Thursday, 10 November 2011

VEGAS VACATION BLOG, SEPTEMBER 2007

Sunday September 23rd, 2007

1:00 PM - into the car and off to the Airport.
Our flight leaves at 8, and we've been told to be there 3 hours early, so
we decide to leave quite early and head to the mall in Richmond to kill any
extra time we might have.....just in case some chowderhead decides to jackknife
on Highway 1 and cause any traffic issues. Better safe than sorry, and if
I miss my flight because of a 9 car pileup closes the Highway, I will be
seriously grouchy.

3:45 PM - No significant problems on Highway
1 and we arrive at Richmond Centre to kill an hour or so before heading to
the airport. We had a nice breakfast but now we're going to have some lunch
and figure we can grab some dinner at the Airport before our flight takes
off; I have no clue if we are getting anything outside of a bag of peanuts
on the flight. I better at least get some damn peanuts. I hate flying. Tracey
has soup and a "sandwich" for lunch; and I use the term "sandwich" loosely
since it is completely devoid of anything in the meat family....in other
words, it's a salad surrounded by a couple pieces of white bread. Ick. I
have pasta from Mrs. Vanelli's and it's disgusting.....it actually tastes
like something is bad, or stale. Ick. I contemplate returning it but it's
not like the $3.50/hr monkey behind the counter is going to give a damn so
I give up after eating about 1/3 of it. I'm going to be pretty damn hungry
by the takeoff time so they better have something decent at the Airport.
I haven't been to there in years, and I've never been to the USA departures
area (well, not since it was renovated anyway) but I'm sure they'll have
a food court or something decent I can get in my belly.

5:00 PM - We arrive at the Airport and drive
into the Long Term Parking area. Timing seems perfect as a shuttle pulls
up just as we get there. Woo-Hoo! Well, not so much, as that driver is off
now and that shuttle is finished. GRRRRRRRR. Well it's only another 5 minutes
or so until the next one comes so that's not too bad. As we get to the terminal
and head up to the "USA departures" check-in area, we notice that we have
to fill out a "Customs Declaration Form".....OK, no big deal, it's just
a few questions. I notice at this point that there is not a single person
waiting at the Alaksa Airlines gate......wow, we showed up 3 hours early
for this? We walk over to the gate, hand the lady our passports and Customs
Decleration Form, and she tags our luggage and we're on our way. Whole process
takes about 4 minutes. Off to the next check in area where there is a sign
that says in LARGE font "please have your passports, boarding passes and
Customs Declaration Form ready for inspection". I had all those documents
to the lady, who looks to see if there actually IS a Customs Declaration
Form (which she doesn't look at, just checks to see if it's there) and waves
us through. About 100 yards away, another check point with the same sign;
same thing, I prepare to hand all our documents to the lady who looks to
make sure there is a CDF (I'm tired of typing the whole damn thing already),
and waves us through. Next is to the actual customs guy, who takes our passports
and asks a couple benign questions, and we're through that too. So far we've
been here a total of 18 minutes and we're though customs. Glad we showed
up 3 hours early. Next is another check point where the guy asks for our
CDF, takes it, and sends us through. It occurs to me that to this point,
not a single person has looked at our "E-ticket"...not one.....how the lady
knew what flight we were on when she gave us our boarding passes is a mystery
to me.....Big Brother is watching, I suppose, and I don't mean CBS. At this
point we see the first lineup we've encountered so far; the lineup to get
through the metal detectors. Well I guess this is where the huge wait is
going to be. Surprisingly, the lineup moves pretty fast and it's only a
matter of a few minutes before we get to the front of the line where a guy
checks our boarding passes and sends us to the metal detectors. So far, this
has been incredibly inobtrusive. At this point I notice an old friend of
mine, Jack Dewitt, ahead of us in line; I try to make eye contact but he
doesn't see me, so I yell out "Hi, Jack", at which point alarms begin to
sound and I am immediately swarmed under by about 15 behemoths with billy
clubs and taser guns. OK, that didn't really happen, but wouldn't this blog
have been more interesting if it HAD?? As I'm waiting to go through the
metal detectors, I'm already planning my comedic lines when the beeping begins....I
decide I'm going to wait until the guard starts going at me with the metal
detecting wand and I will go into a full Seinfeld-esque routine (Ladies
and Gentlemen, please, I emplore you!!), but the detector does not go off
and the world is deprived of my unique brand of comedy. OK, unique is probably
not the right word since I was completely plagerizing the entire thing,
but what the Hell.....

