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Rambling TR Feb Flamingo

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Aero22, May 7, 2010.

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  1. Aero22

    Aero22 Low-Roller

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    My Trip Report

    Since nobody seems to writing many trip reports lately, I thought I better get mine submitted. It is a little delayed since hand surgery restricted my typing skills upon my return from Vegas….but better late than never. I don’t know if I prefer chronological or categorized trip reports, so I prepared this by category, then decided to rewrite it chronologically. I make no claim to self-editing skills, so this might be a little rambling, and also I warn you it might be a little opinionated - - but that’s what makes things interesting right??

    Spouse (J) and me – 50ish. 7 or 8th trip over that last 10 years. We usually go in September or thereabouts, but just decided at the next to last minute to make a Feb. trip. We have always stayed at different hotels. This time had a great deal via expedia at the Flamingo so decided to go for it based on location primarily.

    Direct flight from Toronto via WestJet leaving 9 a.m. Great time. Toronto airport has Longterm parking lot connected to the terminals via monorail that runs every 5 minutes or so. Why do people still use Park N Fly etc with the hassle of the shuttle?? And the LT parking is cheaper or same price. Last few times we have changed planes in Chicago or Denver as it was a couple of hundred bucks cheaper, and we only use carryon so no big deal. But, after this trip, I realize that direct flights are so so so much better, especially on the way home.

    Landed on time - -McCarren most deserted I have ever seen. On the shuttle to the Car rental facility, Ford from Alamo, and on our way up the Strip. The President of the U.S. was speaking at City Centre, and I think he was just finishing as there was security all the way up the strip to CC and cops all over each intersection. First stop before Flamingo was the liquor store just behind. We had put $1000 in cash in an envelope and put it in the side pocket of a small purse sort of bag, so I just will reach in there and pull out a big of money to buy some Rum and mix and we will be on our way. . . .Oh Oh Zipper open and no envelope!!! My heart sank and I could only think of all the areas we would be cutting back on this trip…After about 3 minutes of panic on the part of both J and I, thought “Well, I’ll just get my wallet out of my pocket and use my credit card to get the rum. Hmmmmm What’s this bulge in my pocket??? That’s right - -$1000 in crisp bills in an envelope.

    Check-in was quick - - but failure on the $20 trick. First time it did not work. Room was on 26th floor I think - -clean and acceptable. Walls were paperthin though, and seemed like a long walk to the elevator. A couple of warm-up cocktails in the room and then a few travelers to take off to Big Elvis. As always, a great show, and a great guy. I got my home-made Big Elvis Photo T-shirt autographed once again as is tradition.

    Next stop – Margaritaville for burgers and unwind. As always, good crowd, good food, - ‘nuff said.

    Flamingo had included a coupon book and one for Vinnie Favorito . This was on our list of shows to see so we decided to do that first night. VIP seating down front. Vinnie was fantastic. Laughed non-stop for 90 minutes. I had read all the reviews so I knew it was going to be good, but I think he exceeded even my high expecations. The show is completely interactive with the audience, and no matter where you are sitting, you will be part of the show, guaranteed.

    After Vinnie, decide to head south for our first look at City Center. A few stops into Paris and PH etc, but eventually headed into Aria via Crystals. As a shareholder (as at that time) of MGM, I was really looking forward to checking out CC. I feel lucky that we were even able to find our way to the casino eventually after a ridiculous, circuitous walk through Crystals. In a word – disappointing. Dark, smokey, no ‘atmosphere’. I wonder who will make the effort to go to the casino at Aria if you are not staying there. I just kept wondering “If I was at Bellagio, or PH or Luxor or any other casino and I was casino hopping, would I ever say to myself “Hey, lets make the next stop Aria†and I conclude the answer would be No. Wandering up and down the strip you can duck into any casino but Aria takes a lot of effort and desire to get there, and I can’t imagine most people wanting to do so. At the same time, I wonder about the Condos - - What type of person wants to own a condo on the strip?? Answer - - probably a reasonably high roller who goes to Vegas once a month or so. If that is the case, why would that person want to buy a Condo at CC when they can pretty well stay free at any Suite at most casinos.?? Just my opinion and maybe I’m missing something. Anyway, wandered around a bit then finally found the tram to Bellagio and headed eventually back to the Flamingo. Day 1 in Vegas done and time change has us beat.

