I had a feeling this trip was going to be a good one. I had been desperate to get to Vegas as 2008 was a bit of a ball busting year for us and though Marc couldn't make it, there was nothing going to come in the way of my trip.

I booked my fare with Virgin Atlantic using Marc's flying points so I only had to pay taxes of £280 or so...that was for Premium Economy both ways! Score! I managed to get 5 nights comped at Caesars. Score 2! Mandalay Bay sent me an offer for $80 a night...so I went ahead and took advantage of that for 3 nights. Score 3!

So....the 3rd of March was going to be the beginning of my lucky week. I got to the airport with 3 hours till my flight departed. I was so hyped I just couldn't sit around the house any longer and figured I may as well sit at the gate instead, but I also had another plan up my sleeve. I wanted to see if I could score Upper Class using some more points. So I head straight to the service desk and ask if any upgrades using flying miles were available...she taps away and asks me if I would like a return ticket....of course I couldn't take her up on the offer fast enough....and for 40k miles I was flying Upper Class both ways!! Score 4! So I grab my ticket then go over to the fancy line with the purple carpet...you know the one that everyone wants to be in....but hardly ever get to be. Yeah, that's me...keep looking and dreaming people. Peasants and their envy in the economy line, Pah! Naturally flying Upper also gives access to the lounge which is nice...so a full English breakfast and a Bloody Mary while relaxing with all the hob-nobs is definitely a nice way to start a holiday. Seat 10k, relaxing all the way. Upper is definitely the way to go, big seat, no one in front of you, more leg room than even the tallest person could possibly need, champagne, real metal knives and forks, china plates a table cloth ahhhhh. I ate a shrimp cocktail and a chicken wrap, some olives and crisps and a cheese platter...oh I wonder how the beef stew is down the back of the plane...hahhaha! One funny thing that cracked me up...I was watching Beverly Hills Chihuahua when the flight attendant asked me if I was watching Beverly Hills Cheee-Chow-wah!...God I couldn't stop laughing, I was saved by the other attendant correcting her pronunciation and we all had a bit of a collective chuckle. We land in Vegas 12 mins early and I'm raring to go!

I cabbed it to Caesars, stopping at the gas station on Tropicana on the way to grab my carton of cigs. $17.80 before tip. I popped $20 in my passport and handed it to the clerk with my reservation print out. I had a Forum Tower room but thought I'd try for Augustus Tower. Well she totally overlooked the $20 and asked whether I wanted smoking or not....I leaned over the desk and grabbed my passport, handed it to her again and mentioned there was a little something for her in the front page if there was a nice room available. She slipped the $20 under the keyboard and said there was a nice room in the Augustus Tower but it was only on a low floor, would that be ok? That would be great I said, grabbed my keys and off I went! Score 5! The room was really large, king bed, non smoking, nice big marble bathroom with jet tub and a view of the roof tops. I closed the curtains and unpacked.

I dunno if anyone remembers last years trip, I over did the booze on day 1 to say the least. This trip I was going to do my best to stay within the socially acceptable boundaries of drunkenness for a female. Have a few, be happy but no vomiting or falling over! I am proud to say I managed to stick to this all week...barring 1 very close call on Thursday....but more on that later. Down to the Casino...from the 1st machine I couldn't lose. I didn't win much either but managed to hold my own for a few hours. The time difference caught up with me surprisingly fast and before I knew it I was heading up to bed with some Chinese take-out. I would rest tonight and get stuck into it tomorrow.
Up a tad after 5 and rearing to go! Get the s-s-s out of the way then off to the ca$hino. I made a bee line for the Star Trek machines that were full last night, slipped in a hundy betting 3 per line and get the bonus! Anyhoooo choose the one where they shoot lasers and kept winning....get my lives back in the final pick round then shoot shoot shoot....$450 later I cash out and run to a.testoni as fast as I can as they have a 75% off sale. Nab myself a hand bag that was $1080...with a $810 saving + tax for the bargain price of $270...soooooo happy, get a purse that was $270 with a $202 saving + tax for $67.50 and a key chain for marc that was $115 with a $56 saving that finished up at $59. In total I saved myself over $1000. What a mega score!!!

