In numerous trips I have planned to get a trip report done and just never get around to it. This time is different, even if it is a little past the return date, as we stayed from July 6th to the 16th, 2007. I kept rough notes so I would have no excuses. It may be a little long or boring to some, but it is my first shot â€¦ and my 100th post on this site. Left Friday July 6th on Allegiant Air from Topeka, Kansas. It was a great flight out and we had multiple members of a local family heading out together for a 7/7/07 wedding. Sure wish we could fly Allegiant some more (third time) but they are leaving town at the end of the month â€¦ so much for the regular Vegas trips with no hassle. Rental car pick up from Enterprise through the consolidated center was a simple process and scored a free upgrade. The shuttles from the airport are fast and donâ€™t necessarily wait for a full load so you are out of there and to your car in short order. If it would not have been for the baggage wait, we would have been at our hotel in under an hour. Stayed the first two nights, Friday and Saturday, at the Plaza downtown. Definitely a basic room and bed, but for $29 each night whatâ€™s there to complain about. We ended up in the South tower and the pool was just below the window. It is a simple pool and cement deck but very welcome when the temp was topping out at 118 Saturday. Really a bearable heat, as it is dry, but had to be sure to drink regularly. Had the standard walks up and down Fremont and a few of those wonderful slushie drinks from La Bayou. Wife got her third spray paint art print for her office done by Jester on Fremont. Those are always a nice conversation piece for folks that deal with her and they really are neat when framed and hung. Saturday afternoon we drove over to Leonardâ€™s Wide Shoes by the Hard Rock and my wife had a grand time finding trendy shoes that actually fit right. She is a sexy petite grandma and refuses to wear the wide shoes we can buy around here and Leonard caters to that type of customer base. We had lunch at the Hard Rock restaurant and paid slightly inflated prices for what turned out to be very good food. We will eat there again, though watching the entire staff dance along to YMCA is a little unsettling when you are trying to enjoy lunch. Saturday night we ate at the Center Stage restaurant located in the former martini glass pool in front of the Plaza. We had a good meal and wonderful view for a minimal price â€¦ about $60. After dinner went to the Larry G. Jones show at Fitzgeraldâ€™s, I believe. Tickets were cheap from E-bay and we did not have high expectations, but he was great. Really comparable to Danny Gans without the orchestra. I would not hesitate to pay for regular tickets next time, though they are regularly available at the half price ticket places. Can not recommend this guy enough for the price â€¦ he will make it to the strip someday down the road just like Gordie Brown did. Sunday we had lunch at the Golden Nugget CafÃ© and had our regular fruit plate and monte cristo sandwich that we share. Dependably good as always, but way too much to finish. The new shark tank pool is great to look at, but there doesnâ€™t appear to be much room to actually lay out in the sun at the pool anymore. Also seemed to be pretty crowded in the casino, which pays their bills, but makes it harder to get around and play. Stopped at the Target out past Swenson on Flamingo for water and snacks before checking in to the Flamingo. Bought a cheap cooler for the room that worked great all week. Check in at the Flamingo was smooth, once I realized there was a special line for us lowly Gold card members. Rental car return was not a problem, but they have no good area for cabs to park for us folks who only rent for part of our stay. We had to figure out that we could walk over to the regular parking area in order to just pick one of the two or three cabs parked there in angled parking. Strange arrangement. Sunday night was dinner at the Margaritaville restaurant. Burgers and onion rings were great as always and the entertainment was impressive. They had stilt walkers making balloon animals and the bikini girl sliding down the margarita volcano â€¦ only in Vegas. Monday tried to get a quick lunch at the Flamingo cafÃ© and waited 25 minutes, as the second party in line, without so much as being acknowledged by the hostesses. Half of the restaurant was empty and no one was being seated there. Could have understood some delay at normal mealtimes, but this was about 3:00 and we were only behind one family of six, waiting the whole time for a table for just my wife and I. We finally left in disgust at the horrible service â€¦ too many good places to eat in Vegas that actually want your