Good time was had by all... (except for one unfortunate incident) Hubby and I headed to Vegas on Monday, July 7, from Des Moines. This was our first time flying out of DM on Allegiant; we decided to try it instead of Cedar Rapids because the flights schedule is better. The flight was good, and we arrived on time around 2:10. Baggage claim was quick and easy, and before we knew it, we were in a cab headed to Paris. Check-in at Paris was also fast. I attempted the $20 tip, and we were easily upgraded to a remodeled P room, high floor, with a partial fountain view just as requested. The room is on the end of the floor, which we didn’t mind at all. It was beautiful! We loved the set-up and the flat screen TV. The only thing we’d change is the bathroom – it would have been nice to have some water pressure in the shower as well as a fan in there. Other than that, it was perfect. We'll be back! The pool at Paris is very nice. We didn’t have any problem getting chairs (probably because it was 112!). It was nice in the pool but awfully hot sitting in the chairs, so we didn’t really stay long. I loved the view from the pool area, though. We tried to get in the night before, but someone had puked in the pool, and it needed the full eight hours to be shocked before anyone could get back in. Oh, the drinks were good here, too. We didn’t get a cabana although they looked very nice. I think the rest of this is better by category, so here goes: Casinos: We played all slots, mostly at the Harrah’s properties. Hubby hit a hand pay at Bill’s right away ($1250), so that was a great way to start the trip. It was nice not to have to even think about our bankroll after that! I did the best on penny slots, which I don’t usually even play. I won on Wizard of Oz (even tho the machine kind of freaks me out!), Hot Shot, and Triple Fire Alarm (I think that’s what it’s called). Hubby loves Double Gold machines, and he couldn’t find one worth a crap anywhere. If you discount his initial win at Bill’s, we left on Friday only about $300 down on our original bankroll for the whole week – no other big wins, but everything seems to stay fairly even. Bill’s has a promotion that if you are playing slots with your player’s card in when the bells and whistles go off (twice a day), you get $10 comps on your player’s card. Literally 10 minutes after I got my card, they went off! I bought a Bill’s shirt for hubby in honor of his win there and the fact he gave me $200 of it. Oh, we listened to Big Elvis for a bit there, too – enjoyed him! We gambled up and down the Strip, donating to the Strat, Sahara, Riviera, and Casino Royale during out walks. Man, I don’t care if I ever enter the Sahara again – our experience wasn’t good there – couldn’t get drink service, but the worst part was the casino bathrooms. YUCK. I first went in the back one after getting off the monorail, and every single stall was, shall we say, used and abused. Bleck. The front ones weren’t much better. Seems to me you’d at least want to have your bathrooms in working order and fairly clean. This was the second year in a row we didn’t have a good experience in the Sahara. This, of course, is just my humble opinion and not meant to start anything! The Rio was probably our biggest disappointment. We loved it there last year, but it’s a completely different vibe there now. Maybe I should say it was my hubby’s biggest disappointment. He hated the new show/show in the sky combo. Maybe we are getting too old…I think we’d have LOVED it 20 years ago! Ha. The music was so loud that the slot machines were actually shaking. The stage show was extremely suggestive but in my opinion very well done. The singing/dancing were both spot on. What bothered me most was the large number of children there watching the show, which is clearly meant for and appropriate for an adult audience. I will never, ever understand taking kids to Vegas. I could go on a page-long rant about this, but I digress… Walking: We love to walk, even in that 114 degree heat, so we did a lot of it, mostly in the morning hours. We laughed on the way home that we never even crossed the street. Everything we did (with the exception of a bus ride to the Rio) was on the Paris side of the street this time. Hubby got a new camera with a huge zoom lens, so he took a lot of pics. I have now discovered that I need better make-up to cover my freckles. Jubilee: We wanted to catch a Vegas production show, and this was it. We had a coupon for a two-for-one deal, so we grabbed tix in Section B on the aisle. The seats were great. The show was shaky. With a vintage show like this, you don’t expect to see dancers counting off the steps with their lips during the performance. The dancing wasn’t very clean most of the time, but the singing was decent when it was live (or appeared to be). I hate lip synching in a live show, and there seemed to be a lot of it. The specialty acts between the Jubilee acts were really good – the juggler was fantastic! We enjoyed all three of these. Would we see this again? No. Are we still glad we saw it once? Yes. These production shows Vegas has been known for won’t be around forever. We met an older gentleman who sat beside me; he was there for a pawn show convention, and he told us lots of stories and history of LV. He was fun! Food: This could be long. I’ll try to keep it somewhat short! We love eating at Denny’s down by Harrah’s once each trip, so we did that. Yum. We finally made it to the Peppermill, too, and YUM!!!! Huge portions, decent prices, pretty good service…we’ll be back! We had breakfast there, too. We hit Planet Dailies again because I had to have the bruschetta (fell in love with it last year). Hubby’s meal was good, too, although I can’t remember what he had. Guess I was