So then I had to bolt down to the Sony store and pick up my camera that they charged up overnight for me as I forgot my charger....then off to Lucky Brand where I tried on 7 pairs of jeans....and none fit. Sigh  So a quick stop back to the room to drop off my bargains and back to the ca$hino! Played a machine where I had to get 3 keys for the bonus...sure enough up they come and I took out $174 for my $40 in.

It was time to head over to margaritaville for the M&G. I walk in and see Doglady and E at the bar. Shortly after we were spotted by Margo and Todd. Teresa turned up shortly after then we had a few drinks while we waited for Emma and Andy to turn up. In the mean time Teresa and Margo have ordered food, but our donkey waitress just couldn't grasp the idea that perhaps they didn't want to eat surrounded by other peoples left over wings! God she was so rude and lazy. I repayed her lack of attentiveness by refusing to let anyone tip her...I think Margo was going to have a heart attack at the thought of not tipping her....but there was no way it was going to happen. So after Andy and Emma arrived and had a quick drink we made our way to Flaminog for a punt....but not before I stopped by a waitress we had not seen before and gave her a few bucks mentioning that she may as well have the tip because she did just as much for our table as our waitress did!

So we pop in $10 each and take turns in spinning. When it was clear we weren't all going to score a drink playing the 1 machine we cashed out and headed over to Caesars! On the way T-Bonz pulled out her AMEX and brought us all a slushie. Thanks Teresa! Anyhow...off to Caesars and we pop the $$$ in 1 buck Monte Carlo machine, playing $3 a go. We get down to $2 and Teresa insists she pop in the extra $1...lucky she did because shortly after Andy hits for $100 and we are back in the game again! Todd hits for $100 also the $50, Margo picks up $50 then Emma hits for $100, Dana and E hit a few and my contribution tallied a measly $6. Anyhooooo....after a while we find ourselves broke again and decide to go check out the fountains. Dana and E split to go see a show and after the fountain show we all head off with plans to meet up again on Saturday night for the Bellagio Buffet. Teresa and I head back to Caesars for some slots where we both get slaughtered. I caved in and went up to bed around 10pm and ordered room service and watched bride Wars!


Up again around 6 and straight down to the ca$hino. I played for a couple of hours then headed over to Harrahs for the buffet breakfast. Feeling like I needed some heavy fuel I loaded up on a truck driver sized portion of meat. Sausage, chicken fried steak, country gravy, bacon, chicken and some eggs. The cook suggested I have a Jalapeno pepper with breakfast. Now heres stupid me thinking it would be like the ones you get on Nachos...ummm...NO! I cut off a bit off this pepper and balance it on top of some steak and bacon and in the hole it goes....about a 3 second delay then holy crap! I'm breathing fire...shyte, shyte, the waitress comes over laughing as I couldn't talk, all I could do was point to the pepper and signal for water. There was a girl at the table next to me cracking up as she watched me dying...oh, did I mention she was biting into one of these peppers and just munching away on it like it was marshmellow or something. I was half laughing and half crying. That was the hottest thing I have ever eaten and I will never, ever do that again!

So after the flames stripped the skin from the inside of my mouth and the blisters had burst I headed into the casino and took my place in the Holdem Tourney. Short lived as it was. 99 in the hole....flop is A9J...I bet out about 2/3 of the pot and get a call. Turn is j...booya full house, 3rd position bets, I shove and flip up my full house proudly only for him to roll over AJ ...big whaaaaa for me and I am on the walk of shame.

Back in the ca$hino I sit down at the Texas Holdem table game. I've only got $160 left on me so buy in for $100....anyhow, to cut a long story short in 6 or so hours I double up then lose the lot! Back to Caesars to get more money. Now I had full intention of just pottering around and to be in bed around 1am or so.....well a trillion Jack-n-coke later and I'm on the Outback Jack machines when Booyyaaaah $1029 for the Major Jackpot...thank-you-very-much!