5:36 PM - That was pretty painless; we are through
all the checks and are on our way to the gate area, hoping to find somewhere
to eat. I'm impressed with this wing of the airport, there are lots of different
little restaurants and shops intermingled with the actual gates; however
I don't see anywhere particuarly appetizing to eat yet, so we keep heading
down towards our gate hoping to discover something appetizing....we are getting
pretty close to our gate (which is about as far away as it could possibly
be) and I am starting to panic.....when, as if out of the darkness, I see
it....BURGER KING......Could it be? Is the King really here? I'm already
enjoying the flame-broiled goodness in my mind when I see that right next
door to the King is Cinnabon!! Oh, what a combination.....a Double Whopper
with Cheese and a lovely cinnamon bun! Suddely I no longer hate to fly!!!
But WAIT....what is this sliding door between me and my tasty dinner? And
why does it not open??? How can they tease me with a delicious burger/bun
combination and they take it away so cruelly??? Oh the humanity. There is
a sign on the door that says something like "you aren't worthy of eating
here, you ugly bastard, so stay away! No King for you!!!". In all honestly
I'm not sure what the sign said, I'm so hungry at this point that I have
lost the ability to focus......but it really doesn't matter, the King and
Cinnabon are out of reach......I hate flying. So we walk a tiny bit farther
and see the "Pacific Grill", which appears to be a quaint little sit-down
restaraunt right in front of our gate; this is OK, we should be able to have
a nice little meal and relax before our flight. Maybe flying isn't so bad.
As we approach the restaurant we notice the "Departure Board" and it seems
like EVERY SINGLE flight to the USA tonight is on time! Oh, wait......every
single flight EXCEPT for Alaska 694, WHICH IS ALREADY FREAKING 17 MINUTES
LATE.......the flight can't possibly have even taken off from Vegas yet but
it's already late. Tracey says they should just "fly faster" to make up the
difference. I hate flying. Tracey and I both order chicken burgers and
fries. I immediately should have known there was something wrong when the
lady taking our order says "they are deep fried, is that OK"? Well, I would
imagine that most chicken burgers are deep fried, so I should have known
that was really code for "they are greasy as Hell, do you mind your heart
stopping in the next 10 minutes"??. Apparently I don't mind because I ate
the damn thing. It was pretty awful but the chicken burger was filet mignon
compared to the fries. I am not a huge "fry guy" at the best of times but
these were just horrific. I hate flying.

8:09 PM - We are supposed to take off in 9 minutes
and we have not even started to board yet. Well, not totally true, the passengers
in wheelchairs have boarded already. People in wheelchairs get all the breaks.

8:25 PM - We start to board the plane that was
scheduled to leave 25 minutes ago. I hate flying.

8:27 PM - We get to our seats. Tracey is sitting
in the aisle and I am in the middle; already sitting in the window seat is
a guy who makes eye contact with me and gives a little smile. Great, I'm
sitting next to Mr. Friendly. I'm already having visions of John Candy's
character in Planes, Trains and Automobiles....."hi, Del Griffiths, Director
of Sales, Shower Curtain Ring division.....". Thankfully Mr. Friendly didn't
say a word the entire flight, I guess he was just being pleasant at first.
Glad THAT ended quickly. Tracey dubs him "Vegetable Lasagne". How lucky
am I to be married to someone who not only GETS all my Seinfeld references,
she can make her own???? This one was so obscure even *I* had to really
think about it. My wife rules.

