This is my first crack at a trip report. It ended up a LOT more detailed than I anticipatedâ€”consider yourself warned! 40 Hours in Vegas â€“ October 8-10, 2004 Situation: Quick trip to attend wifeâ€™s friendâ€™s wedding at the Monte Carlo on October 9th. While this would seem to be a perfect excuse to plan a Vegas trip (as if an excuse is needed), we wavered a little because it would be our first time separated from our newborn daughter (our first, 3 months old). We missed her, of course, but it didnâ€™t dampen our trip. Flew NW from DTW, arrived in Vegas at 5:00 p.m. on Fridayâ€”on time! Highlight from flight: Every 20 minutes or so, some guy a few rows behind us says loudly, â€œIâ€™ve flown this flight before, and itâ€™s usually a party flight! Everyoneâ€™s so quiet!â€ OK, buddy. I donâ€™t need noise-deficiency guilt. Sorry that weâ€™re not fun enough for you! Since this was a short trip, no need to check baggage, so we headed straight for the taxi line. Once I saw the line, I wondered if it would be faster to walk to the Luxorâ€¦ But the line moved pretty quickly, and we were in a cab in about 20 minutes. CELEBRITY SIGHTING: The taxi line wrapped around about 4 or 5 times, so you end up walking past the same people several times. This gave me a few chances to make sure that the person I thought was Jeffrey Ross (comedian, probably best known for the recent Friarsâ€™ Club roasts) really was him. After the 3rd pass, my wife confirmed. Since I am averse to public ridicule (Mr. Rossâ€™s specialty), I decided not to bother him. CELEBRITY SIGHTING FLASHBACK: My first trip to Vegas was in 2000. A friend and I were walking through the newly-opened Aladdin when we noticed some huge bodyguards protecting someone scoping out the casino. A closer look revealed it to be Eve, the R&B artist. Then we looked over and saw 2 of the members of N-Sync playing roulette. Walked over to the blackjack tables, literally bumped into Tina Yothers (remember her?), and sat down at a table with Carson Daly and Tara Reid. Apparently, the Aladdin was hosting some kind of music awards. We had no idea! While I thought about trying to procure some N-Sync autographs for my 11 year-old cousin, I decided that it would permanently damage my Vegas swagger. Good times. Anyway, back to the present. Our cab driver was a pleasant bloke from Eritrea. Took the tunnel and claimed that it was far better than taking Tropicana at that time of day. Were we long-hauled? Donâ€™t know, donâ€™t really care. A couple of bucks isnâ€™t going to ruin my vacation. Arrived at the Luxor and walked right up to an available registration clerk. So much for the check-in horror stories Iâ€™ve heard about this place! Asked for a pyramid room looking north on the strip, but I was told that there were only 2 rooms availableâ€”one facing Mandalay Bay and one facing a wall. I chatted the clerk up a bit to see if it would help her remember some available rooms, but no dice. So I asked for the MB view, please. She said that it was lucky for me that I was nice to her or else I would have been given the wall. OK thenâ€¦ This was my 4th trip to Vegas and first staying anywhere other than Ballyâ€™s. The Luxor pyramid rooms seemed to me a bit smaller than Ballyâ€™s rooms and far darker. While the novelty of looking out of the slanted window was neat for a while, I thought that the room looked a little run-down. The bathroom had a couple of sticky spots on the floor (ick) and the ironing board cover was more brown stain than slate-gray. Whateverâ€”this will do, as we didnâ€™t intend to spend a ton of time in the room. One cool thing about the Luxor is that thereâ€™s activity right outside your doorâ€”you can look right down through the atrium to the mezzanine lever, with restaurants, theaters, etc. If only you could look down to the casinoâ€¦ We gathered ourselves for a minute and decided to head over to NYNY to eat at Gonzalez y Gonzalez. My wife has been abstaining from alcohol for a long timeâ€”first the pregnancy, then the nursingâ€”so we were on a mission to get a margarita for her. Waited about 20 minutes for a table, then inhaled the complimentary chips and salsa. Guess it had been a while since weâ€™d eaten! Wife had a frozen berry margarita and Mexican lasagna, I had a traditional margarita and fajitas. Food was pretty goodâ€”my fajita meat was a little dry, but the wife loved the lasagna. And the margaritas went down very nicely, thank you. My wife tried to get a hold of her friends that were in