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Las Vegas 2004 Pre-Trip ReportLas Vegas 2004 Pre-Trip ReportMy LV 2004 Pre-Trip Rpt

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Sharkster, Aug 30, 2004.

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  1. Sharkster

    Sharkster Tourist

    Joined:
    May 4, 2004
    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Toronto

    My Trip Report

    August 30, 2004

    ‘Tis the day before my departure from overcast Toronto, destination sweltering Las Vegas.

    Originally I had hoped to experience Las Vegas in my annual trip whilst in the company of friends or family. In the past year, friends, brother and cousin have experienced life altering events, such as becoming grandparents, becoming home owners or hanging on to their jobs. So this year I venture far from home alone -- yet again. I enjoy Las Vegas as a solo traveler, but I’ve done that route many times already and would rather be with people I know. So do I simply give up on ever going back to Las Vegas until I someone I know is ready to go? Hell no!

    Something happened during the course of the summer: the urge took root. Could I wind through 2004 without visiting this desert oasis we all covet so much? I was driving home from New Brunswick having just attended a family reunion when the idea of getting my ass to Las Vegas started to fester. A couple of weeks later I was surfing the Net, came upon the Air Canada web site and found a great deal. My combined cost of flight and hotel this year will be slightly less than what I paid for flight alone each of the past two years. Once I realized I could fly cheaper commercial than via charter, I whipped out my credit card and made it official. One benefit of commercial flights is the flexibility of timing choosing from many flights each day, whereas charter flights strictly adhere to a set-in-stone schedule with no room to maneuver. (Is the generalization true, that charter flights are more cramped than seats on commercial airlines? Perhaps. I guess it depends on the airline, the plane and the seat one is assigned, I suppose.) My nonstop direct flight to Las Vegas, including all taxes and fees, totaled $453 (CDN). I’m not sure if Americans are aware of the surcharges, at least for those entering the US, involved with flying: my flight itinerary indicates 4 separate taxes and fees the US collects. All told, the amount is roughly a combined $50, but a number of agencies have their hands out wanting a chunk of the pie. (Why is it US customs makes people feel guilty about wanting to visit the US? I understand the dangers of opening your border to strangers, but when they swipe my passport, my traveling and personal history pops up on-screen. And there is nothing there to warrant a cold reception.)

    I’m a fan of the Las Vegas Strip. Only on two other occasions, of my previous 12 visits, have I stayed off the Strip. The first time was at the now defunct Maxim and the second time was at the Fremont. These two visits were close to ten years ago. I always take a day to visit downtown. This year I was tempted to book a room at Main Street Station. I enjoy the casino and heard nothing but good things about the staff and hotel. The buffet is superb, as is the brew pub. I will definitely make my way there sometime on Thursday this week.

    Last year I set up camp at the Imperial Palace having paid a rate of $29 a night. A bargain considering the location of the property. This year I found a rate of $44 and almost gave them a call. I wanted a different experience this year. Last year I had returned home up more money than I went there with. I hope to replicate that same feat again this year. There was something more I was hoping for, but it remained a half formed thought until I finished day dreaming about the different properties I had visited last year. One of those was the Orleans. I was less than impressed with what I saw, but there lingered the thought that maybe I didn’t give it enough of a chance. Word on this message board has been overwhelmingly positive, so it is primarily this reason alone that I booked three nights at the Orleans. The movie theater, the Mexican restaurant and the shuttle bus service are good reasons to base my stay here, and the decent rate of $49 a night helped, too.

    What more is there to say? Well two things. The first is the exchange rate. The US dollar has been hit hard in the last year enabling the Canadian dollar to recover from a low of $0.63 to $0.76. That means buying a US dollar has dropped from a ridiculous $1.53 to a moderate $1.31. Twenty-two cents on the dollar is big, especially if converting hard earned loonies into 1500 greenbacks. Last week I bought $500 (via an ABM that provided both US and CDN funds; and the ABM limited how much I could withdrawal at one time.) for the modest amount of $655. Alas, the greenback has gained some ground since then so subsequent withdrawals will be slightly more costly. But nothing to worry me about.

