TR â€“ 8/12 â€“ 8/19 â€“ Golden Nugget and Monte Carlo This was to be the fifth trip for my sister and myself. Our other sister opted not to join us on account of starting a new job soon. Sheâ€™ll be back for our next trip somewhere around February. We normally leave from Philly where my sisters live, but with airfare being sky high we expanded our search and ended up with tickets on Northwest from Reagan National in DC (ok technically itâ€™s Virginia, but around here, itâ€™s all the same). Iâ€™d booked a SuperShuttle reservation to take us to the airport from my place. As luck would have it, the incident with the liquids occurred a couple of days before we were to leave, so as a precaution, I moved our SuperShuttle reservation an hour to allow for plenty of time for long security lines. Also â€“ this time around was more of a relaxation trip with it not being our first trip and with it just being my sister and myself. And we both just wanted away from a particularly stressful time, so this was it. Saturday, 8/12/06 was a long, LONG day â€“ especially for my sister. Neither of us drives, so she took Amtrak to Union Station in DC. I took the bus and two trains to meet her there around 10 something. Reverse that, plus an hour wait for the bus and that brought us back to my place shortly after noon. We had about an hour to sit and eat a little something and hope SuperShuttle arrived on time. Theyâ€™re a little iffy depending. Surprisingly, it was on time. Of course with a driver loathe to, you know, actually help us with our bags. Iâ€™m not one of those oh God help me Iâ€™m female types but dang â€“ can I get a lil help w/one of my two bags? Anyway, the driver said he had one other stop to make which was fine and they usually do more than one pickup anyway. Plus the time Iâ€™d changed our reservation to was allowing for an hour for other pickups. We go to some apartment complex a few miles from me (after getting turned around twice â€“ use your GPS man) and we pull up. And wait. And wait. And wait. The driver gets on the phone and has a rude conversation with someone telling them heâ€™s outside and heâ€™s waited too long and he has other passengers and they have 5 minutes to get downstairs before he leaves them. My sister and I kind of look at each other like yeah weâ€™re annoyed itâ€™s been 20 minutes, but damn, way to go for the customer service there. We wait some more and finally here comes the person. With no luggage. Why? Because the driver decided to go and pick up his damn GIRLfriend! Thatâ€™s why! Iâ€™m looking at him like noooo you did NOT. And make a mental note to complain to SuperShuttle. We get to the airport by 2:30 PM, which is almost 3 hours before our flight. I usually tip, but not today. Iâ€™m still a bit perturbed by the nonsense. Curbside check-in has no line and Northwest has that handy luggage check kiosk so we do that within 10 minutes and weâ€™re done. We head to security with just our purses because we didnâ€™t feel like trying to figure out what was and wasnâ€™t allowed as carry-on and just decided to not do carry-ons. We get to security and thereâ€™sâ€¦. no line. Well thatâ€™s unusual. It also means weâ€™re hella early but thatâ€™s better than miss-your-plane late. Security was pretty uneventful other than people not wanting to take off their shoes and wasting time arguing. We got to our gate and realized that a) Terminal A at National is not the terminal one would want to fly out of b) Terminal A is the original terminal from which you can see the far away prettiness of Terminals B and C and c) Northwest is apparently not well-liked by National and has been relegated to fly out of Terminal A. I have never seen a terminal as dirty as that one. There was literally paper, food wrappers, cups and newspapers littering the floor, the chairs and the window ledge. Itâ€™s like they gave up (and judging from what we saw upon return, I think theyâ€™ve finally started renovating). We eventually found two relatively clean seats (i.e. seats without lettuce, ketchup, or mysteriously wet smudges on them) right in front of the window front and center in the sun. We put on our sunglasses and didnâ€™t move from the spot with the exception of a bathroom run to the equally disturbing bathroom. We sat there through families with bad children, loud children, too much PDA between couples, and an old lady who sat there with a newspaper on her head. I chose that moment to nap. Our flight was called (FINALLY!) and we were off. We landed in Memphis on time. First stop was so my sis could buy shot glasses, which she collects. Then we followed our noses to some Memphis BBQ. Best airport meal EVER! Our flight from Memphis to Vegas left on time and the flight was uneventful. We arrived on time (around 9 something) for the first time since I can remember and then went to the hellified baggage claim. We normally donâ€™t have much of a wait but my God why did they have 3 flights at one baggage claim with three empty ones on the other side? We waited and waited and meanwhile went to find our limo driver (Presidential as always â€“ our fourth time using them). We were excited to find we had Kathy R. who is our absolute favorite. Sheâ€™s a real sweetheart. After being in baggage claim 40 minutes we finally claimed everything and headed out to the limo. Weâ€™d requested an SUV w/just two of us this time around, but they gave us a limo instead. OK then. Whoâ€™s complaining? Pass the champagne. This first night we had decided to stay downtown because it was cheaper by a good $200 and that was our throwaway day, as I said before. Plus weâ€™d never been downtown at all and figured why not now. If we didnâ€™t like it, it was only for one night. We were going to take the Strip part of the way (so pretty at night) but vetoed that pretty quickly when we saw the traffic from MGM (I think there was a fight that night). We went on our way to the Golden Nugget with a short tour of the hotels downtown. The Nugget was love at first sight. So much so, we decided weâ€™d have to stay at least part of our trip there when we return. Itâ€™s a smaller hotel than weâ€™re used to, but it was so well though out, we had no complaints. There was no line at check-in, probably due to the time of night we arrived. We had a South Tower room and went right up. Great room. Couldnâ€™t really tell much about the view since it was night, but we could see Fitzgeraldâ€™s from our window. Between jet lag and champagne, the shamrock on the building was hilarious. We meant to go out to see the light show but couldnâ€™t quite make it