So now I have some real ammo and head off to the Poker room where I see Chris Moneymaker playing Omaha with 2 other guys. I sit in on the 2/5 holdem game for a bit before the temptation to play a world champ got too much. I rack up and head over and take a seat. I had a little over $300 in reds when I sat down....he had over a grand. I waited patiently then made my move....flop is KK8...he bets out...I call...he fires the gun again when the turn pops a 6....I'm thinking no way he has a king and bets out....and even though I didn't have a king either, so long as he thinks I do that will be enough. River brings another K....now if he has the case then I'm screwed but he checks to me and I have only 1 move....insta shove and he folds! I BEAT a world champ in a hand of poker. Told him that would be my last hand with him, 1 win was enough. He was really kool and says now I have a tale to tell. We take pictures together then I head off to the ½ holdem game. It all gets very messy from here on out and to cut a long story short I ended up at 7am leaving the poker room on not the best terms. During the night I did manage to get my photo taken with Gus Hanson, Johnny Chan, Brad Garrett and my all time poker hero Scotty Nguyen. Was in bed at 9am feeling like absolute crap!

So I wake up Friday just a tad after 2pm. No voice! Can't talk at all and feel like I want to die. I guess those Jacks and the 2 packs of cigs have caught up with me. No problem, I will order some food and watch a movie. So Onion soup, Fried rice, Chicken and Cashew nuts, a jug of lemonade and a jug of hot chocolate please ....ok then $80 and change....select Grand Torino for my movie and I am chillin with more food than 1 person could possibly eat in 1 sitting...but who cares. I repeat this ordering food and watching a movie for dinner on Friday night and breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday as well. I get a call from Teresa making sure I will be at the Bellagio for our Buffet dinner....little chance I tell her but we shall see how I go! Needless to say I never made it. I just could not drag my sorry arse out of bed. Impossible. I did thank my lucky start I had the sense to hibernate for 2 days and recover because by Sunday I was raring to go again....only I would have to change hotels.


Off to the Mandalay Bay I go. I was all packed by 8am so figured I'd just head straight up there, dump my bags with the porter and hang around for the 11 am tourney. So I cabbed it up to MB and by the time I walked in the front doors it was only 8.40am....on a long shot I thought I'd ask the clerk what time was check-in (knowing the answer full well already), she asks what name is my booking under, Shirley H I say and she taps away and says we have a room available now, king bed, non smoking on the 5th floor would you like it? That would be brilliant I answer and within 5 mins of walking in the front doors of the hotel I was on my way to my room. I'm not one for hanging around all day waiting for a view and though it was a low floor again, I'd rather get settled in and get on with my day, so this worked out perfectly.

The room was nice. Not as big as Caesars Augustus Tower, but nice none the less. The TV was bigger and the bath was deep, perfect. I closed the curtains, unpacked, put my cash bar a few hundred in the safe and off I go to get aquainted with MB again. I love this hotel, the casino is rarely if ever crowded and the drink service is always spot on. In fact this trip I have found drink service to be great all round. I've not waited more than 5 or so minutes after sitting down in any casino for a drink....so that's always good. Anyhoooo, Village People Jackpot Party sux. I took a $50 hit straight off the bat with not more than a few coins pay....hmmmm...time to look around a bit. I have learned the hard way not to sit at a money grabbing machine with my fingers crossed waiting for the big pay off....it never comes. Now I go for the (((vibe))), thats right folks, finger crossing blows! It's all about the vibe! So I find this bank of machines that has about 5 or so bonus jackpots on it and plonk myself down, the waitress comes by a min later and I order a Bloody Mary, spicy with olives please. Ok so I had some serious vibes here and started betting max....a few pushes later and I get this bonus....all these windows pop up and I have to select one...so I pick and get 320 coins plus an arrow....pick another, get another arrow...and another and another then 3 cops in a row which ends the round....I win the mini jackpot which was only $31 but I get a 4000 coin bonus as well from the arrows.....so $70 already, got my Fiddy back from VPJP and I'm still up....so I keep playing with the goal to get another $50 to pay for my tourney. Sure enough....bonus after bonus after bonus....each 1 is different...there's 1 where he pops out a gun with a flag on it that has coins won....another where one needs to pick safes with dynamite in it, another where 3 reels spin round with notes, coins and pigs on the reels...It was a very cool bank of machines....after a couple of hours I had the hundy I put in plus another $170 and change....great, tourney is paid for as well.

