(Sorry this is so wordy.... I blame the reading of Anthony Bourdain all weekend.......) Working title: How to get a Royal in Vegas... just sit next to me! Players: Me and the hubby (aka "the man"). THURSDAY - August 10th - What's the terror level this hour? the Shelby Hertz Mustang and Hoover Dam. And a Royal. Sigh. Wish it had been a better trip. For me, at least (remind self... I'm married now. It's about how WE do, not how I do. We woke up early to catch the cab to the airport. After the milk-leak incident (had purchased some shelf-stable milk to take along for quick morning food - one busted the day before we left in my backpack resulting in last minute cleaning and re-packing) I thought the crap would all be behind us. HA! We did not check any news before we left, so we had no idea what we were walking in to on Thursday morning at the airport. Some dude at the baggage check said something about not being able to carry any liquids thru the security checkpoint like coffee or water. No worries, we had neither. We checked in, upgraded to seats with more legroom (on Ted thru O'hare) and headed over to security. The line was closed. Huh. They said it was opening at 5am. The hell? Security at O'Hare closes??? We parked our place as first in the line. Noticed a notice that said no liquids in your carry-ons like hair gel and lotion, so I tossed the facial moisturizer I had in my bag. Thru the maze at about 5:05am, laptop out of the bag, ordered to take off shoes, bags on the Xray machine. Purse, fine. Laptop, fine. Backpack? They tore it apart and I was order to toss my nail glue and nail polish. Pissed me off, since I had no idea where it was coming from. Yeah, fine, whatever, let me get to my gate. Got to the gate, grumbled, found some seats, and finally heard on CNN about the stuff at Heathrow. YEOW. Ok, not so pissed about the $8 bottle of unopened nail polish anymore. Flight was a little tense, but uneventful. Dude in the seat next to me must have been an architect who was working on something titles"Vegas Tower Spire" (Trump?). Neat to sneak a few looks. Tram to the baggage pickup was interesting.... a lot of ladies being VERY pissed about having to toss most of their makeup (and when you go to Vegas, you don't bring the Maybelline, you bring the good stuff! I honest think one lady probably lost a few hundred in makeup). Off to get the luggage, the man dropped a buck in to some slots and came out a winner. He declared it would be a good trip. Got the luggage, and off to the rental counter. Hertz was uncrowded, and the Shelby Mustang was BEAUTIFUL. Wow. With our maps, we headed out. Forgot to drop the luggage at the airport check in, so we stopped by the Flamingo quickly. Every bellhop was on the car before we even stopped, asking questions and the man was eating it all up. Finally got on the way, and the man stopped at In & Out Burger. Huh? Oh, wanted to try getting some pictures of the car. Alright. Was just too bright out. He looked at the maps on how to get to Hoover damn. I know, he was probably just a little high from the car and all, but um yeah... he has had moments before that show a lack of ability to read a map. So, from In N Out, we turned WEST on Tropicana. After a fine visual tour of some of the many finer trailer parks and sham timeshares, he finally believed me that we were going in the wrong direction (SEE? We should have passed PARADISE and we're on RAINBOW, sweetie!). Turned the car around and were finally headed in the right direction. Drive to Hoover was uneventful. Man, that is a curvy road. Skipped the movie part of a tour, ended up with a tour guide who was hard to understand and had some really weird accent. Didn't take too many pictures... it was hot and we were hungry. Tried to buy some bottled water at the concession stand, but it took forever (I now know it takes three people to make an ice cream cone at Hoover Dam, one to make it, and also take orders and watch the register, and two to wtach). Headed thru downtown Boulder, finally ended up at Jack in the Box. We hadn't been to one of them in like 5 years, so we decided to stop. Ugh. I have never before unwrapped a fast food burger and found so much grease at the bottom of it. Ugh. After that, back to Vegas and the Strip. Dropped the car in the parking garage at the Flamingo and went to attempt check in. A clerk named Amber waited on us, and promptly decided to IGNORE what we requested when we made the reservation (directly thru the hotel) and what we told he we wanted, and went to our low-floor room with a single king that was non-smoking. Sigh. Back down to reservations, where the HIGHLY tipped Amber watched as another clerk tried to help fix her mistake, we were told there was nothing available right then and to check back in an hour. Finally checked in with the families, to tell them we got there OK. I decided I'd been in Vegas far too long without gambling, so we found some multi-denom/game poker machines and sat down. Now, I've been working on my video poker basics in the past few months, wanting to have something to play besides slots and video blackjack to play. We both plunked some money in, and the man quickly asked me for another twenty bucks as my money dwindled. Almost immediately, I hear "Holy Shit!" and look over to see the man has gotten a royal. Hearts. :Þ I immediately proclaim "You bastard!" This would about some up the luck both of us had for the trip. Pleased as a peach, he gets his TITO ticket, we marvel at the Royal and putzed around, waiting for the hour to be up. Finally attempted check in again, this time a high floor, two beds but at least smoking. Get in the room