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Category: 2011
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I'm writing this report as a public service. I can't tell you how many times through the years I've seen others use the excuse that 'nothing special happened' or 'our trip would be boring to others' as a reason not to write or post a Trip Report.
The next time you come home from one of those trips, I want you to remember this report. And I expect you to realize that 'Even though nothing special happened and our trip was boring, it wasn't as boring as Ktinca's, and that certainly didn't stop him from rambling on about it.' And I suspect that you will realize that even a boring Las Vegas trip is worth reading about. So I expect to see an increase in reports of 'boring' trips as a direct result of my efforts. And we will all benefit.

Saturday Oct 1st
We arrived at Orleans around 1pm. Because we were spending 5 nights I requested a renovated room on the 21st floor. We were given room 2192, but told it wouldn't be ready for 45 minutes. Not unreasonable when requesting a specific room on a Saturday afternoon. So we enjoyed our 1st drink at one of the VP bars, and as promised were in our room by 2pm. The rooms at Orleans are very comfortable, but I do want to mention one thing: I love the high showerheads there. I can't stand hotels where the showerheads are designed for children and short women. And I'm not tall!

The fridge was already there, so we could call for our bags and start making ourselves comfortable. 'Did you hear a noise'? beep 'What was that'? beep 'Listen' beep 'It must be the smoke alarm' beep. 'Yes, that's it'. I'll call maintenance.

Did you ever really look at a hotel phone' 14 little buttons, that connect you directly to the bell desk, spa, room service, concierge, etc, but no button for maintenance. Guests aren't qualified to speak directly to maintenance. I guess the hotel is concerned that we will call them frivolously for minor problems and waste their valuable time. So I push the button labeled Information. I explain the problem to the person who answers and suggest that maintenance might be able to help. 'Certainly sir. Let me transfer you to the front desk.'
So I explain the problem to the front desk clerk who replies 'Let me send someone from maintenance.' 'Thank you. I should have thought of that.'

A few minutes later someone from maintenance knocks on the door. I explain the problem. He listens to the alarm beep a few times, looks at the alarm on the wall 10 feet from the ground, and says: 'I think I'll need a ladder.' Gee, Ya really think so? OK, I didn't really say that, but I did think it, lol. A few minutes later he returns, puts in new batteries, and the beeping finally stops. The whole thing only took 20 minutes, but it sure seemed longer.

After he leaves I want to check on the races at Santa Anita, so I turn on the TV. But I can't get the remote to switch to the channels starting at 80, which I know are the direct feeds to the race book. In fact the remote dies and the TV is stuck on one of the informational channels. I can't even turn it off. This room obviously doesn't like us.
'You're not going to call maintenance again. At least wait a while.' 'All right. I'll go downstairs and watch my races.' Of course I did have to call them later and they replaced the remote.

We decided that we didn't want to go out for dinner, so we went to the Coffee Shop. I want to talk about the Orleans Coffee Shop for those who haven't eaten there. Orleans has an old-fashioned coffee shop, and it is a great place for ham & eggs in the morning, a club sandwich for lunch, or meatloaf or chicken fried steak for dinner. It is often crowded because it attracts many locals not staying at the hotel. BTW: You EAT here, you don't DINE.

It used to be that every Las Vegas hotel had a 24-hour coffee shop. It didn't matter whether the hotel was Sahara or Desert Inn. Now I can understand the Bellagio Café or Terrace Point Café, after all this is Bellagio and Wynn, and something a little nicer might be expected. But what's with Center Stage Café at MGM, The Café at Monte Carlo, and Pyramid Café at Luxor? There has to be something wrong with a hotel that charges $39 a night for a couple to stay there, and then the same amount for that couple to have a sandwich and soda for lunch. If you ever get tired of the Strip 'cafes' I strongly recommend you take the shuttle to Orleans and give it a try----and not just for the lower price. Chicken Sandwich $8.99, Hot Turkey sandwich $8.99, large salad $4.49, 2 Iced Tea $4.98, total $27.45.

That night we hung around the casino playing a little VP, WOZ, and some Pai Gow Poker. I actually won $25 on WOZ due to a visit from Glinda, the only profit I made on those machines the entire trip. And I did get one Royal on a DW machine. I only get them on those machines, never on a machine where they really pay a lot.

First day totals: VP -$40, WOZ +$25, Pai Gow Poker -$8. I mean to keep daily totals, but usually stop after the 1st day, lol.

Sunday Oct 2nd
I slept in until 8:30. I'm not sure what happened, but the last couple of years I've been sleeping a lot better in Las Vegas. No rush to get to the pool, so we had a leisurely breakfast at the coffee shop.

