YES. This will be a long, rambling report. I am probably the most detailed person I know. If you’re comfortable reading long-winded senseless writings, then you’ll love this! part 1: saturday through monday Ahh, vegas. My home away from home…no seriously, I keep trying to pressure my boyfriend to move there. I’m a northern state kinda gal, so I am absolutely enamored with the scenery and weather in that area. And to be honest, I am sure part of me wants to move there only because my dad lives there. All of my family and friends live in Michigan, and I am never going back to that state. I am all alone out here. So the logical answer is to move to vegas! So a trip out there is always bittersweet. The week I am visiting, I am in bliss. The days after, I am depressed and lonely. I was tempted to just send my boyfriend back home while I stayed for the summer since I’m unemployed anyway. But I decided to be responsible and continue my job search back in the northeast. *sigh* Alright, so we’ve been counting down to this trip since January when we first booked our room. We ended up rebooking a different deal in May because it was so much better than our first one. Airfare was bought much later (we were trying to catch a deal here too but didn’t). my poor boyfriend has been on travel for work constantly. He got back on Thursday only to jump on a plane again on Saturday. Poor guy. We planned on getting up at 3:45am on Saturday the 19th for our 7:45am flight. We had to be at the bus stop by 5am (first bus of the day is at 5:15, and it’s about an hour commute). We had never done this commute by public transportation, so we gave ourselves plenty of time. Usually, our area is pretty quiet. We finally are able to go to bed around 11:30pm on friday. Eh, we’re already not going to get a lot of sleep. Then we hear heavy machinery outside our bedroom window. Huh? We live right on a pretty busy 4 lane road. Well turns out they decided to repave the WHOLE road on Friday night. Seriously? You guys couldn’t start on Saturday night once we left for a week? Come on! Needless to say, we didn’t really sleep that night. The next morning, everything was on schedule, and the bus ride took less than 45 minutes, so we were pretty early, which I prefer. Flight was good. We flew continental, and I usually like continental because they give you food when so few airlines even give you a drink. Since it was such an early flight, we got breakfast. I’m not a big fan of breakfast type food. Give me a hamburger, fries, and coke at 7am any day. But they gave some good stuff I have to say. Better than we expected for sure. We got a little box of cheerios, carton of 2% milk, a banana, and a muffin. Then they came by with drinks. Yes, I got a coke. My bf slept most of the plane ride. I had trouble sleeping, so I went back and forth from reading a wrinkle in time (I finished the wheel of time series about a week before we left darn it!), to watching in-flight movies (they showed the proposal-which I liked-and when in rome-which was a bit cheesy), to listening to harry potter on audio book (which I must say the narrator, stephen fry, does a fabulous job). I took some pics of the beautiful scenery from the airplane as well. The 5.5 hours went by pretty quickly. We arrived about 30 minutes late (have no idea why), and I texted my dad to let him know. He works nearby the strip/airport, so he was on his way. Stepping into the airport, I felt like I was coming home. A little secret I will tell you now since it will appear throughout: I am addicted to the lights and sounds of gaming machines (not just slots). I don’t really gamble or anything. I just love the colors, lights, and sounds. Yes, I am like a small child. We walk the mile from our gate to our baggage claim (tram ride included). Our bags were not lost; we’re off to a good start! First stop? In and out burger of course!! Why oh why can’t these people put them in the northeast? Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to have a sonic here at least. But I sure would love to see an in and out. I love the simplicity of the place. After chatting with my dad and eating a yummy burger, we head to Mandalay Bay for the shark reef. They were celebrating their 10th anniversary, so we got tickets for only $10 each (instead of $16 I think). Yes, I researched all this stuff before the trip. I found lots of coupons and deals, and I created an itinerary (I like schedule, what can I say?). so my dad of course paid for our tickets. In fact, my dad paid for a lot of things on this trip. I expected it but not in a snooty kind of way. I expected it because I know my dad too well. You have to be pretty sneaky to be able to pay around him. My bf tried several