Well, it has taken me a week to get this on the board, so hopefully my memory doesn't fail me. This was a unique weekend for me. For the first time ever, Las Vegas served as home for me for these 5 days. I am relocating from Kentucky to Washington. So Las Vegas was in the middle of my move. A nice break from reality for sure. Left Louisville on the 20th with an evening flight via American. Uneventful flight with a quick and I do mean quick layover in Dallas. All said and done, landed in Vegas 10 minutes early. Quick service at baggage claim and out to the Cab line. As I have come to expect, Thursday nights are about as long as you get for cab lines at McCarron. All said and done, about 25 minutes and I'm on my way to the Flamingo This trip I was meeting two friends from Washington, however they were not arriving until Friday Night. I wanted to get in, settled and of course have some fun, so thus I booked the extra night. With the time change, I thought I would take it easy on Thursday, check in, grab a bite, walk around and turn in early. This was my 3rd straight stay at the Flamingo, and I think it will be my last for awhile. Had four nights comped in a regular room which is all three guys like us needed. The line for check in was long, slow and a bit irratating. On a Thursday Night at 10 local time, how can the Flamingo not staff more than three people at check in. When I hopped into line, it was about 20 or so deep. That's bad enough, but when you factor in the lack of bodies checking you in and the constant halt of the line with Seven Stars, Diamond and Platinum, it just left a really bad taste in my mouth. Total check in time was pretty close to 1 hr 15 minutes. Got my room keys, checked in room #6034, hung some clothes, put some things away and decided to go play for an hour. My planned hour turned into 20 minutes as BJ was awful and craps sucked. Decided I wanted a late night bite and walked over to O'Sheas Food Court. Good people watching, and a good whopper Jr later I decided to turn in and get up early on Friday. Took it easy in the morning, slept in to hopefully prepare for a wild Friday night, had a lite bite to eat, placed some horse bets I had and headed out to the pool. Headed out, since I was alone it was not hard to find a single chair and proceeded to lay out and people watch for a few hours. Good scenery, I'm 33, so I like to think I'm "not too old to take a look" for either age group. I had a pretty funny drunk couple sitting next to me. They kept egging me on to head to the GO pool, but I declined. After a few hours at the pool, I stopped by the race and sports book to place a bet for one of my friends on the Cowboys preseason game that night and to check my horse bets. There's something to be said to not watching the races and to just have the tellers check your tickets. It's like christmas, you have no idea how you did. So I was pleasantly surprised when my return netted me a nice $275 profit. Went upstairs to shower and lounge for a bit. Decided to treat myself to a nice steak dinner at Steakhouse 46 until my friends arrived. Not a bad meal, but certainly there is better on the strip. I got a New York Strip Bone Out, butterflied and I thought it lacked a little flavor. The salad was good with house dressing and the garlic mashed potatoes were very tasty. After dinner and two gin martinis, bill was $70, $90 with tip. My friends finally arrived after some small delays. We had made a deal to go "hard" once they got there. After a brief stop at the room to unload, we headed for the first bar we could to begin the night. We should have stopped right there. Like a lot of people, we drink more...way more why we are in Vegas than we do when we are at home. We pounded some shots, some drinks and some more shots. We have a thing for the dealertainers at IP, and thus decided to head and play some BJ. We sat with "Whitney Houston" first, followed by a lot of fun with Mariah Carey, followed by even more fun with Tony Orlando and finished with Brittney Spears. I hate continuious shuffle tables, but this case I didn't mind as the dealertainers were great, the cocktail service was unreal and our table mates were as much fun as possible. Our cocktail server who's name I can't remember was the best service I have ever had at a casino while playing. We had drinks easily every ten minutes and she had a ton of character as she appeared to be having fun with her job. I know we probably over tipped, but after seeing how bad cocktail service was almost everywhere else, I really appreciated her effort. After about 3 hours, a loss of a couple hundred, several drinks and shots, I pulled out and just watched. The cocktail waitress still brought me my jack and cokes and really took care of our table. Luckily we had one guy in our group winning, so it was very worthwhile. At about 2 am, we