March 24 â€“ 29, 2007 Saturday, March 24th I arrived in Vegas at lunchtime. I was attending a conference at Mandalay Bay and had a room there that my company was paying for but I also had a comp room at Paris and since I just couldnâ€™t make up my mind, I checked into both hotels. I was able to use the airport check in for Paris and then took a taxi over to Mandalay Bay and checked in there. My last few stays in the standard rooms at Mandalay Bay have been a little disappointing. The rooms are starting to look VERY warn (which is one of the reasons I kept the other hotel). I heard they were starting to renovate the rooms (from the bottom up) so I asked for one of the newly renovated rooms. I decided that if I had to choose between a room with a great view or a great room with a bad view, Iâ€™d opt for the better room. Iâ€™m glad I did. The beds were really comfy (they may be the same mattresses they have over at the Hotel but I donâ€™t know for sure). There was a large plasma in the bedroom and they added a small flat screen in the bathroom, facing the tub. My plan was to head down to IP to meet some of the T2V crew but before I did that, I needed to jump in the shower and wash all the airplane germs off. After doing that, I took a cab over to IP. The taxi driver got a little lost in the back of IP and started driving the wrong way down one way streets, so I decided that I wanted to live and had him pull over. I paid him and walked the rest of the way. He told me the entrance was just up to the right, and I believed him and wound up in Harrahâ€™s. I really didnâ€™t want to wander around that back area, so I walked up to the front of Harrahâ€™s and over to IP. I wasnâ€™t sure where the poker room was, so I found a security guard and asked him. He said it was near the front entrance (I walked straight instead of heading to the right). I got near the entrance and I heard Mikey and immediately knew where everyone was. Unfortunately, the poker tournament was nearing an end as were the festivities. It was really nice to be able to put names and faces together. I hope next time I can spend more time getting to know everyone! I spent some time gambling and drinking. I went with a small T2V group over to Del Friscoâ€™s Steakhouse, which was nice. After that, Mikey dropped me off at MB. I was EXHAUSTED (between the long day, the time difference, the flight + the fact that I only got about 3 hours of sleep the night before). I basically passed out when my head hit the pillow. Sunday, March 25th I woke up, and decided to soak in the tub. Then, I realized, I lost the little cosmetic bag that I had in my purse along with my small perfume bottle. I switched handbags before I left and my phone kept ringing on Saturday, so I am pretty sure that it fell out at Del Friscoâ€™s. It wasnâ€™t worth the taxi ride back over there. I decided that I really didnâ€™t want to go all the way over to the Fashion Show mall to get more perfume at Macyâ€™s, so I walked to the CVS by MGM. I went to the breakfast buffet at Paris. I was hoping for brunch but they were serving breakfast. Iâ€™ve heard so many wonderful things about it but never seemed to make it there. It was as good as everyone has been saying. It was a very pleasant meal. The rest of Sunday was spent drinking, gambling and having a good time. I had dinner at the House of Blues at MB and that was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed some of the funky artwork there. The food was pretty good too. I was supposed to attend a cocktail reception sponsored by the conference but really didnâ€™t feel like it, so I skipped it. I canâ€™t remember for sure, but I think I was in bed by 10:00 that night. Monday, March 26th There is a LOT going on at work right now so I spent some time trying to keep my head above water before heading off to my sessions. My sessions were ok but nothing spectacular. I met up with a gal that sits on an advisory board that I also sit on. We caught up and went to the conference sponsored cocktail reception that night. They gave everyone two drink tickets (for a two hour event). I wasted my first drink ticket on a soda (because I was in dire need of caffeine) and then I had a tropical drink. That was all in the first half hour. With no drink tickets left and no desire to network, there was no reason to stay. So, we had dinner over at Wolfgang Puckâ€™s Trattoria del Lupo. The food was good but the service was extremely rushed. I had longer meals at fast food restaurants. After that, we said good night and as I was on my way back to my room, I got side tracked and decided to gamble and drink a little more. Then, I did a little work (emailing your boss while under the influence is definitely not a good idea). Tuesday, March 27th I went to my morning sessions and then met up with my friend at 11:30 am. She wanted me to walk through the exhibit hall with her, which we did. There were some really neat exhibits and I enjoyed seeing new products so Iâ€™m not a big fan of taking a bunch of little trade show giveaways. It has to be truly interesting, useful or exceptional to make it into my luggage. We had a little lunch in the exhibit hall. I was supposed to head back to an afternoon session but decided to go back to my room to do some work instead. I wanted to hang out with Mikey and my afternoon session would have cut into our plans anyway. Mikey picked me up late that afternoon. We went over to Paris and had a few cocktails and some snacks in the Diamond lounge. It was pretty nice but I like the sofas that some of the other Harrahâ€™s properties have. It just creates a much more relaxing environment. We each had a few drinks and snacks before seeing Jubilee over at Ballyâ€™s. The