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Category: 2009
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Just got back yesterday from a marvelous six night trip to LV.
I will try to do this report by sections to make reading a little easier. This was my 48th trip to LV and one of the best. I was just married on New Year's Eve to a wonderful girl that I met named Becky. Actually I met her on a charter to LV a couple of years back.
We only had a few days to honeymoon in Missouri wine country at New Year's, so this was the 2nd half of our fun time.
I know I will have a lot of spelling errors but I am doing this on my lunch hour, I hope you like my report.

Airlines:
Flew out on Southwest non-stop from STL, but made the mistake of not printing our boarding passes in advance, so we could not sit together. Every seat was sold out and they offered several comps if you would vacate, but only a few did that. Southwest is always on time (in my opinion) & offers free snacks & luggage checking so there are some advantages. Return flight was better since we printed our boarding passes at Rio. Arrived in LV at 2PM on the way out & were checked in by 3PM.
The cab line was massive and we wound around for 15 minutes to get a ride. We usually get a car but wanted to stick around the Bellagio this time.

Rooms:
Only a few were in line at Bellagio so we got in immediately. Robert was his name and said no fountain view rooms were available--until I flashed the $20 by my licence. Then a Spa Tower room became open. We had a fabulous view of the fountains. It was our first time at Bellagio and the rooms were perfect for us. The outside part of the room was not quite as nice as the Venetian, but the bathroom with two sinks and many amenities including a sit-down shower beat anywhere else we have stayed. Becky was very happy to say the least. Bellagio had offered me three nights free with $75 in free play. I played a lot at TI last summer so I guess that is why I got the offer. I have the same offer with 2 buffets this summer and I think we will be back.
Three nights at Rio were also free as I am a Diamond player with Harrah's. We were in the Ipanema Tower, which is not as nice, but a little more convinent to the casino where we play.

Entertainment:
We gambled & were poolside so much that we did not go to any shows this time. We wanted to see Donnie & Marie, but they were dark on Monday & Tuesday.
The Conservatory at Bellagio was under construction, but this turned out to be a bonus for us, as we watched them build the whole garden--20 foot tall plastic flowers, green house, tree house, carousel, snails, lady bugs & scads of spring flowers. We took several pictures at various stages of construction. It opened the day we left.
Becky used the Bellagio SPA and was very pleased with all of her treatments including some kind of coconut spray.
The Rio Show in The Sky was closed for vacation. However, on Saturday we got to see at least 15 wedding parties move through Masquarade Village. Very entertaining, we never saw so many brides with "significant" tatoos.
We used the Bellagio pools every day. There are numerous pools which stretch the whole property. The waterfall pools & whirlpools are incredible. There is much shade. The fountain pools beating on your head give life a new meaning.
The Rio pools were another story. These pools are primarily party pools. There is zero shade & no open seats. Music blares very loud & if you love rap & very hard rock you would be pleased. Most near or in the pool had a beer in their hand with numerous tatoos and trunks half off. If you want to relax & enjoy the pools go to Bellagio or somewhere a little more laid back. Don't get me wrong, we are not ready for the nursing home, the Rio pools were just a little fast moving for us.

FOOD:
I will only mention the noteworthy meals.
We went to the Bellagio buffet the first night. Very good quality, but not near as many choices as the Rio which we went to later on this trip. The buffet was packed, but well worth the 27.95 fee in my opinion. The Rio was the same price but not nearly as many people. Things like duck leg, Chinese noodles & enchalatas give it the edge.
Went to Mon Ami Gabi in Paris. It was a disappointment. Although we have read good reviews about this place the steaks were very tough. The prices were not too bad, we had dinner for $111 with tip, but the steaks were so chewey if we had not put our forks down we would "still be chewing" right now.
I had a comp for the Gold Coast for $150 so we ate in their Cortez Room at 9 on Saturday. This was the best meal of the trip. We had large shrimp coctail, Becky had the Filet & I had the prime rib. It was so good I wept out loud.
When we were at the Bellagio we ate breakfast at the cafe, but beware it is pricey-40-$50 each day, but first rate quality with good views of the pool and the Conservatory.
At at the sports book in Rio on Saturday, about the time of the Preakness race, hot dogs & Greek salad make our tummies tickle.
Of course the Rams had the highest odds of any NFL team to reach the Super Bowl next year. I guess they thought we had a bad draft.

GAMBLING:
Becky won very nicely on 4 of 5 days. She kept coming back and showing me 3-4 $500 tickets beaming ear to ear. She plays pennies and won on Goldfish, True Romance & Red Rooster type games. She is a hit and run specialist, whereas my fanny has hooks in it affixed to the chair. I need to learn from her I guess. I would guess she won about $2,000 overall, but had to fork over some to me.
I play only video keno, all games, but mostly Cleopatra this trip. I did win on 2 of six days but lost overall--maybe $400 or so down.
I won the last night-$1,100 net to come back a little while my bride was affixed to Dancing With the Stars on TV. We did not find the machines to be hopelessly tight as many whiners do on this web site.
We had a ball, I wish I was still there. Becky has converted me from a downtown to a strip person. Once the stuffing came out of the couch at LV Club three years ago I knew I was cooked. Fremont steet and walking to several casinos is great, but they refuse to police the bums, and smoking locals who stink & blow smoke all over you are the norm, so good bye downtown. We tried the Nugget for a week with our wonderful family two years ago, but they do not offer good comps, so we are now strip dwellers.

MT CHARLESTON:
We woke up at 6 AM the last day and decided to rent a car and drive to MT Charleston. RECOMMEND!! This was a fabulous thing to do. An amazing drive with good views. A super lunch spot at Mt. Charleston Lodge with surrounding mountains, a piece of heaven with perfect temperatures 8,000 feet up. The menu is reasonable & very extensive. Becky bought a few pieces of Indian jewelry up there, including this great leaf necklace. You can bargain with the Indian merchants--about six or seven tables of stuff-nice quality not junk. We had a little detour early on as the cabbie to the rental center told me I-15 to I-93 & it should have been I-95, but we enjoyed our detour up toward Mesquite & back, but a nice way to lose two hours. We turned the car in the next morning on the way to the airport. We will surely go back for lunch next time out. We had toyed with getting married there last year, but it really appears a little basic for that activity.

CROWDS:
Crowds were down a little as you have heard. Packed on the weekend.
Citi Place is almost finished & some parts will open this year, but who can afford that? Why they allow condos on the strip is a mystery to me, the buildings on the strip also obscure the view of the lit up casinos. I really love those time share folks too. Anyone have a bazooka? Echelon Place where Stardust was is still halted and has been for eight months. Vegas is down 9% from last year, but were happy to be adding some British Airline flights from London, a great thing as the Brits that I meet out there are fun loving & know how to sprinkle their dollars around.

SUMMARY:
We love this town. Overall with expenses we probably dropped a few hundred (but did win gambling). Yes, it is becoming a club town with uninhibited youth, but if you get up early and stay in the right spots you can always have a ball. Great weather, good food, good people watching and excellent gaming made this a trip to remember. I can't wait to get back.
BIG JIM