Just want to start by thanking everyone on this board...I'd lurked for weeks before my trip (and eventually hopped into the discussion with a few questions) and learned a ton from you all. I first visited Vegas for a conference (at the Riveria, I stayed at Stardust...got upgraded to a suite!) in late June. While I took in a few shows and did lots of sightseeing, those 8am sessions and the location really got in the way of my general carousing, so I made plans to get back as soon as I could. Anyway...to the most recent trip...flew ATA from Indy to Vegas...arrived about 10:30PM and the luggage was taking FOREVER to arrive...so I hopped a shuttle over to the main terminal and finally got directions to the PPE check-in area and by the time I make it over there, they're closed. I see a woman still in the area, and she informs me they've just closed at 11:00 and her systems are down and she's sorry that she can't help me out. I'm frustrated, and let her know that they should post that information on their website...she agrees and apologizes again and I'm on the shuttle back to ATA where my friend has finally found our luggage. We cab over to Flamingo and there's no check in line anyway...hooray. I ask for a room on a higher floor with a view (but don't do the $20 tip as I've brought very very little money on this trip) and she says sure and puts us on 28! Yay! As we walk the miles and miles of hallway to our room, I realize I forgot to ask if something near the elevator was available. Several hours later, we find our room (only 2 from being the absolute last!) and head in. I was somewhat apprehensive after having read so many mixed reviews here, but the room was very much what I expected...clean and big, but with sort of worn furniture and bedspreads. The view is OK, looked mostly at IP's pool but could see the volcano erupting at the Mirage, which was fun esp. for my friend who'd never been to Vegas. We put our stuff down, catch our breath, and head out. We first walked the grounds and pool areas at Flamingo...I'm generally unimpressed with the birds. They smell, and the penguins never really did anything cute. Plus it was HOT as hades and I felt a little bad for them...somebody think they're fooling those guys by painting their habitat to look like snow? Please. Anyway, the pools look good and we head to the casino at IP as I've read the slots are good there and I wanted to see the celeb blackjack dealers. The Ricky Martin was cute and kept smiling at me, but I'm pretty sure he just wanted some peeps to play at his table...but it scares me to lose $5 at a time so I walk to some slots and start playing 50 cents at a time...and in about 15 minutes I win $250...not a bad way to start the weekend. Roll into bed sometime around 2 (4am to my body) and up and down to the pool by 9. Found chairs at the main pool, but they're practically on top of each other and we move to one of the splash pools for the waterslide. The water's cold, so we sun until it's unbearably hot and finally get in. Lunch at the buffet at Bellagio...got in quickly and total is about $20 with tax and tip. The food is very good, with several more "gourmet" offerings, and the desserts are just plain silly. I had one in between my salad and main courses, and then another at the end. It is vacation after all, where chocolate between courses is completely appropriate. Cab down to The STRAT for the Big Shot (that never gets old) and walk south to some bad souvenir shops, Circus Circus (we rode the coaster...fun!), Slots O'Fun, and Westward Ho were we play slots and drink the 99 cent margaritas. Yummy. I really like the north end of the strip...for that matter...I really like all of the strip. Anyway...back to the room for showers and meet up with 2 other friends and cab out to the Palms for gambling (no winners here) and dinner at the Mexican restaurant...which was completely BORING. Would've much rather had the food and drinks from any La Salsa (which I adore). We were all a little let down by the Palms generally. Hit the Boardwalk to see Purple Reign...I swear that guy looks more like Prince than the man himself. And then hang at Carnival Court at Harrah's into the wee hours...then play a little at Flamingo, where I win my second $250 slot jackpot of the trip! Bedtime came late. Lots of walking and sightseeing on Saturday. Did the Pop Icons exhibit at Venetian...interesting but very small. Dinner at La Salsa in the Riveria food court and then headed Downtown. I missed Fremont on my first trip and absolutely loved it this time. Drank some massive frozen drink and promised myself I'd stay down there next time. Sunday slept in and hung by the pool into the late afternoon, and came to the sad realization I'd have to go home that night. Hit the Spice Market Buffet at Aladdin and found it met all my expectations, even if not as fancy-schmancy as Bellagio. Played slots in Paris while my friend did the Effiel Tower and then headed back to the room to check out. Boohoohoo. But I did go home with $250 Can't wait for my next trip!