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Girlfriend's First Trip to Vegas: 5/16-5/20

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by slatts, May 25, 2015.

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  1. slatts

    slatts Tourist

    Joined:
    May 14, 2015
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    Location:
    Rhode Island
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    5

    My Trip Report

    For most of the folks on this forum, it's probably been a long time since your first trip to Vegas, whenever it was -- for me, a lifer on the east coast, and at the tender age of 29, it was my 5th time since my initial trip, where I stayed at the Paris with my dad and late uncle Mike (RIP) 3 days after I turned 21. I hope you guys enjoy this trip report -- it might be a couple more years before I find myself in Las Vegas again (next year's vacation is tentatively New Orleans, so --- riverboat casino trip report, anyone???), so I really wanted to provide some great pictures for this one. Spoiler alert: I convinced my girlfriend to come back with me, and she loved the city!

    For my girlfriend (Kat), who I have the pleasure of moving in with next Saturday, it was her first time to Sin City, and our first plane ride together after nearly 3 years together. Several weeks before we left, she asked me point blank "So what is it about LV that you enjoy so much, besides the obvious?" I matter-of-factly replied "Because it's a chance to indulge in pleasures you otherwise wouldn't normally partake in." And dammit, indulge I did.


    [​IMG]

    OK, I started indulging the night before with friends, as this morning-of picture shows. Having three small (small-ish) glasses of 9.5% ABV European beers was probably not the greatest idea. And I was saving my drug cocktail of Nyquil, Benadryl, and half an Ambien for the Redeye flight back home.

    We got chauffeured from Rhode Island to Logan Airport in Boston by Kat's mother, which was very nice. Clear roads, Logan not too busy, and no delays on either this flight or our connection. So far so good.

    [​IMG]

    Our friends, going to Vegas for an entirely separate reason, were taking Virgin Atlantic a little earlier, and were going to LA before backtracking to LV. We were taking the equally unsatisfactory route of traveling United to Houston before arriving at McCarran 7:15 PM local time.

    [​IMG]

    Flying over somewhere in Texas or Arkansas, maybe. Our stop in Houston was a brief one, and if the rest of the state is anything like the awful Starbucks service @ IAH, I hope I never return to the Lone Star State. Or at least their airport. I guess what I'm trying to say is "!@#$ Starbucks."


    We arrive at McCarran, and the first thing, I kid you not, the FIRST thing we see is a man simulating sex with one of the giant lizard statues at the airport. I turn to Kat and just say "We ARE in Las vegas..."

    At this point, I started to worry, though not about iguana-sexing-man. I had called ahead to a limo company to arrange a chauffeured SUV ride pickup from the airport, to do a little tour of the strip (complete with champagne on ice and roses -- no, I wasn't proposing either!). But I realized that the flight number had changed a few days before, and I never informed the limo company. So as we're walking to baggage claim, I look like a paranoid FBI agent trying to find his contact who hasn't shown up. Kat notices, and proceeds to wonder even further when I wander off for a minute to take a phone call, leaving her with the duty of pulling down our suitcase. Not most the gentlemanly move, I'll admit, but I did find our driver and was able to surprise Kat pretty damn good. She was pleased:

    [​IMG]

    As we tour the Strip, we proceeded to get -- how can I put this delicately -- REALLY DRUNK on the champagne, considering all we ate before as an $8 snack box from United in the last 5 hours.

    I wish I could say we were staying at Bellagio, or ARIA, as my past trips have involved such luxurious hotspots as the Paris, Bally's, and Caesar's Palace (my buddy who had recently finished 6th out of 3000 at a World Series of Poker event footed the bill for that weekend, not me!) But I had to cut costs somewhere --- slatts paid for that SUV ride with some money from an old bank account he didn't even realize he still had. So Four Queens it is! Smoky, generally old, and small as hell, but full of character and no resort fee. Also, for the very little time we were planning on spending in the hotel room, it made sense to save money. Fremont Street is where my Vegas heart and soul is anyway, away from the taxi rides and $15 cocktails of Mandalay Bay and the Delano, where our friends got a mega discount rate due to a hoteliers conference they were attending (DISCLAIMER: I enjoy a $15 cocktail as much as the next Rhode Islander, I'll tell you what).

