A*D*V*I*S*O*R*Y: The opinions expressed herein are solely those of Dean S. Robinson. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Vegas Message Board, its members, technical staff, nor advertisers. The vocabulary and opinions expressed herein do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the VMB concerning the city of Las Vegas, State of Nevada, Caesars Entertainment, card dealers, cocktail waitresses, housekeeping staff, drunks, hookers and tattooed street people. Arrival: It’s a short trip, so no luggage only the one carry on each. We arrive in Vegas at around 09:30 and take the Bell Shuttle to the Flamingo. We didn’t expect the room to be ready, and we were not disappointed. We have to come back around one in the afternoon and pick up the keys So, breakfast in Margaritaville it is. Nothing spectacular here, pretty standard fare, but only the lower dining area is open. The idea of sitting on the balcony didn’t pan out – which was good, considering the outside temperature was about fifty-billion degrees Fahrenheit. We spend the next hours just ambling about, taking in Bellagio & Caesars. Finally got back to the room (as seen in photos below). This would have been around one in the afternoon, and Mister Desk Guy offered us a suite for $X additional. Is the suite ready now? No. You'd have to wait until four in the afternoon (we've been here since 09:30). Ok, then just fork over the keys to the room we booked. It’s time to drop anchor. Hey…if we’d been a day earlier, we could have watched the motorcycle jump at Caesars. Perfect venue for that. But we didn't. Now we can only watch tourists jumping sleeping homeless people. After we unpacked, we headed over to Harrah’s to hang out with Big Elvis. The show lasts – if I recall correctly – about forty minutes. His voice is amazing. Lots of singing along. Saw three families asked to leave. Why? ‘Cause it’s a bar. Which means you have to be twenty-one to enter, much less take in the show. But somewhere along the way, Mom and Dad must have dropped a few tabs of blotter entitlement acid, because they felt that perhaps if we entered into a dialog, the waitress could perhaps break the rules so the kids can enjoy the show. Lemme get a copy of that liquor license and get Caesars Entertainment on the line, ok? You can stand outside the bar and watch. Now leave. Dinner that night was at Carlos & Charlie’s in Flamingo. Pretty good enchiladas and a burrito. Mui bueno margaritas. Overall this gets a three star rating. Gotta remember, it’s Vegas and there’s a lot of dining options available. This might get a return visit. We did a few slots, VP and VBJ at Cromwell and Bally’s before calling it a night. I can sleep through anything. You can touch off grenades under my pillow and I might roll over. So noise ain’t no thang , G! How-ev-ah, and this is the first time I’ve noticed this, the club at the Cromwell has the speakers pumping full blast, so it’s definitely audible in our room (21st floor, room 072 – strip facing, directly across from Caesars fountains). So, if noise is an issue for you…be aware of booking Flamingo facing the strip. The Very Next Day: We went over to Mon Ami Gabi in Paris for breakfast…crepes & eggs Benedict w/andouille sausage, and people watching from the outdoor dining area (as shown below). I needed to pick up some souvenirs so we meandered up towards MGM & Tropicana – played a bit – then crossed the street for a leisurely stroll through NYNY, Aria, and Cosmo for the return leg. Dinner that night was Center Cut steak house at Flamingo. OK, when I go to a steak house, I order steak. When I go to a seafood restaurant, I order seafood. There was this chicken that – on the menu sounded amazing – so the wife ordered that. Now, when you cook chicken you have to be careful to thoroughly cook it – but not to the point where you dry it out. The chicken was no to the frau’s level of doneness, so brought up the issue and ceased to eat it. The restaurant took the price of her meal off the bill, which I thought was nice, knocking about $25 off the total. My prime rib, on the other hand, was great. I’d drop four stars on Center Cut. The frau however, would not. Fine. Be that way. Let's just go gamble. The Day After That: Which was Wednesday, was pool day. The Flaming Oh has two pools: the “Go” Pool and the “Family Friendly Pool”. And ne’er the twain shall meet. Trust me. So we spent – if I recall correctly - $150 for a daybed with