    The second thing to note is the angle I am taking with this year’s solo vacation. I awoke one night last week with the idea of involving my friends, family and coworkers in my vacation plans. If they couldn’t come with me, they could still live vicariously through me for three days. Like any adventure, people have a greater interest in the events if they can somehow benefit, be it as simple as hearing an entertaining story that involves guns, sex, money or a convalescence at a hospital. The unfortunate happenings to a tourist serve as meaty story fodder for the audience. I intend to stay out of trouble, but still give my home audience a reason to want to hear about my time in Las Vegas. I want to wade deep into the muck of gaming adventure and play all of the table games available, at least one session. Black Jack is my primary game. Three card poker is quickly becoming another favorite. Roulette is always fun. And while I thought about how to involve others in my game play, I settled on roulette as the game to use across the board. This is how I intend to involve others:

    I asked 32 people to provide three things:
    1. Indicate a day of the week (I’m in Las Vegas Tuesday through Friday),
    2. Select a time (using three choices: morning, afternoon or evening), and
    3. Choose a number between 0 through 36 or 00.

    I would then place a $1 bet on their behalf, using my own money. If their number comes up, they win $35 (US). The choice of the first two items gets them more involved than simply providing a number. I even offered to let them select a casino, but no one bit. (I should also note that two persons did give me a few bucks of their own money to make bets on their behalf.)

    To make these people feel more involved, I summarized the 3 items in a spreadsheet and distributed it to them before I left work on Friday. Some will remain apathetic to whatever happens in Las Vegas, and I’m sure others will be really interested to learn if they won and who else might have won. For me, doing this gives structure to my Las Vegas vacation, or at the least, some direction as opposed to wondering aimlessly over the next few days. And I am hoping the unfolding events makes for a exciting trip report. I’m past taking pictures and buying souvenirs. I hope to bring back possibly five winnings of the original 32. The odds are against me, as each bet has a 1 in 38 chance of hitting. But that’s where the fun is at. And in less than 1 day, I’ll be in the thick of it!

    Thus ends my pre-trip report. You can expect to see a trip report within the next two weeks (I tend to go on and on so time has a way of, well, getting in the way). :)

    May your day be filled with royal flushes!

    Sharkster
     
  2. Sharkster

    Sharkster Tourist

    Joined:
    May 4, 2004
    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Toronto
    Oops, sorry about the mucked up subject line. My pasting actions got out of hand. God, I need a vacation!

    A red-faced Sharkster slinks away to pack his luggage...
     
  3. rugbysteve

    rugbysteve Low-Roller

    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    Messages:
    320
    Location:
    ma
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    43
    Sharkster,
    nice pre trip report.. your Roulette wagering system reminds me of a favorite gambling story.

    My friend gives me $10 and tells me to wager it at the first Roulette Wheel I see... on the number 8.

    Well, I drop my bags in the room, head to the bar and on my way I pass a Roulette Wheel.

    I reach in my pocket and pull out a $10 bill, I place it on the table and tell the nice lady, "$10 on number 8 please."

    The wheel spins round and round, the ball bounces from number to number until magicaly.. it lands on the number 8.

    I jump with as excitment, the nice lady pushes a huge pile of chips to my direction.

    As I gather all the chips in a pile, it occurs to me..... now I should bet that $10 my friend wanted!

    Have fun .. Good luck on your adventure.
     
  4. KathyinNY

    KathyinNY Tourist

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2002
    Messages:
    850
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    2
    Interesting pre trip report. I do have to say, however, that it is not easy for U.S. citizens to enter Canadian territory either. My nine year old son had to have a folder full of I.D.'s, birth certificate, immunization shots, and a letter that had to be notorized giving authorization for his grandparents to take him over the border. I have no problems with this.

    Sure do hope you enjoy your trip to Vegas!
     
  5. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2002
    Messages:
    19,131
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    16
    Arthur Frommer (Frommer's Budget Travel magazine and hordes of travel guides) has written a couple of very interesting editorials bemoaning the fees that america (federal govt, not the airlines) charge foreigners to come into the US, and I agree. He fears retaliation from other countries (raising fees and/or adding hurdles for Americans to get into their countries) The world is supposed to be getting smaller, not closed off. In my opinion, of course.....
     
  6. JR Swift

    JR Swift High-Roller

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Messages:
    752
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    33
    Well I agree with the general sentiment, I'm all in favor of "cover charges" everywhere and maybe the border is an option. Cover charges at stores around Christmas time would sure keep the little kids from running around knocking over stuff. Cover charges at the DMV at busy times. Go off hours or pay up! Yeah...sorry...I need to go away now. [​IMG]
     
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