business. One hostess then got excited and started to follow us out and offer to seat us immediately â€¦ could have done that a little earlier J. We walked to the Planet Hollywood and ended up eating at the Cheeseburger Oasis/Vegas. The food was great and service was excellent. It is located at the back of the mall and we would highly recommend it. The poor food and beverage service at the Flamingo would be a recurring theme this trip. Monday night was a trip to the Tropicana for our regular visit to the Comedy Stop at the Trop. We had cheap tickets for the Titanic exhibit and did that first. Impressive display of artifacts and recreated deck and grand stairs â€¦ gives you an appreciation of what it would have been like then. Get discount tickets and check it out. Back to the Comedy Stop â€¦ $5 to the maitre di moved us right up front, and after using the coupon in all of the magazines still was a net discount. The comedians were great as always and we sat with a local couple that were neat sources of info on the area. Great night out for little $. Tuesday was a great day overall â€¦ I entered the Ballyâ€™s slot tournament for $20. Thought I would at least get the free stuffed animal for my granddaughter, but managed to win first place in the preliminary round so my $20 fee became $80 and I got a spot in the finals. Pounded away on the spin button for ten minutes at the final round and through I thought that I did pretty good, especially when I walked down our side of the slot machine row and saw I was the highest score out of the 20 slots there, I wasnâ€™t sure I would be in the money. Listened intently as they moved up the list of placed winners and ended up second place for a payout of $1500. Strange to get a W-2g for a casino promotion event, but I certainly canâ€™t complain about the results. Hopefully I will get some slot tournament offers in the future as a result. Tuesday was also another great new find for our future Vegas trips. Restaurant.com had a certificate for Casa di Amore, the restaurant they pick you up for in their stretch limo and return you anywhere on the strip. The driver was great and got a reasonable tip. We were picked up at the Flamingo, had a great meal with a live lounge singer at a vintage Vegas lounge, had more homemade Italian food then we could eat, paid a total of $35 after the certificate and then got dropped off at Mandalay Bay for a late show â€¦ we highly recommend this restaurant. Tuesday night was the Dirty Hyponotist show at Mandalay Bay. They were a little late in getting started but very apologetic â€¦ I think the band and some help were making it over from other shows on the strip. The main hypnotized volunteer was a cop from our hometown who was out to get married on 7/7/07. Amazing to see the intimate things he could do to a standard barstool J. Never assume that everyone in a crowd in Vegas are complete strangers! Show itself was decent â€¦ but stick with discount tickets or coupons. Played in the Flamingo Hold â€˜Em tournament Wednesday morning and ended up playing against 4 people who had busted out of the World Series of Poker at a 10 person table â€¦ needless to say, these folks were playing to win and not to have a good time losing. Kind of puts a sour vibe on the play and takes the fun out of it. Wednesday we again tried to give the Flamingo some restaurant business. Went to the buffet and we were advised that we were there a little over Â½ an hour before the close to switch over for dinner. Staff basically chased us off, saying everything would be pulled immediately at the close time and we should just come back sometime later. Taking the hint, we went to the Harrahâ€™s cafÃ© and had a great meal for less that we would have paid for the buffet â€¦ and we were seated and served within 15 minutes of arrival â€¦ that is the kind of Vegas service we remember. Wednesday was our normal trip to the Sanrio (Hello Kitty) store at the Fashion Mall. My wife went on her usual spree but had a special goal of finding just the right hello kitty design to complete a tattoo she had been wanting to get that my slot winnings were to finance in Vegas. She found what she wanted â€¦ and a bunch more stuff to mail home. Wednesday night used another Restaurant.com certificate at Giorgioâ€™s in the mall between Mandalay Bay and the Luxor. They should say it is at the Luxor entrance, but it wouldnâ€™t sound as swanky. Actually was really good food and the deserts were very good â€¦ we will likely be back again at normal prices. The servings were not the slabs of food you might expect, but were great quality â€¦ may be one of the few meals I could actually finish in Vegas. Thursday morning I headed down to the Luxor early to try their Hold â€˜Em tournament. This