    Up early Saturday - - coffee from Burger King (did you know you can get 75 cent coffee there just by asking for Seniors Coffee?? I don’t think I look over 40 but the lady said the employees will never challenge your age - -- and it was $3.79 at the Flamingo - - I’m just saying. ) then we decided to head north to pick up a few chips we are missing from our collection.

    First though, lay down the day’s NBA bets at the Flamingo. As it turned out, this would have been a very lucrative venture but Houston happened to lose today and ended up wreaking havoc with a number of parlays. Overall though, Saturdays sports betting would end up positive.

    Still early so first stop is Wynn to have a cocktail (It’s 9 a.m. somewhere I’m sure) Walk in and see the new Sex and the City (SATC) machine that I had read a lot about. Decided to drop a few bucks in and see what it was like. J soon was up $100 or so, bonus rounds hitting us fast and furious, cocktails also fast and furious - - - We had discovered our new favourite machine and were hooked.

    ***A digression about a few machines** Last time we were in LV would have been Sept 08 and at that time we played Deal or No Deal all over the place. ..loved the machine and it loved us back. We discovered there were 2 versions – one a bit newer that the other, and that the newer version was the best - - the older version had some different bonus rounds and less suitcases in the suitcase round - -anyway DOND was our game at that time - - when we got to LV this trip, I saw DOND everywhere - - - and they were penny machines !!!! yippee. I soon discovered the game had changed significantly and we were quite disappointed. I only saw the DOND machines from 18 months ago at one spot this trip, and that was Circus Circus). Another big change - -last trip Ebay machines were everywhere - - I mean EVERYWHERE - -- quite surprising that this trip I think I saw one or two Ebay machines. They all seem to have been replaced by those giant fishing machines

    So anyway, fortified with cash and cocktails, we head north, stopping at the Riv to pick up a chip, play some SatC then to Tix4Tonite (hint – if you are near the north end of the strip, the tix booth at the Riv is much much less busy than the one at Fashion Show mall - -worth the walk). Anyway, see that they have Terry Fator tickets there – not half price, but a good discount, so we decide on that for tonights show. That done, head up to Sahara – repeat chip, cocktails, SatC and back to Circus Circus for chip. Haven’t been to Circus Circus for years and now I remember why. We only went there because we started collecting casino chips last trip, and needed to get a CC one. I can’t honestly imagine a scenario whereby I will be there again - -it’s creepy. When people ask on the boards what is there for kids to do in Vegas, and lots of people always reply about the free circus acts at Circus Circus, I can only think to myself – Really??? Is that the kind of parent you want to be - -you take your kid to a circus act at Circus Circus in Las Vegas ?? Leave it at that – it’s creepy.

    Next stop – Mirage, pick up the TF tickets, then down to CP to lunch at Cheesecake Factory. First time ever being in a CF, and I have to say it was pretty good food and priced not bad. I’d go back.


    I will admit that I had a few reservations about spending $80 to see a puppet ventriloquist, but the show was almost excellent. Very Very entertaining and the backstory of TF struggling for years then finally hitting the jackpot is admittedly very heartwarming. I would give the show a 9.5 out of 10 except I have to knock it down for the following reason, which might give many readers heartburn. At one point in the show, Mr. Fator asked all the military people and their families to stand and we gave them the obligatory standing ovation etc. Personally, I found this to be a little manipulative, cloying, pandering to the audience etc. I was wondering why we didn’t have all the nurses and teachers stand so we could acknowledge them, or the sanitation workers, or the cocktail workers or everyone else who performs a service in exchange for a paycheque. Call me cynical, and I understand that he is playing to his target audience, but I personally found it a little offputting. And before you flame, I understand everyone is entitled to their opinion and I respect that.

    After TF, we ended up at Paris, PG, CP etc just basically wandering around, playing spot the hooker and dropping a few bucks here and there.

    Sunday - - Up early, again. Into the car to head to Walmart for some supplies (thanks GPS) and then a zip down to check out M Resort and get a chip. ‘M’ is a nice spot, although cocktail service was non-existent and hence, they have little if any of my money. Having said that it is a nice spot, I will also say that I have difficulty understanding why anyone would stay there. It is so far away. Can’t you find whatever you are looking for on the strip?? Will I go back there again? No. Stopped at Southpoint for a chip on the way back and to check it out. Seemed like a not bad spot, but again, off the beaten path for my tastes. I did drop $1 in a machine while J was getting the chip and won $12 on the first spin, so that was a worthwhile stop!

