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October 9-14, Bellagio & TI

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by DaveP, Oct 28, 2005.

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  1. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    Does anyone know what the record is for longest trip report? Not that I was trying, but this turned out to be a “War and Peaceâ€-type trip report. Sorry, but I tend to ramble when I’m talking about Vegas. Can’t help myself. Here goes. Hopefully this isn’t as painful as a high school English class….

    Who – Me, solo for a couple days, and then meeting parents in town for a few days
    What – A 5 night/4 day trip to Vegas
    Where – Two nights at Bellagio, three at TI, and 99% of the time spent between Circus Circus on the north and NYNY/MGM on the south. Didn’t make it Downtown. Again.
    When – Sunday 10/9 through Friday 10/14
    Why – Why not?
    How – Any way I can manage a trip to Vegas.

    Side note: Much of my report is sectioned off into the Strip Hotels, Restaurants, and Show forums, in the interest of space. Not that it makes the remaining portion any less than a novel, but I tried. Welcome to War and Peace.

    Sunday, 10/9

    I got to Bradley Airport (north of Hartford, CT) for a 5:50 PM flight on Continental. I was able to book aisle seats on all four parts of the trip, 2 out and 2 coming back, for a little more room to stretch. On the way from Hartford to Cleveland, I had a 3-month old in the seat across the aisle, and a 2-year old in front of me. I thought “uh-ohâ€, but there was no problem, other than the 3-month old spitting up in the aisle after having a bottle. But what the heck, there’s lots of that going on in Vegas trash cans, so I figure I’m just getting a preview. The first leg to Cleveland was the no-frills flight – no music, no movie, a microscopic bag of peanuts, and a cup (not can) of soda. I guess that’s what flying’s all about these days.

    Got to Cleveland around 8:00 PM, and headed over to the connection gate to check on the next flight, which was supposed to leave at 8:50 PM. The plane was there and ready, but no flight crew. They were delayed coming out of La Guardia. The crew was expected around 8:30, and the new departure time was announced for 9:00 PM. I’ve done enough flying to translate that into what they really meant – 9:30 PM. So, to kill some time and some hunger pains, I headed off to Sbarro for “dinnerâ€. I got a slice of cheese pizza, a slice of pepperoni, and a soda, and paid about what you would expect in an airport - $8.50. Other than the fact that I broke a plastic for trying to cut it, the pizza really was pretty good.

    I headed back to the gate, and found I got my translation time correct. We didn’t get off the ground until after 9:30. But on this trip, I hit my first jackpot. Not one, but TWO microscopic bags of peanuts. BONUS!! The movie on board was the infamous Mr. & Mrs Smith – the movie that got Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie together. Wait a minute – are they a couple? Are they not? I can’t remember what the latest statement from them says. Either way, the action scenes were pretty good, but I couldn’t hear the dialog because of lousy sound and headphones, and with jet engines close by outside the window. But I’m guessing I didn’t miss much. It was OK to kill time, but I wouldn’t pay money to see it.

    We landed in Vegas around 10:20, about 20 minutes late, and seemed to taxi forever. I think we landed at Nellis Air Force Base north of Vegas, and taxied to the gate at McCarran. I’m anxious to get going, and I didn’t have any patience left. Luckily my bag came off the carousel pretty quickly, and I was off to the Budget shuttle to pick up my rental car.

    When I use Budget, I use their Fastbreak card to get out of the airport faster than doing a standard check-in. In the past, I’ve gotten to the Budget lot, and the car was ready an running for me. I just had to show my license and I was off. This time, I had to go to the express window and tell them my name, give a credit card and driver’s license, sign the paperwork, etc., and then go walk to my car. Not really bad, but not what I expected. The other minor disappointment was that I had asked for a non-smoking car, and instead got a Ford Taurus that smelled of smoke. I figured I was going to smell smoke all week, and I didn’t want to go back to the check-in window, so I took what I got.

    Random thought – How come the Ford Taurus doesn’t have cup holders? This isn’t a cheap car by any means. Are cup holders an option that rental companies just don’t want to pay for? This is the second Taurus I’ve been in where I had to clip a drink into the seat belt in the passenger seat, or try to balance it between my legs.

    Anyway, on we go. There was little traffic on The Strip at this point – about 11:00 PM, which was surprising, but nice. I got to the Bellagio pretty quickly, got past their security at the self-park, and off to the registration desk. Checked in at 11:30 and took what they gave me, which turned out to be pretty nice. A full review of the Bellagio room is available in the Strip Hotels forum (http://www.travel2vegas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=134558#post134558). I was in the room about 3 minutes, just long enough to figure out the safe and drop the bags, before I was headed back downstairs for a real dinner and some gambling.

