Highlights: Having social intercourse with Mr and Mrs Turtleman, seeing CityCenter, flying on $39 Allegiant airfare, catching up with old Vegas friends, running and doing a bit of buffet eating. Even though it was a solo trip, I had stuff planned every day with some of the locals I've come to know over the years. Thumbs on that part of the journey. CityCenter was visited on Thursday, just hours after its midnight grand opening. Coming from the perspective of a typical casino user, I was initially shocked by the difficulty in accessing the Aria. I thought a casino did all they could to get you in the doors. Not this place. I was across the street on Las Vegas Blvd and could not find a spot that allowed pedestrian traffic for the walk-over. I ended up hoofing it to Tropicana Ave to cross the street. And, once I reached CityCenter, it was a long walk to Aria. As I understand it, Aria was not meant to attract the Strip foot traffic, but rather be a self-contained entity supported by the folks living within CityCenter. However, all are made to feel welcome once inside. MGM is going all out to provide customer service. It just seemed odd compared to the rest of the Strip casinos. I certainly would not go back to gamble, but the property is a must see for any of us touristos. I wonder if the casino will eventually become a ghost town, like those at Lake Las Vegas. On departing, I took the tram to the Bellagio. That's the way to go. That same afternoon, I headed downtown to meet T2V regular Turtleman and his wife for the first time. We had a lovely time conversing at the MSS's 777 bar. Very nice couple. And, Mr. Turtleman knows blackjack as well as anyone I've ever met. Not much to report on the buffet front. I hadn't done the Bellagio since last year and after hearing a few grumblings about it, had to check it out. In my opinion, it is still among the elite. I did notice, though, that it is getting a bit "tired". There's a sameness to it, while good in some respects, is preventing it from being an interesting place to dine. I got the feel that the employees (both front and back of house) are just going through the motions. Actually, I had better prime rib that week at the Cal Club diner than off the Bellagio buffet. A tasty Kobe sirloin was roasted raw instead of rare. I wonder if a new chef is overseeing the buffet operation. One plus is that the kitchen will now steam the crab legs. And, for a change of pace, they had some nice grilled quail (simply marinated in salt/pepper/olive oil). I did not eat at Aria's buffet, but eyeballed it between the breakfast/lunch changeover. Typical stations, with little Thai and Mediterrean mixed in. They were even making naan (Indian bread) from scratch. It wasn't at the level of Wynn or Bellagio, but not to far behind. Top notch dining room with views of the outside world, including the pool area. Weather was above average all week, allowing me to run numerous laps around the Hilton property. One of the reasons I like to stay there is one can run long distances without having to cross streets. Gambling was up and down. Anything that was won at BJ was lost at the crap tables.