out due to the heavy travel of the day. And the champagne. The beds were heaven â€“ either that or my bed at home sucks more than I thought it did. Despite our fatigue, we awoke early in the morning, which usually happens the first couple of days w/the time difference. First thing I did was look out the window to see the view. Um. You know how theyâ€™re redoing the buffet? Well we found all the dishes. As youâ€™ll see in the pictures. We decided to go in search of breakfast. Iâ€™d heard pretty good things about the MSS buffet and since we got there too late for dinner the previous night, we decided to try it for breakfast. Iâ€™m not big on breakfast, but as long as thereâ€™s bacon, Iâ€™m good. We wandered around under the canopy to see what there was to see (ghost town that early in the morning!) and muddled our way over to MSS. Iâ€™m glad we went. I like the feel of the place. And entering the buffet was kind of cool, too. It didnâ€™t feel overly cavernous or impersonal. Loved the ceilings and the stained glass. The food was ok, too. After that we wandered around a little more then went back to the Nugget to play our free slot play. After I went to replace the card Iâ€™d just gotten and lost in the previous hour. We decided to head on over to our next hotel, Monte Carlo. Now we were back in familiar territory South(ish) Strip. The line to check in was kind of long so we walked around the hotel a little bit until the lines went down. Nice place. But kind of generically nice after GN. We checked in even though it was only 1 or so, but they had a room ready. 19th floor. With a view ofâ€¦.a big pile of rubble that used to be the Boardwalk. Oh well â€“ at least you could see the Strip pretty far down. And every day we would check the process of the hole-filling. The next six days were pretty much the same. We made it to our casino (which weâ€™d only played once in all 4 previous trips), Excalibur, NYNY, Bellagio (always a favorite â€“ or perhaps itâ€™s just the lemondrop martinis), Venetian, Aladdin, Mirage, LV Hilton, Wynn and Casino Royale (I know, I know). What happened was that we were thumbing through the 24/7 magazine thatâ€™s free in the back of the cabs (I always get one to add to my collection) and saw that CR had $50 free slot play. Weâ€™d never been in the place and never wanted to be in the place, but we had decided to amuse ourselves and went in anyway. All Iâ€™ll say to that place isâ€¦.yick. We got our special $50 voucher â€“ we really wanted to find out what the catch was. And there was one â€“ you could only play on a couple of banks of specially marked slot machines. You couldnâ€™t cash out. And you only got paid if did something like hit the top jackpot of whatever type of machine you were playing. Needless to say, we played as fast as we possibly could so we could get out of there. Me no likey that place! Although there were tempting drink coupons we got along w/the â€œfreeâ€ slot play, I was afraid to try them. As anyone whoâ€™s read my TRâ€™s before knows â€“ several nights were spent at Thunder From Down Under. No surprise there ;-). And in what is becoming tradition, we of course went to Tix4Tonite for half price tickets to the Star Trek Experience where we enjoy laughing at people who pay a crapload of money for both experiences when they could have done like us and gotten the half price. And of course we stopped in at Quarkâ€™s for lunch, a Warpcore Breach (and the stares and comments that come with it), and being picked on by the same damn Klingon who picked on us last time. We made it to the conservatory @ Bellagio to see the trains. Iâ€™m not into trains, but the little miniatures were so cool! And we discovered quite by accident that one of the trains had a camera on it, when we saw ourselves on the monitor we were standing next to. Good time to fix your hair. After that we went to see the chocolate fountain just because we hadnâ€™t seen it before. It was interesting to see all the construction going on and to see what had been finished or started since our last trip in February. Also, this was our first August trip (others had been in July and September) and the temperature was actually really mild. I think the highest it got was 106, but most days were 100. Weâ€™re the worldâ€™s oldest young people and also the most boring. We never go out anywhere. And yet we met up with someone weâ€™d made friends with who lives in Vegas, and she got us into Tryst at Wynn, no line, no charge. Iâ€™m not a club person, but I really liked the atmosphere and more importantly, loved the music. Iâ€™ll definitely be back there. Our last day, Saturday the 19th, our flight wasnâ€™t due out until after 10 PM. So that was pretty much a whole extra day. We, of course, spent most of that day horribly depressed as always happens. We again got to the airport an unneeded 3 hours early. No line at security again! We had plennnnty of time to sit. Along with the other people who had gotten there 3 hours early. Our flight was called and weâ€¦.sat at the gate. Apparently some paperwork was needed or weather updates or something and some computer somewhere was down. We sat there for at least a half hour but I canâ€™t say how much past that since I decided to take a nap. We both woke up in time for takeoff and a sad farewell â€˜til next time. We got to Detroit (had a connecting there) 30 or 40 minutes late, which was fine because that layover was close to 2 hours and that cut down on the wait considerably. Especially after seeing exactly how far we were from our gate. The terminal we were in at Detroit was exceedingly large. Moving walkway for 10 minutes then find the tramtonowhere large. 40+ gates away large. I was too sleepy to care. Our flight was called and we had an uneventful trip back to National. Got in on time around 8 in the morning, after some searching found out where to get the SuperShuttle back and made it uneventfully back to my place. Napped for a bit, then took the bus and two trains back to Union Station to drop my sister off to take Amtrak, saw her off, then went back home. Where I promptly called in for Monday, telling my boss I donâ€™t know what possessed me to think I was going to be any good for work after an overnight flight. Parting thoughts? Well of course I didnâ€™t get to do ANYthing Iâ€™d planned! No Commanderâ€™s Palace. No fried Twinkie (as disturbing as that sounds and given my profession, I still wanted to try it). No Fremont Experience at night. Thereâ€™s always next time! So thatâ€™s it until next time and hereâ€™s the picture link! And no we were not drunk.