8:40 PM - We start to taxi down the runway. We
go and go and go and go and go and go, jesus apparently we are driving to
Vegas after all. I hate flying. The flight attendants go into the safety
routine, making sure to mention that the bottom of our seat cushion can
be used in a flotation device. Great to know, although considering that a
flight from Vancouver to Las Vegas flys over NO water, something tells me
that if we somehow end up in water, we have a problem much too big to be
fixed by a floating cushion. They serve pretzels, instead of peanuts.....will
have to do, i guess. These pretzels are making me thirsty.

11:12 PM - We land after an incredibly mild,
uneventful flight. I was told that flying into Vegas at night would allow
for a beautiful view of the strip; of course, I was on the wrong side of
the plane so I had a beautiful view of a whole lot of white lights. This
could have been a flight into Anytown, USA.

11:20 PM - Wow this Vegas airport is huge. We
have to get on a Skytrain-like tram to go from the terminal where we landed
to the terminal where our luggage is. After quite a wait for the luggage,
it arrives and now we have to board a shuttle bus to get to the Rental
Car Area, which was miles away. The bus driver was as helpful and friendly
as you could possibly ask for. I must say, EVERYONE has been great so far,
including all the customs people, airline staff, and airport staff. Very
impressed so far.

12:05 AM - We get to the Avis desk and the guy
helping us was from Calgary and had recently been living in Vancouver. Small
world. We are given a beautiful Cadillac (which we already paid for, we got
an incredible deal through Priceline.com) and we're off to the hotel.

12:33 AM - We arrive at our hotel, Excalibur.
The only glitch is that we drive into the Valet area to find out the Valet
area is full, so we have to find a "self park" area. No huge deal except
that we don't really know where that is......we get lucky and I take a
wrong turn that happens to be the exact right turn and we find an available
spot in an overflow lot.

1:00 AM - So far things are going pretty well,
we get a very friendly check-in clerk who upgrades us to a Deluxe Room. Comps
rule. I'm sure they probably overbooked their normal rooms, but what do I
care? We end up in a very nice room with 2 Queen sized beds and a couch.
We are on the 6th floor and have a very nice view of the strip. So far, so
good!!! We are both exhausted so we decide to call it a night, planning to
get up early and hit the breakfast buffet.

Monday, September 24th

9:00 AM - I wake up and decide it's time to start
our Vegas Vacation.....I turn on the lights and hop into the shower, expecting
Tracey to be up when I am done......but no, she is dead to the world so I
decide to head down and check out the casino for a while until she wakes
up. I play a few poker slots and a little blackjack, making a very modest
$60 for my trouble. The Excalibur's poker room doesn't look that impressive,
so I'll probably have to head elsewhere for poker action when I'm ready
to get serious.

10:00 AM - Tracey is up and dressed and we head
to the breakfast buffet; Excalibur's buffet is reasonable and tasty and basically
what you would expect from most Vegas buffets. As we are nearing the end
of our breakfast, the room suddenly shifts and I immediately assume it's
an earthquake? Nope, just a 600-700 pound Mastadon who has entered the buffet
area, looking to put this hotel out of business. I probably shouldn't assume
this guy eats a ton just because he's huge, I'm a pretty big guy myself
and I really don't eat as much as lots of people would assume I do, but it's
much more fun to assume that the buffet staff all planning for their next
jobs.

10:45 AM - We go get our car and head to the Premium
Outlet mall not too far away. Man this Cadillac is freaking awesome.....love
the dual climate control so Tracey and I can have each side of the car a
different temperature. Because we are in the US for less than 7 days, we
are only able to bring back $400 worth of goods each; we've spent more than
that by the 2nd store.....getting back into Canada is going to take some
creativity. It's gorgeous today; hot, but not as ridiculously hot as it
was the last time we were here, last August. It's around 85 degrees today,
about 35 degrees less than the bullet-in-the-mouth oh-my-God-why-am-I-not-in-
an-air-conditioned-casino heat we experienced last time.