was a great tournament that actually gave you some good play time. Buy in was cheap for a total of $33 and I ended up third for a payout of $75 â€¦ not a great payout but I canâ€™t complain as it was fun to actually get to play for quite a while and that is why I play the tournaments. I would highly recommend the Luxor game for that purpose. As I was entering the cab to get back to the Flamingo, they completed their trifecta of food and beverage department screw ups. The pool waitress apparently failed to correctly enter our room number for my wifeâ€™s drink at the pool (our room number was 10032). Rather than try to correct to the only alternate number (i.e. 10032 instead of 10023) she came back to my wife and told her that the hotel had someone else checked into our room â€¦ needless to say my wife was frantic as she did not want to run to the room and confront folks in her bikini and also did not know what they might be doing with our stuff while there. I got a frantic phone call from her and a very cooperative cabbie made it to the back gate at the Flamingo for me in record time (he got a good tip). As alluded above, the waitress came back to my wife shortly before I got there and basically said â€œOops, I screwed up and used the wrong number.â€ I expressed my displeasure to the bar folks and ended up talking to the manager. I suggested that maybe one comped drink (the one my wife did not get because of their screw up) might be a reasonable apology. The manager actually said, â€œYou know people make mistakes and she just made a mistake with the numbers and I think her apology should take care of it. But I guess if you really want to make an issue of it and you really think you deserve a drink, I guess Iâ€™ll do it.â€ Great attitude for an overpriced $10 drink for a guest, that I get for free for $20 in a video poker machine at the bar inside. After this third issue my wife, who swore the Flamingo, or more specifically the Flamingo pool, would be our Vegas home forever, is contemplating trying other pools/hotels. We shall see when we book the next trip out. My lovely wife, a financial manager/mba/lawyer, wryly observed that the Flamingo needs to decide if they want to be a bargain joint with crappy service or actually start to cater to folks that are willing to pay the higher prices for better service â€¦ certainly canâ€™t be both. Thursday lunch was Quarkâ€™s at the Hilton as part of the Star Trek attraction. We have down the back stage tour and the rides before and did not need to do them again, though we highly recommend both to new folks. We always get a restaurant.com certificate for Quarkâ€™s, though, so we can enjoy the atmosphere and talk with some costumed characters. Never hurts to drink and warp core breach there as well (one of the few drinks that can leave you feeling warm and fuzzy after just one â€“ should with 5 shots in it). Food was decent and not a bad price with the certificate but we would not pay full price for a lot of the menu items. Thursday night was $50 tickets to Zumanity (thanks to those who posted on the board). We were second row right by the stage and the show was great. Definitely for those with an open mind and willingness to enjoy the art and humor of the show. The retro sixties couple really were the hit of the show, and the audience interaction was great fun. They brought up a plus-sized grandma for one part and she had a ball â€¦ definitely lived up to the showâ€™s pledge to explore all types of sexuality and preconceived notions of the same. I could have lived without the man/man kiss, but the humor throughout made it a great show we would see again. Highly recommended if you are open minded and non-conservative â€¦ if you arenâ€™t, why would you even consider buying tickets for this kind of show in Vegas? Head to a simpler clean production or impersonators show and you will have nothing to complain about. Friday we decided to try to do a really late lunch/early dinner at the Flamingo buffet. We had coupons they hand out at the Flamingo front door for $5 off each. When they walked us back to be seated, they tried to seat us in the far back room with no view of the pond/flamingo habitat. As that is one of the main attractions for us, I asked to be seated somewhere with a view at least. The hostess grudgingly called another hostess for approval and then offered us one of three tables along the window but at the far end of the pond. When I asked why we could not have one of the dozen completely empty tables directly in front of the flamingos area, she advised that that section was closed tonight â€¦ What, close the main attraction of your restaurant?! Nevertheless, the fight was gone out of me and we sat where we were offered. That main area stayed