Some of you may have read my post entitled “I’m finished with Vegas”. During that post I indicated that I had already booked another trip for July that I was obligated to take, but I was essentially done with Vegas. This is follow up report for the July trip. This trip had many highs and lows. It started with a significantly delayed flight on Southwest. One hour on the phone with them, our group of four was accommodated on a different flight. Upon arriving at the airport, our second flight was also significantly delayed. We arrived at the Budget Car Rental Fastbreak counter to find that our name was not on the board and the Fastbreak booth was unmanned. We trudged back inside to encounter a long line with no way to bypass the non-Fastbreak renters. We were “upgraded” into a smaller car than we reserved and told to take what we could get. At this point, we should have been at our hotel four hours ago and were in no mood to waste time bickering. Our first night was spent at Silverton, an old haunt of mine. It was comped. The room was basic and clean. The bartenders were quick with a drink. I spent the night playing 50-cent DDB triple play at the bar and was dealt four aces all the way up, but couldn’t pull in any kickers. $1200. D’oh! Can I just have $1199 and skip the W-2G? Not so much. I evened out and left Silverton the next day with one hell of a hangover. But in my book, even is winning. The next day we checked into Red Rock for three nights. One room was comped. The other was $55 per night plus resort fee. We all headed straight to the spa to detox. As usual, it was a wonderful way to unwind. Over the next three days, we gambled, saw a show at the Suncoast, had dinner at Pizza Rock on Fremont, hit the Feast Buffet a few times, had a swim and a few cocktails at the pool, and gambled some more. We also hit up Frankie’s Tiki Room a few times. This is my new favorite hangout. The Fink Bomb is my drink of choice there. Two of them kicks my ass, but it’s a fabulous buzz and the atmosphere is never boring. And we also had Sunday brunch at Lago at Bellagio. We sat on the patio. The misters and the fountain spray kept us pleasantly cool. The food and service were divine. The brunch cost us $315 (with tip) and was worth every penny. I can’t recommend this place more highly and I will return for brunch if I ever go back. That said, I was pissed to spend $7 to park the car at Bellagio. I think it’s chicken shit to eat a $300 meal and be asked to pay to park. After our meal, my brunch bliss was rudely interrupted when the other couple insisted on seeing the M&M store. Christ almighty, what a goddamned nightmare that place is. We parked at the MGM and trudged through the lobby. There were no less than 300 people waiting to check in. There were screaming children and abandoned luggage all over the lobby. I haven’t been in that place in years, but it’s the same fucking nightmare it's always been. Why do people stay here? We had to explore every fucking floor of the damned M&M store and touch every piece of plastic shit they had. You want me to stand in line to buy some plastic Chinese crap with an M&M character on it? Who needs grey M&M's? Don't they taste the same as the regular ones? I kept my hand in my pockets and expressed my displeasure by gritting my teeth and refusing to speak until we had left the store. I just wanted to get back to Red Rock. Three days later it was time to check out of Red Rock. The video poker machines were friendly on this trip. My game of choice was 25-cent Super Times Pay DDB, 3-line and 5-line. I hit several good pays and ended the trip ahead about $3,000. We had just checked out and were planning to make a stop at my bank to make a deposit on the way to the airport. Suddenly, we all received emails from Southwest. Flight cancelled. With no hotel room to sit in, we hit the bank as planned and pulled into a McDonald’s to call Southwest. The only flight we could get on was 9 hours later than our original departure. Fine. We took it. Later that evening, that flight was significantly delayed. We were fed up. A ticket agent at the airport moved us to a flight the next day. I grabbed two rooms on Hotwire at the Southpoint, and we took a taxi over there to relax until the next day. Lost about $1,000 that night. The next morning, we had breakfast. We were just getting ready to check out when suddenly, we all received emails from Southwest. Flight cancelled. I spent another $100 to get the Southpoint to allow us to keep the rooms until 6pm. Another hour on the phone with Southwest, and we were moved to an evening departure. Upon arriving at the airport, our flight was on time, but it would eventually be delayed over two hours. We didn’t get home until 1am, local time. And the next day of work was hell for all of us, especially given that my husband had to be back at the airport for a 7:30am departure. Conclusion: Budget Rental Car? Never again. Red Rock. Hell, yes. MGM? Fuuuuuck, no. Brunch at Bellagio? In a heartbeat. Paying to park at Bellagio? To hell with that. M&M store? You must be out of your damn mind. Southwest? My confidence in them has been severely shaken, and I used to be one of their greatest advocates. Will I return to Vegas? Maybe. But I’m not renting a car and I’m not going anywhere near the damn Strip. Next time, I’ll reserve a limo and go straight from the airport to Frankie’s Tiki Room. After a couple of Fink Bombs, the rest will fall into place.