12:00 PM - We're back from the mall and bring
our haul up to the room. After adding up the receipts, we are so far over
what we are allowed to bring back we are already planning ways to convince
the customs guys that we didn't buy all this stuff in the USA. "Really,
Mr. Customs Officer, I packed 12 T-shirts for a 4 day trip. I'm like Mr.
Howell, did you SEE what he packed for a three hour tour? A THREE HOUR TOUR????".

12:15 PM - Down to the casino to start building
our first million. We find a game called "Texas Hold'Em Bonus" which we like
and have played before. The basic rules are the same as Hold'Em but this
is a house game and the house has an edge of close to 15%; so we aren't
expecting to do all that well, but it's fun. Basically you put up an ante,
and you get two cards and if you like those cards, you can put up an amount
equal to twice your ante and you get to see the flop. If you like the flop
you can bet another amount equal to your ante (or you can check at this point
and put up no more money), and then the dealer puts out the turn card and
you can bet once more if you like, and then the river is dealt and the dealer
exposes his two cards and you see who wins. Keep in mind the dealer doesn't
need to "qualify" or anything like they do in other games, they play with
two random cards just like you do.....the house edge comes from the fact
that if you lose, all your bets are lost, but if you win, you win all your
best EXCEPT for the ante, unless you have a straight or better. The other
bet in the game, the "bonus" part, is an optional bet that you make and all
that matters is your first two cards; the bet pays between 3-1 (for a pair
of 2's up to a pair of 10's) up to 30-1 (for AA). Any Ace-Face hand also
pays something. Actually, AA can pay 1000-1, if you get it AND the dealer
has the other two Aces. Yeah, not likely. Things are not going particularly
great, neither Tracey or I have had any bonus hands and I look down to
see Ace-Ten of diamonds....the best hand you can get that is NOT a bonus
hand. I win that hand, and I'm feeling good so I raise my "bonus" bet up
to $25.....and look down to see a gorgeous pair of bullets! 30X25 is a lovely
$750 payout and that gets us going. No other extemely exciting hands, but
we leave that table with $600 in profit. Nice! We decide to head next door
to the Luxor, which is very nice. I don't notice as much smoke here as in
other casinos, as it seems like it is less cramped. We head through to Mandalay
Bay, a gorgeous asian-themed casino. We play a few gimmicky slot machines
as we head through, and play a little blackjack here and there, and we make
a little more profit which certainly can't hurt.

5:30 PM - Back to the buffet for dinner; again,
a very standard Vegas buffet, with some tasty Prime Rib and everything else
you could think of.

7:50 PM - We head upstairs to our room to relax
for a little while and watch a bit of the Titans/Saints game. I calculate
how we are doing so far today, and we are up, get this, $777. How appropriate.

