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Category: 2009
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Just got back from a great time over NASCAR weekend. I will break my trip into sections for you.

AIR TRAVEL
Let me get the awful part of the trip out of the way. Both of my flights turned out to be nightmares. I flew U.S. Airways to/from Boston. Thursday morning, I get to the airport, only to find out my flight had been canceled. I asked what the problem was. The lady told me 'maintenance.' Um, OK. Anyway, she told me she was going to get me to Vegas through Philadelphia, and that I would have a 3-hour layover in Philly. Wonderful. So I landed in Philly around 7:30, and made good use of the Dunkin Donuts to pass a little of the time. The flight out of Philly was on-time, and they had re-booked me in an exit row (row 24 I think.) The legroom was nice, but I had people standing in front of me waiting to use the bathroom the whole time. I got to Vegas around 1:30 Pacific Time (the time change kills me on that first day.)

Coming home on Tuesday was another adventure. I had called ahead to see if my flight was still on time because of the big snowstorm on Monday. They told me it was. I got to the airport - the flight was still on time. On my way to the gate I grabbed a bite to eat at Burger King (been there, done that.) The flight was supposed to take off at 7:30. Well, 7:30 became 8:30. 8:30 became 9. 9 became 9:30. Then it was 10:30. The whole problem had something to do with the plane clearing customs. Apparently it had come in from Canada the night before - why didn't they do the customs sweep then?! Anyway, we finally got on the plane around 10:30, and got back to Boston around 6:30. But there's more. We waited nearly an hour for our bags to come out. There were several other flights coming out on the same carousel. I have never seen so many people down at baggage claim. Finally, I and a few others stormed into the luggage center (or whatever that little office is called) and demanded answers. We'd all been up since 4 a.m., and were very punchy! It was only then that our bags came out - some stacked 2 or 3 on top of each other. What a mess! As I left the airport, I remembered that I live in New England. It was about 20 degrees outside - compared to 70 in Vegas.


RENTAL CAR
This was my second time using Enterprise in Vegas. I had booked an economy, and they gave me a free upgrade to a compact. I had no problems with the car or staff.


HOTEL
I stayed at Bally's for five nights. I checked in at the Platinum counter, which was located inside the Diamond area. The lady at check-in was very nice. She put me in the North tower, room 1686. The room was nice and big. I did have a problem with the toilet not shutting off Sunday morning. Housekeeping took care of it promptly. Throughout my stay, I did see a lot of room service trays in the hallway - some of which had been there for hours. It didn't bother me too much (just kept walking past them) but I feel it's worth mentioning for others who hate to see that kind of stuff all the time.

I found the staff to be very friendly. The drink service in the casino was very good at all hours of the day, every day. And the casino was very generous to me. More on that in a moment.

The sidewalk café was a big disappointment. I went down there Sunday morning for breakfast. I got in line behind a couple, who told me they'd been waiting for 10 minutes already. There was barely anyone in the place. A few more people got in line behind me (all of us NASCAR fans) and we all started getting impatient. 2 guys behind me finally started yelling, and demanded to be seated. It wasn't until then, that a lady came out to tell us that one of the waitresses didn't show up that morning. That didn't sit well with those us who wanted to eat an early breakfast and head to the track. I finally gave up and walked away, and grabbed a couple of donuts at the place across the way from the check-in (can't remember the name of it.) I think a few others in line followed. So I didn't even think twice about eating at the café anymore, and I heard a few other guests rumbling about the same problem during my stay. So apparently I didn't just 'hit them on a bad day' as they say. I also don't like the fact that they're only open until 2 p.m. I really wish Bally's had a buffet. I found myself eating quite a few meals next door at Paris, and charging them to my room.


GAMBLING
Up until my last day, I would've written about how rough the slots were, and how every quarter-and-up machine I touched seemed like a human vacuum cleaner. But on Monday afternoon, everything changed. I sat down at a $1 Double Ten Times Pay machine and hit for $3000! I almost fell over in my chair. I was shaking as the lady gave me all those $100 bills. I rushed back up to my room, and threw all of it in the safe. Fast-forward to late Monday night. I was playing a $1 Five Times Pay, and hit for $3000 more! I was in heaven (and still am.) So I came home with over $6000 and a couple of W2-G's. Wooooo!


NASCAR
Raceday was, well, raceday. I had a great time - I wasn't bothered by the fact that I was flying solo. The guy sitting next to me was by himself, too. I was sitting in Section 4B, just to the left of where the cars enter pit road. The weather was beautiful, despite the sunburn I got on my face. And the race was a lot of fun (even though I don't care for Kyle.) I also went to the Neon Garage before the race, and that was great as well. It's a long day at the track, but a fun one. I took some pictures of the race if you'd like to check 'em out. Let me know if you can't see them:
http://sports.webshots.com/album/570379509BFiUvQ


SHOW
On Friday night, I took in the Price is Right show at Bally's. I got to 'come on down.' That was cool. I got a free T-shirt out it, but didn't get to go up on stage because I overbid on a necklace. Oh well, the spa the lady ended up winning probably wouldn't have fit in my one-bedroom apartment anyway. It was a fun diversion from gambling for a little while. By the way, the entire back of the theater was empty, and this was on a Friday night.


FINAL THOUGHTS
*I am disgusted with U.S. Airways, and may consider other options for my next trip.
*It was pretty crowded in Vegas despite the economy. I'm sure NASCAR weekend had a lot do with that, though.
*Bally's is not the best hotel in town, but it's a good value in a great location.
*City Center is too big for my liking. It just looks like a huge monster in the middle of the Strip. Poor Monte Carlo - you can barely see it unless you look very closely.
*In Luxor's casino, I miss Cairo. In New York New York's, I miss Central Park.
*Winning a lot of money is always a good thing.
*I'm definitely going back again next year for NASCAR.

Thanks for reading,
Brian