We Ain’t Scared

 

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Marie and I are nothing if not thrifty.  Well, Marie is thrifty, but someone has to be.  I lean more toward the spend thrifty.  So when we found out we could book round trip airfare on our favorite airline, Virgin America, to Las Vegas on September 11, we jumped on it.  It seems very few people want to fly on 9/11, but when you can get round trip to Vegas for $136 each, what else can you do?  The plane was close to empty so we each had a whole row to ourselves.  First class was completely empty, but cabin stewards did not offer to move anyone up.  Guess they figured it was less to attend to.

We were on Flight 777 at 7:00 PM so we figured with all the sevens we would be safe.  We did almost have one little glitch, though.  As we were sitting at our gate waiting for our flight to be called, Marie noticed an unattended thermal bag on the seat across from us.  There was a woman sitting next to us.  Her husband had been sitting next to her but he got up and walked off and that was when we noticed the bag.  Because we were on high alert, Marie a vigilant citizen, went over and spoke to the gate attendant and reported the unattended bag.   The attendant called security, and two Dallas Police officers came and opened the bag examining it, unzipping the bag, opening Velcro sides and removing some items.   All of this time, Marie and I were watching the process and the woman sitting next to us was oblivious to it all.  She continued to read her People magazine and her husband still hadn’t returned.  There was a riveting story on Kim K. and Kanye I’m sure.

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Finally the “husband” came back and we heard him ask his wife where his bag was.  Of course we went into a giggling fit when we realized the bag was his.  His wife went over to the gate attendant who explained what happened and after a few minutes the woman disappeared and later came back with the bag.  I guess she had to go to Lost and Found.  I just can’t figure out why she had to go when her husband was the one who left it.  Go figure.

We had a smooth quick flight to Vegas.  Bravo on television and E-TV, plus CNN, ESPN and FOX, sitcoms, and on-demand movies.  So pleasant to fly with more leg room and entertainment too.  When we arrived in Vegas it was a short walk to baggage claim.  We packed light this trip since we were only staying for five nights.  We each had one bag to get and there were very few people waiting for a taxi so we were on the road to the Wynn Hotel and Casino very quickly.  Another little glitch was that our taxi driver decided to take the long way and it cost us $35 plus tip instead of $25.  But we’ll be more vigilant from now on and tell the driver which way to go.  When you leave the airport, take Tropicana to Koval and come in the back way to any casino.  Koval is not congested like Las Vegas Blvd, but some taxi drivers would rather take the freeway in order to run up the fare.

We had two complimentary nights at Wynn, one of our favorite hotels in Vegas.   The rooms are beautiful, the bed and linens are luxurious, the lights and drapes are controlled by remote control and the casino is very nice.  Marie once had a $1500 win there but I have never won much at the Wynn.  Still, it has most of our favorite machines.  We arrived at the Wynn ready to get checked in and play.  After enduring a sales pitch from the check-in desk clerk trying to sell us an upgraded room with a coffee pot and coffee (most Vegas casino hotels either have a coffee pot and you have to buy their coffee or they have neither one) we were shown to our room, beautiful as always, but with a crummy view.  We were told we would have a view of the golf course and the pool, but we had a view of the roof of the building next door. I literally had to press my cheek against the window to see a section of the pool. But as a bonus the people before us left clothes in one of the drawers.  Guess it all evens out.  Would rather they left money, but you take what you can get.  I did however check the pockets for money before I put them outside the door.  When we got back home and I told my husband about the clothes.  He said I should have brought them home because he might have been able to wear them.   He once found a red tee shirt in the hallway of a hotel and he picked it up.  It was one size too small but he wore it anyway.  Someday I’ll tell you about the pizza in the hallway.  What we didn’t want were the loud drunks next door banging on the wall and screaming and cursing about losing a thousand dollars.  I was certainly glad it was them and not us.

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We played from about 10 PM to 12 PM with no luck.  I tried Lord of the Rings, Willy Wonka, Hot Shot, Quick Time Progressive, Buffalo Stampede, Pink Diamond, Lightning Link, video poker – all with no success.  I guess the tip-off should have been that because the plane was empty, the casino would be too and therefore the machines would be cold.  It was a good night to enjoy the fabulous Wynn beds so we did.

 

The next day we caught a taxi to MGM.  We wanted to rack up some points and use our free play. Not only did we have free play, but we had comps to use for meals.  MGM is M-life, along with Bellagio, Monte Carlo, Mandalay Bay, New York-New York, The Mirage,  Excalibur, Aria, Luxor, Gold Strike in Tunica and Beau Rivage in Biloxi.  Wynn is Red Card and as far as we know is not affiliated with any other loyalty programs.  On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, we were working on our Total Rewards points.  Total Rewards casinos are all Caesar’s properties which include Caesar’s, Planet Hollywood, the Cromwell, Bally’s, Flamingo, Rio, Harrah’s and Horseshoe.  Good to have a plan and our plan was to rack up as many points as we could.  We have learned how important it is to play with a card.  The perks can be out of sight.  We have seen some people refuse to play with a card; others play with it for a while and then take it out and play without it for a while, thinking they are tricking the machine into thinking it has a new player.  Free rooms, free meals, free play, and free shows all add up to a lot.  They make up for some of the losses.  There are too many advantages to playing with a player’s card to not play with a card.