9:00 PM - Time for a little gambling; Tracey
and I split up, I head off to the poker room to see what they are spreading
and she heads to the slots and table games. The Excalibur poker room has
a $1/3 No Limit game with a max. buy-in of $200 so I decide to sit down.
I win a few small pots early and am up around $40. Key hand: I make a standard
raise with AQ and get 2 callers, including the small blind who I can already
tell is a very over- aggressive player. The flop comes AQ9 rainbow, giving
me a monster hand. The SB checks and I want to appear weak so I bet about
half of the size of the pot; the player behind me folds and, as I fully expected,
the SB raises me. He makes a minimum raise, which appears to me to be a
sign of a pretty weak hand; perhaps something like A8 or maybe even A10.
I figure he is drawing nearly dead to my hand at this point and I want
to get all his chips (he has about $250) so I just call. The turn brings
another Queen, giving me a full house and making me unbeatable (assuming
he does not have AA and I am positive he does not have that). Although
this makes my hand unbeatable, I figure this is probably not a great card
for me as it probably did not help my opponent and it could have helped me
if I held something like KQ. My opponent bets out anyway, $45, and I consider
making a raise here but I decide to just call and hope he bets again on the
river. The river is a blank and he pauses for a few seconds and bets $95,
leaving around $75 more, and I think for about 10 seconds and (naturally)
push all-in. He thinks about it for about 10 seconds, mumbles something about
me having AQ, and calls. I turn over my AQ and he folds face up.... 99 !!!
I was absolutely sure I had him drawing almost dead and, in fact, I was
drawing to 4 cards! Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. Not long
after that I limp in late position with 84 of diamonds, after 2 others had
limped in and 2 behind me also limp. The big blind raises it another $15,
and everyone calls. I am wondering how the hell I ended up putting $18 into
the pot with such a crappy hand......I soon become pretty happy that I did
when the flop comes 448. Cha-ching. The big blind bets out $20 and one player
raises to $45. I just call my full house at this point. Everyone else, including
the big blind, fold. The turn puts a third club on the board, a horrible
card for me because if I was calling with a flush draw, I just got there
and that could hurt my action. My opponent checks and I decide to check as
well. The river is a blank, my opponent checks again and I bet enough to
put him all-in (around $75). He thinks for a while and calls, and shows 54
of spades. I love it when my opponents have big hands but are drawing completely
dead. All in all I played for about 4 hours and made a little over $550.
Tracey also had a good night, she sat down at the Hold'Em bonus game that
we had played earlier in the day and on her very first hand, got dealt Aces!!
She made about $250 and that left us with a very nice first day profit of
just under $1600. Not bad for a day's work!!

Tuesday, September 25th

10:30 AM - We're up and deciding what exactly
to do today, which is our 3rd wedding Anniversary. We decide to hit the Strip,
check out some of the other hotels and do a little more shopping, because
we don't already have a big enough problem trying to get back across the
Canadian border without paying duty on everything we bought. We start out
by hitting the food court and chowing down on some tasty chinese foot at
Panda Express. The most irritating thing about this city are the "vultures"
who jump out at you at every opportunity (including inside the hotels), offering
"free show tickets", in exchange for going to a stupid seminar of some kind
regarding land they are trying to sell you. Right. The vultures are out
in full force on the strip today, every 50 feet someone is trying to give
us something. Even inside the high-end malls it's tough to avoid someone trying
to get you to come to their booth to sample their beauty cream or whatever
they are pedalling. I've decided just to say "je ne parle pas l'anglais"
to any of the vultures who get in my way. Of course, that won't exactly
work in the Paris casino......

4:00 PM - Back in the room after a longgggggggggggggggggg
walk about halfway down the strip and back; it's hot today, about 85, and
eventually we just got too tired to keep going. We hit all of the big hotels
at this end of the strip and played some poker slots in the Paris. We didn't
hit anything and lost a couple hundred of yesterday's profit. We walk through
a couple of beautiful high-end malls and Tracey hits all the purse stores.
There is a cool sports memorabilia store that has former Dodger Steve Garvey
there today, signing autographs. There is a sign that says that Pete Rose
will also be there today but he wasn't there when we were there; too bad,
I was going to ask him to place a bet for me. They have some amazing memorabilia
in this store, including a framed autographed picture of Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth
and Tris Speaker, selling for a tidy $45,000. They had quite a bit of hockey
memorabilia as well, surprisingly; the nicest being a framed autographed
picture of Wayne Gretzky from his final game, selling for $2,000. In the
Paris casino, we noticed that their sports book had posted odds on winning
the Stanley Cup; Calgary and New Jersey both at 10-1 and Dallas at a juicy
30-1. Hmmmmm I may have to return to put a couple bucks down, those are pretty
good odds for all 3 teams.

