Category: 2010
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A little background: This is my 1st trip to Vegas in 18 months, the longest time in between Vegas trips since I was 21 years old ? over 25 years ago. I normally average 1-4 trips a year; unfortunately about 6 years ago I began to lose my Vegas vibe. I still would enjoy it, but that feeling of ?I can't wait? was gone, and still hasn't come back. I know why it left, and hope in the future it will come back. One reason for not going back until now was hoping I would start to miss it, but I didn't as much as I hoped.

I came very close to cancelling the trip several times since I booked it. I had some health issues come up over the summer that luckily turned out to be minor (or very minor), also due to some financial concerns, but after talking it over with my parents and knowing how much stress I have been under, I decided to go.

I initially received an offer from the Mirage for 3 nights at $22 per night and one night at $109 plus the resort fee & taxes. I booked it, when I booked the airfare; I realized I had enough miles to fly for free (well actually my ?free ?ticket ended up costing me $105! $5 for the processing fee $20 x 2 to check 1 bag and $30 x 2 for stretch seating?those few extra inches of leg room was worth every penny!

About a month after reserving at the Mirage, I received another e-mail from them for 3 night's comped and 1 night at $79. I e-mailed them and they changed the reservation, still paying the resort fee & taxes, but still a nice savings.

Between booking the trip in May and a very stressful summer, it was finally December 19th.

Sunday ? December 19th?

Flight left on time at 9:55 am, Denver has had almost no snow so far, so at least the plane didn't have to be de-iced. Flight was full, however the DirecTV wasn't working, but I had downloaded one of Chelsea Handler's books to my Kindle, so that kept me occupied. Flight was smooth and we landed on time.

Tram to baggage claim, short wait for luggage and off to no cab line at all. Weather was very cloudy and cool.

Cab to Mirage (no tunnel), before tip was around $18, checked my bag, and proceeded to see if I could check in , no line at the invited guest check in line, I had requested a king room non smoking and one was ready at that time.

Went up to the room, quick look to be sure all was good and called to have my luggage brought up, that took between 30 & 40 minutes. Unpacked and off to start my trip.

Gambled a little (2 favorite slots are WOZ & Pompeii), then went for lunch at the CPK. Had a great pizza and watched the football games. Lunch was approx. $18 before tax & tip. I went to the sports book to watch the Broncos/Raiders game, sports book was pretty full. Lasted through ½ time and left to check out the Sugar Factory, very small, but well stocked. Bought some candy and went to do some gambling.

Came back to the sports book for the 4th quarter of the game.

After the game, went back to my room for a nap.

Wanted to see the finale for survivor that night so ordered dinner in my room, but wasn't hungry for a whole meal so ordered a shrimp cocktail and French onion soup. It was good, but highly overpriced (which I was expecting). Dinner was $43.00 before tax & tip (gratuity was not automatically added on); I also had 2 diet cokes with a bucket of ice. They told me to allow 45 minutes, arrived in less time and when I called to have the table removed (as they asked me to do); someone was there in less than 10 minutes to pick it up.

After the show ended at 11:00, went back to the casino. Tried the Sex & the City slots, they are fun and have great bonus rounds (well, all but 2), but it's a 4 game slot machine. You can play 1 game, 2, 3 or all 4. Its pennies, but 50 lines, so 200 coins to play each line on all 4 games. But it does increase your chances of the bonus round. I did well enough to play 2 pennies per all lines or 400 pennies per spin. It has actual scenes from the show, so that was fun.

Called it a night around 1 (I think) and went to bed.

Monday ? December 20th

Today starts 3 consecutive days of rain, I don't know it if rained Sunday, when I got in to town, it was very cloudy, but I didn't go out all day.

I have a friend who lives in Vegas and we had planned to get together today. She picked me up at 10:30 and went to Bahama Breeze for a very early lunch. I had never been there before, but it is a favorite of hers. They didn't open until 11:00, so we stood on their porch & talked, it was raining but not too cold. About 10:50, they took pity on us and let us in. The food was excellent, she had some fish dish, and I had an oak grilled chicken sandwich with fresh fruit. I must have thought I was eating a hamburger because I asked for some ketchup and wondered why I got a strange look; it wasn't until later that night that I realized I had put ketchup on chicken, but it was good!! I also had mango/passion fruit sangria that was very good. I picked up the tab for lunch as she was doing all the driving; they took the drink off the bill due to a mis-communication with the kitchen which resulted in a long wait for the food. Tab before tax & tip was $21.00. I doubt I would go back since it is off the strip; also the restaurant had an unusual smell. Not sweet or perfumery, just unusual, but the food & service were very good.

We left there and went to Bellagio to see the conservatory. Beautiful as always. She had never seen the chocolate fountain, so we went there, turns out she has been there before, but never saw the fountain ? really?

She is not a gambler, so I wasn't comfortable stopping by a slot machine let alone a table. After that we left.

