Black Hat – Travel

It’s 7.25 am on Wednesday in Las Vegas.

The travel to Las Vegas was a monster. Not only did we stop for nearly three hours in Sydney, I had to go via LAX. Plus, United seems to have joined Qantas in using their oldest planes on the duopoly route. Our flight had the old style CRT overhead projectors (yes, with three bulbs), and old films like Miss Congeniality 2. Luckily, I needed to sleep – I had only had four hours sleep in the previous two days.

LAX, in how many ways may I hate thee? United baggage claim was on go slow – took about 45 minutes to get my bag, and then customs only had two desks open in the declaration area… when several 747s all landed at once. Took about another 30 minutes to get through even though I had nothing to declare.

I ran to the domestic terminal, and the new style TSA check ins were awful – brainless droids staffing the XRay machines enforcing rules which simply don’t work. There were in no particular hurry to screen people.

After clearing them, I ran towards gate 71b, only to see my connecting flight to Vegas leave through the windows. When I got to the gate, the next flight was another three hours away, at 4.11 pm (how do they know it’s 4.11 exactly?)

Waiting, waiting, waiting. I had been in the air for 21 hours so far, and I was a bit tired. I almost fell asleep just before the flight, and I missed the call to the unnannounced gate change to 71a. Luckily, that was right next to where I was dozing and when everyone else moved, I figured something was up.

The flight to Vegas was a bit adventurous; the A320’s brakes had overheated whilst taxiing on our extensive drive around LAX, and so they put them back down for a bit before climbing to the the cruise altitude.

If that wasn’t eventful enough, I had my only third only go around. We were literally meters from the ground when the engines roared and we zoomed off at a very sharp angle of attack. A few minutes later, the pilot explained a few minutes later that there was another plane on the runway. Close.

At least the day was clear, and the second landing attempt was fine. I was in Las Vegas at 6 pm, after 28 hours travelling so far.

Jumped in a cab to Caesar’s, and then tried to check in. After an hour, I finally get a smoking room (it doesn’t pong too much), but they upgraded me to a King size room. It’s pretty nice, but it doesn’t have mirrored ceilings like last time. Oh well. No scary photos!

Total elapsed time between leaving home to Las Vegas: 32 hours. Nasty.

I met up with some folks from OWASP and went to town at the buffet. They went for seconds. I don’t know where they put it.

We went through the slides in my hotel room and I retired for the evening. Luckily my “tire yourself out” strategy has worked, and I’m in the new time zone without jet lag. I’ll do that again next time.

Today… my talk is on in an hour or so. Should be fun! More soon

Published by vanderaj

Just another security geek

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