Details: Flamingo, March 1st thru 4th. We're low rollers, I'm usually slots/video poker mainly to get the cocktails and the hubby plays three card poker. Background: It's been a busy past couple of months. Home improvements, long workdays, and lots of stress. We were really looking forward to this trip, and considering we each worked 10+ hours the day before we left, we really needed it!!! The hotel was pretty much comp'd, and the airfare and pocket/gambling money was a combine Xmas, Birthday, Valentines Day and anniversary present. Thursday, March 1st We were a little worried about our flight, since there was rain/thunderstorms predicted for about the time we were supposed to take off. So, we scheduled an earlier cab ride, set our alarms, and the night before, were in bed by 11pm. And then we BOTH slept thru both of our alarms. Got woken up by the cabbie at our door. Shit. After I took the world's fastest shower and we thru on some clothes and thru the last minute things in the bags, we were off. Uneventful ride to the airport, flight (Ted, Economy Plus) was a little bumpy at first but mostly uneventful, other than the flight attendant who acted like a schoolteacher. Was glad we got out early since O’Hare had a bunch of cancellations later in the day. Arrive, hubby picked up his Shelby GT-H from her Hertz counter, I got the bags, off to pick up the car, drop the bags at the Flamingo and then hubby dropped me off at the Venetian so I could have breakfast at Bouchon while he met with one of his vendors. Ok. Bouchon. If you are going to call yourself or associate your restaurant with French cooking, teaching you line cooks how the hell to PROPERLY cook scrambled eggs, Not those "flash in a pan" rubbery, chewy things you get at the buffet (and apparently Bouchon) but slowly cooked, fluffy, moist eggs. I was seated in what was apparently “single lady row”. There was one already seated in the two-seat table section when I arrived, and by the time I left, our numbers had grown to four. The omelette special was some Italian sausgae & cheese thing, which didn't appeal to me. Quiche special was lorraine... I was thinking about it, but I really, really wanted a cheese danish and to try the pommes frites. So, obviously, I got the Breakfast Americaine. Asked for my eggs scambled, since I figured "Well hell, they'll do it right!" Oh how my heart SANK when I saw the eggs, and I should have bitched and sent them back, and I regret that I did not. Sausage was wonderful, bacon was unevenly cooked but the crispy parts were good, eggs were terrible as already described (I have to wonder if they just assume that most people expect those type of crappy eggs, but in ay case a place with any bleepin' integrity would serve them properly), the butter was so cold and rock hard that I couldn't spread it on the brioche toast with reducing the toast to crumbs, But the pommes frites (french fries) were to die for. Even as I got to the bottom and the colder ones, they still have a good bite and were damned tasty. And the Cheese Danish was to die for. Overall... there were high points, there were low points, I might try the place again at some point, but at least I know not to order scrambled eggs there ever again. The quiche didn’t look too bad. But, about $30 for the meal, the high points made it better than a buffet, IMHO. And the staff was great, I was still in my "travelin" clothes, no makeup, my damned carpal tunnel hands kept fumbling and dropping silverware but I never caught any "what the hell do YOU think you are doing here?" glances... the front of house staff couldn't have been better. From there, I was headed down to the Bonanza gift shop to see if I could pick up some fun Vegas stuff for our newly-done bathroom. While on the Wynn pedestrian bridge, the hubby calls, freakin' out that his vendor is RIGHT next to the Shelby plant, and he took a lot of pictures. I know I told him about the plant, and the daily tours at 10am, but apparently he didn't remember. I continued on, quick stop at Walgreens to buy a hair brush since I didn't condition my hair (these are the details you're really interested in, right?) that morning and my hair was knotting up every two seconds. Stopped at the Riviera for a few minutes, since I still haven't been in there. The Startdust skeleton is sad, indeed. So sad to see that go and see Circus Circus still standing. Got to the gift shop, the plan was to do a little shopping, then catch a cab to Rosemary's for lunch. While at the gift shop, the man called, he was done with his vendor already and they weren't doing lunch and he wanted to meet back up. D’OH! He hadn't showered that