    First thing to do was check all the football scores from the games I missed while traveling. I checked the Yankee score too, saw that they won game 4 against the Angels, an was temporarily happy with that series. Then it was off to the Café Bellagio for a late dinner (close to midnight). A full review is under the “Restaurants†forum (http://www.travel2vegas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=134556#post134556).

    After dinner, I spent a little time giving The Bellagio my money playing video poker. I played some dollar 8/5 Jacks Or Better and some dollar Triple Play Bonus Poker. Had a couple Bailey’s on the rocks while I played, and finally called it a night at 2:00 AM (5:00 AM Eastern time, where I originally started the day.

    (more to come)
     
  2. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

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    Monday 10/10

    I’m in Vegas, and I get up at 6:30 AM. Dam that internal clock set to Eastern time!! Well, I’m awake, so I guess it’s time to get ready and get the day going. I head downstairs to get a $3.50 iced tea at the gelato shop. Wow, $3.50 for a tea bag, some water, and some ice. But I’m in Vegas, and I’m in the Bellagio, so I have to deal with it. I head to a Triple Play Bonus Poker machine, and throw in $20 to wake myself up before breakfast.

    When I’m fully awake, I get in the car and drive on down to the Peppermill. A full review is posted under the Restaurant forum (http://www.travel2vegas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=134552#post134552). Although a couple dishes were disappointing on this trip there, I still like the Peppermill, and won’t hesitate to go again.

    After breakfast, I went on a tour of the down-on-their-luck and soon-to-be-gone casinos of yesterday. That was part of the plan when I started the day at The Peppermill – it put me in a good position for my tour. I made quick stops at some of the first casinos I ever visited in Vegas, and got to see these places, maybe for the last time. It was like saying goodbye to old friends that are terminal. And dropping a couple bucks in each to help supplement the severance pay funds.

    First stop was the Riviera. Yes it’s celebrating it’s fiftieth anniversary, and yes, there are no announced plans to shut it down, but I wouldn’t put money on it being open 5 years from now. I played a bit, and actually joined the slot club, only because someone came up to me to sign me up, and I was winning a bit. Then it was across the street to Circus Circus. I know this isn’t currently (or publicly, anyway) on the chopping block either. Years ago, I stayed at CC maybe 3 or 4 times. And I just had to go in. From there, I headed through Slots of Fun, and donated a couple bucks, and visited just long enough to look around. Then it was going from bad to worse – off to the Westward Ho. I knew this place was going to be gone in a month, and had to get in one more time. Besides, I had never seen a Ho Dog before. So I headed over to the snack bar to get a look, not that I had any intention of tasting one. It looks just as nasty live as it does in the pictures I’ve seen. Amazingly, the snack bar, and the casino overall, was busier than I expected. From the Ho, I made one last stop at a soon-to-be gone casino, the Stardust. My first ever Royal Flush came at either The Stardust or The Riviera, can’t remember which.

    After stopping in here, I couldn’t take the depression any more. I had to get back to a resort that’ll still be around in 5 years. So, to go to extremes, I stopped at the Wynn. I like Steve’s self parking, with signs at the entrance to each level that tell you how many parking spaces are available. That way, you don’t waste your time on a level that has 4 spaces available, when, on the next level up, there are 79 open. Another nice little touch. I felt so good about the parking garage signs, that I had no problem leaving a couple hundred behind in the casino before I walked across to the Fashion Show Mall and took the new bridge from there to TI. There is a bridge from Wynn to Fashion Show Mall, but I didn’t need that – not much traffic. The bridge from Wynn to the Venetian side of the street is still under construction.

    At TI, I hopped onto a Caribbean Stud table. I couldn’t get anything going there. At one point, I had a pair of 9’s, the dealer had a pair of Jacks. I had three deuces, the dealer had three 9’s. That was it, I had to get out of there. While I was playing, there was a woman sitting a couple seats away to my left. I noticed here waving her right hand in front of her face, looking disgusted, when smoke from a guy’s cigarette was drifting in her face. Then I noticed she had her own cigarette in her left hand. What’s the deal with that? How can you complain when you’re doing it yourself? I don’t get it.