times and failed haha. the shark reef was something my dad and I have never done (the cost was just too high), so this was a new experience for all 3 of us. We even wore the silly hats they gave away (meant for kids I am sure). I was pleasantly pleased with the exhibit, but I wouldn’t pay the original price (call me cheap). Also as part of their celebration, they had a cake contest. Apparently top chefs from different strip hotels created a shark reef themed cake, and patrons of the shark reef were given ballots to vote for their favorite ones. The celebration also included free cookies (yes!!), balloon animals (the line was just too long and filled with kids for me to wait), and face painting (again, crowded with kids. What gives?). Now we have some time to kill until we go to dinner with my dad’s gf and family. So we head to my dad’s place and settle in (we stayed there for the first night since our hotel was booked for Sunday through Thursday). A couple hours later, we go to the casino my dad’s gf works at and eat at the buffet. Yay, our first buffet of the trip!! A little back story here: I have been dieting/exercising and trying to be healthier in general since January. Up to the trip, I had lost about 25 lbs (still have 30 to go to get to my weight before I developed a thyroid disorder). So I really wanted to try to be as good as possible on this trip even with all the buffets we planned on eating. And spoiler alert! I only gained about 4-5lbs on the whole trip (and I am already back down to what I was before I left! Yes!!). so at this first buffet, I got a plate of fruit and salad, no bread, only drank water. Then I had a plate of “regular” food, then a bowl of yummy gelato and a brownie. Overall, not too shabby. It’s getting late, so everyone leaves the casino except for me, my dad and my bf. We gambled a little (I like job video poker; my dad prefers that triple bonus poker-he should too, he’s won tons of money on those!). we make it back to his place around 11 (remember, we have been up since 3:45am my time. So by time we go to bed the first night, we had been up almost 24 hours). My dad’s gf had a little bday party set up just for the 5 of us. It was soooo sweet. There were party hats, party favors, matching napkins and plates, and a cake of course! I guess daddy’s little girl never grows up. I was still stuffed from the buffet, but I managed to fit a piece of cake in there haha. Then finally, we’re off to bed. Sunday is father’s day and my bday. We get up around 7am and head to ihop for breakfast for my dad (his choice). After that we go home and wait for another person to arrive. Once they arrive, we head to a park near my dad’s place. The purpose of this is for me to get my running in. so there I am exercising in the bright sun, while everyone else is just sitting in the shade watching me do laps. Hmmm, there is something wrong with this picture! Haha. Then we head back home to pack up and leave for check in at MGM Grand. We get in line while my dad goes to pick up our ka tickets (a bday present from him). Not very long lines at all at check in, and you can choose which line you get in. I think it was about 2pm when we were checking in. I tried to choose the friendliest face I could. They actually all looked kind of stern. I was super nervous because I wanted to ask for a complimentary upgrade to a suite for my bday. Nope, I didn’t try the $20 trick because frankly, I am poor and we were content with a tower room. But the clerk said they are not allowed to give comp upgrades. LIAR! The guy on the phone told me specifically to ask for one! Oh well. So then I ask for something smaller: can we get a comped fridge in our room? “sure. Let me go get that ready for you.” Yay! We only needed the fridge to keep our alcohol and drinks in. she also said she can give us a room with a view. this was our first time staying at mgm, so we were a little lost trying to find our room. The check in clerk didn’t tell us how to get to our rooms. I honestly didn’t know that the area of elevators went to ALL rooms, no matter what tower you are in. contrary to what a lot of people say on stupid trip advisor, mgm is not TOO big. It is super easy to get around. It only took about 5 min to get from our room to the pool and fitness center and only about 5 min to head to the strip (coming out the west wing exit near the Grand Canyon store). There are plenty of signs everywhere. Plus, not to toot my own horn, I am pretty awesome with directions and remembering layouts. So we head to our room; my dad wanted to see it. He was going to go with us to check out the pool, but he had to get going. The clerk wasn’t kidding about the view. It was great! We were right smack in front of ny, ny. We had a great view of Monte Carlo and city center as well. We could see the mgm grand sign really well too. It was wonderful. 