We drove to Ethel M?s. I had never been there before. We didn't take the walking tour of the lights due to the weather, and there wasn't much to see during the Ethel M tour ? but I did notice the kitchen area was very clean. I bought a few M&M items, and the Ethel M side was packed, but I didn't buy anything.

Afterwards she dropped me back off at the Mirage.

Played some SATC started with $40 and cashed out $175?I was thrilled. Throughout my stay I had a few hits at Harrah's and WOZ (at Mirage); several times I was lucky enough to cash out even.

Took a nap.

Dinner that night was to be at PF Chang?s, normally I would walk, but in the rain ? decided to cab it, apparently a lot of people decided to cab it, the line for a cab at the Mirage was huge!! But Vegas knows how to move lines, and the wait was no more than 10 minutes, as you can imagine traffic on the strip was horrible!

PF Chang's seemed busy but not as bad as I've seen it at other times; I opted to eat at the bar. Had the lettuce wraps?, egg rolls & won ton, dinner was $26 before tax & tip, I was probably in & out in 30 minutes.

Did some gambling there, then on to Paris with my goal being Bally?s. They have a chocolate shop downstairs and I always stop by for some truffles. Apparently by the time I got there it was after midnight, and the shop closes at midnight ? so another trip was on my list.

Got quite a bit of gambling done at Paris ? no wins, but a lot of play for my money.

Found a $5 3 card poker table at Bally's and though I ended up down, I played on my $100 for well over an hour.

From there went to Bill's (still raining, I didn't bring an umbrella from home even though I knew rain was forecast, luckily the Impulse Shop at Mirage was selling them), couldn't get to a table (very few open and they were full), did a little slot gambling, and left. Normally this is one of my favorite casinos, but not feeling it that night.

Lots of tables at various hotels were closed down. Harrah's had the most open and Bills & Mirage had the most closed.

Walked through the Flamingo, but didn't gamble ? I think I was down and was feeling grumpy about it. Walked through Harrah's ? another favorite place to play, but just used it as a place to get out of the rain and back to the Mirage.

It was after 1:00 and I went to bed.

Tuesday ? December 21st ?

Still raining!

I had a 10:30 hair appt at Paris ? another cab. Not overly impressed with the results, bill was $68 and they added an automatic 20% gratuity. She was very pleasant, but her work was not worthy of 20%, but I paid it and decided where to go for lunch.

I had originally planned for Mon Ami, but with the rain, the patio didn't appeal to me and I didn't know if I was hungry enough. I don't want to go there for just a snack, so thought I'd wander around and see what interested me.

The crepe place & the bakery at Paris were packed as was the buffet (HUGE line). Wandered to Bally?s, went downstairs to get my truffles and thought I'd get a slice of pizza at Sbarro, then saw next door is Nathan's. I've never had a Nathan's hot dog - so I ordered a bacon-cheese dog with onion rings and a diet coke - it was wonderful! Hit the spot and the whole thing cost me about $9.00.

Monday night when I was at PH, I wanted to go to the Miracle Mile Shops, specifically ABC and get a 2011 calendar. For the last 10 years or so I have always had a Vegas calendar in my home office right over my computer, but with the rain knew another trip there wasn't going to happen, no time to order one on-line when I got home, so figured this would be the year without a Vegas calendar. As I was walking through the basement at Bally's, I noticed a souvenir shop, bought a couple of things along with a calendar.

Took a cab back to the Mirage and spent a couple of hours gambling.

Took my afternoon nap and headed back down to the casino thought about going to TI via the tram, but noticed when I got back that afternoon that the tram was packed due to the weather

Hung around the Mirage playing several slots and around 11:00 decided it was time for dinner. Wanted a lox & bagel sandwich so headed for the Carnegie Deli. I sat & waited for 10 minutes, the place had about 10 tables filled, but I counted 4-5 wait staff. After10 minutes a waiter asked me if I had been helped ? the fact that I still had my menu and not even a glass of water must have tipped him off. I said no, so he went & found my waitress.
She came over, offered no apology and said she had been in the back (only when he went to get her), I told her that I had been watching her (I had nothing else to do) and saw her standing around talking and that I didn't appreciate the lack of service and was leaving. Still no apology, just a ridiculous 'have a nice evening'! When she first approached my table, if she had simply said, I'm sorry to keep you waiting, all would have been fine but don't lie to me.

Went to the hostess stand where the hostess and a man n a suit with a Mirage name tag were talking. I asked him if he was the manager, he paused and said no, the manager was in the back (I wonder), I explained what happened, he offered up a half hearted apology and I left.

Went to BLT Burger where service & food were very good. I ordered the stripper (a hamburger with no bun), it came with bacon and I added on avocado and ordered skinny fries. Couldn't eat all the fries, but everything was good, I believe the bill before tax & tip was a little over $20.

I will give Carnegie Deli another chance on a future trip and definitely BLT Burger, they have several I would like to try.

More gambling, some up, some down and went to bed around 3:00.

Wednesday, December 22nd - last full day

More rain!