The tourney went quick, only 3 tables paying top 4...I ended up taking 4th for a $50 profit...The only 3 girls in the tourney were also at the final table so that was kool too! I was feeling the need for another tourney so jumped on the deuce and went down to O'Sheas....a quick 1 table tourney for $45 and the last 3 of us chopped up the prize money for $80 each...this was going well. Decided to head over to Caesars for the $120....or maybe it was $150, I can't remember but it was a $50 bounty tourney which I love because u don't need to cash to make money. Anyhow that took forever, at one point I was all but out with only 100 chips left when my flopped str8 lost on the river to a flush....bloody idiot all in on a flush draw and hits his out...grrrrrr....so I go all in blind, no crap for the next 5 hands....on the 5th get 2 callers and I flip over an amazing QQ to take 1 player out....thank-you-very-much...that's 50 in the coffer right there! I make it to the final table but go out 8th place, 2 short of the money when I decide to get tricky with the chip leader and he sends me packing! Oh well...should have stuck to A-B-C style but I was getting a little bored and edgy....always another game to be had. It was 10pm and I thought I better head back to home base. I feel more comfortable at night playing where I am staying so I cabbed it up to Excalibur and walked through there and Luxor back to MB.

I did notice the Ex looks pretty good now and doesn't seem to smell like it used too. The Luxor, which has always been a place I like looks brilliant with it's new modern look....I really like it. The bar over by the sports book is brilliant and makes very, very nice Bloody Mary's. I would be more than happy to stay here again. Anyhow, through the shops at Mandalay Place and I see Lush Puppy, my favourite pet shop has gone...whaaa. I was looking forward to picking up Ollie some new groovy t-shirts. Oh well. Back at MB I play the slots till 1am then head up to bed. Tomorrow I will deuce it downtown.


I head to the buffet for a quick breakfast. No jalapeno this time...then grab a coffee to go from the little cafe near the elevators. Hoof it over to the bus stop and wait in the sun for the Deuce. While I'm there I notice this motel called the Happi Inn or something like that....there is also a psychic reader offering to predict your future in the building next door. Two things spring to mind here....firstly, I can't imagine the people staying in this motel are too bloody 'happi' about it and secondly....how good of a psychic is this person that they can't even predict their way out of a hell hole establishment like that! I'm thinkin' if they were any good...they would be plying their wares from a nice plush office at the Wynn or Bellagio. I wonder who would seek the services of this psychic....really....I can see the reading now.....'You are a very lucky person, full of compassion. People take advantage of you and this bothers you but you don't like to say no to people. You had a great love but lost them.....don't worry, this person was not your soul mate, that love is yet to come. I see great things in your future......would you like to make another appointment to come back tomorrow so we can delve further into your future.' ....Psychic says to self.....Sucker!

Anyhow off Downtown and it is a perfect day for it. I join up at the Fitz players club, Binions, The Four Queens and the Plaza. Score 3 decks of cards, a bungee a t-shirt and a photo of me with $1000,000. I took some pics of the sharks in the tank at Golden Nugget....I've stayed here before and really enjoyed it, the place looks pretty swanky now and forgive me if I'm mistaken....but has the casino gotten bigger? Looked like it has. So I walk all over downtown collecting more chips...at the Fitz they have a $2.50 pink chip! Yup a pink chip...that's a first so I grab 2 of those for my collection and decide to walk over to Lady Luck. Hmmmmm....closed! I wish I knew that before I hoofed it over there. On the way there is a Hogs and Heffers biker bar that looks pretty kool...I bet some wild nights could be had in there. Next thing I hear the familiar chug of a hog coming down the road....it was a beautiful bike ridden by none other than your nanna....yes folks, the woman riding it was a grandma in all her leathers with her purse tied with a bungee cord around her waist! How kool. I asked her if she minded me taking a pic of her and she insisted I go right ahead. Rockin' nanna...thanks!

