Players: Two guys (late 20's, mid 30's); third trip, fourth trip. Like downtown for the VP odds and some lower minimums for tables.

Travel: From Houston on Southwest with two of my Rapid Reward tickets. Made this trip possible, as buying tickets for this timeframe would have been real expensive. Have been wanting to celebrate new years in Vegas. Flight was a little bumpy both ways, but we made it in one piece.

Rental car: Thrifty (Blue Chip member). Just caught shuttle to lot. Let the driver know I was Blue Chip member. He told me to pick out any car on a certain row and then drive out. No more going inside to let them assign me a car, pretty cool. As we were walking to our row, one of the guys working there said if we don't find one (Dodge Neon) with power windows then let him know. We didn't, so he drove one over to us. Neon's work well for us. Usually get for $20/22 a day total, but was $33 because of new years.

First Hotel: 4 Queens (downtown ? Fremont Street Experience - FSE). Comped 3 nights in advance with tickets to the FSE new years party (didn't go). Parked car in garage, which is pretty accessible to the casino. Checked in and got a room (2 beds ? non-smoking), which happened to be right where the bottom of the FSE lights start. We could see about 3 feet below it to see the people below. Then the lights went up the rest of the way. With the drapes closed you could hear the music as if it was a radio playing on low volume, and lights did not penetrate the drapes. Room was small and similar to a normal hotel room. Bathroom was small. It was a free room on one of the busiest times of the year, so I was happy.

Food: We ate all of our meals at Magnolia's there, while at the 4 Queens. They have a very good gumbo (soup), which is served in a cup with a lot of their meals (in place of the salad if you ask for it). We ate Prime Rib, New York Sirlion, Ribeye Steak, Country Fried Steak (friend), Muffeletta sandwich, Bowl of gumbo, Soup and a half sandwich (turkey). Four Queens Dip Sandwich (friend), and the breakfast special. All of these were good, and I can't say enough about that gumbo. I ended up getting most of this comped. Only a few times I didn't charge to the room (after checkout and before I left a credit card on the room). Just talked to casino host before checkout to get the food comped. I gave them enough play.

Play: We played Let It Ride, Double Bonus Video Poker (.25 and $1), Roulette (for the first time). We got lucky on the Roulette and it was a blast to play. I was getting killed on Let It Ride and VP was ok. Just had a lot of fun with Roulette. It was 50 cent or a dollar. I played the dollar mostly. Wanted to play 3-card poker but most had the flush pay at 3-1, except the Imperial Palace (4-1). However, we were there on new years eve and it was packed and a higher minimum than we wanted.

New Years Eve (NYE): We decided we would head down to the strip to celebrate NYE with the rest of the world. They were shooting part of the FOX NYE party at the Venetian starting at 8pm(?) to be in time with the NY ball drop at 9pm, so we thought we would drop by there. We were hard pressed to find a free place to park or just a place to park in general. We tried Mirage and Treasure Island or TI and they were only allowing hotel guests in. Later we found our own hotel doing the same, so it was not out of the ordinary for the night. We were told we could park at the Frontier back lot for $20 by two guys. They had the back lot roped off with yellow caution tape, and we figured they were doing this on their own. 5 people had already taken them up on the offer. We drove down to the Stardust and found a place.

NYE cont.: We walked from the Stardust on the strip literally (as it was closed down at 7pm until 3am) to the Venetian. The FOX shooting was not that exciting. It wasn't that crowded at that early time though. We saw the celebraties from about 75 yards away. Had the big screen behind us, which we also watched. Saw the FOX broadcast of the NY ball drop at their midnight. At least I can saw I witnessed all this. Walked down to Imperial Palace to gamble until near midnight. Then made our way out to the strip in a huge crowd just in time to catch the fireworks. The fireworks was cool. Lost my friend in the crowd, so we both headed back to the car seperately after the fireworks. We didn't see each other until we made it to the car. I waited by Harrah's for 15 minutes to see if I could see him come by. At that time he was walking behind Harrah's because they had the strip blocked off just before that I guess.

New Years day: Gambled some more. Went to the RIO to take in the sights. Headed to the strip to catch the Bellagio water show. Found we could park at Bally's/Paris for free and it was a short (comparitively) walk to Bellagio. Before we parked at the Mirage. The water show was cancelled due to winds. That was a bummer. Walked back to Bally's as we were tired. As we walked down the Bally's moving sidewalk and escalator, we were behind this couple. I was looking at the girl and didn't pay any attention to the guy. As we moved down the escalator I noticed the guy kept bringing his hand to his nose and he turned his head. It was this guy from the last season of the Big Brother TV show (Robert). It's funny because he has this nervous habit of scratching his nose and that was the only reason I noticed this guy. His tradmark I guess. lol.

Second Hotel: Golden Nugget. Needed one more night in Vegas, so I booked a night here. Great hotel. Only cost me $66 for Friday night. We ate at Carson Street cafe on Friday night. It was fine.

Leaving: Drove back to Thrifty. In and out of there in 2 minutes. Checked me out at the car, then jumped on the shuttle bus. Short wait at the Southwest counter. Short wait at security. Plane was on time. We boarded just before the Titans kicked the field goal to win. We heard someone say ?damn Titans? as they boarded in the B or C group after us, so we knew, as it would have been overtime if they missed with no outcome yet.

Summary: Would definetly go back next year at this time if I have cheap or free airfare and hotel room. Magnolia's gumbo is great, and their other food is fine. Didn't watch any FSE light show even though I stayed there. We did hear the music play all night, when we would wake up during sleep. I don't sleep much in Vegas anyway, but you would probably be better served not to be right on the FSE. Lot's of nice looking ladies to check out when in Vegas, and they are dressed to impress you. My buddy and I enjoyed the trip.