    I slipped the front desk agent a $20 to see if we could get upgraded to a suite on a high floor on the South Tower, away from the Fremont noise and hopefully other hotel guests' noise -- it worked, and our agent being from Boston didn't hurt. The suite was nothing to write home about, but quiet it was, and a nice view to boot. Top floor? Yes sir!

    [​IMG]

    We spent the evening with our friends at the "Parasol Up" bar/lounge over at the Wynn -- elegance defined, right? It was fun, and we met some people who were waiting to be packed in like sardines to see David Guetta @ XS whenever he went on. I'm guessing around 3 AM. Two words: Screw that. I'll take my beauty rest at the Four Queens over David Guetta at XS any day of the week.

    [​IMG] Parasol Up


    The next morning, we wern't super hungry, but leave it to Rhode Islanders to find the ONLY DUNKIN DONUTS in downtown LV for a morning iced coffee. We proceeded with our morning experiment to see if the Binion's rooftop pool was open for business for FQ customers -- it was, and man, what a hidden gem this is. I mean, I'll take the Garden of the Gods pool at Caesar's any day of the week (not the $15 6-5 pool blackjack though), but we basically had the entire place to ourselves, the view was amazing, the music was good, and the sun was refreshing. It's like nothing I've experienced in Vegas so far, which is a pretty cool feeling to have!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Try not to get blinded by my legs!


    In the afternoon, my buddy came down from Mandalay Bay to play some $5 blackjack at Binion's with me (my first gambling of the trip... amazing it took nearly 24 hours). We broke even, traveled back up to Mandalay Bay, and went our separate ways for a few hours before meeting back up for dinner. This gave me and Kat a chance to walk around a bit, and gave ME a chance to get revenge on the "Bubble Craps" as I called it, that took $100 from me 4 years ago (The "Shoot To Win" mechanical craps game with the giant dice that came straight out of a life-sized version of the board game TROUBLE. Anyone remember Trouble??)

    It didn't go well. I lost $60. Damn you, Excalibur Bubble Craps!

    We did get a chance to see MGM Grand and Harrah's, ride the monorail (wish it went further!), and get some cheapo drinks while playing low-stakes machine Roulette @ The Mirage before our buffet dinner, because what would a first trip to Las Vegas be without a buffet dinner? We chose "Cravings" at the Mirage because of its proximity to our evening show choice, and I can't say was I dissatisfied with it. I must have had 5 courses, including a little international sampler platter, some crab legs, a giant hunk of prime rib, and a piece of Espresso Bean Cake. Well worth it!

    For the evening's entertainment, I chose the Beatles "LOVE" Cirque show, because I hadn't seen it, and I freaking love the Beatles. Before heading in, we got a drink at the ultra-modern Beatles REVOLUTION Lounge at the Mirage, and it was cooL! You can check your Facebook page or play the MyVegas games while drinking a $10 Stella!

    [​IMG]

    The show -- well, if you've seen it, you already know. Blew my away, like Cirque acts tend to do. What a great experience. Complete sensory overload. I'm glad I didn't get a drink for the show, because frankly, you don't need one. Just sit back and enjoy.

    [​IMG]


    Afterward, a quick stop at the Mirage Volcano [​IMG]

    before heading back downtown, and a 1 hour catnap and rest in the tub for yours truly before heading out onto Fremont Street...the real Vegas, baby! Let's do this!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    We headed straight for one of my favorite downtown casinos -- the El Cortez -- for some late night $5 3-2 Double Deck Blackjack. Our dealer was great, we were at a table of other travelers, and I managed to quietly use the two decks to my advantage and wind up $70 richer (and full of about 4 gin and tonics). Kat ended at $15 up, although I like to think my encouragement ("Babe, JUST HIT! It's a soft 16! There's nothing to lose!") had something to do with it.


    [​IMG]

    Day 3 brought --- wait, is that rain? In the desert? Geeeeez.