    Anyway, after not catching a break, I headed back to Wynn to pick up a ticket for Avenue Q for Wednesday night, and to pick up the car. Then it was time for lunch. I headed over to Capriotti’s on Maryland Parkway near UNLV. A full review is under the Restaurant forum (http://www.travel2vegas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=134557#post134557). But the short of it is – this is a place for good, large sandwiches. You’ll pay a little more than at a Subway-type restaurant, but the quality and quantity is excellent. I picked up my lunch, and headed back to the Bellagio. I sat at the desk in the room, looked out over the pools, and had a good lunch. I was almost surprised that security let me bring in a sandwich, or at least didn’t hit me up for a service charge when they saw me bringing my own food in. Regardless, I made it though, and spent a couple minutes enjoying the view.

    After lunch, I decided to take the tram from the Bellagio to the Monte Carlo. Finding the tram station turned out to be almost as hard as finding the monorail station at the MGM Grand. I probably could have walked to the Monte Carlo faster. But after following the signs, I finally got to the tram station which is somewhere near Bellagio’s convention area. There are two tracks an trams that go back and forth between the hotels. These trams are extremely slooooooow. Especially when pulling into a station on either end. The station in Monte Carlo is in the back of the casino, just down the hall from the brew pub. Much easier to find than the station at The Bellagio.

    I left a few bucks at Monte Carlo before walking over to New York New York. There, I took a beating in Let It Ride and in video poker, before limping my way back to Monte Carlo. I was going to try to sit in the brew pub and catch some of the Yankee-Angels baseball game, but the place was packed. Instead, I took the tram back to Bellagio, which took even longer because one of the trains was out of service.

    Then I decided to head to TI to play and catch some of the baseball game. TI is one of my favorite casinos, and I knew they had some video poker set up near decent TVs that would have the game on. The Angels ended up beating the Yankees, which I wasn’t happy about, but the rest of the bar seemed to be thrilled (lots of southern Californians in town?).

    To help myself get over the loss, I decided to treat myself to a nice dinner. Since I was alone in Vegas this night, and since the people I’m usually in Vegas with wouldn’t try it, I thought it was a good time to go to Isla, Treasure Island’s upscale Mexican restaurant. It turned out to be a great choice. Not cheap, but well worth the money given the quality and experience. A full review is in the Restaurant forum (http://www.travel2vegas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=134548#post134548).

    After dinner, I dropped a couple more bucks into VP at TI, and then walked back to the Bellagio. Part of the package I got there included $75 in free play, so I went to the player’s club booth and got that setup. Then I headed over to a $.25 VP machine. First, I turned the $75 into $115 of real money. Then I went to a $1 VP machine, and turned the $115 into $400. I started losing a little, and decided to call it quits for the night.

    As I was walking back to the guest elevators, I hear from a couple young ladies sitting in the bank of slot machines by the elevator hallway – “Hey you. Wait. Where are you going?†They must have needed directions to the fountains, or help figuring out the pay line on the machines. Either way, I was too tired to help, and couldn’t have told them what direction the fountains were in anyway, so I just kept on walking. I sure hope they got to see the show. I was crashed and in bed by 1:30.

    Random Thought: How come hotels, especially those in the middle of the desert, don’t have larger drinking glasses in the rooms? You throw a couple ice cube in, add a few drops of water, and the things are full. Don’t know about you, but I’m usually thirsty when I’m in Vegas – between the daily temperatures, the alcohol, and the food. I need a big drink. These glasses don’t cut it.

    Another Random Thought: How come hotel televisions can’t remember where you set the volume the last time you had the thing on? It seems like no matter how low you turn the volume, the next time you turn the TV on the thing is blaring at you. Not what I want to hear first thing in the morning.

    (more to come)
     
  3. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

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    Tuesday, 10/11

    I was up too early again, before 7:00 AM. Got to stop doing that in Vegas. This morning, I was still stuffed (or is it hung over) from Isla last night, and didn’t feel like a big breakfast. So after getting ready, I went down to Palio, the small pastry and coffee shop in The Bellagio for a light breakfast. I ordered a spinach & Swiss cheese brioche (a sweet, flaky bread) and a ham and Gruyere brioche, along with an iced tea. The two brioche were each about the size of a normal muffin, not the giant size you get a supermarkets and Dunkin Donuts. More the size that you make at home.

    I was surprised to find that when you ordered these, they get thrown in a microwave oven to get warmed up. I would have thought better of the Bellagio. We’re not talking Burger King here. You don’t throw bread product in a microwave. It only makes them tough. And then they were thrown in a brown paper bag, where the cheese from one promptly stuck to the bag. They were tasty though, and should have been for just under $16.00 altogether. Some of the other pastry looked good too, but that was all I could handle for the morning.