town. While waiting to hear from them, we played some 8/5 JOB at NYNY. I figured that we probably wouldnâ€™t get to our favorite 9/6 machines at Caesarâ€™s this trip, if they even still exist. Didnâ€™t hit much, cashed out down about $30. Decided to head back to Nefertitiâ€™s Lounge at the Luxor to wait for her friends to arrive. This is a decent casino lounge, good drink service. There was a band playing mostly disco songsâ€”not my favorite, but they were pretty good. I spent the next hour or so sipping Coronas and feigning shock and disgust at the apparel of some of the female patrons. â€œYeah, honey, I donâ€™t know how someone can go out dressed like thatâ€¦â€ Her friends call and want us to meet them at the Bar at Times Square at NYNY. They said that thereâ€™s a pretty decent-sized line and that itâ€™s $10 cover. Hold everything. If Iâ€™m going to wait in line to go into a bar, there better be supermodels in there giving free massages. And if I have to PAY on top of it, the massages better come with happy endings. I will not debate this. Fortunately, I have an understanding wife (OK, not THAT understanding), and she convinces them to come to Nefertitiâ€™s. The friends arrive at close to midnight, and Iâ€™m really starting to drag. Iâ€™m up every day at 5 a.m. for work, so midnight PDT is awfully late on the first day out west. I decide to head up to bed so that I can put in a full day on Saturday, and to let my wife catch up with her friends. Believe me, this is a low point for meâ€”heading to bed in Vegas while my wife is still going strong. I attribute it to the fact that I just turned 30 and sheâ€™s still just 29. Thatâ€™s what I keep telling myself. After playing â€œspot the hookerâ€ on the way back to Inclinator 2, I collapse into bed. Wife shows up 15 minutes later and says â€œI need money and my ID. Weâ€™re going dancing.â€ So she and her friends tear it up at Studio 54 until 3 a.m., as I lay in bed wondering if my AARP card arrived at home. Now, the upsideâ€”Iâ€™m up and ready to go before 8 a.m. The wife, not so much. I grab a shower and head down to International Grounds for coffee. Stopped by the sports book to check the college football lines. I picked out 6 games that I liked, but I didnâ€™t feel really strongly about them. Weâ€™ll see. Back to the room to get the wife. Headed down to the Pyramid CafÃ© for breakfast. We were seated immediately and ordered large OJs. I was pleasantly surprised that the large OJs really are big. I hate those places that give you thimbles full of juice. Wife ordered scrambled eggs and sausage, I had eggs benny. The food was decentâ€”nothing spectacular, but it filled us up. The service wasnâ€™t that good. We had to beg to have our server come to take our order, give us our bill, etc. The agenda for the day called for my wife to take her friend (the bride) to get her hair done, do some shopping, etc. It dawned on me that this means that Iâ€™ll have some alone time in Vegas! Good Lord, will I be able to handle this? I walk my wife over to NYNY to meet her friends. After wishing them well, I pondered my options while starting to tremble a little. At that point, I felt the way that I think my dog feels whenever I take her off of her leash and let her run free. I just kept picturing my dogâ€™s face looking up at meâ€”â€œAre you serious? I can go WHEREVER I WANT??â€ She usually then proceeds to make a beeline for the nearest objects to sniff. I decided that this would be a bad idea in Vegas, so I walked over to MGM. My goal was to find the Majestic Lions slots that have received rave reviews on the message boards. I found them, all right. The lions feasted on my wallet for a few minutes, and turned tail and ran out of there. I didnâ€™t hit a single thing. Nothing. Not even a token 3-credit pity hit. This isnâ€™t going well. OKâ€”I still had time to place my bets. I head back to the Luxor, thinking that it would be easiest to collect from there later. On the way to the book, I spot a $5 blackjack table with 2 people playing. Well, I canâ€™t pass this up. It was even 3/2, rather than the 6/5 that is spreading like one of those underground fungi that they sometimes find under entire cities. Played through a couple of shoes and was doing OK when the double-whammy hitâ€”time to shuffle and time to bring the angry southpaw out of the bullpen. I had just won about 6 hands in a row, including some doubles and splits, so I bailed to preserve my $100 winnings. I didnâ€™t want to stare down the