    [​IMG]

    Whatever. We got breakfast at the Magnolia Cafe within the Four Queens, a 2 for 1 effort using a coupon from our coupon book (it worked out pretty well for the "Free Ace" I got playing a hand of Blackjack, but for some reason there was no "Give me back my $50 I lost at Mississippi Stud" coupon. I guess I'll have to call customer service.) We took our time at our corner table I basically demanded after waiting 10 minutes to get sat, and sipped coffee while overlooking the action:

    [​IMG]

    Kat wanted to do some Fremont Street style shopping, and I wanted to gamble, so we agreed to separate for an hour or two. Off to the Golden Nugget sportsbook, where I placed a couple parlays and a $5 NFL futures bet on the Giants to win the Super Bowl in 2016. The Giants seem to back their way into a SB every few years, so at 30-1 odds, it seemed like a good bet! Afterward, I hit up a $5 Pai Gow table at Binion's making about 20 bucks in the process after hitting the $1 sucker side bet "Emperor's Challenge" by getting 4 Aces. You'd think 4 Aces would be good enough to get me like, 100-1 odds on a side bet, but whatever. The point is, I didn't lose!

    By this time, the rain hadn't gone away, so it was an SDX bus ride up to our rainy day exhibit -- the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium. Simply put, this thing is cool. The main 1-million gallon shark tank area is a sight to behold, and one of the nicest looking aquarium exhibits I've ever been in, with the exception of the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

    [​IMG]

    After touring the Strip, specifically my old stomping grounds, the Paris:

    [​IMG]

    And a relaxation break at the Bellagio Sportsbook, where we enjoyed $10 beers and watching the Lightning beat up on the Rangers, much to my delight:

    [​IMG]

    And what would a trip to Vegas be without seeing the Bellagio fountains for the first time? We got the pleasure of Puccini's "Turandot" for our performance, and I think Kat loved every minute of it:

    [​IMG]


    Anfter dinner at Bally's SEA: The Thai Experience, we headed back downtown, where we met up with our friends for a night of late night fun on Fremont -- I'm talking $2 margaritas, 90% naked weirdos, BAD ventriloquist acts, and more blackjack at the El Cortez, before a nightcap of some Pai Gow at Binion's. I'm pretty sure I made up my net $10-15 losses in gin and tonics over the course of the night.

    Tuesday morning brought some more pool time on top of Binion's, as well as me convincing Kat to play in a $12 poker tournament using the electronic machines down the street at Plaza -- the machines were neat, but I don't think they even come close to the feel of real felt and real cards. Good try though, Plaza.

    I spent about a week trying to teach Kat the basics of Texas Hold'em. During the poker boom beginning in 2003, I played poker in college while attending classes in Buffalo. You only needed to be 19 to gamble in Canada, so me and a buddy would travel across the border with $500 every Friday after classes, and essentially spend 36 straight hours playing no limit Hold'em. It allowed us to go without having real jobs for 2+ years, making money off suckers until real life hit us, and we realized that lifestyle might have worked for a college student, but not when your expenses start totaling more than $600 per month. This was the closest I ever got to being a professional gambler, and I'm kind of glad it ended there. It's a good story now, but while I may have been good enough to exploit the poker nebwies in 2004, I can't do it in 2015, I'm just not good enough anymore.

    The tournament was fun, with about 17 people playing. Kat didn't come in last, and got busted with pocket Aces (what better way to go out?). I came in 4th, and got caught trying to steal blinds in order to keep myself in the game. Afterward, my buddy joined us and we got a craps table to ourselves at the Plaza and made about $50 each while getting hot for a few minutes. It was the perfect ending to my gambling for the trip -- go out MAKING some money, not losing it.

    We went our separate ways, and me and Kat people watched at the Patio Bar outside Four Queens the next couple hours.

    [​IMG]

    Oh, she wanted a picture with CREEPY ELMO AND COOKIE MONSTER, so I obliged:

    [​IMG]



    Our final stop for the trip was something I always wanted to see, which is the Neon Boneyard/Neon Museum. Our tour guide was fantastic and passionate about the city, and seeing the old signs (some restored!) from old Las Vegas was a real treat. Here's some samples:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    One cab ride and delayed redeye flight back home, we were back in Rhode Island. Thank God I didn't have work the next day.



    Oh yeah.....I hit my parlay. My buddy was nice enough to cash it in and Paypal it to me!

    [​IMG]



    Hope you guys enjoyed this! See you in a couple years on Fremont Street...
     
  2. RockyBalboa

    RockyBalboa VIP Whale

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    Thanks for sharing - a fun report! Sounds like you guys had a good time.

    PS - Your G-Men bet will not be coming in a winner. :evillaugh
     
  3. BiGP

    BiGP Low-Roller

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    Thanks for sharing!
     