26th floor and not too far from the elevators. We say our goodbyes and then head to the pool to use our first $25 pool credit (we wanted a drink but wouldn’t be actually swimming at the pool that day). We got a souvenir mug with a margarita on the rocks. It was pricey, $23, but worth it since we could refill that for only like $11. We used that mug twice daily to get our drink credits. Worked out well because we definitely would not have spent that of our own money. Oh and I should mention that they say you can’t bring in your own alcohol or food, but that’s not true. They do check bags when you go to the pool, but they’re just checking for glass. We saw tons of people with huge mugs (like the big gulp plastic mugs from 7/11) filled with something (we’re guessing alcohol). So we did that the next couple of times since we had jim beam and diet coke in the room. And you could bring in food too. We brought in mcdonald’s a few times. Really quick side note: the mcdonald’s there was actually not as pricey as we thought it would be. We‘re used to nyc pricing on fast food, and I would say it comparable except the mgm actually had a $1 menu! Yay! The pizza place next door was soooo expensive (like $22 for a cheese pizza). But the pizza place had good garlic knots (6 for $4). Ok, back to our day on Sunday (my birthday!). after getting our drink, we head back to the room to change. And we’re off!! Our first stop for my bday celebration (I’m 28 btw) is seablue right inside mgm. I had spotted info online about their happy hour and immediately added it to my itinerary. The lobster corndogs caught my eye. Their happy hour consists of: Â½ off draft beer (choice of stella and fat tire), Â½ lobster corn dogs (which still made it about $7.50), Â½ off salt and pepper calamari ($5), $1 shrimp and $1 oysters (both had to be ordered in groups of Â½ dozen at least). We both don’t like oysters, and the bf is allergic to shrimp (so he says-I have yet to see a reaction). I was dying to try the lobster corn dogs though. I love corn dogs in general, so adding lobster definitely piqued my interest. They were sooooo good! I recommend getting these. The single order came with 4 mini corn dogs, plenty for 2 people. The calamari was ok in taste. To be fair, I think my bf and I are accustomed to calamari served at thai restaurants. Seablue’s calamari’s taste was a little bland for us. But I have to say the calamari was extremely fresh. I think our bill was about $30 and included an order of lobster corndogs, calamari, and 3 beers. Good start to the birthday! Next we walk to paris for my requested dinner at mon ami gabi. I have wanted to go here since it opened, but most of my trips have been in January. So we got there about 7:20pm on Sunday night. I cancelled my indoor reservation and got a pager for the patio (the WHOLE point of me wanting to go to this particular restaurant). We waited about an hour and were seated in a perfect spot on the patio. We ordered a bottle of wine and a chicken entrÃ©e to share (the frites were sooooo damn good). The waitress brought over a baguette. I have not yet mentioned my obsession with bread, but you will see this recurring theme throughout the trip. I devoured this baguette. My poor bf maybe got some crumbs haha. Service was good, wine was good, food was good, and atmosphere was awesome! We watched about 4 or 5 of the Bellagio fountain shows (they were showing every 15 minutes by that time of night). I have no clue what the bill was since bf wouldn’t let me see it. I’m guessing it was about $50 (not bad at all). After dinner I stopped over at the star trek slots because I had read someone’s trip report that mentioned their love for them. Plus, my brother is obsessed with star trek in general, so I thought I would play a little to pay homage to my geeky brother. Uh oh. Bad move. I am officially addicted to the star trek slots. It didn’t happen that night I have to say. I was confused by the way it worked, and frankly, I have never played slots before. I was sitting next to some nerdy guy (there were only 2 machines in all of paris-I found out later that they are hard to find!). so he saw I was a damsel in distress and started explaining it to me. Then he noticed my 6’4” bf standing behind me, and he turned away mumbling whatever he was saying about the game. Haha. Thanks giant bf for scaring my teacher away; now I don’t know how to play! *no worries. I learned later and thus the addiction began. Well that was it for my bday. We were so exhausted from our first day still that we just strolled back to our hotel (it’s about