    After breakfast, I checked out of the Bellagio. I enjoyed the room, but it’s not one of my favorite casinos. Don’t know if I would stay again, unless of course, it was free. I drove down to Wynn to play for a while. Since I was planning to go there for the buffet that night, I went to the player’s club booth when I was done playing to ask for a line pass so I wouldn’t have to wait. They surprised me after looking at my play level and asking if I would like 2 complimentary buffets. Sure, who am I to say “no†to two free passes to one of the most expensive buffets in town. That was a nice win, although it cost me in the casino.

    From the Wynn, I drove down to The Aladdin and parked behind the Desert Passage shops. First thing I did was walk over to the Paris to pick up a We Will Rock You show ticket for that night, and then I went back to The Aladdin. I wandered around and did a little souvenir shopping. While I was in the shops, I stopped to see the Rainstorm in the Desert Passage. There’s one word for it – Lame. If there weren’t a lot of people standing around, I wouldn’t have even noticed it. There were a few flashes of light on the ceiling (lightning?) and a drizzle of water into a pool below, and that was it. It was on my “to do†list, and I’m glad I happened to be there for it instead of making a special trip.

    From there, it was time to meet up with Mikey at Commander’s Palace for lunch. Mikey was nice enough to get the restaurant review done before I got home, and I only had to add in my 2 cents. You can see the full review out on the Restaurants forum (http://www.travel2vegas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=132743#post132743). Lunch was great, and the company was great. Mikey is a blast to talk to, and he can really appreciate good food. Thanks again, Mikey. The summary is this – go to Commander’s Palace for lunch for some great food and service, and for $.25 martinis. You can’t beat it.

    I stopped with two martinis, since I had to get to the airport and pick up my parents where were flying into town. When we’re in Vegas together, I get to be the chauffeur. It was off to the airport to catch them coming in at 2:00. They got to the airport a few minutes after me, got their bags quickly, and it was off to Treasure Island where we were all staying the next few night. I got room 24030, a southwestern facing room, looking at the south Strip and the mountains beyond. Again, I didn’t try anything with the $20 trick. I got a decent view, and I wasn’t planning on spending a lot of time in the room.

    That afternoon, I stayed close to home, playing in TI. Later in the afternoon, we headed over to Wynn for the dinner buffet. With two comped dinners, and the third at $31.95, this was a great deal. You can find a full review out in the Restaurants forum (http://www.travel2vegas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=134544#post134544)

    From Wynn, I headed over to Paris for the 7:30 showing of We Will Rock You. For all you Queen fans out there, this is a definite must do. You’ll love it. I’ve got a full review posted out on the Shows forum (http://www.travel2vegas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=134540#post134540). To let you know just how much I like the show, I tried to get a ticket to see it again on Thursday night, but unfortunately, they’re dark on Thursdays.

    After the show, I headed back to TI to get in some VP. I took a beating, but had some great cocktail service. On my last trip in May, and on this night, I had Teresa serving cocktails in the front section of TI. If you run into her, give her an extra tip. By far, she’s provided the friendliest and most efficient service I’ve had on either trip to Vegas. It’s rare that you’ll find a waitress these days that’ll actually slow down when walking by to ask if you want a drink. Usually, they ask if you want a cocktail, and then are half a casino away before you even have a chance to turn around and respond. Teresa made the effort to really ask if I wanted a drink, and came by several times in a short period – also a rarity these days in Vegas. Besides, she’s really cute.

    After taking a VP beating, but enjoying some customer service, I headed off to bed at a relatively early 1:00 AM.

    Random Thought – If you’re in a casino that serves Pepsi instead of Coke, or you’re a Pepsi drinker (for whatever reason, that’s up to you), do you ever order a “Rum and Pepsiâ€? I never have, even if, in the back of my mind, I know the sino serves Pepsi. I automatically order a “Rum and Cokeâ€. So, is “Rum and Pepsi†even in the Mr. Boston Bartender Guide?

    (more to come)
     
  4. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

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    Wednesday, 10/12

    Got up at 6:30 AM this morning. Once again, ridiculously early. My internal body clock doesn’t seem to adjust to Vegas time until the day I have to leave. Then I just want to sleep in. Well, I’m up, so I get ready and head over to The Paris for their breakfast buffet. It’s about 8:45 when we get there, and there’s already a line, the first time I’ve hit a line so far. But it moves quickly, and we’re in and seated within 10 minutes. For about $13 a person, this is a great breakfast option. You can easily pay that much to have breakfast in most casino coffee shops. A full review is posted out in the Restaurants forum (http://www.travel2vegas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=134560#post134560).