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We both really liked the layout at the MGM.  I had a few minor hits on Buffalo Grand and Quick Hit.  Not good enough.

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Marie came to find me and we were both starving.  Not all of the restaurants at the MGM were open all day, but the Grand Wok and Sushi Bar was open for lunch and dinner.  We went and were not disappointed at all.  We shared California rolls, lettuce wraps, Kung Pao shrimp, and fried rice.  All of it was fantastic and did I mention free.  It tasted hot, fresh, and so good.  I love Asian food, almost better than Mexican.  Marie likes Mexican better and we were going for Mexican later in the week as well as Italian, but we both thought the food at Grand Wok was excellent.

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After lunch, we went to another section of the casino and I found some really fun machines.  I got on a Hot Shot Platinum which has several bonus features such as regular Hot Shot bonuses, Locking Wilds and Exploding Wilds.  I did really well on it and hit lots of bonuses.  They were really entertaining and even though I didn’t hit a hand pay, I did get up to close to $1,000.

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I decided I needed to cash out ahead for a change and try something else.  While I was playing the Hot Shot Platinum, I saw people playing on a Tower Stack Lion machine and it looked fun.  So there was one open and I sat down next to Debbie from Virginia.  It was Debbie’s birthday and she is also a Diana Evoni fan and we agreed that we both wanted to meet her someday.

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The Tower Stack Lion was really fun.  It had good line pays but it took a long time for the free games bonus to hit.  When it finally did, the payoff was good with a retrigger on the free games.  I ended up with an over $500 win.  So our taxi ride to the MGM paid off for me.  Marie did well too on Davinci Diamonds and the Hot Shot Platinum machine.  We really enjoyed the vibe of the casino at the MGM and hope to get back there soon.

Then it was back to the Wynn for one more night of luxury.  Marie was at first thinking she would go back to the room and get some rest, but I convinced her to play for a while.  She found her Davinci machine and I went to a Super Wheel Blast.  There was one open machine and I decided to try it.  I had never played one before, but I loved it.  I hit the bonus over and over with free games and multipliers.  It gave me a lot of action, wins and fun.

The next morning we got up and checked out.  We had three nights comped at Harrah’s.  It’s not our favorite place to stay, but we do like to gamble there.  I usually do well on tables and Marie likes the machines .  Plus it’s next door to the Linq, which is the old Imperial Palace, and the Linq is next door to Bally’s and Bally’s is next door to Flamingo.  Directly across the street in the same block is Caesar’s and the Mirage.  So much fun in such a compact space.  Although Caesar’s sprawls across almost the whole block is one reason we don’t usually stay there.  You feel like you are walking for miles to get to your room and then back to the casino.  On the ride over we spotted Elvis on a scooter (Rascal) going down the street but we were stopped at a light and he was going too fast for us to get a picture.  It was funny because we could see his black shiny hair and long white beaded cape flapping behind him.  Only in Vegas.

Our slot hostess reserved adjoining rooms in the Carnival Tower which has recently been remodeled.  The old rooms were dark as a tomb and putting on makeup was a challenge.  Forget about shaving your legs.  You almost need a transfusion after.  So we were excited to see the new and improved rooms.  Since we only had one bag each, we let ourselves into our rooms.  We flipped light switches and not much helped.  Although we could see a change in furnishings, the bathrooms were still dark.  A walk-in shower and chair height toilet were nice but the only light in the bathroom was a mirror with low back-lighting around the edges.  No make-up mirror, lighted or otherwise.  No light in the shower so leg shaving would have to wait until we got home.  I met a man in the elevator and I asked him how he liked his room.  He said it was so dark that he almost needed a paramedic after he shaved his face.  We were already homesick for the Wynn.

We went downstairs starving for Mexican food.  The last time we were in Vegas we ate at a Mexican restaurant at the Linq called Chayo.  It was delicious and we had great Margaritas.  We went next door and found Chayo and got a table outside on the patio.  The sun was out, the weather was perfect and so would be a Margarita.  The Margaritas were delicious, but the food was not.  We each ordered Tacos al Carbon – I had beef and Marie had chicken.  They were pretty much tasteless.  Next time we’ll go back to La Salsa across the street.  It has always been good.

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Back to Harrah’s casino.  I hit $480 on a $1 Top Dollar.  That was really fun.  It was a double Top Dollar and I hit $120x2x2.  I then went to Lord of the Rings.  It was fun but didn’t pay off much.  Same with Lightning Link but I did have fun.  Marie said she was going to the Linq for a while and I decided to get my feet wet on the Ultimate Texas Hold-em Poker table.