a 25-30 min walk from paris to mgm in case anyone is interested). Monday started too early for my liking, then again, anything before 10am is too early for me. I got up at 6:30am and went to the fitness center (hey it was one of my daily freebies from the deal we booked-I would never spend $25 to have access to the spa and gym or $15 just for the gym. No way). I was surprised to see it full. Crazy people, working out in vegas when they could be sleeping or drinking. Oh wait, I was one of those crazy people. What happened to me?!?!?! As I mentioned earlier, I run for exercise (among other things). Since there was nowhere for me to run outside (I later discovered that an early morning strip run is perfect), I jumped on a treadmill. Can’t be that different from outside right? Wrong! I found out that I absolutely cannot run on a treadmill. I feel so enclosed and trapped. No thanks. So I tried other cardio equipment for an hour. The fitness center overlooks the pool, so I was getting antsy. Walked back to the room, and the walk was still quiet and empty. Definitely a benefit to getting up early. I wake up my lucky, non-exercising bf and we change into bathing suits and head to the pool. Well the pool opens at 8 (it was 9 when we got down there). But the lazy river doesn’t open until 10. What?!?! I’m not much for just sitting in a pool. Boring. All we wanted was an inner tube (also included in my daily freebies), a drink, and the lazy river. All of those things were closed until 10am. Seriously? That sucks butt. We were only staying at the pool until noon anyway. Grrrr. So we sat by some other pool (don’t get me wrong, the other pools are gorgeous-it’s just not my thing). My bf worried about me burning (yeah, I am about as pale as they get while he is a dark tan Puerto Rican god), so we moved to the shade. We had no drink and no sun. the worst thing for me was I had no book (yep, I am one of those people who if I am sitting still I need to be doing something, and my choice activity is reading). But sitting here, we discovered all the info about bringing in your own food and drink. Finally, the lazy river opens, and the people flood it! We were worried we wouldn’t get a seat, but the seating area is huge! No need to worry. We got a nice partly sunny/partly shady spot. I went to get the drink (luckily the bar opened on time). Then I walked to the inner tube rental, which was NOT open yet. The girl didn’t show for like another 15 minutes! If I had known, I would have just gone back to the chairs and waded through the river myself. Grrr. Can you tell I need things to be on time and according to a schedule? Finally, I am halfway through my yummy margarita when I get my tube. Walk back to my bf, and he’s like “where’s the rest of the drink?” I point to my tummy. Haha. I guess a benefit to waiting for the tube is I didn’t have to share the drink mwuhahahaha! Mgm knows you need more than one tube, and that is why they only comp you one. They expect you to shell out the $16 for another one. Yeah right! Not these cheapos! So the lazy river is only about 3 ft deep. When I stand up straight, I have from my waist up showing. When my bf stands, he has from about 6 inches below his waist showing. It's quite a funny sight actually haha. And he couldn’t float through the river very easily without scraping his legs or feet. So I gave him the tube since I could just hang on and be dragged. He tried this too but almost flipped the tube with me in it over! We had fun. It wasn’t very crowded (i.e., you could move through the river easily). We left around 12:15, went back to the room and got ready for lunch. We headed to tacos and tequila in the luxor. I bought a $25 gift certificate from Restaurant.com for only $2. Woohoo! Of course, we know that you need to spend $35 to be able to use it. Well, the menu items are priced a certain way that you pretty much have to spend like $50. No biggie. In hindsight, we should have gotten two appetizers and one entrÃ©e since the entree's were so big. Oh well. We were seated right away (probably was 2pm by now). I think there was only 1 waiter, and he was working hard. No complaints there. We were given chips and salsa pretty quickly. We only ordered water. We ordered a sample platter for our app. It had nachos, tamales, shrimp quesadillas and beef flautas. The shrimp quesadillas were to die for! I recommend ordering that as the full app. The nachos were super tasty too. I didn’t like the other stuff, so bf ate those. Bf got enchiladas (which I can make at home-I have a rule never to order anything from a restaurant that I can make decently at home). I got a chicken burrito. These dishes came with rice and beans of course. My burrito was ginormous! I