and on one of the trips while in the tool section I saw a floor demo unit on sale at half price, so that also came home along with a nice rolling stand for it. I put that unit to work this weekend, chopping up wood for the benches and frames, then glued and screwed things together. I’ve got most of it done, one planter to go, so it was several hours for me outside. Fortunately it’s cooled off a bit, didn’t get above 95 (35c) yesterday, so it wasn’t too bad with the garage door up and a little breeze blowing through. I’ll have to take some pictures of the stuff and get them up.

It is noisy at work; they are setting up for the big annual jewelry show, which is our largest show, not in number of attendees but in amount of work required. There are over 3,000 exhibitors with booths and showrooms and over 70,000 people are expected to attend. We’ve never been able to calculate the cost of the stuff out there, but even the smaller booths probably have over a million dollars in gems, with the bigger ones a lot more and really expensive stuff in the tower and even fancier stuff up in the hotel suites. There is already a line of limos parked in the holding area, lots of people with bucks come for private viewings in the suites, with stories of big Hollywood stars visiting just to pick up a little something.

The big floor doesn’t open until Saturday, but they have been setting up booths for the past week, and constructing some big vaults to hold everything at night. Exhibitors start moving in tomorrow, jewelry will probably start showing up then through Thursday, and it will be an obstacle course of police and private security from then on. There are usually a half dozen of Las Vegas’ finest out front every day (paid during their off duty hours of course) with lots more scattered around and more heavily armed swat groups at the vaults and out back. Some exhibitors carry their stuff with them, back to their hotel rooms, and with the economy I am sure that several will report robberies during travel. There were a few last year, all proven to be scams to get insurance. The cleaning crews are almost strip searched each time they come off the floor, and video cameras abound. Since my work area is down deep in back we will be surrounded by security, making each trip to the bathroom an adventure. Cameras are not allowed on the floor, but if I wander past a particularly large pile of bags I’ll try to sneak a shot. I got a fuzzy one last year, go on back to last June and look.

For some reason all of the booths have lots and lots of bright little spotlights on their wares, I guess things sparkle a lot more when correctly lit. All of these lights, plus the 80,000+ people in the building, along with predictions of 97f for the weekend result in a lot of heat inside the building. We have a huge cooling system, but I guess this heat load is beyond what the system is designed for, so additional air conditioning units have been brought in. These are a half dozen big boxes, about 2mx3mx4m, placed around the building outside. Assorted windows and doors have been removed and large pipes put in place from the air units to let them blow cooled air inside. I don’t see any additional power units around, so I guess our electrical feed is sufficient to supply power to all of these lights and air handler units.

Just to provide you with a few visuals - after all I do advertise this as a photo album, here are some of the things that will be here in even greater abundance:

Black limos are normal around Vegas, there are probably a half dozen upstairs in the limo holding area right now. Besides the stretch model the SUV, as seen in the background, also has become popular, and the parking garage usually has two or three of these in addition to the stretch jobs. The big RHC next door has a small fleet of their own, comprised of about a dozen stretch models but in a nice gold instead of black, several blue Maybachs and two Rolls.

Oh, just reading a review on the Maybach, I didn’t realize it was a $425,000 car, probably more than the Rolls costs now. Wow, sorry to be distracted, but the web permits that opportunity, just looking at the convertible version, pretty impressive; I like their description "True to the tradition of exclusive landaulets, the roof of this model can be opened fully at the rear, while the chauffeur’s compartment remains completely closed." Of course, need to keep the chauffer in his own little world, concentrating on driving.

Back to the limo, I caught this one out back in our auxiliary parking area; guess even some things are too big for a regular parking garage. Looks like it is on a truck chassis, with room for lots of people in a subtle don’t-look-at-me gold fleck color.

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