and try to hook up the internet access, which is busted. After so much trouble trying to get this room, this is the last thing I wanna bitch about and I buck it up. No 'net for us, which makes all the links I've spent months bookmarking useless. Oh hurrah. Took some pics of the car in the Flamingo parking garage, hit the Deja Vu lingerie store since we still had the car, and then returned the car to the airport. Got tunneled by the cab driver on the way back. He went without a tip. For dinner, we headed over to Aladdin so we could get some Pinks hot dogs at the Zanzibar Cafe. Yum. HE had the Spiderman 3 dog, I went with the pastrami burrito. I'm glad this stuff is not local or we'd both weight about a ton. Noticed that Sephoria in the mall was JUMPING. Any one we passed all weekend was packed with women who had to replace things. Back to the Flamingo, and some gabling. Slots for me, 3-card poker for the man. It was the start of me just mother-bleepin-hemoraging money to help pay for the hefty air conditioning bills for the hot weekend. Money in and nothing. We're talking NO ACTION. Twenty bucks in, thirty cents a spin on a penny slot with nothing more than earning my spin back was the flavor of the weekend for me. And, I have also come to the conclusion that I am just bleepin' invisible to cocktail waitresses. Now I give a five buck tip for the first beer, and three bucks after that. Yet, even after the rare gift of a waitress who I'd catch for a first round, I'd be ignored from then out. I thought these gals worked for tips? Is it fun to just brush past someone who'd give you five bucks if you'd take ten seconds to listen to me, trying to get your attention, that I'd like a damned beer?? Sigh. Sober and losing money is NOT fun. Luckily, the man did much better than I did at poker. We had a couple beers at Bugsy's Bar, and up to bed at a pretty reasonable hour since we were pooped. FRIDAY - August 11th - Lucky me? Woke up, headed down to Java Coast for some coffee and pastries to bring back up the room. We tried to hit the pool, but it was already so crowded we gave up. Decided to walk over to Bellagio to check out the conservatory, very next. Then over to the Monte Carlo so the man could place some sports bets. Bad slot luck continued there, but I did get a chance to sit at one of the big old wheel of fortune machines for a bit. I bet if you're someone with a shred of luck and you hit a bonus, it'd be fun. Grumble. After that, over to Fatburger for lunch. Always good. And an egg on a burger when you're starving and it's damn hot out is a very good thing. Walked thru the Desert Passage shops... no good Vegas Christmas ornaments (apparently they don't put all those out until next month, lol) and the man was on a bit of a mission to get a cowboy hat, but didn't like any of the ones he found. Back to the hotel, relaxed a bit. Headed back down to the casino before we headed downtown. Wow! A cocktail waitress who was glad to wait on me! Very nice gal who was near the end of her shift and took good car of me, and the five buck tips kept going to her. When the next one came out, I thought I saw the gal pointing me out to her, but I must have been mistaken 'cause I could have been on fire and not gotten the next girl's attention. The man finally walked away from his 3-card game, a winner again, and we finally hopped a cab downtown (was our first female cabbie - which I had never noticed before this weekend... and a damned good/safe driver). Had dinner at the Golden Gate shrimp bar - a Fourty-Niner and big shrimp cocktail for me and the one that is basically a Reuben for the man. Sandwich was as advertised, and the big shrimp cocktail was excellent. Perfectly cooked shrimp, and I'm thinking the secret to the sauce is honey. Going to have to mess around and see. Up and down Fremont a bit, wasting time and waiting for the Area 51 show. Some shopping, more slot losses and a very quick life at a 3-card game for the man. At least downtown, if you're not getting served by waitresses, there are plenty of places to buy a reasonably priced beer. Finally caught the Area 51 show, which I think is the best one I have seen by far. Well worth the effort to stay amused until 11pm, lol. Back to the hotel, back to the tables for the man and back to hemoraging money for me. And getting ignored by cocktail waitresses. HELLO? CAN I GET ONE BEER FROM SOMEONE PLEEEEZE? Apparently not. Finally got sick of no service at the slots, and sat at the bar to at least get a drink. Met a nice kid sitting next to me who first worried me with his cell phone conversation "Look, someone just has to send him to the ER. And stop bugging me on my day off!! He was a doctor (resident). We talked for a bit. Lady in the seat next to me hits a royal. GREAT. I'm lucky for everyone BUT myself this trip. Finally hit the general store in the hotel for a six pack and headed back up to the room. SATURDAY - I hate people. If you can't walk, stay off the street. One goal for the day was to hit the swimming pool, so we woke up earlier than Friday to get moving. Ordered some room service, since we never heard anything great about the Flamingo's buffet and the man's hair stylist had raved about the eggs Benedict that room service has. The man had regular, I had the smoke salmon eggs bene that was supposed to come with sliced tomatoes. No tomato, some salty hollandaise. Just not very good (the man says his was OK, but the eggs bene I make at home, even the lightened one, is better). In fact, so not good that in combo with the heat, the booze, and everything else... um.... just didn't quite stay down. That *never* happens to me. Off