    After breakfast, I headed into the casino and sat down at a Let It Ride table. After about and hour, I came away ahead a few buck, enough to pay for breakfast. This is the point where I tried to get another ticket for We Will Rock You, but found they were dark on Thursdays. Other than that, it was a good trip to Paris.

    From Paris, we headed over to NYNY. At this point, I’m just playing chauffeur, so while my folks are hitting the slots, I’m playing some VP to kill time. I start with $1 machines, and lose. To kill time while I’m waiting, I move to a multi-denomination machine, and start playing $.05 and $.10 bonus poker. I end up hitting 4 four-of-a-kind in short time, and get all my money back. Time to cash out and leave. We head back to TI, and I leave the car there.

    I took the tram over to The Mirage to see if I can get line passes for Cravings, which we want to do that night. No problem. But no comps this time. They do tell me to charge dinner to my room, and see if I can get them comped before I leave though. While I’m there, I have to put some money into a $.25 Wheel Of Fortune machine. I have to throw $10 or $20 in these machines every trip. Just for a shot at the millions. But as always, nothing this time. Not one single spin of the wheel. And no Vanna White to escort me up to my room either.

    From there, the plan is to walk down to The Fashion Show Mall to pick up some of the obligatory souvenirs for the people back home. On the way though, I cross the street to check out The Venetian first. I walk into the place, and thing “what a stinkâ€. The place smelled like powerful generic hand soap that you find in cheap hotels or highway rest stops. I couldn’t take the smell, and just kept on walking to The Mall.

    I headed up to the food court to get a quick bite to eat. I stopped at Great Wraps and tried the Philly Cheese Steak Wrap. I’m always amazed at how many parts of the country think that lettuce, tomato, and mayo belong on a cheese steak. OK, maybe they belong on a cheese steak, but not a PHILLY cheese steak. This fast-food restaurant puts the steak and cheese on top of a large wrap, and then throws it into a warmer to melt the cheese. Then they put on your vegetable toppings and sauce, roll it up, and put the whole thing into a press to grill both sides. A combo with fries and a soda came to $7.20. Turns out to be pretty good (even with the lettuce and tomatoes).

    After lunch, and after picking up a couple souvenirs, I headed over to the Frontier to continue my visit of the soon-to-be gone casinos, passing the Trump sales office along the way (between The Fashion Show Mall and The New Frontier, if anyone is interested in buying). I left $20 for the severance pay fund, and then went back to TI.

    On the way in to TI, I had a Vegas first – an encounter with a timeshare salesperson. Luckily my wife wasn’t with me on the trip, and it turns out, that’s an easy excuse to get away. So, the overall solicitation encounters in Vegas for all my trips is now 2-1. 2 for the hookers, 1 for the timeshare people. I’m not planning on giving either money, but I think a running tally will add fun to the trips.

    On the way into the building, I had another encounter. This time, one I could afford, and one I was looking for. An encounter with a Sin City Amber. The little “bar†at the entrance of TI, just outside the door, serves a couple kinds of Sin City beer at $4.50 a pop. The Amber was the darker of the choices, was slightly sweet, and overall, had a good flavor. A little colder would have been nice though.

    After about a 3-minute trip to the room, I headed back to the casino to play for a while, then it was onto the tram and back to The Mirage. I played some $10 Let It Ride, and dropped a quick $100 bucks. Then to kill time before dinner, I sat down at a $.25 Bonus Triple Play VP machine. I turned $25 (leftover from Let It Ride) into $400 bucks with a few four-of-a-kind hands, and quickly cashed out. Then it was time for dinner.

    I headed over to Cravings, The Mirage’s buffet, around 6:00. That seems to be the time to eat when you’re having dinner with anyone over 70-years old. A full review of Cravings is out in the Restaurants forum (http://www.travel2vegas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=134564#post134564). Overall, I love this buffet. I think it’s one of the best in town, ranking up there with Wynn, Bellagio, Aladdin, and Paris. Breakfast or dinner, I think it’s a good deal.

    After dinner, I waddled back to the tram and to TI to play. I was stuffed, stuffed, stuffed. Enough buffets. I can’t control myself, and have to try everything. I was so stuffed, I drove over to Wynn, something I could easily walk. I went to the 10:00 showing of Avenue Q, in their Broadway-type theater. Turned out to be a pretty good show. Not the best I’ve seen in Vegas, but worth a visit. My full review is out in the Shows forum (http://www.travel2vegas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=134567#post134567).

    After the show, I tried to get out of the garage, along with everyone else from the show. It took a while to get out of the garage, and then I found that the southbound exit was closed, and the only way to go was north toward The Riviera. So after a couple turns, I finally got back to TI. I closed the night with a little VP, and headed to bed around 1:30.