Not sure what to have for breakfast and knew Carnegie Deli was out, so decided to try Blizz. Fantastic, I know it's just yogurt, but it was yummy. I had the vanilla and added gummy bears (little ones) and fresh blueberries & fresh blackberries - they have dozens of toppings, it's sold by weight and mine came to under $7.00. Good choice.

I had a ticket that night for Terry Fator so went to pick it up at Will Call, the earlier in the day you can go the better, and they get very busy. Found out the showroom is next door to the business center-glad I asked.

A first for me - realized I had lost my slot card so went to get another one and NO LINE! I didn't think that was possible - I love Vegas this time of the year.

Decided to brave the weather and went across the street to Harrah's, didn't win anything, but my money lasted a long time there. Played slots & BJ.

Was looking for something for lunch, found an Oyster Bar at Harrah's-had a shrimp cocktail and a bowl of clam chowder (great day for soup) - food was good, bill was about $23.00 before tax & tip.

Lots of big puddles between Harrah's & Mirage, no way to avoid them! Traffic on the strip was very heavy.

Since I was leaving the next day I needed to check in 24 hours before. I checked with the concierge and she said she could do it for me, but I wanted to try again for the stretch seating, so she said to go to the business center.

At exactly 24 hours before my flight I did, that was about 3:20, business office closed at 4:00. 2 employees and no one else in there, they set me up on the computer, only glitch was that my flight was changed from leaving the next day at 3:20 to 3:30, so I hung out and waited - they were SO nice. Finally got everything taken care of (paying for luggage, paying for stretch seating and printing my boarding pass), no charge - he never asked if I was a guest at the hotel.

Next door is the Terry Fator theatre - very nice set up. When I booked my ticket I checked, for $149 I could have gotten mid venue, checked and they had certain dates at 25% off & 35% off, that night had come up at 35% off, for 4th row right on the aisle. GREAT SEAT - the show was FANTASTIC! To think he got there by winning a talent contest - albeit a nationally televised one is amazing. He has so much talent! Didn't know but wondered if the asst he has in the show is his new wife - it is. I have my opinions on the marriage and the 'girl' and at 21 she is a girl, but he is allowed his own personal life, I didn't pay for that, as far as his talent goes, worth every cent and more! GO SEE HIM! From Thanksgiving to Christmas he has a special Christmas show, so curious to see how it was different from his regular show. Will definitely see him again.

One thing I liked - at one point he asked everyone who had served or was currently in the military to stand up and to be acknowledged by the audience, then he told us that 100% of the profits from his merchandise go to the military. Nice touch!

Show ran for about an hour and 20 minutes. There is a bar outside of the theatre where they sell all kinds of drinks and snacks and they are also selling his merchandise.

Gambled some after the show and then went to dinner at CPK, wasn't starving, so had a ½ Cobb salad - it was delicious!

Gambled a little more and decided to call it a night, it wasn't even midnight.

Went upstairs and packed what I could and got my c/o organized and realized it was too early to be in my room. Looked for a $10 21 table, but all I could find was $15, so I bit the bullet and played for an hour or so, only down $15. Couple of more slots (love WOZ) and then off to bed.

Thursday - December 23rd

No more rain, some sun, some clouds, little cool, but dry!

My parents had asked me to bring back a couple of bear claws for them, so took care of that at the Roasted Bean, nothing there caught my eye (a first), but Blizz was calling my name. Had the exact same thing and it was even better - how is that possible when I had the same thing? Took that with a diet coke and found the WOZ machine and was totally content.

Played SATC one more time, a little 21 and realized I was coming home with some money, less than what I took, but some money and I was done (happens to me on my last day every trip, I just hit a wall), so left for the airport about an hour before I had planned to.

(Didn't try to get anything taken off my bill as I was there on a partial comp).

Airport was pretty quiet, no line for security, had a Cinnabon, listened to my IPOD until it was time to board the plane. Got the exact same seat that I had coming out, plane was 100% full, we arrived back in Denver 20 minutes early...and the Direct TV was working!

All in all a good trip, not sure when I'll be back, usually go for my birthday in August, but have plans to spend my birthday with my BFF in South Carolina, if that falls through, maybe Vegas with another good friend.

2 things I saw for the first time EVER in Vegas - saw a woman playing slots with a stroller right next to her and saw another woman playing slots holding a newborn!! Both at the Mirage, was contemplating hanging around to see how long it took security to find her, but figured it was their job, not mine.

At the Paris, 2 kids (about 6 & 8) were running around the slots, a slot machine attendant asked the man playing if they were his, he said NO, the employee asked the kids who they were with and they pointed to a man about 50 feet behind them.

Mirage was checking for room keys every night - except one night, saw 2 security men helping a woman to her room, not sure what was going on, they each had an arm, she was either drunk or sick.

Had plans for CP and Serendipity 3, also wanted to go back to Bellagio but the weather got in the way.

I'll put it on my list for my next trip - whenever that is.