Down to the pool a little after 10am. This is the reason we are here. The reason we are in Las Vegas in general and Orleans in particular. The pool at Orleans may not be for everyone but it is perfect for us. A place to relax, to read a book or magazine, and a place to just escape from the rest of the world. It was around 90 degrees, and a perfect day.

We stayed at the pool until around 2, and then my wife wanted to go to the fitness center. So I went to the casino and played some VP. I'm sitting there playing, notice how few daily points I've accrued, when I realize that we forgot the FREE GIFT! Today was the day! We had seen the posters, and anyone who earned 50 points on Sunday was entitled to a free gift. I had asked my wife if any of the items on the poster interested her, and she had said 'Yes, a few of them.' And we forgot!

It is now 3:30pm and we only had a few hours to go pick one up, and my wife is at the fitness center. Not only that but she hadn't even earned her 50 points yet. So I printed out my voucher and went to the mezzanine to see what choices were left. I was actually surprised to find quite a collection. I then went up to our room, took my wife's purse out of the safe and rifled through it finding her players card. Then rushed back down to a VP machine and spent the 10-15 minutes required to accumulate the 50 points, and went to a Kiosk and printed her voucher. Then I walked over to the fitness center, but of course she had finished and left. By the time I get back to the room it is 4pm.

I explain to my wife that we have to go pick up her gift before they close, so we rush down to make our choice. Even at this late hour there is still plenty of priceless memorabilia (junk) to choose from: cooking sets, storage containers, sets of glasses, etc. They even had a couple of different types of booze, which surprised me. My wife chose a set of water bottles and a case, which she says we will bring when we watch the kids at sporting events, and a glass Snack Bowl.

In addition everyone receives the one gift that they couldn't get anyone to choose voluntarily, called a Paint Pal. According to the box this useful tool 'allows you to paint an entire room with ease.' Just what I need, a gift that allows me to work. Fortunately we just recently finished using the 'tool that allows me to paint an entire room with ease'
It's called a contractor. So we left these two useful gifts in our room when we left, as I suspect many others did.

On top of this, we get back to the room and my wife opens the Snack Bowl box to find it chipped. So I have to race down and exchange it before they run out of them or close. All of this effort for a free gift, lol.

We had dinner reservations at Prime Rib Loft. If you've been there you know what a pleasant treat this is, and if you are into Prime Rib '21-day dry aged' probably tells you what you need to know. 2 Orleans Cut Prime Rib $32, 2 Iced Tea $6, 2 Coffee $6, Seasonal Chambord Marinated Berries, served over vanilla ice cream and grilled poundcake in a praline cup with chocolate biscotti $7, total $51. And Yes, that dessert was as good as it sounds.

After dinner we watched the end of the baseball game and called it an early evening. Note that my high-roller wife put a total of 52 points on her BConnected card, and that was just to qualify for the free gift. No wonder Orleans gives us free rooms.

Monday Oct 3rd
We knew that the weather was changing and this had to be a pool day. Not a problem, as those were our plans anyway. We had a cabana reserved for both Monday and Tuesday, and every intention of spending all day there, both days. So breakfast was Danish and coffee, and lunch nachos, ideal pool food.

As the day progressed the weather was rapidly changing. By noon we heard some thunder and started feeling a few raindrops, but it was not enough for most to leave the pool. Around 3:30 I decide it's time to leave, but she will stay. On the way out I canceled the cabana for the next day (sigh). I reach the elevators and realize I've forgot my watch, so turn right around and head back. In the few minutes this has taken it, has now started pouring and people are fleeing the pool in droves. I reach the cabana and am now soaked. A lifeguard comes by and says that they have to close the pool until the lightning stops, but we can stay in the cabana and wait it out. They of course feel that it probably won't be long, as they see this many times in the summer. I leave, but my wife decides to stay.

I get out of the shower and the phone rings: 'Where have you been' I've been calling and banging on the door. My key doesn't work.' 'I was in the shower. Where are you'? 'I'm outside the door, standing here completely soaked. Let me in.' I open the door. 'No you're not. What floor are you on'? 'The 19th. Oh! I had to run for my life.' 'OK. Come on up' The cabana just wasn't strong enough to keep out the rain and had flooded. And of course the pool never reopened the rest of the day. So she went to the fitness center and I went to a VP bar to watch the rest of the baseball game.

We weren't in the mood for a heavy meal so it was Big Al's Oyster Bar for salads and some great clam chowder. A must almost every trip. 2 Garden Salads $9.98, 2 Boston Clam Chowders $13.98, 2 Iced Teas $4.98, 10% Funbook coupon -$2.98, total $28.16.

The rest of the night was spent in the casino. We spent 2 Hours at a fun Pai Gow Poker table, and played some VP. This was actually a pretty good day for me, as I had 2 straight flushes and some 4OAKs, but I wasn't really that far ahead money-wise.