7:00 PM - Off to our anniversary dinner at the
Red Rock casino. We have reservations at the Italian restaurant that is run
by Heather, the winner of the first season of Hell's Kitchen. Dinner is terrific.
Authentic Italian restaurants are interesting; obviously this is a special
occasion and neither of us are slightly concerned about how much we are spending,
but I can't get it out of my head that I just ordered a $22 plate of spaghetti.
Pretty sure I can make spaghetti at home for about a buck and a quarter.
Anyway, as I said, dinner was excellent and the portions were generous, so
much so that neither of us can finish our meals. When Tracey made the reservation
months ago, they asked if it was a special occasion, so they knew it was
our anniversary and they comped us a dessert. A nice touch. After dinner
Tracey decides she wants to play some bingo, which isn't all that easy to
find in Vegas, so I head to the poker room while Tracey goes to the bingo.
It turns out there are only a handful of players in the bingo room so Tracey
heads out to play some other games instead. I play in the absolutely worst
$4-8 limit poker game I've ever been in; mercifully that game breaks up and
I move to a better game, but nothing interesting really happens and I end
up with a very small loss. Tracey drops about $80 so we're looking at a loss
today.

12:30 AM - We get back to the hotel and Tracey
is really tired, I'm not so, so she heads to bed and I go back to the casino
to play some blackjack. Surprisingly the blackjack tables are quite busy
so I go play some Texas Hold'Em Bonus instead; things are not going particularly
great as the dealer is getting all the bonus hands and I am getting nothing.
There are two of us playing, and the other guy quits and gets up....and the
very next hand, I look down to a lovely pair of Aces! With my $25 bet, that's
a nice $750 payout....assuming the dealer doesn't have the other two Aces,
then it's $25,000!!!! The dealer puts the board down and there is no Ace
on board so they are both live; she flips her first card, and my heart skips
a beat or two when she reveals the Ace of Diamonds! If I won $25k in this
manner I'm pretty sure I'd have a heart attack and drop dead on the spot
( I can't even figure out what the odds are of us both having Aces), and
it is not lost on me that at this exact moment in time, the odds are only
43 to 1 (44 cards that are not seen right now) against me winning $25K.
Of course, since I'm sitting here writing this blog and not dead, her other
card was not an Ace but a lowly deuce.....but hey, I got $750 and quite a
bit of potential excitement, so that's not too bad. I ended up cashing
out a $625 profit which offset our losses earlier in the day and turned today
into a profitable one, albeit a small profit. I've noticed one slightly odd
thing so far this trip....where the heck are all the hot cocktail waitresses?!?!?!?
So far it seems as if the minimum age for that job is 70.

Wednesday, September 26th

10:00 AM - Up and at'em and it's another shopping
day; the watch I bought at the outlet mall the other day isn't working so
we need to head back there to get a replacement. First we have a quick breaky
at McDonald's as I can't face another breakfast buffet today.

2:31 PM - Back from shopping and Tracey put us
into the poor house.....well, OK, a slight exaggeration considering how much
we have made at the tables so far.....but getting all this stuff back into
Canada without paying duty is going to be a heck of a challenge. Hopefully
the customs guys don't pay much attention. I'm sure that's pretty likely.
Tracey might have to buy another piece of luggage to fit all her new clothing,
shoes and stuff....