  4. parti_73

    parti_73 Low-Roller

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    thanks for sharing!
     
  5. captainron62

    captainron62 VIP Whale

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    Well done! Nice TR, looks like you showed your lady a really nice time.
     
  6. sigsev

    sigsev Low-Roller

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    Nice read, you two crammed a lot in your trip which is nice, although I don't think I could ever go 24 hours without gambling in Vegas! So kudos for that.
     
  7. slatts

    slatts Tourist

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    Ha, believe me, it wasn't my intention to go 24 hours without gambling -- but some things just happen!


    I try and work in at least 1 or 2 new activities every trip to LV I've made -- this time it just happened to be 4-5 new things!
     
  8. pd54

    pd54 Low-Roller

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    Thanks for that. Enjoyed it!
     
  9. Treb23

    Treb23 Tourist

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    Sounds like you guys had a blast!
     
  10. Electroguy563

    Electroguy563 Over-Fried Gambler

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    Enjoyed your trip report and the pictures! Looks like you two had a great time, and did quite a lot of things during your stay.

    It's nice that you find Fremont and Downtown appealing along with the grandeur of the Strip. Downtown's appeal seems to be attracting more and more people, which is great.
     
    Going to Hawaii's 9th Island!!
    Going to Hawaii's 9th island!!
  11. vwhiten

    vwhiten High-Roller

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    Thanks for sharing. Don't judge all of Texas from the Starbuck's. I also have had crappy service from Starbuck's in San Antonio airport. Most who grew up here in Texas are super friendly - the small town rural areas even more so. At least back in my day we were raised that way(reared- for the English teachers out there). But, I am older and my father would not have tolerated rude, disrespectful behavior. As Jeff Foxworthy would say "My father's idea for time out was that he took time out of his busy schedule to whoop my ass."

    My comment about raising children is from my high school days. I was blessed with an awesome English teacher my senior year. She had a phD and we had to call her Dr. Catalani. She mad me love English. It was her peet peeve - You raise crops and rear children. People look at me funny when I saw I was born and reared instead of raised. Anyways, Texas is a great state - You have to remember that many people from other states and countries have flooded into Texas because of our economy and have not had the proper can of Texas whoop ass bestowed upon them.

    Val
     
    36th Wedding Anniversary
  12. scc31

    scc31 Low-Roller

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    Glad you enjyoed the Shark Reef because I did not.. it was very tiny and would've been disappointed if I paid. Good thing I had free MyVegas passes.

    Great TR!
     
  13. Superpocky

    Superpocky VIP Whale

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    Thanks for putting this together, fun read!
     
  14. slatts

    slatts Tourist

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    Nothing's worth what you pay for in LV! I'm a newcomer to the MyVegas game (wish I had put the time and effort into this app years ago....oh well) so I paid full price here. I did enjoy it though, it was small, but a great time killer as far as I was concerned.

    I would never TRULY judge an entire state based off an airport coffee joint, rest assured! I just thought it was an amusing aside for my literal first time within the borders of Texas. I'll shoot for Wendy's next time.



    Thanks for the positive words, everyone!
     
  15. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    Well Done! Thanks for sharing the trip...
     
  16. Imperial_Palace_King

    Imperial_Palace_King High-Roller

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    Nice report! Thanks for sharing!
     
  17. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Nice report!

    And good for you that you have a gf who likes downtown! Mine just tolerates it for one evening. Lol

    What would you say was your and her favorite thing about the trip?
     
  18. casinokid68

    casinokid68 Low-Roller

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    Great report and great pictures!! I'm glad you were delighted to see the Lightning beat up on the Rangers. You might not be that delighted after we win Game 7,:Þ I figure you must be a Bruins fan. Sorry bro, but they are playing golf right now!! :cry: And good future pick on the Giants winning the Super Bowl next year. Not sure about them backing in though. But sounds like you must be a Patriots fan, still bitter about the Giants beating the Pats twice in the Super Bowl. :cry: I guess the DEFLATED balls couldn't help Brady then!! But anyways let's stick to Vegas, great report and sounds like you guys had a blast!! :beer:
     
  19. casinokid68

    casinokid68 Low-Roller

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    :snore::snore::snore:
     
  20. mrjvegas

    mrjvegas High-Roller

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    Top notch... fun read
     
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