    (more to come)
     
  5. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

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    Thursday, 10/13

    I slept in this morning – all the way ‘til 7:30!! After getting ready, it was off to The Coffee Shop (the new name of the coffee shop in TI, formerly The Terrace Café). After too many buffets the last two days, it was time to order off a menu and control my portions. Breakfast was good, better than my previous few visits to The Terrace Café. A full review is out in the Restaurants forum (http://www.travel2vegas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=134570#post134570).

    After breakfast, I drove the folks down to the Bellagio. Since I had plenty of time earlier in the week to play there, I left them and walked over to The Flamingo to see the Wildlife Habitat. This is a nice distraction from the casino, and worth a visit, especially since it’s free. The free exhibit wanders around the courtyard behind the main casino and outside of their buffet. There are penguins, a variety of other birds (including flamingos, of course), turtles, Japanese koi, and catfish.

    I didn’t feel like leaving any money behind, so I went over to Bally’s to look around. I hadn’t been there in years, although I go by all the time. And since this is another of those places that may be gone in a few years, I thought I’d stop in. First thing I noticed is that the entry way is in serious need of a paint job. The concrete around the fountains and entry lights is discolored and starting to peel. Maybe this is an indication of how much money they’re reinvesting into the place. I walked through the shops in the rear of the casino, and noticed that at least 3 or 4 are empty storefronts. There are a handful of interesting places still open, but it looks like they’re suffering from the competition of The Forum Shops and The Dessert Passage.

    I played a little video poker at Bally’s, leaving about $20 behind after feeling sorry for the place. I headed back to Bellagio, played a little more VP, and collected the folks. We headed down The Strip a block or so to one of the souvenir shops that will soon fall victim to the MGM/Mirage redevelopment project – City Center. While it’s still around, that’s a place to get some cheap post cards and other Vegas memorabilia. It’s located between Bellagio and Monte Carlo, in a little strip mall next to a helicopter tour company.

    After our upscale shopping experience, and getting 7-for-a-dollar post cards, I took the folks back to TI. Then I headed down to Fatburger near MGM Grand for a bite. I had been before, and hadn’t been impressed. But since so many people love it, I thought I’d give it another try. I ordered a Fatburger (with lettuce, pickles, relish, onions, mustard), skinny fries, and a soda. I added ketchup to the burger. Don’t know if this is OK or not, but I wanted ketchup. The burger and the service was better than the last time. I prefer the skinny fries to the fat fries. And Diet Coke is pretty much Diet Coke wherever you go. But Fatburger moved up a notch in my book.

    Then I went over to MGM Grand for a little play. I checked out the poker room, since I’ve been planning on trying out some Texas Hold ‘em in a casino. I watched for a while, but didn’t get my name on the waiting list. The atmosphere was a little intimidating. Don’t know exactly what it was, but I didn’t feel comfortable. Instead I played a little more VP, and then went back to TI to leave the car.

    I walked over to Harrah’s, another place I haven’t played in for quite a while. I wandered around, and accidentally found the poker room there. Didn’t even know they had one. I was planning on just watching, but the guy that runs the place (I think that’s this official title – “the guy†– isn’t it?) said he was opening up a 1-2 no-limit Texas Hold ‘em game right then, and there were openings. Before this, I had only played 7-card stud in the casinos, and Hold ‘em only on-line, so this was my first live Hold ‘em experience in the casino.

    I think sitting down at a new table at the same time as everyone else removed some of the intimidation factor. It wasn’t like everyone else had already played together, and I was the new guy. We were all new. I bought in for $60, and started off pretty well. I won 2 of the first three hands, including one with a Royal Flush. Unfortunately, didn’t get the Royal until the River card, and was only in against one other person. I had the 10 in my had, the A-K came up on the flop, the J on the Turn, and the Q on the River. Harrah’s has a deal where the best hand of the day in the poker room wins some kind of prize, unfortunately, you need to use both of your hole cards to qualify. While I was there, they were giving away 2004 Harrah’s 7-7-7 tournament shirts in various ways – first person to raise his hand, first person with a pair in the hole, etc. I won one of the shirts by winning a designated hand. Not a bad side prize. After a while, my luck faded. By the time I left, I was down to my original $60, and up one shirt. Not bad. And it was a lot of fun. But watch out for that “no limit†thing. Even though the blinds were only 1-2, people had no problem betting $25 and $30 a round.