    Into the Rio to use our Penn & Teller 2 for 1 coupon for tonight. Rio seems to be getting a little worn down? Cocktail service was ok at best. Over to the Palms for some SatC then off to In & Out Burger – another first for us after reading so much about it. I have to agree the burgers are great and this will become a regular stop for us. Park the car and head up to Venetian to pick up some stuff for the kids at the T-shirt shop just inside the doors and play some SatC somewhat successfully. Off to CP for a Sonny & Cher shirt for J then back to Flamingo for some R&R prior to Penn & Teller.

    I’ve always liked P&T and we enjoy their TV show so I was looking forward to seeing the. The Theatre was about half full if that. Overall I would say that I was mildly disappointed. Although the magic was impressive, I found that much of it was ‘subtle’ or detailed and therefore hard to really appreciate in a large theatre. In addition, the show was a little imformal, and I guess, in my opinion, I would have enjoyed a show with a little more flash and dash - -some lights and big screens etc. Having said that, I am glad we went., but honestly would probably be careful about recommending it to friends.

    Monday - - up early again and into the car for a zip downtown. Dropped into GN and immediately saw a SatC so we sat down for a cocktail. J said she was not dropping more than $20 in it. Down to about $4 when the bonus round came up with a $360 dollar payout. Wisely, we cashed out and headed to Tix4tonite so make our plans for the evening. We were thinking of Zumanity (notwithstanding our disdain for CDS) or Jersey Boys, but after discussing it, J really just wanted to go back to Vinnie and I was happy to do the same, so that is what we did. Bought Paris buffet at T4T also, so we headed back to the strip. Paris buffet was the usual - - I don’t understand the appeal of buffets - - one person can only eat a certain amount, so why not just go to a restaurant and order what you like. It was OK, but I really don’t need to go back to a buffet, and I’m glad we did not pay full price.

    Wynn & Venetian followed for some more shopping and SaTC then back to see big Elvis again and then Vinnie that evening. As good as Vinnie is, we both agreed afterwards that we should have gone to a new show rather than going back to one we had already seen. Although his act is all audience based, it still is pretty well the same no matter how different the audience is. The one highlight is that we were sitting beside Maria Ho who was one of the poker girls on the Amazing Race last year. We were able to get a photo with her and chat for a few minutes. Being big fans of TAR, this was kind of thrilling.

    Tuesday -- -dropped car off and at the airport in good time for our noon flight. We were there kind of early and ended up lucky enough to get first row seats. Considering how much it drives me crazy when people in front of me recline all the way, this was a big win.

    Parting Thoughts:

    This was our first time renting a car. I had asked opinions on the boards about renting a car, and most were in favour so we decided to go for it. I will always recommend doing so. Vegas is so easy to get around, and we saved so much time. Downtown 5 minutes instead of 45 on the bus. . zip to the Rio instead of a shuttle, etc etc.

    It was very cold and windy. We usually go in Sept. and I think that we will not go back in the ‘off-pool’ season. I like Vegas when it is hot.

    City Centre is a mess. I sold MGM stock when I returned. I just think it was an 8.5billion dollar mistake.

    I don’t understand why the Porn slappers all stick together in a row. There were 10 lined up just north of Flamingo - -- wouldn’t they do better if they were all spread out?? I’m not sure how they are paid, hourly, commission, piecework etc etc I’m just wondering.

    Bill Clinton was at Caesars on the Monday night making a speech, so our trip was bookended by Presidential visits. J was wondering if he and Tiger would be hooking up for some debauchery in Vegas.

    For some reason, we never made it south of Aria. We usually do the whole strip at least a couple of times. I think it was the wind but I regret that we never got down to Exc./Luxor/MB etc .

    Somewhere during those 4 days we were in Bellagio, TI, Ballys, Pallazo etc etc. . just not sure when - -likely late late night early morning.

    Gambling included Roulette here and there, and some VP but again, who remembers when all that happened, or the results.