Jumped in a cab at the rank and headed back to the strip, got him to drop me off at Monte Carlo where I played around for a bit then walked back to MB via NYNY and MGM. Now while I'm in NYNY I throw $20 in the Queen of the Nile...only betting 60 credits a go but nothing comes and I'm down to 2 credits.....should I pop in another $20? Na...I'll move on. I push 1 line by 2 credits and wouldn't u know it....up comes the 3 friggin' pyramids....grrrrrr....so 2 spins later and another 3 pyramids....double grrrrrr....last spin and 3 more....then 3 more....I am not lying, i swear I'm not. Never have I had so many spins on a QOTN before....sure spins on spins....but not spins on spins on spins on spins. In the end I couldn't even look at the machine, It made me sick...I wanted to slap that biach right up! So after the torture was over I had a couple of buck on it.....collected the ticket and gave it to the lady sitting a couple of machines down from me who was empathising with me. Good luck lady. Ciao!

So walking over the bridge from the MGM to the Tropicana I see a sight no person should be subjected to. No firstly I will say I am not the leanest person on the block....but I do dress size and age appropriate....the woman who near blinded me did not however. Get this, she was every year of her pushing 50 I would say, and has spent way too much time in the sun, going by the wrinkly boobies she so proudly displayed in her very low cut sleeveless top that was shall we say 2 or 3 sizes too small. She had decided to enhance her ensemble with a pair of cut off denim shorts, black ankle boots a green leather purse with fringing on it and an arm full of cheap gold and silver bangles! I didn't want to stare but I just couldn't help it. As fate would have it we made eye contact and she asked me where she could find the stop for the Deuce bus. It took everything in my power to keep a straight face as I pointed over to the stop opposite the Luxor down there on LVB. She screaches out to her husband/boyfriend/client that they were heading the wrong way and they needed to go back the other way. Hubby/BF/C was busy taking photos of the MGM and from my guesstamation would have been happier had anyone not realised they were actually together. Brrrrrr....just terrible....but really very funny!

Back at MB i hung out on the slots until dinner where I hit the buffet again before embarking on a very pleasant 7 hour slot session. Win some lose some, win some lose some and head to bed a couple of hundy up for the day!

Up and at em'. Grab a cab and head down to the Encore for lunch at the Society cafe. I wanted to have the Oscar Benedict and the mac-n-cheese balls I've heard so much about! Turns out the eggs are only served at breakfast and the mac is an appetizer on the dinner menu. I beg the waiter to check with the chef if there is any way around this problem. He comes back with a no-can-do on the eggs as they have no hollandaise sauce left, but he pulled the rabbit out of the hat and my mac-n-cheese were on their way. Cheers guy! I paired the mac with a turkey club and a lemonade followed by a could have been way better coffee. I must say the mac-n-cheese balls were yummy and the truffle sauce for dipping was delish as well. I will be having those again rest assured and I am even going to attempt to make them at home.

The Encore is as red as everyone says but I think in a very beautiful way. The casino is very small but perfectly formed. Comfy seats, fast drink service and very nice and spicy Bloody Marys. I played there for a good hour or 3 collected my chip from the cashier which turned out to be a Wynn chip and not an Encore one...grrrrrr then headed over to Wynn to see what was happening in the Wynn Classic. It was packed with poker players and after contemplating trashing a grand or 2 on an entry ticket into a tourney I decided my fate would be better served by throwing a hundy in Mr Wynn's Mega Bucks. So in it goes, $3 bets to my fortune and 5 mins later that hundy was a gonner. Oh well! Next!