Tuesday Oct 4th
Because there was no pool today, I let my wife sleep in and went down to the casino in the morning to at least put a few points on our cards, so Orleans knows that we aren't ignoring them. Because I am AARP-eligible, and Orleans values this, Tuesday I earn 7x normal points on the machines. Besides I love the music in the casino that Orleans plays on Tuesdays in an effort to keep us old folks entertained.

One of the few things I wanted to do this trip was try McMullans for breakfast, on the recommendation of a TA poster. So around 10am we walked over. Our last few visits to McMullan's Irish Pub had been on Tuesday nights when it is packed. I had forgotten how nice it was there when quiet. I had the corn beef hash which was very good, but my expectations were probably a little high and I wasn't blown away like I hoped. Charlotte's Frittata $9, Hash & Eggs $7, 2 coffee $6, total $23.30.

Then we did something I never imagined we would do in Las Vegas: We went to a movie. We went to see Moneyball. Tickets are $4 for those of us in the Young at Heart Club on Tuesdays. The theatre was 1/3 full, and I guarantee you that not one person paid more than $4 for their ticket. See what depths we sink to when we can't use the pool, lol

Tonight is the one planned event that we looked forward to---Trivia Night at McMullans. We walked over about 7:30 to make sure we could get a table. Because it is almost all locals there, most of them just wander in around 10-15 minutes to 8pm. This gives us a chance to order dinner before it gets really crowded and service slows down a little. For some reason it was a little less crowded than usual and there were only 34 teams entered.

We were fantastic tonight! Well, at least we were fantastic for us. We got our highest score and placing ever. We even got 2 questions right in the Brittany Spears round, and you can probably imagine how much we know about her and her music. For the 1st time there was an Elvis song in the music round, and there were actually 2 Beatles questions in other rounds, including one that a lot of people there didn't know. So us older folks could make a better showing this week.

There were 7 rounds consisting of 10 questions each, and a couple of bonus questions. BTW: For any Trivia Buffs the tiebreaker question was---What was the exact date of Ann Landers first published column in Chicago?

We got 37 points, finishing 24th of 34 teams. We had a great time, rejoicing over the things we knew and laughing with others about those we didn't. We usually manage to make friends with those at neighboring tables and we did once again. This allows us all to laugh about how much we don't know. And a good time is had by all.

Oh, and dinner wasn't bad either. A Lighter Bite Salmon $15, Dinner Special (Chicken Pot Pie) $11, 2 Iced Tea $5.50, Coffee $3, Sticky Toffee Pudding $7, Ice Cream $1.50, 2 Baileys Coffee $15, Total $60.79.

Wednesday Oct 5th
We slept in late again, almost like a real vacation. So we went to the coffee shop for breakfast. I felt like Lox & Bagel this morning. This is my own personal Las Vegas pet peeve and 'You've got to be kidding' charge. I know my wife's is the $7 Red 8 charges for a pot of tea, and I read today that someone else was shocked by the $10 that All American Grill at Rio charges to share an entrée. Orleans serves a large bagel and a very generous amount of lox and fixings with ½ of a very small cream cheese package. Simply put it is not enough. So I have to request extra cream cheese for which they charge $1.75. I'm sorry. To me cream cheese with Lox & Bagel is like catsup with a burger or jam with toast, and should be included without charge. If anyone from Orleans with any power should happen to read this; please raise the price $2 and include all the cream cheese a customer needs. On the bright side I played 4-5 games of Keno and won $6 ($3 after tipping runner), which paid for this wild extravagance.

We then played Pai Gow Poker for a couple of hours and my wife had her best session of the trip, having a lot of fun and ending up $160.

This afternoon was the M&G at Rhumbar. In case you haven't noticed, we've been here 5 days and this is this is the first time we left the comfort and safety of Orleans and it's environs. I enquired about Travel Insurance, but apparently there is no way to protect oneself from the insanity, crowds and high prices of the Strip.

Actually this is our 1st visit to Rhumbar and it is very nice. It is also a great place for an M&G if the weather is comfortable. We got there a little after 2pm, joined the group outside, and immediately felt welcome. I got to try a new drink, the Tatonga (seems to go with Ktinca doesn't it?), which I enjoyed, and very wisely stopped enjoying after just 2.
The rains came and forced us indoors, but didn't dampen the group's spirits. We spent a very pleasant afternoon and made some new friends. I want to thank all involved, especially LUCanLAZ and Holidaybore who organized it all.

From Mirage we took a cab to Gold Coast. Most trips we spend an evening there for the great reasonably-priced dining, and the better gambling. We walked in and my wife sat down at a penny machine to give me a chance to check everything out. Her WOZ machines were still there. Hey! They have new machines at the center bar, about time as the keys were getting awful sticky on most of them. Let me check---OMG they are only 9/5 at the quarter level! At 50 cents and $1 they are still 9/6, but this is quite a change. A quick look around and I still find plenty of quarter 9/6 JOB on the floor and upstairs by the Bingo Room. Well I guess this day had to come eventually.