    Next time I think we’ll stay at Wynn, Venetian or CP. We had a good deal at Flamingo, and when we were booking we thought, well $300 savings is money that can be used for something else, and it’s just a room and the location is OK., but I think in retrospect that $300 is pretty easy to blow on anything in Vegas, so I would have rather have spent that staying at a nicer spot.

    That’s it til Sept. any questions/comments feel free to message


    .
     
  2. cougarenegade

    cougarenegade Tourist

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    seemed like a pretty fun time despite the weather not cooperating.
     
  3. NickPapageorgio

    NickPapageorgio OG of the Sal Sagev Hotel

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    Everyone IS entitled to their opinion, so here's mine:

    Terry Fator was playing to the emotions of his audience, no doubt. I think we would all agree that, despite his level of patriotism, he may have an alterior motive or two.

    The reason why nurses, cocktail or sanitation workers and their families didn't get the same respect is quite simple. Military families suffer through EXTENDED periods of separation and high levels of stress due to the jobs that they and their loved ones do.

    Without getting into the oh so old political war debate, whether you are the farthest left wing, anti-war liberal or you have George W. Bush tattooed on your right bicep, you would have to understand that the military and their families are going to get slightly more respect than a cocktail waitress, nurse or sanitation worker and their respective families.

    The bottom line is that when Jimmy signs on the dotted line at age 18, Jimmy may not be coming home ever again. I understand that Jimmy knew what he was getting into when he signed on said dotted line, but Jimmy and his family are going to get a certain level of respect for the sacrifices they make in service of their country. (again, no political slant, just the fact that they are doing dangerous work, and face long periods of separation)

    That's just the way it is. (And Nick kinda likes it)

    By the way, I enjoyed your trip report. :thumbsup:

    Nick:beer:
     
  4. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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    Great TR. I am jealous - I couldn't get on a Sex in the City Machine my entire trip!!!! Next time I am going to have to set my alarm for 3 a.m...........

    I understand & agree with Nick's point of view on the military, but totally respect yours also. Part of what makes our country great is the ability & freedom to all have our own opinions.

    Did you have delays on the way home? You mentioned the connecting flight & return trip early in the report - but didn't know if you just meant that it seemed to take so long or if you had problems. Hope not!
     
  5. tcocona

    tcocona Low-Roller

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    Military Appreciation

    Nick ; WELL SAID!!!!!
     
  6. Piech

    Piech Tourist

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    right one nick......
     
  7. Aero22

    Aero22 Low-Roller

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    hey - - I happen to agree somewhat with nick too. . . I was not trying to make a political point, I was making a point only about pandering to an audience by throwing in a manipulative tearjerker segment - - please don't misunderstand my comment and turn it into a political flamewar - -- there's enough of those around already.
     
  8. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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    Don't worry - we are the NICE board here!!!! (Seriously - I don't even visit another one anymore more than about 1 time a month! They get too nasty). I actually flew in the day Clinton was speaking, but flight wasn't scheduled to come in in time to consider seeing the show.
     
  9. NickPapageorgio

    NickPapageorgio OG of the Sal Sagev Hotel

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    This isn't a political flamewar.... Did you read my post? No politics on this board!

    I was as centrist as possible........ That wasn't really a political post on my part, simply an analysis.

    Nick:beer:
     
  10. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

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    I don't like it when some of the acts do the patriotic "And I'd like to stand up" song at the end of their act thus insuring a standing ovation. It is exploitive. It seems Fader did not do that, but some have.
     
  11. Aero22

    Aero22 Low-Roller

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    I know this is the 'nice' board. I think I've been on the other one !!!!! And not to drag this particular point on, but I don't think I was articulate enough as to my point in my TR. It isn't the particular group that he had stand and be applauded that i found a little manipulative, but rather that he did it at all. If, in fact, he had all the nurses stand and be applauded, I would have had the same reaction. . Not relevant to the show, and strictly there to create a 'feel-good' moment. I can just imagine TF and his writers preparing the show and saying "Ok at this point lets put in the part where we get maudlin and get the military guys to stand - -that should get us a good reaction - - Can we somehow work a disabled person into it too?" It's show business and it's his audience, so I don't begrudge him doing it. To be clear, I am in awe of people who voluntary sign up to do a job that may result in them being killed and be away from their family for a year, and I personally would never have the guts, courage, or ability to serve as a military person. the burden that their families bear is unimaginable to me. I'm just being a little cynical that's all. It's like Wayne Newton doing that bit where he takes a drink from the audience members glass - -- It serves it's purpose, but it might be a little too 'designed to create a response' for my purpose. Again, having said that, is there any part of any show that isn't designed to the nth degree for maximum impact (now that I think about it, I saw Little Legends once at PH so I guess there are some shows that have no purpose whatsoever). Like I said in my original TR, self-editing and articulation are not my strong points. In retrospect, i also think that TF's show was so good and he is so amazing that maybe I thought that any unnecessary extras just took away from the core of the show. To summarize though, I would definitely recommend TF, and Vinnie Favorito, I would likely not recommend Penn & Teller even though I did enjoy the show and consider myself a big fan.
     
