Day 1-2 Wed-Th Mid-forties couple, both have been to Vegas about 8 times. Flight out of Seattle left at 9am so we arrived around 11:30. Taxi downtown. Took the tunnel but since we were going to the GN I didn’t complain. Went directly to bell desk thinking we were way too early to check in and wanted to drop our bags and get to drinking and gambling. Bell desk guy says, go check in! Rooms are ready! I think, ok, this is fortunate. Get in line (short) and yup, our Gold Tower Smoking King is ready. Unbelievable amount of kids running around the lobby and pool area. Listened to one young mom telling her 4 sons all under 15 to “quit making poor choices” while she was checking in. Got a laugh on that one! Freshen up a bit and hit the bar for some cold beers and VP. Yeah, the paytables aren’t great, but we did alright for our first session. Out to the street to check out the freaks and geeks. Definitely less street performers than our last visit 2 years ago. Over to MSS for some gambling and drinking, wander through California, then head to Golden Gate. Nice vibe, note the Dupars location for later and ramble onward. Listened to a great Elvis Impersonator from the Whisky Licker Patio, watching the crack heads dance up front. Saw a contortionist who was hard to watch. Headed over to the D for some “vintage” gambling upstairs, played a bit of Sigma Derby. We liked it up here, quieter than downstairs for sure. Stumbled over to 4 queens later and picked up some Subway food. Strolled around a bit more, made it down to El Cortez in time to see the cops throwing a guy on the ground at the front door and cuffing him while he screamed bloody murder. Good times! Played a bit at El Cortez but got irritated at the bartender for telling me I had to pay for my 2nd beer as I only had put a 5 dollar bill in the VP. This was after 2 or 3 twenties rolled through the machine and I only had 5’s and 10’s left in my pocket. Jeez! So I paid for the beer and we headed back up Fremont to watch the dancing on the bar gals. Decided on Dupars for a midnight dinner. We’d never eaten there and had read recommendations here on VMB. Wow, their shrimp cocktails are huge and great! I’m from the Pacific Northwest and am a bit of a “fish snob” according to my hubs. These are really good, and the cocktail sauce is on the spicy side, which I love. Made the mistake of ordering them as appetizers with tri-tip French dips for entrée. After the shrimp I could only eat a few bites of my sandwich. Place was pretty packed for a Wednesday at midnight. If you’re not a huge eater, just get the Shrimp and you won’t need anything else.Got our extra food wrapped to go, and then headed to bed after a few slots at GN. Next morning up at 7, downstairs at Floyd’s Bar by 8:30 for our coffee and Bailys. Got a few quads to keep me going for a while. Walked over to the pool to spend some time here today. Holy Kidfest, Batman! It was 9:30 and the place was packed. No chairs to be had. We went over to the stairs to the adult pool but they don’t open until 10am. Back to the bar for some more coffee and Bailys and the hubs took care of a few phone calls. Back up to the Tank. 25 dollars to rent a lounger. We rented 2 as the pool host said there were only a few chairs not prebooked. Had a nice day drinking buckets of beer and chatting with our neighbors. 107 degrees means a lot of sitting in the pool! And quite a few beers. This pool is perfect for us..laid back music and mostly a “mature” crowd here. Stayed at the pool until 3 and then up to the room for a nap! Decided after the nap to go check out the Stratosphere , which we had never been to. I really liked their casino! Too bad they are so isolated. We totally got long hauled on the cab ride over there. I should have said “surface streets” when we got in at Golden Nugget. The guy took us up on the freeway and all over the place before we arrived at the Strat. Ended up a 29 dollar ride. No tip for you!! Went up in the Tower, saw the view then hung out in a bar downstairs with a really great live band. Decided to head back downtown so got a cab. Said “surface streets” this time, guy complained a little bit but the ride was only 9 dollars.. WTF! We casino hopped all night, found ourselves sitting at Mermaids around 1 am discussing how pooped we are. A nice looking, well dressed older man sits down next to us at a bank of machines that we weren’t playing and keeps telling me to put 20 dollars in my machine, its “lucky”, its going to hit now..blah blah blah. He has a gift bag with him..weird. I’m kind of drunk so I play along for a while. Finally I give him the 20 bucks and tell him to go get something to eat. I’m onto his scam at this point and don’t feel like wasting time with him. I don’t mind a little charity and he didn’t seem to be on drugs or very drunk, if at all. Of course my hubby ribbed me about being a “softy”. I just said, who knows, good karma? Of course the next day we saw him at The Grand doing the same schtick to other people. Oh well. We went to Dupars for late night pancakes. Place was packed and they were down a server! These poor 2 guys and the cook were out of their minds busy. Felt bad for them. We sat at the counter and watched the whole show. Excellent pancakes and warm syrup sent us off to bed. Day 3 Fri Decided to go check out Picnic Pool at the Grand. Hence seeing Mr 20 dollars right away. We went up to the roof and went into the food area. We were asked for our room key but after we said we are just here for lunch they let us in. Had some great Mushroom Asiago Sliders, chips and fresh guacamole and a few drinks. Pool wasn’t crowded but we didn’t go in. Bartender said we could as long as we had a 2 drink minimum. We did like The Grand, would probably stay there in the future. 1 block from Fremont, nice pool, nice casino but, as others here have mentioned, pretty dead. Decided to head out to the Strip to check in to Bally’s for my promotion. Free tablet and 2 free nights. Why not? We were already paid through Saturday at the GN but we were ready for a change of pace, so packed everything up and cabbed it over. . I was meeting a friend that night at Mandalay Bay who was going to see Journey/Steve Miller so it was best just to stay on the strip. Checked in around 2 and signed up for my tablet over at Paris. They’ll mail it in 6-8 weeks. First time staying at Ballys. 22nd floor in Indigo Tower, overlooked The Cromwell and the High Roller. Rested a bit. This drinking and walking stuff is exhausting! Made it out to Mandalay Bay via Monorail, walking and tram. Too damn hot for a lot of walking. I was a hot sweaty mess by the time we hooked up with our friend. Had a few drinks, caught up and she was off to her show. We took the tram back to Excalibur and wandered through NYNY, played a little at Planet Hollywood, people watched all the way back to Ballys. Porn Slappers are out in force, as well as large amounts of drunk/passed out homeless. They must have all moved out here from Fremont Street. Sat at the bar in Ballys for a bit for some VP then off to my sleepless night in the Indigo Tower. From the 22nd floor we heard police/fire sirens almost every hour. Was up at 5am staring out the window at all the beautiful young people stumbling out of Drai’s Nightclub. Must get earplugs! But they were hilarious to watch anyway. Final 2 days ahead!