Everything in the US is big. The cars. The roads. The servings of food. The conventions.
This is the second US convention that I have attended in the past few months, and the scale of them is just colossal. Thousands of people attended hundreds of talks over a few days in buildings that could on alternative days happily host an airport.
Mealtimes are the point at which you really get a feel for the scale of the events – you are hearded into a room that on another day would be used as an exhibition hall, hundreds and hundreds of tables laid out, and then you queue to pick up a buffet meal from one of the dozens of lines of tables that are set up on the edges. It’s slick, the food surprisingly good (in the fresh vegetable-lite way of much American cuisine), and there seems to be a cast of hundreds involved in helping the operation be successful.
And then, at the end of the event, all the signs will be taken down and the vast hangers will be given another identity as a whole new group of people come into town to do the same thing, with different speakers and different subjects…