show had a little too much singing and dancing for me and I have ADD and get bored easily but some of the sets were elaborate. (They sink the Titanic, which I thought was pretty neat). After that, we went over the Maggianoâ€™s for dinner. I LOVE that place. Itâ€™s a chain and I donâ€™t usually like chains all that much but this place doesnâ€™t feel or taste like a chain restaurant. (I had a conversation with someone heading back to NJ on my way home about it and he said that Maggianoâ€™s has some sort of licensing agreement and is modeled after Carmineâ€™s in NYC â€“ which I have never been to and have never been able to secure a reservation at, but everyone that has eaten there is a huge fanâ€¦ very interesting. He also went on to say that because of that agreement, Maggianoâ€™s cannot have a restaurant within a certain radius of NYC, which explains why there isnâ€™t one near me). Mikey dropped me off after that and I played a little video poker at MB before heading to bed. Wednesday, March 28th I got up early and ordered room service for breakfast. I had an exam at 11:30 am and decided that I really needed to study, which I did. The exam was a lot tougher than I expected but I think I passed. I was really glad when it was over and had two apple martinis on the way back to my hotel room to take the edge off. I called Mikey while I was drinking to make arrangements to use my comps. Now that MB is part of MGM/Mirage, you either use or lose your comps. They do not carry over trip to trip. Mikey had a job over at the Rio and needed to be there for 6:30 so we werenâ€™t able to head over to any of the other properties to use the comps so we decided to eat at the Border Grill. (Normally, Iâ€™d sign everything to my room and then check back at the end but in this case, my company was paying for my room and reasonable meals and using my comps wouldnâ€™t have worked to my advantage). So, I went to the Playerâ€™s club and explained this to the gentlemen behind the desk. I checked with them the day before and was told that I had $80 in comps. This time, I went back and was told that the employees were instructed not to tell customers what they had in comps unless asked, which is NOT right. I told him I was specifically asking and he still ducked my question. He said, â€œI can give you a $40 comp to the Border Grillâ€ and I told him I had $80 in there the day before and it could only have gone up and then he said â€œIâ€™ll give you a $50 comp to the Border Grill but just donâ€™t tell anyoneâ€ like he was doing me a favor. I took it but was still ticked off at the whole situation. So, I called Mikey to vent and then I went back over there and the same guy said â€œwell, you still have enough to get breakfast tomorrowâ€ and I told him I had an early flight and was very firm in telling him that I forfeited $160+ in comps on 12/31 when the MB Playerâ€™s club comps expired and I was not going to leave anything on the table this time. I told him that I wanted a comp for the entire remaining balance and Iâ€™d use it at the gift shop and the gal next to him said it could only be used on food and beverage, which was a problem because I was running out of time. Incidentally, I still did have $65 left in there (which they didnâ€™t want me to know about) but after giving them a hard time, I was able to get it. The only problem was, the only place I could use it was at a shop called the Chocolate Swan (since I couldnâ€™t squeeze in another meal or use it at a gift shop, the Chocolate Swan was the only place where I could get something and take it back). Everyone at the Playerâ€™s Club insisted that it was the best chocolate outside of Europe and I would love it (I think they were just trying to calm me down). When Mikey arrived, I told him we had to use the other $65 at the chocolate shop). So, we had a $50 comp for Border Grill and a $65 comp for chocolate â€“ which made absolutely no sense. (Iâ€™m still ticked off at MGM/Mirage for this whole fiasco). Border Grill was ok but it definitely didnâ€™t live up to the hype. After that, we walked over to the shops and found the Chocolate Swan. The chocolate was expensive ($2.50 per truffle) and the gal behind the counter spoke limited English and Mikey and I had a hard time trying to get her to understand a pound. I brought back a box of truffles and Mikey got something with nuts on them (in total, about 12 truffles and 4 of the chocolate with the nuts on them and two little chocolate Easter eggs = about $70). I tried one of the truffles last night and it was good but was definitely not worth the price, in my opinion. I still prefer Godiva, Lindt and Ethel M, which are all less expensive. Even the packaging was disappointing (just a plain white bakery box with a gold sticker). Anyway, at least I used all the comps. Since I was pissed off at the hotel, I decided that I didnâ€™t want to gamble there any more this trip, so Mikey dropped me off at Paris on his way to work. I gambled a bit there. I went to the diamond lounge alone in search of some brie and strawberries along with another tropical drink. After that, I went to play some video poker. It was my last night there and I was having a nice and relaxing time. I donâ€™t wear a watch and rely on my cell for the time. I decided to keep my cell out so I didnâ€™t stay out too late. As I was playing video poker, a guy walked up to me and said â€œCan I see your cell phone, Iâ€™d like to make a callâ€¦ itâ€™s importantâ€ and I just found it as strange. I donâ€™t know why but I have trouble trusting people. I grew up in a city and am very skeptical. Iâ€™m a nice person. Iâ€™ve given homeless people food and if I have change in my pocket, I give that too. There