Category: Travel Journal

What To Expect At Your First Creation Las Vegas Star Trek Convention

creation las vegas star trek convention

You might be a Star Trek fan who’s finally decided to attend a convention (or be the friend roped into it all) that’s got no idea what goes on at the annual 5-day Creation Entertainment event in Las Vegas. To help prepare you, here’s everything you need to know about the Creation Star Trek convention held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino every summer.

Why Las Vegas?

There are plenty of Star Trek conventions around the world but the Las Vegas event held at the Rio All-Suite hotel is North America’s largest. (Creation’s convention competes with several in Germany every year for the world’s largest attendance.) Over 15,000 people are expected at the 2018 convention.

What Do You Do All Day?

There are events all day and night planned for the August 1-5th convention but most first-timers have no idea what that means. The easiest way to put it into perspective is to think of the Las Vegas Star Trek convention like Comic-Con, but focused on Star Trek. There are 30-60 minute panels throughout the day which consist of talks plus Q&A sessions with Star Trek actors, directors, writers, and artists like Oscar winner Michael Westmore. (I highly recommend his book Makeup Man for the Michael Jackson stories alone.)

makeup man bookMakeup Man: From Rocky to Star Trek

buy from amazon

Additionally, Creation invites scientists and other engineers to hold discussions on space exploration. Several engineers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will be giving talks on current and fictional Star Trek technologies that may become reality in the near future. (Sorry, transporter technology seems the longest shot.)

klingon armor discovery

People tend to float in and out of the talks, making their way through the vendor room where there’s all kinds of nerdom represented. Need a Starfleet uniform or a Darth Vader mug? The vendors will have it. There are also a lot of independent artists and creators selling handmade crafts as well, in my opinion the most interesting items sold at the convention.

In the evenings you can opt for additional events like a 45-piece orchestral performing Star Trek: Live, or swing by the Masquerade Bar where by Thursday night the entire hotel has been taken over by Star Trek fans.

Do You Need To Dress Up?

No – but a lot of people do. Uniform t-shirts are common but then there are real cosplayers, peaking on Saturday when an annual costume contest is held. Here are pictures of the best cosplay from 2017 and 2014 to give you an idea but what you wear is up to you.

star trek cosplay

Why Do People Go To Star Trek Conventions?

For a variety of reasons but basically to have fun with other people who are really passionate about Star Trek and science fiction in general. In 2017 I asked a bunch of people why they go to Star Trek conventions, here’s what they said:

People who make it to their first Las Vegas Star Trek convention often return year after year. You see the same people and it has almost become an annual pilgrimage for many, much like Comic-Con is for other fans. If you’re in the Las Vegas area August 1-5, 2018 and interested in attending, you can purchase individual day tickets here (I would recommend Saturday if you’re choosing just one) or get all 5 days at a discounted rate.

Once you’ve got your tickets, you can check out this insider’s guide on saving money, meeting celebrities, and making the most of the Creation Las Vegas Star Trek convention. Qa’plah!

What It’s Like To Get High On Khat

khat market yemen

2013: Somewhere in the middle of nowhere Yemen, my toothless driver turns around to ask if I want to chew as we make our way across mountain roads. It’s become an important ritual by now; every day around 2 in the afternoon, he and most every other Yemeni, jam wads of khat leaves into their mouth to chew on for hours. Entire cities shut down after midday around khat time, not fully starting up again until the next morning.

It took me a few days but eventually friend and fellow blogger Derek and I gave in, here’s what it’s like to get high on khat.

What Is Khat?

Khat or qat refers to the leaves of a tree sold in countless markets around Yemen and east Africa. Khat is illegal in many countries and considered a performance enhancing drug by some athletic bodies, mostly because it’s a stimulant. Research on khat is limited but given that everyone I saw in Yemen was chewing it on a daily basis, it’s probably highly addictive. Khat’s also terrible for your teeth – toothless smiles reveal which side of the mouth people tend to keep their khat on.

Khat Effects

Khat is a big part of the culture in Yemen and east Africa where The Pirates Of Somalia repeats a common local joke: khat will either make you talk a lot or sex crazy. I’m sorry to disappoint you if you’re looking for a fantastic way to get high or an herbal aphrodisiac but khat’s effects are more like drinking one cup of coffee too many.

khat leaves

The khat process though is a cumbersome one. First, you begin by shopping for the khat leaves. Khat’s only good for about a day so you’ll need to buy fresh. Then, you begin to chew the leaves without swallowing. You want to get a buzz and then constipated, eating the leaves only gives you the constipated side effect. As you eagerly or fearfully wait to become a talkative sex maniac, you keep chewing, making sure to keep a large ball of khat clearly visible from your cheeks.

For hours.

khat

Khat takes about 2-4 hours to kick in, so you’ll need to chew diligently. The leaves taste like you might imagine the grass in a field does, bitter and earthy, one of the random things you’ll be very focused on contemplating after an hour of chomping.

Focus On This

Khat gives you a fuzzy focus as amphetamines tend to. Very mild though, after the second or third hour your mouth will start running. Imagine a kid who’s eaten too many cupcakes or your friend who can’t handle a large Starbucks. That’s khat. I’m not sure where the sex crazy rumor comes from, it’s probably a way to make khat seem much more mind-altering than it is.