  12. Tomen

    Tomen Tourist

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    Great read on the trip report. Thanks for posting!

    My girlfriend and I will be going to Vegas for our second trip in August.

    We wanted to get into collecting casino chips but didn't know how to start.

    Did you just walk up to the cashier and ask for a $1 chip or go to a table?

    Thanks!
     
  13. Aero22

    Aero22 Low-Roller

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    We just go to the cashiers window and ask to buy a $1 chip. Almost all are pretty good about it, and usually they try to pick out one in good shape. i'm not sure how we are going to display them - - just need a few more to complete all of the strip and downtown casinos.
     
  14. casinokrn

    casinokrn Newbie

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    Aero,

    We are going to rent a car this time, never did it in all the 14 years we've been going to Vegas. Question - when going downtown, where did you park? What was the traffic like going down and back, I'm a little worried about getting stuff in traffic. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
     
  15. Aero22

    Aero22 Low-Roller

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    I think we parked at Binions, but i don't recall exactly. We had the GPS with us. there was no traffic whatsoever. We were downtown on the Monday if I recall. It was 5 minutes (or so it seemed) to get downtown - - we went via freeway, and coming back we decided to drive along LV blvd. Again, no real traffic to speak of - -certainly not 'getting stuck in traffic' situation. We have also been going for 10+ years and this was first time renting a car, and we will always do so from now on. We used Alamo since I had heard alot of bad things about a few of the other cheaper places. I think we paid $134 total for the 4 days. $$$ wise probably about breakeven, but the savings in time and convenience is priceless. We went to the Rio to get our P&T tickets then back that night for the show -- zip over in 2 minutes - parking garage right there - - alternative would have been the shuttle or cab. etc etc. Everyone who finally rents usually says they will do so from now on, but I never hear the opposite story on the boards

    good luck
     
  16. Aero22

    Aero22 Low-Roller

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    casinokrn : forgot to mention, the other option is to just use valet downtown at the GN or something - - that was going to be our plan originally if we were late at night but we ended up just going for the garage. Binions is free parking 3 hours if you get the ticket validated inside if I recall.
     
  17. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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    Main Street Station has an awesome valet service. I haven't hit a night that it was full, although I am sure that could happen. That way you don't have to walk thru the 'icky' side street part - you can cut across over the walkwalk & then you only have a 1/2 a block outside walk or thereabouts. Someone recommended it here to me & we absolutely love it. Usually go in & eat at 777Brewpub, walk over to Fremont for a while then pop back & pick up vehicle.
     
  18. cbkb101

    cbkb101 Tourist

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    Where did you find a 2 for 1 coupon for Penn & Teller? This is on my DH's to do list when we are out there in October.

    TIA!! Nice TR, very well done!
     
  19. Aero22

    Aero22 Low-Roller

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    To: cbkb101

    our P&T coupon was in a coupon book that was given to us upon checkin at Flamingo. It was included in whatever type of room deal we had. I think P&T is usually at the half price booth also though.
     
  20. Aero22

    Aero22 Low-Roller

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    also, forgot to mention about P&T they do a Meet N Greet after the show in the lobby for everyone. Penn is sure tall. He also calls everyone Boss "Hey Boss, Glad to meet you" Thanks for coming Boss" You want a picture Boss" etc. Teller speaks, but not alot. He sounded a little hoarse when I was speaking with him - but who knows if that is normal voice or not?? Anyway, it was nice to get a photo with each of them.

    Edited to note Teller speaks, not Jillette well, Jillette speaks too, but that is not really surprising !!
     
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