This is a bit dated, so please bear with me. August 2000 This was my first trip to Vegas so I went out not knowing what to expect. I was flying out on a Sunday with U.S. Airways to meet my friend and his dad at the Golden Nugget. Both had flown out the day before. Flight: I had booked with Priceline to get my fare of $200 out of Knoxville, which was comparable with my friend's fare that he got to drive four hours to Charlotte the day before to get to Vegas. I flew out on the 5PM flight to Charlotte then onto Vegas. As this was my second flight ever, I had a basic idea of what was going on, so I enjoyed the flight out. I really enjoyed seeing the lights over Las Vegas as we landed. Arrival: I arrived into Las Vegas after 9PM, and immediately had no idea what was going on! My friend was going to pick me up at the airport, but he forgot what time I was going to fly in. I called the Nugget, got a hold of him, and told him that I was going to take a cab. I grabbed my bags and I was off to the taxi stand. Taxi: This was the first taxi ride I had ever took so I kind of wanted to enjoy it. The driver was real courteous to me and kept up a lot of small talk on the way past the Luxor over to the Interstate. I was in complete awe of the hotels. She dropped me off at the front doors of the Nugget and off I went. Cost: $25 after tip. Golden Nugget: Since my friend and his dad had checked in the night before, all I had to do was meet him in the lobby and head up to the room. To put things into perspective, I am used to 1 star motel/hotels, so this place blew my socks off. I had never seen such a beautiful hotel. We stayed on the 17th floor but had a crappy view of what looked like a construction site. Oh well, I didn't plan on staying in the room looking at the "view." The bathroom was nice, my friend told me he was taking the rollaway bed, his dad was taking one of the beds and I got the other. The room was very comfortable temperature wise and very clean. Gambling: My friend, John, and I both started off hitting the video poker at the bar at the Horseshoe. They had .50 cent longnecks if you weren’t playing, so we drank our fill. Over the course of the week, John got to know their bartenders really well. The place did reek of rotten limes and other fruit, but was a nice watering hole. We hit their slots and blew some money. Later in the week, I would gamble at the Horseshoe’s $2 limit table and had a blast. We also hit the Fremont’s slots and blackjack, but didn’t have half the fun we did at the Horseshoe. The only problem we had at the Horseshoe was a bald dealer who was as fun as a wet rag. We played a few hands with him and knew he would suck the life out of us. He looked like he was mad at the world and nothing anyone was going to say or do was going to change it. Poor guy. John’s dad was a crack at just about any game he would play. Slots, blackjack, you name it. At the end of the week, he had gotten us some really nice comps, more on that later. Other Things: Being my first time in Vegas, John decided we should all go to the Strip and take in the sights. We took the rental car (God bless the rental agency,) drove over to the Tropicana, and used their valet parking. We wandered around for hours taking in the hotels on that end of the strip and getting all the free stuff we could carry (playing cards, 2 for 1 drinks, etc.) We even tried our hand at the $20 Slot game that guarantees you a prize every time you play. We run through our $20 in short time and got in line for our prizes. I got a nice clock that I figured would make a nice Christmas present. It was worth the $20 I spent on it. Another day, we jumped onto the Interstate and drove out to Hoover Dam. I took some great pictures of it, but we decided not to enjoy the tour. We continued on to the Grand Canyon. We barely made it there in time to take in the beauty of the Canyon before the tourist shop was going to close up. We spent some time here taking pictures and admiring the, and I quote “biggest damn hole I’ve ever seen.” I must say though, even if it is a big hole in the ground, EVERYONE should go and see it at least once in their life. Of course, being on Fremont Street, one must catch the Fremont Street Experience. It seemed like we saw each show a dozen times. We also enjoyed a few afternoons by the pool, as you can imagine, drinking. I did get a nasty sunburn on my legs though. Dining: We tried a little bit of everything while we were there. As a group, we ate at the Fremont’s Paradise buffet several times. We enjoyed the seafood night they had on Wednesday and the regular buffet as well. We also ate there for breakfast a few times. John introduced me to a breakfast dish that looked rather disgusting, but was extremely good. I’m not sure of the name of it, but I know it had meat and eggs all jumbled up on the same plate. MMM good. Overall, the Paradise Buffet/ Restaurant had very good food, nice service, and was affordable. Another place of dining was Tony Romas. This is a chain restaurant, which I believe is in the Fremont as well. We enjoyed the ribs and beverages here, as well as the great service. They really made sure we were taken care of. We also ate at the California Pizza Kitchen. This one was a bit pricey to me for a pizza or salad. We enjoyed our pizza and the very courteous staff. A lot of times, John and I would be out to the early hours of the morning when his dad would crash for the evening. We enjoyed many nights sitting in the Carson Street CafÃ© snacking or supplementing our previous meal. I tended to get the Philly Cheese Steak as a nice late night/ early morning snack or a monstrous banana split. The food here was extremely good and the staff took very good care of us. Every time we would sit down there, we would have to play at least one game of keno. It was an addiction. We rarely won anything more than our money back, but that was always a nice tip for the attractive keno girls. Drinking: And yes we did! We would sit at the bar at the Horseshoe and basically drink our fill. The first few days, we would put $10 in the video poker to get some free drinks or just pay the 50 cents. As the week went on, the bartenders got to know us pretty well and would just let us have our drinks and sign the receipt. One night, we sat and chatted with a security officer from the Golden Nugget. It was fun trading stories with him and the bartender. Another night, I had gone to bed, and John stayed out. When I got up the in morning, he had not been in long, and had one doozy of a hang over. We spent most of that morning getting him “rehydrated.” We also enjoyed some very strong daiquiris at the pool that about knocked us all on our butts. Some nights, we would saddle our way down Fremont Street and hit every nickel slot place we could find just for the free booze. You’ve gotta love Vegas. Comps: Well, John and myself weren’t there to get the comps. I didn’t even know there was anything better than a free beer while playing slots or blackjack. But John’s dad racked up quite a few. The last day we were there, we each enjoyed a free meal on the Golden Nugget’s tab at the Carson Street CafÃ©. Both John and his dad ordered up Filet Mignon with all of the trimmings. Myself, I settled for another Philly Cheese Steak (man was that good.) Of course, dessert came with this, and I enjoyed yet another monstrous banana split. The last day: John and his dad had to go back a day earlier than I, so after they had left, I spent the rest of the night at the blackjack table. The next morning, I checked my bags at the desk and they ordered up a limo to take me back to the airport later that night. I grabbed a quick bite at the Fremont breakfast buffet, played 10+ hours of blackjack at the Horseshoe, and grabbed my bags from the front desk to catch my ride. I waited outside for awhile, and got tired of waiting on them to show up. (They weren’t late, I was early.) I saw a van going to the airport and paid the guy $10 after tip to let me go with them. I caught my 1AM flight out and dreamed of Vegas all the way home. Overall: I had a blast. I paid my Vegas taxes, drank enough beer to start a brewery and enjoyed myself. I can say the same for John and his dad also. I couldn’t wait to go back.