stumbled and I do mean stumbled back to the Flamingo to at least get closer to home base. Our table mates were staying there as well and went with us. They were a couple from Milwaukee and were really fun. Although, I think the husband was getting tired of our attention going to his wife more than him, but hey, what were we suppose to do. We are guys and he was rather quiet. Anyway after several more drinks and shots at the casino bar in the Flamingo, the night came to a close around 5. I will add...I don't remember getting up to my room and changing into some shorts and crawling into my bed. I also don't remember getting sick in the middle of the night...but I was reminded of that quickly in the morning. Also of note, my buddy who didn't leave when we did got lost, went to the wrong wing of the hotel and didn't get to our room until almost 7. I would have loved to have seen that security tape. Saturday won't take me long to recap: - Three really hung over guys - One who didn't want to ever get up (not me) - quick losses at blackjack the highlight of Saturday was heading to the Orleans for the Arena Cup The championship of AF2. Our city was playing, we got free tickets, we thought we would go, plus this would be my first time seeing the Orleans. The Orleans is much bigger than I thought it would be and the Arena is perfect. We had a really good time, but didn't do much in the way of gambling. I might give this a shot if I were to come by myself and not care about going to the Strip or downtown. Saturday night we were pretty pathetic as the scars from Friday night hadn't worn off. We played some blackjack, won a little and retired very early for a Saturday night. Right around 1 or so. Sunday was much better. We decided to hit the strip and entertain ourselves with some little games: - every time we pass a drink special...get it - play some on Happy Days slots everytime we see them - quote "The Hangover" lines in random conversation with strangers We had a great time and one of us (once again not me) seemed to win everytime we played Happy Days. He had to have cleared $200 or so when all was said and done. Sunday night was our night to go to Freemont St. and we met a friend who lives in the area. We once again had a lot of fun. Ate the $12.99 Prime Rib Buffet at the Freemont. Not bad and better than the crappy buffet at the Flamingo. I also really enjoyed the summer of 69 theme for the light show. Good music and entertaining. After some drinks and visiting, our friend took us back to the strip via the north end and we enjoyed the drive. Even on a Sunday Night, the drive takes awhile. Well worth it though as always. Sunday night ended with more blackjack, slots and people watching. A really fun day. Monday morning my boys headed to airport for an 11 am departure and I headed to MGM to meet a friend who had just arrived. We bet a few ponies and just cought up for awhile. A good way to pass the time before my airport cab ride. Speaking of which, a great ride it was. First off, with tip $20. I think the fare was $13, but the driver was great conversation and really nice. Tried to get her name, but didn't. Made the quick trip very enjoyable. All in all a fun trip. Not as wild as most have been (outside of the friday night debacle) but still fun. Overall down on gambling some, but not much. Will be going back in October and staying at the Rio. Below are just a few random thoughts and questions: - cocktail service in Vegas in general is going downhill fast. It's obvious to me that casinos are putting less and less into this area. The Flamingo's was basically non existant, the IP's as stated above was fantastic. The Mirage in the Race and Sports Book was horrible and the same with CP. Compared to what I saw even just last year...it's night and day. - porn slappers...it's time to go. I'm an open minded guy and for the longest time thought the porn slappers thing was funny, but after this trip, I just think that it's doing Vegas a disservice. For one the littering seems to be more than it use to and compound that with the construction mess, it's just a lot. Also, how many people really "take advantage" of these ads. With the crowds on the sidewalks, it would be nice to get rid of them and have a little more space for those enjoying the strip. - The strip is really is all about the clubs and restaurants. Seems like more than ever before, the casino end of things is becoming less relevent. - As mentioned earlier, I'm 33. I like to think I am a fun 33, an outgoing 33, and even maybe a decent looking 33. But damn am I becoming more and more intimidated by the women in Vegas. With all the clubs, and the outfits (or lack thereof) that the ladies are wearing, I feel like all I can do is stare. Don't get me wrong, I love it...but damn if its harder to initiate conversation. Anyway, I hope I didn't bore you all.