Khat seemed to me to be much on par with coffee, though with bad side effects. Aside from the long-term dental effects, khat might also cause cancer and depression. Due to limited scientific studies of the plant, nothing conclusive has been determined but it’s probably pretty bad for you. Especially daily consumption.

khat farm

The other side effect is water. Prior to Yemen’s civil war, one local farmer told me the country was selling itself into drought. Yemeni coffee should be world famous (the drink originated in nearby Ethiopia) but corruption, war, and turmoil hurt exports. Khat however, is locally very popular. Unfortunately, khat trees use many more times the amount of water than coffee plants and because khat can’t be (legally) exported to most places that don’t already grow it, ultimately it’s become a major economic burden.

Khat, in Yemen, is a social network nothing digital comes close to. Hours long conversations, daily khat shopping, and open discussions create friendships on the spot, leading to a lifelong side effect of close bonds with individuals who have all since been displaced, or worse, due to the ongoing conflict there – although good Yemeni coffee might have done the same, without the tooth decay.

The Best Falafel In The World Is In The Middle Of A Decade-Old Sibling Feud

This is the story of two brothers in Beirut, Lebanon, who haven’t spoken in since 2006, when they’re split up their father’s famous falafel shop. (Falafel is a simple dish of fried chickpeas, often wrapped in pita bread.) The two sons of Mustapha Sahyoun, Fuad and Zuheir, inherited the shop in 1992 but due to a dispute they won’t discuss, in 2006, Fuad opened his falafel shop right next door. Both of these shops are considered some of the best falafel in the world; though which is better is something of a local rivalry in itself.

I visited the Sahyoun falafel shops during a visit to Beirut and you learn more about the story in the video here.

Visit With Klingons Who Are In Stockholm To Promote Tourism To Their Home World

A delegation from the Klingon Empire has arrived in Stockholm, Sweden, for a cultural exchange in order to promote tourism to Qo’noS, their home planet. The “Visit Qo’noS” event is being held at the Turteatern through March 24th and when I found out, I booked booked plane tickets immediately. You can see part of the show in the video above and if you’re in Stockholm, watch until the end of the video for a small gift.

Exchanging Culture With Klingons

There was plenty of blood wine, opera, as well as a demonstration of stereotypes Klingons have about humans and vice versa. From their outside perspective, it seems the Klingons have also picked up on some less-than-stellar cultural integration happening on Earth today.

klingons stockholm turteatern

The Visit Qo’noS show is funny, incredibly performed, and very entertaining. I can’t imagine any Trekkie not enjoying the Klingons but even if you’re only casually aware of Star Trek, the Visit Qo’noS event will be one of the most interesting tourism promotions you’ll ever attend.

klingon tourism stockholm sweden

How To Visit Qo’noS

Visit Qo’noS runs about an hour and fifteen minutes, with several shows per week beginning at 7pm. Turteatern is located right next to the Kärrtorp metro stop on the green line (end station Skarpnäck). You can get tickets for Visit Qo’noS here, check out the Visit Qo’noS tourism site here, and learn how to visit the Klingon Empire with honor (without losing your life). Qapla!

I Traveled With A Beard And It Was (Very) Different

bearded emoji

A few weeks ago, I let you know I was taking some time off. A week before that I stopped shaving. Combined with traveling across land borders and through airports, I was unaware the bearded experience was writing this blog post.

I’m even not sure if the differences in my travel experience was because of Growing the Beard. Yet after years of traveling all the time, the weeks with my Riker beard seemed to correspond with a lot things that hadn’t happened before. Other things that were rare became very frequent.

This isn’t a rant. I simply found the contrast interesting and certainly surprising.

Setting A Baseline

The configuration of my facial hair is highly variable but I occasionally clean up before flying. I was traveling in a part of the world I thought I blend in, have traveled before, so I figured border crossings would follow a normal distribution of events. Car searches have been rare but occur. Bearded me was one for one. Bearded me then became two for two. Plus got pulled over immediately after and questioned a bit, after my documents were inspected again. More traveling and bearded me was then three for three, and so on.

riker beard

I’ll add again: I’m not complaining, security is often opaque, so it’s entirely possible a certain type of car is being profiled or inspections are increased for any number of reasons.

At the airports as well, documents checked, before entering the airport. Not everyone, just me. Same thing with metros as well in various cities and countries.

A Few Minutes More

All of the security personnel were nice enough and the most these checks did was add some minutes to the streamlined travel routine I have. So much so that I began to add extra time into the routine. To be even more efficient, I unconsciously kept my travel documents much more readily accessible, whereas after the usual security checks I normally bury them somewhere in my backpack.

Security In Security

There’s something about being questioned when traveling that makes you feel safer. “I’m glad I’m being checked.” And I am. You can let your mind drift from there into why am I being checked, something entirely different. Like I mentioned above, that’s not the point of this post. Only that it was fascinating – there’s a lot of random checks I’m leaving out – and now I’m very curious how things will change after I shave later today before I catch my next flight.

Interview With Game Of Thrones Actor Tom Wlaschiha About Fan Conventions

From Star Trek to Harry Potter and yes, Game Of Thrones, nerds travel for many reasons. I was fortunate to attend a small press conference with some Game Of Thrones actors and asked Tom Wlaschiha (Jaqen H’ghar) about the other perspective – what do the actors think of fan conventions? A man has no name but he’s got a nice answer you can hear in the video above.

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutI'm the blogger and computer security engineer who writes foXnoMad while on a journey to visit every country in the world. I'll show you the tips, tricks, and tech you can use to travel smarter. Read More


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