I suppose that we were the gypsies, being the traveling fools that we are; the tramps are the many, many whores — real and imagined — that we see every trip to Vegas; the thieves are the machines, once again, though they left us with enough overall to still feel good about the trip. Yes, we were back to Vegas, this time the main purpose being to see Cher. We arrived Friday night after an uneventful Southwest flight. We quickly got our car from Thrifty and made our way to Summer Bay Resort. Yes, this time we didn’t stay on the Strip, but a little ways off in a timeshare resort since we had some points to burn and wanted to try something different. The resort is still under renovation, having previously been an apartment complex. After getting over the odd registration desk (in a former bedroom), we found our room and were pleasantly surprised: , , , , The unit had two bedrooms and quite a nice living area. Here are the positives: it was nice having a place to store beverages and such; it was nice having a coffee maker in the morning without having to get out of my PJs; it was nice being able to share a place with friends. Here are the negative: it’s too far. Now, it’s really not, in the grand scheme of things, but one of the reasons I love Vegas is the energy and being a part of something exciting, and you don’t have that here. Also, it really isn’t all that feasible to walk to a casino — yes, Ellis Island, which I love, is 10 minutes, but I don’t want to walk that at 2am. And, yes, , they have a shuttle, we had a car and we could cab it — but it felt disconnected. So, I’m glad we did it, but it’s unlikely we’d do it again. Also, I could see how it would be a great place for families or for people staying a longer time who don’t need that connection to the hubbub. But I do. So, the first night we went downtown and caroused a bit, winning some at craps and losing some at video poker at Four Queens, before hopping around to Binion’s, Vegas Club, and Plaza and then calling it a night. Thanks to jet lag, we got up way early, and drove to meet our friends who were staying at the Mirage. We decided to do a walkabout up to Encore, since they hadn’t seen it yet. First, though, was breakfast, so we decided to hit the Wynn buffet. We had earned enough points in previous trips to get two free ones, but of course we would have paid for the scrumptious desserts and variety of offerings. The service — as with basically every other place in Vegas — was lacking though, and I can only assume they have cut staff due to the economy. After breakfast, we walked through Encore, then down to Palazzo, Caesars, and Planet Hollywood, where I won a bit on blackjack, but gave it back in video poker, once again. Soon, it was time to pick up the rest of our group from the airport and then get ready for our big dinner and mediocre show. I sort of pushed everyone into going to L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon for their winter tasting menu deal, and they agreed thankfully. It was amazing (review here), and I now have a life’s ambition to hit the Mansion. Dinner ran a bit long, so I literally ran across the street to make sure we could still get into Folies Bergere, for which I got $30 tickets from Goldstar. We could. Now, we’re not exactly fans of this kind of old school Vegas show, but we found Jubilee! at Bally’s entertaining enough, and since FB is closing down, we thought we should try it out. We ended up being seated in the very front row, which was awkward since we just wanted to laugh the whole time. The dancing was sometimes good, sometimes tired; the costumes, storyline, and singing were always tired. The best part was the comedian. It was just a little sad, which made us also a little sleepy. The next morning, we hit the Mirage buffet for breakfast, which was also very good (no Wynn, but completely acceptable). We decided to walk around some more and hit Caesars, where our friends discovered the wonders of Goldfish and Gems Wild Tiles. We then went back to Planet Hollywood and I tried my luck at video poker for the umpteenth time — and finally broke my unlucky streak there by get quite a few four-of-a-kinds, netting over $300. We dropped our friends off at the condo and hit Ellis Island for some video poker and microbrews; the former was unkind but the latter was smooth. Finally it was time for Cher. We ate a pedestrian meal at the Augustus Cafe before taking several escalators up to our seats. We were high, and so was she…OK, not really, but she’s a little wacky, which is just how I like my divas. Positives: she can still sing, there are some great costumes, and the show was entertaining. Negatives: she didn’t sing enough, there are too many goddamned costume changes, and the show could have been more entertaining. For instance, while Cher changed clothes for the 47th time, we were treated to a montage of her great acting performances, in such films as Suspect and Tea with Mussolini. I mean, really. So, more singing, fewer costume changes. It was still a hoot though, and I got to clap to “Dark Lady,” which is all I really wanted. We hung out some more on the Strip, managing to catch the volcano and getting a alcohol-less margarita from Casino Royale. We dropped our friends back at the condo and decided we didn’t do enough gambling, so we headed to Wynn for nice gambling and drinks. The gambling wasn’t so nice to me, but the drinks were, and I hope the points we racked up translate into something. The next morning we hit the 24-hour Starbucks on Paradise before meeting everyone else; they all headed off to Zion National Park, while I hung out for another few hours before my flight. I headed out to Palms where I used a coupon to get $50 off a very relaxing massage. I then crossed the street to Gold Coast and did some work with video poker (down) and craps (up). Soon, it was time to head to the airport after this quick little trip. So, overall, we had a good time. It was pretty low-key, but we did a lot of the things we love to do, ate some really good food, and saw a lot of skin in some very funny shows. And, saw a lot of douchebag shirts. Which is always good. Or horrible.