to hit the pool. Very nice pool - great to just lounge, play, or "be seen" in (I had to laugh at all the 20-something girls in the water - not getting their hair wet with a smoke in one hand and a drink in the other). Some guy kept coming over the loudspeaker and saying something or other, with ever other word being "Bacardi". We finally headed back up to the room, cleaned up a bit, then off to sightsee. Wanted to see what the Wynn was all about. Took a walk around, it's nice, but everyone playing there looked like my sister in law's parents (very "Sweater set and pearls" crowd). Hit the Venitian on the way back, I was surprised at the restraint the hubby showed at not punching the mimes on sight, walked around the shops, then home again. By this time the weekend crowd had arrived and I was utterly fed up with "walking people". I want to know WHERE in the world people are so walking challenged that they just fuck up ALL foot traffic in Vegas. After some more rest in the room, we took a cab over to the Stardust to get some pictures of the sign before it goes. Walked around the place, kinda sad. I know that Vegas has a long history of ignoring the past, but this was downright ignoring the present. It was just dead there. Like once some place is announced as "going", people already treat it like "Gone". Picked up a shotglass and a deck of cards, snapped a couple of pictures, tried a couple slots. It was nearing dinner as we passed The Frontier, and I recall reading that a lot of people like Margarita's. I ordered the shrimp fajitas, the man ordered something-or-other steak with shrimp thing. I about died with glee when I tasted the beans they gave us with our chips. That is someone's mother's recipe!! We've got a LOT of good, authentic Mexican in the Chicago burbs, but this was a whole 'nother level. WOW. Food and drinks were excellent. The man vowed this should be as much of a tradition of Fatburger. Back to the casino. Back to hemoraging money for me, wins for the man. And NO service. I mean not ONE cocktail waitress, at any time, where I Was. And of course, even the seats at the bar with broken video poker machines were taken up by the ladies of the night. Utterly fed up, back to the gift shop for a six pack and up to wallow in my own damned bad luck while the man spent another couple hours at the poker tables. The man wandered in a couple hours later. Sunday - Home again, home again We were still unsure about the security lines at the airport, so we planned on being there 3 hours early. Left the casino at about 8am. Traffic right in to the airport was HORRID. I was starting to get worried. Then I saw a line, leading to inside, that was snaking out the door, even using up a lane of the road. Now I was really worried. We got out of the cab, I looked at the line in horror - but hurrah (for us at least) it was the line for Southwest only. United seemed to have their shit together, we were checked in quickly and by the time we walked all the way to the security gates, there not much of a line. Seemed to be pretty easy as most people were now aware of the security measures. Grabbed some breakfast, at least got ten bucks off an airport slot. Ride home... ugh... I hate middle seats. I'm not sure if this just happens to me or if it's common that asshole men on planes do this to women... EVERY time I've been next to a guy on a plane, it turns in to a war for any use of the armrest. The third in our row was already pissed when we showed up - um, hello, other people fly on planes? Is it our fault we paid for these seats and aren't giving you a whole row? And again - you have the fucking isle seat. Don't feel like you've got to own the whole damned row. The battle for elbow room went on for about an hour with a few of him pushing me off before I had it. I have carpal tunnel, and from the way I was having to try and hold my book, was damned uncomfortable. After one of his little nudges, this big ole bitch finally nudge back - in a big way. The vengeance against every cocktail waitress who had ignored me was at a boiling point - and this guy bore it after he turned, glared at me and said "What's you're fucking problem?" First, surprised that the husband did not leap over me to start whaling on the guy, he was FAST asleep. And then the decision that I was just NOT about to bow to an asshole. Very loudly, I proclaimed that I did not have a fucking problem, I was just trying to get SOME space on the fucking armrest. I don't think he expected a forceful, angry response. LOL, not everyone leaves Vegas in a happy, bubbly move. Guy looked a bit scared, and gave me elbow room for the rest of the flight. Was it that hard??? Overall - My ACG coupons might have been worthwhile if I had not left them at home after the great bag/milk incident. Fucking D'OH. Even knowing the casinos have the edge, gambling is usually fun when you at least win SOMETHING, or can get a drink. When you have neither, it really sucks. To the point it might be awhile before the Vegas itch is strong again. I just didn't get the seduction this time. Was an OK vacation, but it is nice to walk in the door at home, find red tomatoes on my plants, and have beer only a couple steps away. ETA: Best quotes of the weekend...... To the people in the hotels hawking time shares.... Lady: Are you two married? The man: Not to each other! The sixty seconds of stunned silence time is enough for a clean getaway. Down on Fremont.... Churchy dude: (something about saving my soul as he handed me a pamphlet) Me: I'm sorry... I promised Satan I wouldn't take any more of those. Again.... sixty seconds od stunned is enough for a clean getaway.