Headed over to Palazzo, grabbed my $1 chip and sat down at a Dirty Harry slot. Woweeeeeee! This thing was the Bomb Dawg! (Randy Jackson emphasis on Bomb). You get the bonus then go on a car chase which is just like playing a video game, there are helicopters and shooting crashing and smashing...it was fantastic. Popped a hundy in that, played for about an hour and took out $130....that was a blast, but time to move on. Skipped the Venetian as I have a ban on that place after a disastrous stay there a few trips back. Headed out onto the strip and jumped on the deuce out the front of the Mirage. Back at MB I went on another mega long slot session. I played a Great Wall machine I found there.....I had discovered this game at Caesars a few days before....so I'm betting away 3 coins per line and get the bonus. I end up with 4 balls....so pick 4 times and get 23 free spins....get 12 balls and pick another 7 free spins....get 8 more balls and get all coin wins....so by the end of the feature I had won $170 odd bucks on the bonus! Brilliant.

I played and played and played then walked over to the Luxor. I had been pretty much avoiding Tiki Torch since I got to Vegas because as much as I love it....it rarely shows me much love in return. However.....this one was connected to the cash express bonus jackpot thingy where you get to pick the trains. On a trip home to Melbourne I managed to pick 5 trains and scoop the Mega Jackpot for a tad over 5k once.....so now I always have to give em a go when I see them. Well....Tiki kept me going for ages! I got a few goes on the trains but could only manage the mini jackpots. I collected $80 or so back on my $20 investment after playing there for a good hour.

Over to the Happy Days betting 5 per line. $100 in....Gold Spin Bonus and $370 out! Thank-you-very-much. The next few hours I did my best to support the Vegas economy instead of robbing it blind but I was playing on 'their' money so all was good.

Back at MB by 3am and off to bed with no supper.

So it's Wednesday and my trip has come to an end. I eat breakfast at the cafe and spend the morning playing the slots. I had acquired $80 in points play to use up so ploughed through that at max bet on a Geisha machine. Managed to turn the freeplay into $60 win. Bonus. Went to the players club to see what they could knock off my tab and they picked up the 3 nights and my food, i had a total bill on checkout of $74 for the 3 international calls I had made to Marc...totalling 4 mins! Phew....those were some expensive messages I tell ya....but who is to complain.

I grabbed a cab and headed to the airport via the Welcome to Vegas sign. In all my trips to Vegas I have never stopped there....so I managed to tick that off the list. Ned, my cabby took 4 pictures for me, 2 from the front of the sign and 2 from the back. Nice guy, moved from Bulgaria 15 years ago to Vegas. He was a school teacher in Austria for a while....now enjoys driving a cab. His wife hates Vegas and wants to move somewhere cooler. They are sorting out this dilemma!

Checked in Upper Class and hung in the lounge for a few hours and slept the whole way home tucked under my duvet listening to the dude next to me snore for most of the trip. Cabbed it home and then went to pick up Ollie from the doggie sitter. Turns out she had a brilliant holiday herself!

We are off on our 1st cruise in May and are very much looking forward to it. I'm not sure Vegas will be on the cards again this year as we have Marcs kids coming over from Oz in June and December, his brother coming at the end of June and we are off to the South of France for 5 nights with them. Never say never though as I have the Vegas seed planted in my head for a quicky in October....I shall have to negotiate this carefully with the man of the house!

Things I never got around to this trip.

Didn't stay downtown till dark and see the light show....didn't make it to Daniel Boullard (sp?) for dinner....didn't see a single show I had planned.....missed Wayne Newton....didn't get to meet up with Texas T-Jay, sorry about that.....totally ran out of time to make it to the Fashion Mall for some shopping.....missed seeing the new Mirage Volcano. I guess another trip to look forward to next year will tick these things off the list......or October if I play my cards right!

There are plenty of spelling and grammar errors in this TR....I am glad you overlooked them just like I did.