the agreement that we’d drop $50/head in food & beverages. Sounds like a lot? Un uh. $50 goes pretty quickly on a pitcher of cocktails and several singles as well. We even bought a bucket of Fiji bottle water (6 bottles & ice ). It’s all about a captive market. Thing is, you have to show a photo-id – everyone, regardless of guest status or not – to be admitted. Cindy didn’t bring hers, so she had to go back to the room to get it. Also, empty your pockets. Entry is controlled by security, not the standard twenty-something pool staff. We were there – in line – by 09:30. Make no mistake – even on a Wednesday – this place fills up. There’s a live DJ that starts at noon. We had the perfect day bed for viewing the beer chugging contest and the twerking contest. The age demographic for the pool ran from twenty-something to the ancient mariners (us). It was ‘crowded’ but no t to the point of being uncomfortable. The staff does a good job of policing the area around the day bed and up to the pool (it’s part of what you’re paying for!) so the paying patrons have a less body-on-body experience. And speaking of body-on-body, lots of PDs of A goin’ on across the sexual spectrum. Nothing wrong with that, you just don’t see much of that down here in the Saint Paul AME Zion First Baptist Iglasia d’Jesus the Redeemer belt. Again, fate would dictate that we managed to snag the best daybed in the pool area (that would be number thirteen, should you feel so inclined). We didn’t bring any sunscreen with us, so we bought a bottle at the pool . Pretty sure pricing is $1 per SPF factor. Had a great day baking in the sun, sipping cocktails and cooling off in the pool (phenomenal people watching). A couple of times, though, it felt like I should have been sliding some singles into thongs, ‘cause there was a show to be seen. Ya feel me, dawg? Hell yeah, G! We left the pool around 5:30, and went back to the room. Got in touch with MikeOPensacola and he graciously agreed to meet at Bugsy’s in the Flamingo. So, we had a cocktail and traded background information vis-à-vis our security clearances, when our hair was longer but we cut it short, passport stamps and Vegas rollin’. It’s always good to put a voice to an avatar…as shown below. We only had an hour or so, ‘cause I had to meet up with the Mrs. for dinner at eight. Gonna have to do that again. Dinner on Wednesday night was Yong Kang Street Dumpling & Noodle House in Paris. Man, that’s great food. We started with a few dim sum items and fried dumplings, then Cindy had the dandan noodles (kinda like Thai peanut sauce – hot!) and I opted for the roast duck fried rice. It was so tasty we wanted to come back on Thursday for dinner – but we made our obligatory once per trip bad decision instead. On the way out, grand dad is playing some slot and his three grandkids standing around watching. They got told to leave the gaming floor (you can stand on the pedestrian passages), but Mom and Dad were again baffled by why the kids cant watch pop-pop. I dunno. This is one of those things that I feel borders on innate knowledge. It's gambling. Where's the difficulty. And where's that number for the Nevada Gaming Commission? Fight A Drunk, We’ll Pick Up the Tab for Breakfast: The desert sun comes peekin’ through the sheers and I’m up. Cindy wants to sleep in, so I head to Margaritaville on my own. Let us be clear. Margaritaville is not a destination. It’s connected to the Flamingo and is about the only breakfast option other than the buffet and a dubious sandwich from the kiosk. Wanna sit down? Here’s where to go. Anyway, I’m sitting there, place my order, and this drunken bum (sorry kids, uncle Dean left his sympathy lying on the dresser at home) staggers in and flops/wedges himself into a seat. He’s skinned up, couple of bloody spots on his arm and forehead, looks like he rolled in dirt. He sees me and does the standard “You got a problem?” opening line. I could take that moral high ground and just act as if I do not see or hear him. But…the wife ain’t here so this is a rare opportunity to get my Marquis D’homicide vibe goin. I explained to him in my ‘business voice’ and eye-contact body language that I’m just taking in the whole restaurant, not staring at him (liar, liar, pants on fire). The waitress comes over and takes his order (steak and eggs and a margarita). She explains they don’t serve alcohol before noon (Oh, so I’m not the only liar in the place. I see on the flip