morning and really wasn't up to going to Rosemary's all skummy, so I nixed my plans and we met back up at the Flamingo. I actually hopped on the Duece to get back to the Flamingo... not that bad. From the far end of the Strip (Saharah) to Flamingo it was well worth the two bucks, and it was only slow due to LVB going down to one lane in front of the damned Sky building. Hubby and I decided to head out to Green Valley Ranch to get a little more driving time in and go eat at the Fatburger there. On 215, the hubby got his rockstar moment when a car rolled up next to use, beeped their horn, and we looked over and a man and woman in the front seat were giving us the "OK" symbol, all smiles. All smiles, we waved back and gave them the thumbs up. We walked in the casino, hubby saw the Original Pancake House and decided he wanted pancakes. I had a salad. He said his pancakes were great, my salad was as expected. Played a little slots/video poker, hubby won about $100, I won nothing, walked around a little, then headed to return the car. After returning the car, we headed back to the Flamingo (which, apparently, also has their own Shelby GT-H for rent now, wish we'd known that) to get our room. For $20 more a night, scored a fantastic strip view room with a perfect view of Caesars and great view of the bellagio fountains. Neat. While we were checking in... heard one of the clerks mention that they have about 600 GO-Lux rooms here already and plan to have another 600 in quick order. This ol' bird might be around for awhile if they're looking to update that many rooms to really update the hotel. Funny to walk in to the room at Flamingo and see the same Caesar's Player mag that I still have sitting under our coffee table from our trip in August. Oh, and the Flamingo has gone high-tech and finally has Wireless (for $12 a day) in the hotel rooms. Price is per laptop, and “per person” but I have no idea if that means they know if you switch to another user account. But it worked well and was nice to not be tied to the tiny desk. Very nice. Unpacked a little, relaxed a little, and realized the forgotten items this trip included my razor, my foundation, my hussy red lipstick (how is a gal supposed to be in Vegas without her hussy red lipstick???). GREAT. We headed down to the Fashion Show mall so I could get what I needed, scored a bonus that Neiman Marcus had a big makeup event going on, and I even picked up a couple of things I've needed for awhile. Walked the mall a little bit. I know, mall walking in Vegas, how lame. But, for us midwestern types, even in big cities we're usually about 6 months behind on the fashions. Kinda fun to walk around and see what will be in our local stores in 6 months. LOTS of polka dot patterns (the 80's bitch in me is screaming YAY!!!). The timeshare people on the Strip and in the hotels are just ridiculous. Just because you're wearing a suit (yeah, that blends on the Strip) does not make you any different than a pornslapper. Walked over to the New Frontier for dinner at Margarita's Cantina. Not high class or innovative, but good food. Hubby had his steak/shrimp thing, I had baja fish tacos, all the food was good. Margaritas were good too! Back to the Flamingo, drop off the bags and gambling. The hubby's luck from last trip was not with him at least that night and he ran thru his poker money quickly. My luck on the slots wasn't fantastic, but at least cocktail service was better. A few $2 tips and the waitress was checking on me every time she passed. After hubby crashed at the table, we sat down at the bar for some video poker. Got highly confused at the fact when you’re playing poker at the bar and ask for a beer, they still plunk a bill for a beer in front of you. We did tip the bartenders, and no beer showed up on our final bill, which has me wondering if they just submit the bills if you still them on the tip…. No big cashouts or huge fun from VP, I did get a 4OAK but nothing better. Hubby had a little longer of a run than I did, but we were spent, we'd been up since 4am our time, 2 am Vegas time. By 11pm, we were back in the hotel room with gift shop beers, sitting in front of the windows and marveling at the fountain shows. Friday, March 2nd First off.... Ok Flamingo. Toni Braxton is FAR from being "new" here in Vegas, it's time to take down the stupid add on the front of the hotel. Not only does it destroy the beauty of the hotel facade, it's been up long enough to start getting dirty and REALLY block the view. Take it down, already. Day two started off with me up at about 8am. We ordered some coffee and pastries from room service, then lounged a bit before getting