are just certain things that are over the line. I never open up my purse to give money to anyone on the street, when Iâ€™m playing a machine; I wear my handbag around my neck and shoulder and keep it directly on my lap â€“ just common sense stuff. I wasnâ€™t 100% sure if this guy was up to something or not so I tried to be polite and just explained that it is my work phone (which itâ€™s not) and I canâ€™t lend it to anyone. He walked away but continued to stare and lurk and then I just knew he was up to something. I told him I was going to call security and then he left. I have a funny feeling it was a scam and he was going to take my phone and either hock it or use it to make a zillion phone calls. It wasnâ€™t an expensive phone but it was a Razr phone and Iâ€™m sure he could have gotten a few bucks for it. If it was indeed an emergency, he could have used a payphone or something. I do not want to be a victim and I donâ€™t like being taken advantage of. I guess he was a gal that was alone, in an area where no one else was playing, having a drink so perhaps I was going to let my guard down. I donâ€™t know for sure but I wasnâ€™t taken any chances. Thursday, March 29th I had a flight at 8:30 and since all my stuff was packed and ready to go, I arranged for a 5:30 am wake up call. It takes me 20 minutes to get myself together. I use video check out. I donâ€™t pack heavily so I am self sufficient and donâ€™t need a bellman to help me. I figured Iâ€™d have plenty of time. I usually need about 5 â€“ 10 minutes from the time I wake up to the time I physically get out of bed. Instead of waking up, I accidentally dozed off for another 20 minutes. Not good! As soon as I opened my eyes and realized that I dozed off, I quickly jumped out of bed and turned the shower on. After 10 minutes, the water was still ice cold. I called downstairs and they told me they shut the hot water off on some of the floors and that I should run the shower and tub on hot and it should come on soon. Time was running out but she was right, it did come back. I showered and then ran off to the airport. There wasnâ€™t a line for the taxi and a few were waiting so that helped. I got to the airport at 6:45. I flew enough last year to get an airline elite card (which rarely gets me an upgrade but I do like being able to cut the security line). I checked my one back and because of the card, I was able to use the â€œFirst Classâ€ line going to terminal D. The other line was really long but since I was on the other line, I was on the other side in about 10 minutes. I had enough time to do some more work (I love that McCarran airport has free wireless) and I had breakfast at Rubyâ€™s. As I got to the gate, the plane was boarding. I like sitting up in the front because itâ€™s quiet and less turbulent and although my upgrade didnâ€™t clear (it rarely does) I was sitting two rows behind first class on the aisle. Then, something really horrible happened. The guy in the seat next to me showed up. He smelled so incredibly bad. It wasnâ€™t even sweat. It was a combination of wicked body order plus I think he may have gone to the bathroom in his pants. Normally, I donâ€™t like to give the flight attendants a hard time. They have a tough job and put up with a lot. But, this time, I had to say something. The smell was literally making me want to vomit. It was just that bad. It made the rotten egg smell and chemical plants along the NJ Turnpike smell like roses. I made my way up to the front of the plane and explained that I had a huge problem and that it a sensitive situation. Even though the man was really smelly, I didnâ€™t want to be mean to him. I asked if there were any other available seats. I would have gladly sat in a middle seat, or in the bathroom for that matter. Unfortunately, there werenâ€™t. The flight attendant gave me a coffee bag/filter to use as an air freshener and apologized to me multiple times during the flight. I flew most of the way home with my head facing the aisle for some fresh air. I felt even worse for the poor guy that sat next to him in the window seat. He had no wear to go. Mr. Smelly didnâ€™t say a word the whole flight. I donâ€™t think he spoke English although I donâ€™t know where he came from (apparently some place that doesnâ€™t have showers). To create insult to injury, he spent most of the flight with his hands resting on the seat in front of him, thus filling the entire areas with the putrid smell from his armpits. This is by far my worst flying experience ever. I would even consider writing to the airline but there isnâ€™t anything they can do about it. They have no control over someoneâ€™s personal hygiene. I was so sick; I didnâ€™t eat or drink anything the entire flight. We were even delayed and in a holding pattern due to air traffic problems at Newark but I couldnâ€™t even take a sip of water. BRUTAL!!!!! I got off the plane (the flight attendants apologized once more) and found the car service driver and grabbed my luggage. The smell was now in my clothes and followed me home. I didnâ€™t want the driver to think it was me, so I explained the situation and apologized for subjecting him to me for the 30 minute ride home. I got home and run up to take a shower. I didnâ€™t even give my daughter a hello kiss and hug. I actually washed my hair three times and my body twice, just to be sure the smell was gone. I put the clothes I was wearing in a bag. Not sure if I should wash them or throw them away. I donâ€™t want them contaminating my other clothes. All in all, it was a great trip. Next year, I will have to figure out a way to spend more time with all the T2V crowd. I missed so much of the fun but it was really great to meet everyone.