side of this menu, you have more renditions of Bloody Marys that any other place on the strip). He gets up and says he needs alcohol, so he’s leaving. But on the way out, “Hey, fucker. Come on outside. I’ll meet you outside and kick your ass. I ain’t no punk”. To which I replied, Ok, just wait outside. I’m busy right now – with my breakfast – but I’ll get back with you. He called me a dick, which was nice, because this little tête-à-tête provided considerable entertainment for the handful of other diners parked on the porch of indecision. After he stumbles out the door, Mister Manager Guy (who I sincerely hope finished his algebra homework and history paper before opening up this morning!) wades ashore and apologizes for the incident, and say’s we’ll take care of breakfast. Ain’t no thang, G! After apologies that are more profuse were offered, he explained that this is about the time they get a lot of homeless/drunk people getting through the door. I thanked him for the comp and polished off the two over easy with taters & sausage. As I stepped from the saloon onto the blazing heat of the Nevada desert, the alcohol infused desperado who so wanted to have a go at Marshall Dean was nowhere to be found. Didn’t figure he would be. So, back into the AC for me. I figger I’ll just spend what would have been my breakfast money on something worthwhile. Like that Ultimate X Poker machine over there in the corner… Got back to the room and s’plained to the wife she missed a good breakfast. Oh well… The rest of the day was gaming…lunch at Café Isle St. Louis in Paris…followed by our obligatory bad- decision-dinner at some restaurant next to O’Shea’s just up from Virgil’s BBQ. They had a great people watching deck and we had a couple of burgers, but it was as meh as meh can get. The evening was more gaming, BJ, VP, slots. The wife started with $300, lost down to $18, then went back up to $1,300…so that was pretty entertaining. We spent some time playing BJ at the Flamingo and made about $120. We went over to Caesar’s and lost about $300 on slots. That’s our last night in Vegas. We flew out on Friday – ‘bout six in the evening and arrived in Tampa at around two in the morning (our aircraft out of Atlanta was late into McCarran). Lessons Learned: a) Three days in Vegas is enough. Had we not spent an entire day by the pool, we’d be miserable. b) No need to arrive in Vegas before one in the afternoon. I think the maximize-your-time-in-Vegas probably works for the first couple of trips, but we really want to dock and unload. Killing time just to wait for check in has run its course c) Ellis Island: we wanted to check it out. We did. That’s that. Full Stop. d) There are some great bars in Caesars, really like the vibe. Gaming is about the same as I see elsewhere so that’s not really a selling point. We’ve done Paris, Bally’s, & now Flamingo. Neither Harrah’s nor Cromwell is on the agenda. e) Cromwell, however, is a great casino in which to gamble. It is just the right size and we like the décor / vibe. f) What happened to da ho’s? Is it summer? The economy got better? A whole lot fewer working girls than previous trips. I mention it in passing. g) No more of this late checkout stuff. When it’s time to go, it’s time to go. Get rolling. Just hanging out, bleeding time gaming while waiting on the shuttle isn’t really worth it. h) Moreover, for those of you playing the home version, the correct answer is: $5K bankroll in, $4.2 bankroll out for a total of $800 entered into the Gaming Loss column. I think that’s pretty dang good for five days… ‘specially when the initial casualty rate was expected to be as high as $1k/day! Which pretty much ensures that Vegas can remain on the ‘to do’ vacation list. PHOTO INTEL FOLLOWS: Me - an Old Army Signals Intel Guy & MikeOPensacola - an Old Navy Anti Submarine Warfare Guy chillin' at Bugsy's...thanking one another for our service, twelve ounces at a time, sports fans! The Room: particulars - coffee maker, small fridge (that keeps stuff really cold (e.g. ice in my tea)), great strip view but if you're sensitive to dat bass when you're nitey-nite...think it over. MirrorTV in the bathroom for those who can't SSS without it. The last photo in the series - don't know what's up with that. It's rotated 90 degrees, but it's s'posed to be a shot of the fridge & coffee maker. ... That's it chu'ren. I did have a few pics of Big Elvis, but they didn't turn out so good. All for now!