It’s around 7:30 a.m., still early, and yet, lots of people on the streets. Someone is jogging, someone with a cup of coffee in hand glides lazily down the main street. Las Vegas welcomes both its residents and visitors equally – with beautiful weather and full sun. I stand at a traffic light in front of a crosswalk, as one of nearly fifty people heading in the same direction. You can tell by the faces of some that dawn has come too early, while others, like certain three girls dressed in black uniform costumes, are cheerfully chatting away.


We are different in appearance, nationality, the company we just represent, even the color of the lanyard on which the badge hangs, but this badge emphatically indicates that although we differ in almost everything, we are all going in the same direction.

Also to the fair? – a blonde girl smiles at me, judging by eye, so about thirty. – Yes, – I reply, also with a smile, although the answer is obvious after all. – Good luck! – she throws, still smiling, and here the pleasant and momentary chat ends. The green lights come on, and at this signal a sea of people flows through the crossing. And I along with them. We are all heading towards the Las Vegas Convention Centre, where in about an hour and a half the next edition of the IBS 2024 International Builders’ Show – probably the largest event of its kind in the world – will begin.


I am in Vegas, in the States in general, for the first time. Everything is new, interesting, cool. Even before I set foot on American soil, though 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. It was a stroke of luck that on a plane full of foreigners, a Pole happened to sit next to me. Although at first neither I nor he was completely unaware of this. My traveling companion helped me throw in my luggage and, in the speech of kings, tried to strike up a conversation. But then I noticed that in his hand he was holding a book by Andrzej Pilipiuk, so I smiled and said: – Okay, then maybe let’s talk in Polish after all. – He so looked a little surprised, completely not expecting it, but quickly regained his resonance. – Cool. Why not? – he smiled broadly. Well, let’s talk.


Daniel works in a company with foreign capital. I go to IBS, that is, to work, he also to work, but in a slightly different capacity – his company twice a year organizes such a trip, more for integration than training, each time in a different place in the world. Daniel has already been to Barcelona, in six months he’ll be in Lisbon, and now, for a week, he’ll be exploring the charms of the city where the 2002 Winter Olympics were held.


If it’s your first time in America, don’t set your sights on anything. In the sense, so that you are not disappointed, – a new colleague pounded straight. – Is it that bad? – I smile. – No… – he replies. – But… I will not tell you. You’ll see for yourself, – he says, then falls silent for a moment to add more: – But you know what, what you need to pay attention to is nature. Because that’s what you won’t see in Poland, – Daniel vouches. When, a few hours later, our plane flies over the mountains bathed in sunshine and the Hudson River, which is Salt Lake City precisely, my Polish colleague pokes me with his elbow: – See, – he shows the view from behind a small window. – This is what I was telling you about. – The view from the window is breathtaking. It cannot be described in words.

The Salt Lake City airport is quite large, but together with my company colleague Minh Dat, who prefers to be addressed as Alex, we have three hours until our next transfer. Well, we go to one of the airport bars, for a quick beer, just as I promised … to the border guard. And it was like this. Once the plane landed safely and soundly, somewhat grounded by the nearly ten-hour flight we glided towards the next flight – this time already to Vegas. However, before we could sit comfortably at the bar, first the mandatory inspection. It looks like this, with travelers lining up in three lines, after which each individual is summoned by one of the guards. One looked quite peculiar, because – like me – he had curves and a red beard. He also had a menacing look on his face and a piercing gaze that moved it to my passport, then to me. I didn’t know what to expect.


First time in the States? – He asked suddenly. – Yes. – I answer. – I can see. – he smiled suddenly. – Do not stress, – he threw in a friendly manner. – You look like you do not know where you are. – Here he was already openly making fun of me. A joker. But I was soon to find out that people in the States talk a lot and fast, that they easily shorten this distance, and also joke a lot. We chat for a while, the guard asks me about the purpose of my visit. I say that I’m flying to a trade show in Vegas. Construction fairs interest him on average, but at the word “Vegas” he beams. – Beautiful city, lots of attractions. Just be polite! – he makes a threatening face. – I will. Although right now I’d love to have a cold beer. – I say completely honestly.


At these words the guard only smiles, then… gives me a lecture about not driving after alcohol. – This is a very serious crime, – he emphasizes these words several times. He looks like he is serious, although his eyes are still laughing. – Well, all right. Then go have fun. – He gives me back my passport, and as I walk away a few meters he calls out still behind me. – Hey, buddy! – I stop a little nervously. Let’s just hope he doesn’t take me back. – Yes?Remember: no driving after alcohol. – He openly laughs, then waves his hand goodbye to me.


In the airport bar I did not expect miracles, and well, because it is simple and without fireworks. Next to him sits and drinks his beer a guy in his fifties, with a cowboy hat on his head, so I assume from Texas. To the left, some young nerd is fiddling with something on his laptop, while behind the bar a woman, short, stocky, in her forties, of Hispanic beauty, is hovering. From a badge he reads her name: Maleena.


What’s in store for you guys? – she chuckles cheerfully. We place our order, and her face doesn’t close. – Where are you guys from? From Poland? Oooo. I used to be in Europe. I lived in Budapest for a couple of years! – We haven’t sat down well yet, and cheerful Maleena summarized half her life to us. That in Hungary it was with her family and husband, but now, for several years, they have settled in Utah. That it was hard in the beginning, because they didn’t have a job, their savings were melting, but now it’s better. She has never been to Vegas, that she envies us very 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. – Finally she leaves us, because the one in the hat wants to order another beer. – If you want to order something, dear, call me. – she says.


What also is interesting and I quickly caught on that here people often address you in a caressing and diminutive way: Dear. Honey. Love. Just like in American movies. When I watched them as a child, it seemed artificial and exaggerated.
And this is how it really is. I look at my watch. In an hour we have a plane, another ninety minutes in the skies and finally we are there. It was still day when we set foot in the world capital of gambling and debauchery, heavily tired and slightly disoriented.

But more about that tomorrow.