In the courtyard between Harrah’s and the Linq there is usually a DJ and sometimes live entertainment.  While I was playing cards, Marie came over to the table and said that there were nude overweight women dancing in the courtyard.  They had bikinis painted on their bodies and thongs and nothing else.  In January of last year we brought my daughter Amber to Vegas for her 40th birthday and we decided to go downtown and check out what was going on.  Up ahead of us on the street was a nude overweight girl with a nude male wearing a thong.  Marie said the same girl was performing in the courtyard with other nude overweight females.  There was a guy sitting at my table who said, “No, no, no.  I saw them earlier and I almost had the vision out of my head.  Now it’s back!”  I continued to play until I was exhausted but my money lasted so it was good for me.  Marie and I had a scoop of ice cream for dinner.  It’s a wonder we don’t starve to death while we are gambling.  Usually we only have one meal, but on a good day we might have two.  The next morning I had a cinnamon roll in the food court at Harrah’s for breakfast and Marie got up earlier than me and had a real breakfast.  We usually go to Hash House A Go Go for breakfast but couldn’t work it in this trip.

That evening we had dinner in the Diamond Lounge at Harrah’s.  They had salads, fruits, chicken, and pasta and desserts.  We love the Diamond Lounge.  Of all the Diamonds Lounges we have been to, Harrah’s has the biggest.  We have so much fun when we go; lots of people to talk to and watch.  Free to get in, free to eat, and free to drink, except for a tip which some don’t do.  All it takes is being a Diamond Card Member which is achieved by playing with a player’s card.  The last time we were in Vegas we tried to go to Harrah’s Diamond Lounge but the line to get in was too long.  All Caesar’s Entertainment properties (Total Rewards) have a Diamond Lounge and it is a great perk.  That evening we met a large group of Latino Americans who were there celebrating Mexico’s Independence from Spain.  They were from Los Angeles and all worked at LAX.  They were a lively group and we enjoyed talking to them.

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The next day we both slept late.  We had reservations that night for Rao’s at Caesar’s Palace.  Rao’s is famous for it’s meatballs and we had already decided to share an order.  We had $200 to spend on dinner courtesy of Total Rewards and Diamond membership.  So we figured Rao was a good choice.  We had checked out the menu on line so we pretty much knew what we wanted to order.  The breads they brought out were wonderful.  I wanted mussels, but they were out.  We shared a roasted beet salad which was very tasty.  For our main courses I had Penne in vodka sauce and Marie had ravioli.  Dessert was Triple Chocolate Cake.  After dinner we didn’t play too long at Caesar’s because to be honest, we were too full.  I messed up because we went to the Diamond Lounge at Harrah’s before we went to Rao’s and since I thought I was starving, I ate the enchiladas they had on the buffet.  So then I couldn’t eat all of my dinner.  The portions were huge.  The meatballs were big as baseballs and I would have been better off just having the salad.  Actually I would have been better off not having the enchiladas.

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Sorry about the sloppiness of the dishes.  A funny thing about taking pictures of our food.  We always start eating before we realize we need to take a picture.  Maybe 1 out of 20 we remember, but that’s debatable.

Our last full day in Vegas we played.  Marie went to several casinos, but I stayed at Harrah’s all day.  No great luck to brag about, just maintaining.  We were both hungry for a good hamburger so we went next door to the Linq to Guy Fieri’s Burger Joint.  Huge hamburgers, crispy fries, and great atmosphere.  Especially with the nude dancers on the patio, but at least this time they were attractive.  At least our appetite wasn’t spoiled.

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Again, we cut the burger and took a bite, then the picture.  When will we ever learn?

And then it was time to go home.  On the plane, the man with the black thermal bag was several rows ahead of us.  He must have learned his lesson because he had his bag with him.

We had such a good time that we are hoping to go back after the first of the year.  Don’t know how we can get back before then.  October 8 we have tickets to see Tom Jones at Winstar in Oklahoma and will take a couple of days to go to the Artesian in Sulphur, Oklahoma.  It is a beautiful hotel with a small casino.  Then I am actually getting my husband to go with me to the Horseshoe in Bossier City, La. at the end of October.  I have some free play I don’t want to lose.  He likes to play but not as much as me, but he has an ulterior motive.  He wants to go to the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum in Gibsland, Louisiana so there is something for both of us.  Then we have a Premier Cruise the week before Thanksgiving and we will spend Thanksgiving in Destin, Florida with our sister and brother-in-law.  Christmas will be in Santa Fe, New Mexico this year.  Such a lovely place to celebrate the holiday.  So I am hoping I can talk Marie into going back to Las Vegas early next year.  So far retirement has been very enjoyable, tiring at times, and always full of adventures.  Until next time, the Slotsisters are coming to a casino near you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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