After six days in Las Vegas, there were many firsts to assimilate into our brains. Sights, sounds, colours and people.
Day one we did not much after such a long flight. There was sleep to catch up on. Day two we shopped.
And then launched THE INFUSIAST. This involved meeting this list in person for the first time: @jopj, @lazyliteratus, Naomi Rosen, Chris Giddings, Linda Gaylard and a whole bunch of wonderful folk from the local tea society.
Day three was the opening day of the World Tea Expo. This included breakfast with a certain person (to be discussed in my next blog post)- with a side bonus of meeting Rajiv Lochan in the restaurant-, a tea party at Teas Etc, the Tea Blogger’s Roundtable and an ITCC cupping event.
And so we met Jen from International Tea Moment, Rachel of @ihearttea fame (plus Ralph) , Darlene Myers-Perry and new tea friends like the lovely Julia from Bingley teas who was soon chattering away nineteen to the dozen with Lady Devotea
We managed to fit it all in, although I missed a couple of the teas at the cupping event, which turned out to be Lochan’s Doke Rolling Thunder which I already know I love, and some Japanese something, no loss there.
The roundtable was fantastic. I had a lot to say. I did a fair bit of recommending Tea Trade as a place for new bloggers. It’s a winning strategy I think. A well organised event by @jopj.
Of course, I left out until last mention of the main event on day three – our twenty-seventh Wedding Anniversary. We found ourselves at the Mandarin Oriental having a wonderful tea experience.
The event was a gift from a simply wonderful tea friend, whom we have thanked privately. Our day up until that point had been rather hectic, and instead of arriving all suited and swished up and relaxed, we arrived hot and barely on time. A few moments in the rather impressive restrooms availing ourselves of some very complimentary and complementary complimentary* toiletries and we were refreshed and gazing out of the twenty-third floor at both the rolling distant hills and possibly the world’s biggest outdoor digital advertising screen.
Sipping a White Tipped Darjeeling was a really good start, the savouries and sweets were exquisite. Whilst it wasn’t perfect – for some reason the sugar was in individual paper bags instead of lovely bowl, and it was our first and worst introduction to the US version of a scone, of which we are yet to find an acceptable version – it was a superb experience and the staff were charming. After eating our fill, they bought out a highly decorated anniversary chocolate cupcake and forced us to eat it. We had a Golden Assam with it that was a little under-steeped but otherwise would have been the prefect companion.
Day four we did some shopping and kind of skulked around the periphery of the expo, with a plan to give it a serious visit on day five. But we found ourselves in the huge and hot carpark mid-afternoon, jumping into Jen (@teamoment on twitter)’s car with Teegan Woo from Amoda teas. It was great to meet Teegan in person after Amoda had recently featured our Lord Petersham tea to great success.
We were on our way to afternoon tea with an incredible variety of tea people, 11 in all. This was at the Four Seasons, and because they don’t normally do afternoon tea on a Saturday, it had been specially arranged. It would clearly be unacceptable for them to not serve us tea.
After that Lady D & I had a show to go to. We were offered a lift by Mr & Mrs IHeartteas, and we found that whilst his navigational skills out in the street were top notch, he was not so hot at finding his way to where the car was parked.
The show we went to was Donnie & Marie Osmond. I am just a few years younger than Lady Devotea, but those years make a difference in your exposure to Mormon-drenched pop, because whilst Lady Devotea was a huge Donnie fan in her formative years, they had almost completely passed me by.
The Flamingo Playroom is the last remaining place in Vegas with old-style booth setup, which added to a unique experience. And it was a unique experience: funny, well produced, well polished. I wasn’t surprised how much Lady Devotea and the other adoring fans from the 70s loved it, but I was surprised how much I did. This has just won “best show in Vegas” and it’s not hard to see why.
Day five started with the “Blogging for your tea business” Panel which I was privileged to be part of. It was the main event in one sense, and when I say that, I mean it was the invitation to be on this panel that led to us making the decision to visit America
The MC was @jopj, and the moderator was Michael J Coffey. The event went well. As usual on a panel of six, there were three people who said too much, and three who said too little. I was clearly in the former group, but not as much as you might think. Having spent six months threatening to turn up in spandex and to refuse to shut up, Michael was just happy I was somewhat well behaved. I even said something moderately intelligent that was retweeted by a couple of the attendees, and that is: Pay for your blog! Why write a wonderful piece and then have a Mighty Leaf advert appear at the bottom?
I also met Verna Hamilton, one of the first tea bloggers I ever followed.
There was an enjoyable moment where Lady Devotea and I were having breakfast and Michael Coffey and his partner came by. It was clear that both Michael and I have done very well when it comes to finding the right person.
What happened next? Well, that was covered in my last post.
After a lot of goodbyes, Vegas returned to normalcy, that is without all those wonderful tea folk in town. We caught up with same mysterious person mentioned up near the top of the post to start day six, and then visited the excellent Shark Reef.
All in all, whilst Vegas was hot, so was the tea. It’s an incredibly clean place that bears little resemblance to real life.
Day six blended into day seven, with a predawn arrival at the airport: New York Bound!
Thanks Vegas. And thanks to nearly everyone we met.*You see what I did there? Sometimes I amaze and amuse even myself .