3:30 PM - Into the car and we drive to the other
end of the strip to check out the hotels we haven't seen yet; we leave the
car at the Wynn valet and go inside. Wow. You enter the Wynn to a spectacular
garden that features large "balls" of fresh flowers hanging from the ceiling.
Gorgeous. We head over to the Grail Theatre to pick up the tickets waiting
for us for Monty Python's Spamalot which starts at 8 tonight. After we get
our tickets we wander through the Wynn casino and it's really stunning.
We leave the Wynn and head down the street to the Venetian. Another beautiful
casino but one thing we both notice is a really unpleasant smell; all casinos
pump odors into their casinos and neither Tracey nor I like this one very
much. We leave the casino section and head to the "mall" part of the Venetian
and it's another amazing sight; the ceilings are painted a la the Sistine
Chapel and the decor is absolutely magnificent. We decide to take a Gondola
ride, so we sign up. We have about 40 minutes until our time comes up so
we head to the food court and grab a little lunch. As we get back to the
dock where we catch the Gondola, we notice comedien Paul Rodriguez standing
there.....he gets into a Gondola and takes off shortly before we do. Apparently
he is filming something for the Latin Music Awards; we pass him a couple
times on our ride and we give him a bit of a hard time that he's passing
under the "kissing bridge" and he only has one other person, the MALE gondolier,
with him....and the second time we pass him, he now has TWO guys in the
gondola, as he has added a cameraman. He jokes with us and seems like a decent
guy.....I resist the urge to tell him that he's not really that funny :-)
Our Gondolier, Marcello, is terrific and he sings a few songs in Italian
for us; interestingly, the Gondoliers get hired strictly based on their ability
to sing in Italian; they teach them how to run the Gondola later. We mention
to him that we are seeing Spamalot tonight and he says we will love it, he
saw it just a couple weeks ago. Looking forward to this show, everyone raves
about it. Out of the Venetien and across the street to two of the oldest
casinos on the strip, the Mirage and Treasure Island. The Mirage was amazing,
but Treasure Island was quite a disappointment; really nothing interesting
to see at all; they have their pirate show, the Sirens of TI, outside 4-5
times per night, but we won't be able to see that tonight as we will be in
Spamalot.

6:00 PM - We are back in Wynn to play some cards
for a while until the show starts; this really is a high-end hotel, as $15
is the minimum on any blackjack table; that's more than Tracey likes to play
so we sit down at another Hold'Em-style house game (wow, you know Hold'Em
has become huge when there are 4-5 completely different house games based
on it). I won't try to go into the rules on this one but suffice it to say
we are very lucky again and cash out a $600 profit. We still have a little
bit of time so we walk down the Wynn mall to a little ice cream shop. This
is the high end mall to make you sick; one store has a ring in it with a
price tag of $179,000. I contemplate selling the house to buy this ring
but Tracey talks me out of it.

7:30 PM - Time to head back to the theatre to get
into our seats for the show. As we walk though the Wynn, I finally discover
where all the hot cocktail waitresses are. One in particular.......I tell
Tracey that she's the kind of girl that men would leave their wives for....to
which she responds, "what makes you think she'd take you???". C'mon, I'm
sure a beautiful waitress in a 5 star Vegas hotel couldn't possibly ever
get an offer more appealing than ME.....sheesh.......I think I see her talking
to Mark Cuban as we walk by.....

7:45 PM - We get into the theatre and I go to
the snack bar, appropriately called "Snackalot".....a sign says "Snackalot
is closed during the show, so Buyalot now". Well OK. We get into the seats
and notice that these have to be the smallest seats in theatre history....I
literally can barely get into the seat.....during the show I become quite
intimate with an older gentleman who sits next to me (or I should say sits
ON me). The show stars John O'Hurley (J Peterman from Seinfeld) and we
were told this was his last show for 4 months! Lucky, we would have been
disappointed if he was not there; the rest of the cast are unknowns, and a
sign outside says that the part of the Lady of the Lake (the main female
part) is being played tonight by the understudy. Well let me tell you, if
she was the understudy, I cannot possibly imagine how good the normal performer
must be, as she brought the house down. The entire show was brilliant, very
very funny and the musical numbers were great. There is even a little participation
from an audience member at the end and O'Hurley provides perhaps the biggest
laugh of the whole night with an improvised comment about the audience member's
shirt. A terrific time and I would recommend this show to everyone.