    From Harrah’s, I went over to The Mirage for dinner. I met my folks at The Carnegie Deli. I won’t write a full review on this one, since I already have one out in the Restaurant forum somewhere. But here’s a quick rundown anyway. I had the open-face roast beef sandwich. It was a little well done for me, as I like my deli roast beef pink, and this was brown all the way though. It was served covered with mushroom gravy, a side of coleslaw, and fries. It was huge and tasty, even if not cooked medium. One of us had the pastrami sandwich on rye, and this came huge as well. I think it’s advertised as a pound-and-a-half of meat. The third in the group had a basic cheeseburger. This was a good size too, but more of a normal size meal than the others. Altogether, with three non-alcoholic beverages and a bowl of complementary pickles, the bill came to $47 before tip. Service was quick, and we were out of there in under 45 minutes. With leftovers.

    After this dinner, I waddled over to Bellagio to see “O†for the 7:30 showing. This was filler for me. I had seen it a couple times before, and had really wanted to see We Will Rock You again, but they were dark this night. I was wandering by the TI showroom, and got the “O’ ticket on impulse. I headed into the showroom, and got a $8 rum & Coke before heading to my seat.

    I sat down to a 30-something woman who was talking on her cell phone, from about 15 minutes before the show, right up until and during the pre-show activities. Sounded like she was there for a conference if you’re interested. She was talking to a friend about her husband, who she’s been married to for 11 years. From what I can tell, he’s a “loser†and all men are “stupidâ€. And even though they go elsewhere for Thanksgiving, she still has to cook a turkey and all the fixings so that “loser†can have leftovers. Blah, blah, blah, blah…. Finally, before I had to say something, she started wrapping up the conversation. Then she turns to me to ask “So, have you seen this before? Is it any good?†Luckily the lights were turned down, and this “stupid man†didn’t have to get dragged into a conversation.

    The show as similar to the previous times I had seen it, with some little variations. I think that seeing it 3 times is a little much. Some of it seemed to be a little slow. I even checked my watch once or twice to see where we were. The woman next to me was probably mumbling “stupid manâ€. But don’t get me wrong, this is still an excellent show, and you should see it if you never have.

    Of the three shows I saw this trip – We Will Rock You (WWRY), Avenue Q, and “O†– WWRY was definitely the best.

    After the show, I walked back to TI. I went to the player’s club to cash in my points. I ended up with just over 16,000 points on my card, and cashed in for $160. One of my biggest “wins†of the trip. With an early flight coming up, I headed off to bed around 11:30.

    (just a little more to come)
     
  6. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

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    Friday, 10/14

    Hold on, stay with me, this report is just about over….

    I was up at about 4:45 AM this morning, only because of the alarm. It’s about this time in a Vegas trip that I feel like I can sleep forever. But no, I have to get up and go back to the normal life. At this point, I am so tired. I don’t know longer trips to Vegas would be better or worse. Better because I would feel I have more time, and wouldn’t push myself so much, or worse because I would go and go no matter how many days I was there. I guess I just have to try a longer trip sometime and see for myself.

    One note about TI bathrooms – the sinks seem to take forever to drain. I don’t know if I get the same room on every trip, and this is the room with the clogged drain. Or maybe it’s every sink in the place. Sorry for that exciting tidbit, but I had to throw it in there.

    I check out of the room and went to get the car to head back to the airport. It’s about 6:00 AM, and I’m driving down Paradise when I realize I have to fill up the gas tank or pay an exorbitant amount. So I pull into a gas 76 station where gas was $2.75 (not bad at the time, compared to home). I put the nozzle in the tank, and then stare at the pump trying to figure out how to use it. Remember, I working on a lack of sleep here. The instructions say “lift handle to startâ€. Well, being sleepy or not, there’s no handle on this pump. I stare a while longer, before going in to ask questions and feel really stupid. The guy working tells me to push the green “start†button. So I go back out, and notice that the “start†is worn off the button. OK, now I’m not feeling so stupid. I fill up, and head over to Budget.

    This is probably the third or fourth time I’ve used Budget, and always have trouble finding them to return the car. First time, I went to the main drop-off at the airport before realizing they weren’t there. Luckily, I noticed the Budget sign in the distance. This time, I remembered they were on Paradise. I just didn’t remember where. I was almost at the airport entrance, and thought I missed it, so I looped around to make another pass. No need, I hadn’t gotten to it yet. When I finally go there, things went quickly. I dropped the car off, got a quick shuttle, checked in at the airport, and was off to the gate.

    I stopped at Ruby’s in the terminal for breakfast – got one of their bacon, egg & cheese English muffins. Not bad. It’ll hold me.