ate about 4 bites and had to have it boxed. The sample app platter was a meal on its own. We left feeling extremely full. This is when I started to not feel well. No, it wasn’t the food. I think I was extremely dehydrated. Before vegas, I normally drink about 18-24 glasses of water a day. In vegas, I was struggling to get 10 glasses. My body was not used to this lack of water, the dry heat (it was about 105 mostly), and all the direct sun. so I was miserable. We walked to madame tussaud’s since bf has never been to one (I have been to vegas, nyc, and Amsterdam). My dad had bought us tickets because they are running a special for Nevada residents. Only $10 per ticket! That’s a $15 saving! But they told us we could only use them on the day they are bought (I guess that keeps residents from buying tons in advance and maybe selling them for profit?). my dad had picked us up from our hotel earlier to go to the venetian to get them, then dropped us at luxor for lunch. So now we are walking the extremely long way to venetian. This does not help my condition. We should have taken the bus, but I was stubborn. Shocker. It is now about 5pm. My dad bought the tickets at 2:08pm. We get there, and it is closed. Wtf?!?! An attendant is standing by a sign that says the museum was open from 10am-3pm and is now closed for a private event. Wtf??? So I ask what’s going on? I told him we bought these tickets at 2, and my dad had asked if we could come back any time since we were going to lunch at that time. The cashier said yes, they were open until 10pm. In fact, they won’t sell you a ticket if you try to buy one when there is less than one hour left of the museum being open. So why in the world did they allow us to buy a ticket at 2:08pm when the museum closed at 3pm? And why would the cashier not know anything about the event that night? And why wasn’t that sign in place for the whole day? The attendant didn’t have answers. He simply said, sorry, we’re closed. So I told him that we were told we could only use the tickets on the day they were bought. He said “no I am here all day tomorrow, come back. You can use them.” Ok. So I took his picture and a picture of the sign to prove my case for Tuesday. I was beyond pissed! Did I mention my necessity for adhering to a schedule? Yeah, I am neurotic. So I am already feeling shitty because of the lack of water, now my plans are completely askew! I specifically planned this. I didn’t want to do madame tussaud’s on Tuesday because we were doing buffet of buffets. I would be so fat that day and wearing an outfit that can handle 3 buffets in one day. I didn’t want tons of pics from the wax museum on the same day as that! Plus, I had a cute outfit on today! Damn them! Yeah I know, sounds childish. I swear I didn’t throw a public tantrum, just one in my head. So we left. I was pretty pissed mostly because we walked for an hour to get there. We had to keep stopping in casinos so I could get some ac and some water. We found out on this long trek that no casinos have drinking fountains. Really? They want you to pay $4 for water? Don’t think so. Luckily, the bartenders were nice enough to give us some ice water, which I transferred to my water bottle (yep, I actually brought my reusable water bottle on this trip because I knew I needed to drink water). After being rejected by madame tussaud, we went inside to get bf a player’s card. And I found my star trek machines! This is when the actual addiction began. I was getting bonuses! I was addicted to bonuses. I could care less about the money. Just give me a bonus! I think I accrued about 40 medals while in vegas. After winning about $50 (which is huge for me!), we head across the street just in time for the volcano show (it is 8pm now). We walk to Flamingo (I wanted to go through the wildlife habitat, but I wasn’t feeling well, and it was dark by time we got there) for our first buffet of buffets. We sit down probably around 8:30pm. No line whatsoever. We weren’t too impressed with the spread. But I will say I must have needed food because I felt 100% better after eating something. I have to say that even though the buffet was about average fare, they had a great fruit selection. They had cotton candy, but it wasn’t as good as harrah’s cotton candy (lunch for the next day). For some reason, the buffet gets packed at 9:30 (they close at 10). We wondered if maybe there was some sort of half off deal if you came at 9:30. We left stuffed but content. We walk back to our hotel. We played some video poker at mgm. I won about $40; bf lost about $40. Then we headed up and went to bed. How in the world do these people handle drinking all day and partying at clubs all night? Crazy. We were so tired.