ready and heading out. We did want an extra ashtray for our room, so I suggested the hubby leave a couple bucks for the maid and ask for an extra ashtray (boy was he pleased when we not only got an extra ashtray but extra EVERYTHING when we returned to our room). We went over to Aladdin/Planet Hollywood to hit the mall shops. Was pretty upset that Wild Pair had some awesome leopard boots on display, but when I asked for my size they sad "The only pair we have left is a ten". If that is all you have, take them off the damned shelf. And no, I do not want another color, I liked them most because they were LEOPARD! Stopped at the Department 56 store and got a couple of Christmas ornaments. I need more Vegas Christmas ornaments, we got a new tree last year and I have a lot more tree to cover! Got pulled in to the casino, WOW... what a huge change, and for the better. They've really made nice use of the huge space. Decor is nice, layout is good (although they still lack directional signs at this point). We decided to hit the cafe and get some Pinks hotdogs. Signs directed us upstairs.... where all of the food service is happening out of a food cart. Still had regular dogs and chili cheese dogs, but we were looking for something a bit more exciting. So, off to Fatburger for lunch with all the youngsters and other people like us who like to think they are still in their 20s. After that, headed back towards the Flamingo, and we made a brief stop at the new Bill's Gamblin' Hall and Saloon (and Super Fun Time Party Place). Was a lot more crowded than on Thursday. They're still keeping their own players club and NOT going under the Total Rewards system, so we signed up for the club, got free tee shirts and a Harrahs coupon book (lots of goodies in there, the most useful to us was a BOGO drink coupon at the Flamingo). Hubby couldn't get better than three deep at the tables, a Star Wars slot quickly took $20 of my money without one damned bonus anything, and we sat down for some video poker. I happily turned $5 in to $30. Neat! An actual win that in no way makes up for my other losses! Also about Bills.... looks like they're changing around a lot of the restaraunts and they're all closed temporarily. And, the LED/display screen stuff outside the hotel was actually displaying "Bills" that day. Played a little more at the Flamingo, no wins but at least I got cocktail service. Gotta say that I love the mid-day waitresses who seem just thrilled at a $2 tip. Back up to the room for some lounging and reading (nice for me.... I don't get time to do that at home). I wish I knew Chinese and Japanese, because the Asian cable channels had some stuff that was funny as hell without knowing what they were talking about. Then, a little freshening up and we headed downtown. Headed over to Main Street Station to check out the brewpub, Looked nice, but they said it was a 30 minute wait to get in. So, we moseyed over to the California and looked around a bit, then headed back to Fremont. The big giftshop on Fremont has been remodeled... and seems to actually have less actual Vegas merch and more crap. Headed over just to check out the El Co. Kinda neat, but a few too many people gambling the rent money/gambling for crack money. Didn't feel threatening, but just wasn't digging the vibe that night. The table-side food service was going strong, noticed about eight people using it and a few being delivered around while we strolled thru. NICE sportsbook. Oh, and they've already got that section of Fremont closed off and half dug up for the Fremont Street East district. Looks like they're already getting some of the old tenants out, hopefully to get new ones in. Not too much going on at Fremont, we hit the Golden Gate deli for a quick/light bite (the hubby confirmed, those are actual Vienna hot dogs and not too bad). Some more walking, then over to a cab stand to head back to the Flamingo. At the cab stand, someone cut off the first cabbie in line, and the dude jumped out of his car and for awhile we thought he was going to drag the other dude out of the car and beat him up. We opted to NOT get in angry dude's cab. Back to the Flamingo.... and more total crap gaming for the both of us. Hubby quickly lost $300 at the three card table and I managed to go thru $40 in VP rather quickly. Was a very “reverse ATM” night… insert twenty bucks, press about ten buttons and suddenly moneyless. Sat down at one machine and had a good run off $5, and by that time, the hubby was ready to head up for bed. Oh yeah... was pleasantly surpised at the "turn down" service we got... two wonderful cookies on the bed every night (one day, we got extra