too busy with my own! Our fave place is the Burger Brasserie in the passage between Paris and Bally’s (closer to Bally’s). We ate here twice simply because it’s so good. Hubby loves the hamburger with a fried egg on top, and I had the chicken quesadilla and a burger with swiss cheese. Both times, I had this fabulous dessert: mini donuts (more like the donut holes) stuffed with banana which you dip in chocolate (also comes with a few pieces of fruit for dipping). They are deep fried to order and come piping hot – my butt is growing just typing about them! They were worth every singe calorie! I highly recommend them. My mouth is watering right now. We had every good intention of trekking down to Ellis Island but once again just didn’t make it. We also thought we’d eat at Mon Ami Gabi, but that wasn’t in the cards, either. We only eat twice a day out there; we just don’t get too hungry in the heat, so that eliminates several chances to try something new, I guess. Time share stuff: I needed a shirt that said “We’re going home today.” That’s pretty much our standard line to those folks, who are everywhere. I half expected the maid to pitch one… The last day we were there, we were down by the Peppermill after lunch in a little store, and the time share gal in the store started pitching to hubby; she offered us $100 plus a bunch of (worthless) freebies to go to the Planet Hollywood/Westgate time share. It was hotter than hell, and we decided it would be worth the money and the free ride back down the Strip to give up 90 minutes of our time. So here we went on our little adventure, something we said we’d never do again. I will say the model of the new unit was one of the nicest I’ve ever seen – it was gorgeous and high tech. However, we made it clear up front that we weren’t too interested. Our agent guy understood that, but when the manager came over, he was a complete idiot. His name was Guy, and he said some pretty inappropriate things to us. At that point, my dear Marine Corps hubby got pissed and let the guy (no pun intended) know it. He finally left, and the exit interviewer came to the table; she was pretty bitchy, too. As we left to collect our cash, we encountered a couple we’d seen in the waiting area when we first got there. She was trying to control her tears…the manager who came to their table was nasty and also said some inappropriate things to them. She was very upset. I felt sorry for her. Believe it or not, I’m still glad we went to this because I loved seeing that time share and got some good ideas for when we build our retirement home! Porn Slappers: Are there more of these now, or is it just me? And where did the white line go they used to have to stay behind? Downtown: We hopped a cab downtown one night because we do love it down there. Got to see the new American Pie show up on the canopy, and it was great. A sax player entertained us for a bit, and we tooled over to Main Street Station for supper in the 777 Brew Pub. My pizza was OK at best, and hubby liked his sushi. He had the sampler beer tray, and I had a raspberry cream beer (sounds gross, but it wasn’t bad – and I almost never drink beer). Gambling was OK in there—nice, clean casino. Gambled at the Nugget, too, but didn’t have much luck. On the way back, we tried to catch a cab at the GN, but the cab guy got really irritated with a group of about 12 20-somethings who were pretty toasted, so he left a line standing there and disappeared. We finally just walked across the street and climbed in one of the waiting cabs there. While we were still waiting at the Nugget, I was almost positive that one of the girls in that big group was Brittany Spears. This girl was the spitting image of her, and the only way we finally decided it wasn’t her was that she was missing a tooth (you could see the empty space when she smiled widely). We also went beyond the canopy a bit to see some of the vintage neon that’s going up there. Got a good pic of the Aladdin lamp. Next trip, we’ll probably get down there during the day and explore all the way down to the El Cortez. I love vintage Vegas, and I am still mourning the loss of the Stardust and its beautiful sign. I’m glad the downtown district is expanding and paying homage to the town’s roots. The most challenging part of the trip was on the morning of our first full day when my 17-year-old son called and had just fallen down the stairs and was pretty sure he broke his leg. I made several phone calls and coordinated his care from my hotel room. He has a hairline fracture as well as a possible torn ACL, which will pretty much end his senior year sports career, dang it. It was great to get home to him as my “mother guilt” was getting the best of me. Why do these things happen on the rare occasion I am away? Murphy’s Law, I suppose… The flight back was good, and getting through the LV airport at 6:15 in the morning was very easy and quick. Overall, we liked the DM flight times a lot. Even with the three-hour drive home, we were home before we would have been out of CR. I’ve been home four days and can hardly wait to go back. I have a possible girls’ trip in October, but most likely I’ll be waiting until next summer. With three kids in college and one more headed there a year from now, we were lucky to have gotten there this year! We look forward to our “alone time” in Vegas every year, so I’m sure we’ll do whatever we have to do to get there again next year. Two of our kids turn 21 over the next year, so maybe I can work a trip in as birthday gifts! Thanks for reading all the way to the end of this boring little report. I’ll post some pics next… Headed to son's MRI appointment, so I didn't proofread. Hopefully, I didn't make too many mistakes -- my apologies to those who hate typos!