closer. Besides, I had had enough of watching my tablemates stand with soft 16 and hit 14 against a 6. By this time, most of my games had started. Oh well. Of course, the football gods will now punish my tardiness by having my games come through. Sure enough, here we go. Wisconsinâ€”win. Penn Stateâ€”cover. San Jose Stateâ€”cover. By the end of the day, 5 of my 6 games were winners. Dammitâ€¦ After some JOB outside the Luxor sportsbook (still coins, not TITO), I walked over to MB. Love the smell of this place. The sportsbook was a madhouse, so I parked myself at one of the VP bars and quaffed a few more Coronas while watching the games. Doesnâ€™t get much better than this. Ohâ€”did I mention the clear upgrade in CW talent between the Luxor and MB? Phenomenal. Spent the rest of the afternoon at MB until the wife called and asked me to meet her at NYNY. Back I go. By the way, I developed a severe disdain for the Excalibur, mainly because it was just an obstacle for me to get past as I shuttled between Luxor and NYNY. Picked her up and headed back to Luxor to prepare for the wedding. I wonâ€™t get into the wedding details, but the Monte Carlo chapel and ceremony were nice. I had never been inside MC beforeâ€”I liked it. Definitely will spend more time there next trip. After the wedding, the guests all headed to Andreottiâ€™s at Harrahâ€™s for dinner. Nice little place. Fantastic bread and Caesar salads, good wine selection (more on that in a minute). I had veal picatta, and it was so-so. The veal was a bit chewy, and the sauce was way heavier than any picatta dish Iâ€™ve ever had. Everyone else was happy with their entrees (wife had eggplant parmesan), so maybe I just had bad luck. Still ate everything on my plate, though. Funny how that happens. Highlight: One of the guests claimed to be knowledgeable about wine, so our end of the table left it to him to order a bottle for us. He made his selection. When the waiter brought the bottle, the guest complained that it wasnâ€™t what he had ordered. The waiter protested that â€œthis is the only one we haveâ€, but it was sent back. Then it happened AGAIN with the secondary wine selectionâ€”the olâ€™ bait-and-switch. The waiter sent the manager out, who was about as much of an old Vegas-type of guy that Iâ€™d ever seen. He asks the problem, offers a solution, and wonâ€™t leave until the disgruntled guest smiles. Then the kicker: The manager says, â€œWhat size are your feet?â€ Confused, the guest asks him why he wants to know. The reply: â€œIn Sicily, when someone complains, we ask what size their feet are. That way we know how big to make the concrete shoes! Iâ€™m joking, Iâ€™m joking!â€ Maybe so, but I still shifted my seat away from him just a littleâ€¦ After dinner, we walked south on the strip. Grabbed a Ghiradelliâ€™s ice cream fix for my wife (I would have joined her, but I was way too full). Gave a poor lost couple directions on how to get to IP from Harrahâ€™s. I then explained to them how to find your hand once youâ€™ve located your wrist. Yet again, I was amazed at the young children on the strip at night. I mean, seriously. People have the right to raise their kids however they want, but in what universe is it a good idea to have kids in strollers on the strip after dark? They usually look miserable or terrified, and I feel so bad for them. Obviously, some people donâ€™t see a problem with this. I do, and I will not argue about this. Feeling that Iâ€™m cheating on Ballyâ€™s, I avoid eye contact as we pass. We stop at Paris for a few minutes. Itâ€™s kind of a cheesy place (no pun intended), but we like it. I ogled the CWs while my wife ogled the chandeliers. Getting tired, we cabbed it back to Luxor, played VP for a while longer, and headed to bed. Up bright and early to grab a 9 a.m. flight back to DTW. I thought that getting to the airport by 7:30 would be plenty of time. Then I saw the security line for the D gates. Holy &%$@! There must have been a couple thousand people in that line. Fortunately, it moved remarkably fast and we made our flight in plenty of time. I amused myself by watching people try to weasel through the first class security line rather than stand with the cattle. It never workedâ€¦ Bottom line: Though short, it was a good trip. Didnâ€™t gamble a lot, but had a blast. Satisfied the Vegas jones for a while, at least until I got onto the plane to head home. Might head back for a guysâ€™ trip in a few monthsâ€”hopefully, Iâ€™ll have a T-minus soon! Thanks for reading.