cookies). One was a sugar cookier with an apricot filling, the other was a chocolate cookie with peanut butter filling. Very nice. I realized the mistake I've been making the past two trips... not just cashing the hell out when I've got a good win and starting fresh with new money. What a time to FINALLY figure out what the heck I've been doing wrong....... Saturday, March 3rd Sigh… our last day already. Boo hiss. Woke up and got some room service. Much better than my last room service experience (which I think was due more to the fact my body had had enough of 100 degree weather). I got an omelette, hash browns, and a side of smoked salmon. Hubby had the eggs/pancakes/sausage/bacon thing, said the pancakes weren’t as good as the Original Pancake House, but he still cleaned his plate. Headed over to the Mirage after that to check out the lions and tigers. After we paid our admission, I really feared it was going to be some horrible guided tour, but was very pleased that they let you roam about on your own. Hubby declared “We are NOT watching the dolphins” since we’ve got some nice zoos in Chicago and have seen dolphins plenty of times. But, after we looked at the tigers and lions and were headed back out, one of the younger dolphins was making a big ol’ ham outta himself and showing off for the gathering crowds, so we did stop for a few minutes. Checked out the Revolution lounge, pretty neat. On the way out of the Mirage, I stopped in the gift shop and the hubby picked up a blackjack strategy card, declaring that he was done with three card and was going to stick with blackjack tonight. After that, we walked thru Caesars. I know we’ve “passed thru” it before, but never paid much attention. Hubby was saddened to see the big Pusscat Dolls gaming area go-go cages were really just some glorified stripper polls. Great chairs though (pink and leopard…. I figured security would catch on as I tried to pry one from the floor and I had little chance or making it out the doors with it…) Back to the room again, more relaxing and reading. Reading this trip was Julia Child’s “My Life in France”. Very entertaining. When the hunger struck again, we were our usual “last day in Vegas” selves and totally, utterly dumbstruck on what we wanted to eat. We ended up heading to the Carnigie Deli and split a reuben. Yum. Back to the hotel, and back to the gaming. Hubby noticed one three card table that he hadn’t yet given all his money to, so he took a seat. Some more crappy “reverse ATM” action for me, cocktail service was good until a shift change (but this time I just headed to the $2 beer stand outside for a few rounds), and finally managed to quickly triple my money on a multi-strike poker machine that I had played on and off during the trip. Didn’t come away a winner, but didn’t leave as much cash behind as my last trip. Found the hubby, he’d given all his money back again (he was up by a good deal when I had last checked on him, and he swears the next dealer at the table was a cooler sent to finish him off…). Cashed out our meager winnings which at least cover all out traveling/airport expenses the next day. Even enough to cover my husband’s love of tipping people (you ever see “My Blue Heaven”? When Steve Martin’s character explains his tipping philosophy? My husband’s is very similar) Sunday, March 4 – Back home Not too much to say about the trip home. Or wait… I forgot about the cabbie to the airport, the guy spent the entire time talking about a godawful car accident he saw that morning and how much trouble all those LA folks were during the big NBA weekend. Uncrowded lines at the airport (thank you Ted, Southwest and America West’s lines looked awful). Actually moved a little too quick and we were left to wait for awhile before our flight home. Had to giggle at the hastily scribbled “No smoking” signs in the fishbowls (which were more empty than my pocketbook). Our flight was a little later than usual, after noon, so we got home later. Really seems like a whole wasted day traveling. General observations: For me, the jury is still out on Bouchon. Yes, I know it's just the breakfast staff and yes, I am uber-picky, but the little things don't speak well to me. I'm wondering if their talent pool was recently plucked for line cooks at some of the newer high end places. CityCenter construction is going strong, a lot of construction, really, and really seems to be making travel on the strip awful. I hate the Flamingo slots. I need to remember that walking in Vegas is more than just walking, it’s dodging, avoiding and trying to get around all the people who feel the need to come to a dead stop for no reason.