I see this humongous line down the middle of the casino floor. So naturally I went to the front to see what the attraction was. I see a table and they are giving away what look to be fairly nice sets of knives. So I ask someone and they say the requirement is 400 points on your card. So I rush back to my wife and ask if she is interested. Sure, another free gift! We sit at some JOB machines and I proceed to lose $16 to achieve the needed point total. Then I go stand in the back of the line. In the time it took me to earn the points they have now run out of knife sets and there is grumbling in the line. There is talk of having to settle for T-shirts or other inferior gifts. My wife now joins me, mentioning that she has never played that fast in her life, lol. I give her the sad news, but we stand in line anyway.

Eventually we reach the front and a lady asks for our coupon.
'We don't have the coupon.'
'Are you from out of town'?
'Yes, we don't live here.'
'Then you will have to go to the B-Connected desk and get a voucher. Don't worry, you won't have to stand in line again, just come right up.'
So we have to wait in line at the Players Desk. We finally get our vouchers and head back for our gift. There is a short lady there arguing that she drove all the way down here for the knives on the coupon and all she got were BBQ tongs. So naturally we said that we don't want the BBQ tongs. 'We have some umbrellas.' So after all that we got two red umbrellas. At least it was raining, and how often do you see that in October? lol.

We had now wasted almost 90 minutes and it was time for dinner. Ping Pang Pong for dinner---we deserved it. We timed it perfectly, walked right in and were seated, 15 minutes later the place was packed. PPP is different than other hotel restaurants in that a lot of the food is sold To Go to locals. The Dim Sum lunch is served until 3pm, but dinner is served until 3am. We tried something new tonight, the San Pan Tiger Prawns. They were incredible, and of course we weren't surprised. This restaurant truly earns its accolades. Pot Stickers $5.95, Shanghai Noodles $7.95, San Pan Tiger Prawns $13.95, total $30.11. And to my wife's delight, Hot Tea is included without charge.

Then we both went and donated $20 to the Wizard, and went upstairs for some VP where I got a few 4OAKs and a SF and took a profit of $36. For those of you who didn't bother to write down the figures let me recap my night for you: VP to earn points -$16, WOZ -$20, Upstairs VP +$36. For those of you that don't have calculators handy that adds up to 0! Ah, but I really ended up a winner. Don't forget the free umbrella.

It had stopped raining so we took the shuttle back to Orleans and ended our night with an hour of Pai Gow Poker. I broke even and my wife made another $30.

Thurs Oct 6th
As usual I woke up first, so I went downstairs to pick up our hotel bill for the last couple of nights. The room was comped, but we did have one breakfast at the coffee shop to pay. I asked to use my points to take care of the charge. Unfortunately after 5 days of gambling, one of which was 7X normal points, this high-roller didn't earn enough for breakfast. I had to pay the remaining $2.16 in cash.

This was our last morning, we were leaving for the airport a little after 12, so we went to the buffet for breakfast. We were going to use my wife's points to pay for it, but her card wouldn't read so I paid in cash ($15?). We shouldn't be allowed in buffets. It's embarrassing. I had an omelet, some bacon, a banana, and a couple of tiny desserts. My wife had a plate of fruit and one small dessert for the taste of chocolate. That's it. And that was to hold us until we got home around 5pm.

We spent 5 nights in Las Vegas and only visited the Strip once, and that was for the M&G. We didn't see any shows, visit any sights or go to any fancy restaurants. We didn't even go to any other casinos to gamble. I didn't even play any poker which is rare. Obviously, this kind of trip isn't for everyone, but it was exactly what we needed.

We might have gambled a little more than normal, its kind of hard to tell. But as usual our gambling didn't have much of an effect on our finances. I gave my wife $500 before we left and she returned ½ of it. So she probably lost about $200, most on Tuesday. I know she won playing Pai Gow Poker, so this would have been on VP and a few slots. I had a fair number of big hands at VP, including 3 Straight Flushes. But my only two Royals were on DW machines, so I also ended up about the same amount behind.

Overall this was a pretty economical trip, although it wasn't intended as such. Probably our biggest extravagance was the cabana rental, if you consider $50 a big expense. Of course those $12 drinks on the Strip almost destroyed our budget, lol.

The unusual weather was slightly disappointing, and did cost us a day with a cabana at the pool. But we still managed to get the rest we needed.

Our next trip will probably be the opposite of this one. A short 4 night trip in December to attend a wedding. So all of the activities may not be within our control. But that's all right. Every trip to Las Vegas is different----and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Thanks for reading what hopefully wasn't a boring report of a trip without much activity.