Dec 4th-11th 2007 - Ballys - The No sleep Trip This was my 7th trip to my favourite place in the world. My travelling companion is by best friend C who was with me on our first trip in February 2000 and this is his 3rd trip. We are both 38 years old and married with kids. C had always wanted to see a championship boxing match in Vegas so when Ricky Hatton announced he would be fighting Floyd Mayweather we quickly booked flights and Hotel before the rush. As it turned out even after applying for the ticket ballot and trying to book with ticketmaster the minute the tickets went on sale the best we could do was CCTV viewing in the MGM Grand Ballroom. But hey still a great excuse for a week in the entertainment capital of the world. Things are too much of a blur this time to recount a day by day account so I thought I would break it down by category. Travel & Hotel Booked through United flying from London Heathrow via San Francisco with a return via Los Angeles. Air Fare was Â£356. Couple of weeks before departure I get an email from United saying the SFO to LAS leg was put back to 5.30 with us arriving in SFO at 1.15 this meant a long wait. Turned out to be even longer when the flight was delayed for an hour. This made it a bit of a marathon journey. When we arrived at SFO we tried in vain to move onto an earlier flight. When we finally arrived in Vegas somehow my bag had made it onto the earlier flight but not C's. Anyway it eventually turned up and we jumped in a cab to Bally's. Once in the cab I said to the driver "am sure you are an honest bloke but please don't take me through the tunnel", he seemed a bit stunned and asked which way I wanted to go so I told him to take Koval Lane past Ellis Island. Cab fare was $10.90 plus tip. We received room 2318 at Bally's which was a nice big room in the North Tower which you could see the Bellagio Fountains if you cricked your neck to the right whilst pressing your face against the window. Needless to say each day we left a tip for housekeeping in order for them to keep having to wipe my face print off the damn window! Bally's in my opinion is a great location but really does lack the character of some of the other hotels, as a base its fine and with the walkthrough to Paris you do kind of get 2 hotels in one. Was surprised to find the coffee shop closed in the evenings and the food outlets in the mall closed as well, nowhere to get any sort of late night food. Also frustrated to not be able to get breakfast after 11am, I mean I thought Vegas was a 24 hour city! Only other gripe was the $3 per day charge for the safe, just seems petty really. Total for room was $809.00 plus tax for the 7 nights, a good deal I think. Show and Boxing We had booked tickets to see Rodney Carrington at the MGM Grand. His show 'Rodney' was shown for a while on ABC1 here in the UK, not many people over here will have seen it and the channel has now been withdrawn but I watched the show with my daughter and we loved it so when I saw he was in Vegas I just had to go see him. When I booked I received tickets for row 1 seats 1a and 1b and I thought maybe the tickets were not selling too well. When C and I walked in the theatre was packed and C and I were the only men in the room without Cowboy hats on. We thought this might make us a target to be picked on by the comedian and although he kept looking our way he didn't say anything. We both really enjoyed the show, the warm up act was very good and Rodney did about 30 minutes of stand up then some of his songs. I would definitely recommend seeing the show. The CCTV setup for the Hatton v Mayweather fight was very impressive. We were in the Grand Ballroom which had some 5000+ seats inside. There were six 20 foot screens showing digital quality images and no matter where in the ballroom you were you had a great view of the fight. I was sat next to two American guys who were both supporting Hatton, one of them even went out and brought a British flag to drape over his shoulders and needless to say I was ashamed when some of my fellow brits booed the national anthem. In the end Hatton was outclassed but we were still proud of our man. Food Unfortunately I was ill all week in Vegas with a cold and chesty cough and although I made sure it didn't spoil my trip it did kind of spoil my appetite for the fine food that Las Vegas has to offer. This meant eating became more of a necessity rather than the pleasure it usually is. However, we still had some nice meals in the Outback Steakhouse, Margaritaville and in the Brew Pub at Main Street Station where I had the best Chicken Tenders ever! Gambling C had a couple of nice wins on some dollar slots in O'Shea's on our first day which put him up by nearly $1,200 which was nice as it gave him money to play with over the rest of the week. I didn't have much of a gambling budget this trip as it was my 2nd trip this year and was not really planned. We had fun though playing slots, video poker, blackjack and roulette mostly. I came home with $20. The most fun was playing $5 blackjack at the Plaza one afternoon and having got through my $100 buy in to my last chip in record time I managed to hang on for a good 2 hours working my way up to six or seven chips only to lose them again. I say fun because it was just a relaxed table and the drinks were flowing and people were very friendly. After this session we wandered down to the El Cortez to see what a seedy dive it was, only to find what I believed to be quite a nice place really. We had some fun playing quarter Roulette and left wondering what all the fuss was about. I guess it was late afternoon and maybe if we had hung around we would have seen some of the more colourful characters I have heard described from others. Nightlife Had fun at Carnival Court as always, met some nice people who worked for Outback Steakhouse one night. We also went to Polly Esthers nightclub at the Stratosphere . Not sure about the club but they have a $40 all you can drink deal including cover that makes it well worth trying. They had 3 rooms open playing music from different decades and we had a good time there for a couple of hours while loading up on drinks. On Sunday night we went to Mandalay Bay, had a few drinks in the centre bar then went into Rumjungle. Unfortunately the place was dead so we headed round the corner to Ivan Kane's Forty Deuce. This is a small club with a Burlesque show and a three piece band that appear every hour or so to entertain the crowd. Well, entertained we truly were, the dancers were fantastic and I don't want to spoil it for everyone but the second dancer that we saw took the breath away of every man and woman in the room, her performance was fantastic and after her show the club just took off in a fantastic atmosphere with everyone dancing and having a good time. It was whilst in this club that we met a famous celebrity who for the purpose of this report will remain nameless. We chatted for a while and he was with a friend, also famous that wanted to crash so celeb number 1 asked if he could hang out with my friend and I and go off to a few places around town. So thats what we did, he managed to get us a free Hummer Limo and we went off to Hard Rock and then Seamless and we basically partied until 7.30am with our new friend. Good times! The first night we were in town we should have gone to sleep obviously but instead we popped into the new Planet Hollywood, I really like what they have done to this place. The pleasure pit with dancers in amongst the gaming tables is a welcome addition to the gaming experience in my view and we also spent some time in the Heart Bar enjoying the atmosphere and watching the dancers. (You spot the pattern here!). We had some top quality people watching time here with first the local hookers stopping by then followed by the local pimps. These guys were hilarious looking and you could spot them as pimps from a mile away, truly Vegas moments! Sleep Now I can never get a good nights sleep in Vegas, probably because there is so much excitement around me that I just want to be out there experiencing it but on this trip it was just ridiculous. I literally had 12 hours sleep in a week. Even when I went out partying until 7.30am I would sleep for just a couple of hours and wake up again. I couldn't even sleep on the way home and it has taken me a week to get back to some sort of normal sleep pattern. Mind you its all worth it! Summary Another fantastic trip and I just cannot wait for the next one, although I don't think it will be for a while unfortunately due to finances but in the meantime I will have to live vicariously through the trip reports that others post.