empty the whole time we were there. By the way, food was decent if not terribly exciting â€¦ without the nice view we will not go back. Given the fact all waitresses were wearing union pins, I have a sinking feeling the union employees are being allowed way too much control there â€¦ but I did overhear some designers and Flamingo execs walk by discussing major changes for the whole cafÃ© and restaurant area so that might be part of the problem as well. We did the Flamingo pool party after that for 2 for 1 drinks, and enjoyed it, but there sure were a lot of kids at that time out there â€¦ I think the cooler temperatures brought the families out and the general party atmosphere advertised could not be pulled off. We went to the Producers show at Paris Friday night on half price tickets from the coke bottle ticket place. They went on at length to explain that the tickets were in the back half of the theater and the Paris box office did so as well, but all seats in there are great with a good view. Furthermore, ushers were asking people on the back to move down front to fill seats if they wished, so cheap seats became seven or eight rows back quite quickly. We stayed where we were and had a great view for an amazing show. Saturday we saw the Fashionistas show at the Empire Ballroom. This place is behind Walgreenâ€™s and went in with low expectations. In actuality it was great â€¦ $10 got us front row sofa seats to ourselves. While some of the action was above and behind us, it was easy enough to turn and see everything. This show was definitely erotic, exotic and adult, but in an artistic ballet sort of way. I wish they would add a narrator to introduce each scene, as there is little to no dialogue, and if you did not read the program, you would be a little lost as to the plot, but it was beautiful and catered to both men and women in the costumes and eroticism. For a show with no actual nudity, this was definitely adult. We would highly recommend it to folks who appreciate good theater and have an open mind â€¦ this is the closest you will get to Cirque style trapeze performances anywhere. Tickets were at heavy discount from Vegas4locals on E-bay and the staff were actually tickled to know where we got them â€¦ they were pleased with the good advertising response, I presume. Sunday was our last full day and we did some shopping at the Hawaiian Marketplace. I also made it up to the Frontier and picked up a few chips on their last day. I still have an extra $2.50 uncirculated chip for anyone who makes a $20 donation to the board, as confirmed by Sonya with an e-mail and address to send it to. We did lunch at the Harrahâ€™s cafÃ© again and it did not disappoint. Supper was pizza and gelato from the walk up Italian place at the Flamingo. Also saw the Second City show again at buy one/get one price and it was not as good as we had remembered. Cute in places, but a lot more predictable then it has been in past shows. Big event of the day Sunday was the wifeâ€™s new Hello Kitty tattoo at Vince Neil Ink at Oâ€™Sheaâ€™s Casino next to the Flamingo on the Strip. We had checked on it earlier and got prices and were told walk inâ€™s were the way to go. We checked in early before lunch to confirm availability and they took great care of us. They took our design and provided better roses around it. Did it in about half an hour and it was perfectly done as requested. I was in the room with her and got a kick out of watching the whole three card poker table take a complete break to watch most of the process â€¦ not sure the dealer was that thrilled. Amazing how many wives were pointing and showing their partners where they wanted a Hello Kitty tattooed on their bodies. Total cost was $250 with a tip for the great service thrown in. Would have probably been $150 to $200 at home but the experience there was great and the professional and friendly treatment was phenomenal! Highly recommended! Return to the airport went smooth and Allegiant is always easy once you get past security. Parting thoughts â€¦ Wife loved the new Goldfish slots and we had to find them everywhere â€¦ never won much but they gave a long time to play and were a fun way to donate. We may be done with the Flamingo unless they improve customer service in food and beverage. Oddly, it wasnâ€™t a Harrahâ€™s corporation issue as we had great service at Harrahâ€™s and Ballyâ€™s â€¦ not sure what is going on there. We highly recommend a longer trip out so nothing is rushed and you can do all that you feel like doing â€¦ we had plenty of time for pools and poker as well as good meals and great shows. Just budget accordingly and you can get great deals for a long stay. If you got this far, thanks for reading and be sure to submit your own trip report.