    Then I went to the gate for my 7:20 Delta flight. I got on the plane with no problem, but then things slowed down. The plane was having power problems, and they needed to get a ground-based generator to get the engines started. That wasn’t working well either. Finally, we got off the ground at 8:40.

    I got to Cincinnati at 2:55 PM, when we were supposed to be in at 2:00 PM. My connection was supposed to leave at 2:50 PM. Figuring the connections might be held up a bit because of late arrivals, I hurried off to my connection gate. Luckily (?) this plane was having mechanical problems too, and was still there. So, what was supposed to be a 2:50 PM departure turned into a 3:30 PM departure. So now, I’m on the plane and headed home.

    When I did the automatic check-in in Vegas, I was able to change my seat selection. I noticed that for the flight from Cincinnati to Hartford, an aisle seat in an emergency exit row was available. I grabbed it figuring I would have lots of extra leg room. Well, I had extra leg room, but that was about it. Seems like the three biggest guys on the plane were sitting together. The guy in the window seat was about 350-400 pounds, tall, and broad shouldered. And you all know what the airline seats are like. They cram even small people in. This guys arms and shoulders were into the middle seat. The guy in the middle, slim but tall, at least 6’ 2â€, was pushed into my seat, and me, no small guy myself at 240 and just over 6â€, was pushed out into the aisle. We were cramped!! Good thing this was the shorter of the two flights. We ended up back in Hartford at 5:20 PM, when the original schedule called for 4:40 PM.

    So, we’re finally to the end. Stay tuned. I’m sure there will be another sequel. Hopefully not too far in the future.

    Now the quick summery, if it’s not too late for that:

    The Great – We Will Rock You, Isla, Commander’s Palace, Bellagio bathrooms, Getting a royal flush playing Texas Hold ‘em
    The Good – Avenue Q, Paris/Wynn/Mirage Buffets (I have a hard time rating a buffet as “greatâ€, even though these are the best in Vegas), Carnegie Deli (usually great), Cover band in Ava at The Mirage (didn’t go in, but played close enough to hear)
    The Fair – Peppermill (usually much higher), “O†(I think I’ve overdone it), alio @ Bellagio (Good food + poor value = fair rating), TI bathrooms
    The Poor – Gambling Results, Delta’s on-time schedule, Airline “foodâ€
     
  7. Coaster Kikky

    Coaster Kikky Tourist

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    Ok, this is as far as I've read but I gotta comment on this - they do have cup holders. You know that padded armrest between the front two seats? Flip the top side up, and there's a pull handle to bring the bottom side forward and voila! Cup holders appear.

    I will agree that there's no need to make it this tricky...
     
  8. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

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    Thanks Kikky. I looked at that center armrest, and still couldn't figure it out. Probably my lack of sleep. Now I just need someone to remind me of this the next time I'm in Vegas, 'cause I'll probably end up with a Taurus again.
     
  9. HurricaneMikey

    HurricaneMikey A-List Buffoon

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    Upgrade, brotha! Get a Chrysler 300 from Thrifty. It's a 'premium' car, so it comes with a chick to hold your drink for you. :thumbsup:

    Great report Dave...sounds like you covered all the bases. Lunch at The Palm next time?

    Mikey
     
  10. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

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    Sure. But what is The Palm? I'm guessing not The Palms Hotel and Casino.

    Now you got me going. You mean The Palm restaurant in Caesars Forum Shops? After I read your post, I had to do some research. Looks pretty good!! Another one for my "to do" list.

    For anyone else interested, check it out --> http://www.thepalm.com/sitemain.cfm?site_id=15
     
  11. GNH2000

    GNH2000 Low-Roller

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    Dave-

    Great trip report!

    Since our hotel of choice is TI, your report really gives a feel of what's going on at that corner now- TI/Mirage,Venetian,Wynn,the Mall,etc.

    Thanks for the good read.:thumbsup:

    (Oh by the way- ALL sinks at TI are the same!)
     
  12. vegasbound

    vegasbound Moderator

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    Had to laugh at "the guy", especially funny, since it's likely that he was my hubby. He's the poker floor supervisor there.

    Nice job catching the Royal...

    Enjoyed all the details. Sounds like a good trip was had.

    Btw, the Palm is good. I've enjoyed the filet business lunch on a few occasions. It's been awhile since I've been back, but was a pretty good deal.
     
  13. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

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    Did you tell him he has a new title? Not sure if it's a promotion or not, or if there's a raise that goes along with it. But he is now "The Guy"!! :nworthy:
     
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