10:30 PM - We leave the Wynn and head back to
Excalibur; I'm going to go play poker while Tracey plays some more table
games; for the first time she doesn't get anything and drops $200; I suffer
through one of the most horrific 4 hours of poker I have ever been involved
in and decide to give up after dropping $700. As I'm heading by the Hold'Em
Bonus table I decide to pull out another $200 and see if I can get lucky
and get some of the poker money back; since we've done so well this trip,
another couple hundred isn't going to hurt. The first hand I play I get A-T
suited and flop an Ace, only to get crushed by the dealer's three Kings.
That hand sends all the other players at the table scurring away and it's
just me and the dealer. The next 3 or 4 hands are insignificant and then
it happens again, I look down to a gorgeous pair of Aces and that gets me
pretty close to even for the evening. With the winnings from the Wynn, we
have another profitable day. We have been incredibly lucky at this game this
trip, between us Tracey and I have had Aces five times, which is insane.

Thursday, September 27th

11:30 AM - After a late night we sleep in a little;
we're up and we head down to the cafe for lunch. We have decided to just
look around at a few things today, as this is our last day in Vegas (SAD!!).
We decide to play a little blackjack first. Tracey doesn't do very well and
loses $60; I am about even until she busts out, and then things improve for
me and I make $450 in about 15 minutes. We go to the Sports Book to find
out what odds they are giving here on the Stanley Cup; I notice that the
Devils and Flames are both 20-1, twice as good as they were at the Paris;
Dallas, however, is 18-1 here, much less than the Paris, so I put $50 on
the Flames and Devils and I'll wait to bet on Dallas until we get back to
the Paris, if we do. We head to the Mandalay Bay to check out their Shark
Reef Exhibition. It is, as the name implies, a shark exhibit. They give you
an audio wand that you listen to as you approach the individual exhibits.
They feature some deep water fish and sharks that you don't get to see every
day. It's very interesting. On the way back, we stop at some nickle poker
slots just to screw around.....Tracey gets dealt the Queen and 10 of clubs,
and draws the A, K and Jack for a Royal Flush!! Unbelievable. They are nickles
of course, but it's still $200.

4:00 PM - Back at the Excalibur and we have a
little time before dinner so we head up our room to relax for a few minutes
and I'm going to try (AGAIN) to upload this damn blog. Seems to be working
now.

5:30 PM - I decide to lay down for a minute before
getting ready to go for dinner. "A minute" becomes a little longer than that.....

6:30 PM - Tracey attempts to wake me up to go
for dinner. She is successful....for about 30 seconds.

7:30 PM - Second attempt, and after what seems
like an hour or shaking and smacking me, she is successful in waking me up.
I'm still exhausted so we order room service for dinner.

11:00 PM - After a nice dinner and a little TV,
we are down to the casino for the final time this trip. All of the good luck
we've had this week evens itself out as we come crashing down to reality,
getting pummeled at every game we try. I suffer through another horrific
poker outing, which was especially frustrating as I was playing against a
table of mostly drunk buffoons who enjoyed putting all their money into the
pot with the worst hand, which miraculously became the best hand over and
over. Oh well, it happens. We are leaving Vegas with almost exactly as much
money as we came down with, and considering how much shopping we did (a lot
of it paid with cash), we had a terrific trip.

Friday, September 28th

9:00 AM - Up to have breakfast and head to the
airport. We have about an hour so we hit the breakfast buffet.....what a
difference from the buffet we enjoyed on our first day here. Most of the
food was cold or overcooked (or, in the case of the bacon, cold AND overcooked).
Not very enjoyable at all.....this kind of soured my opinion of the hotel,
which is unfortunate as everything else was terrific. Oh, an interesting
note about room service in the Excalibur.....for breakfast, they offer a
continental breakfast which includes one cup of coffee, one small glass of
juice, and one muffin OR pastry. The price? $11. ELEVEN DOLLARS...... seeing
this, I immediately assumed the room service prices were all outrageous,
but not so....last night I had a delicious prime rib dinner with all the
fixings, including salad and nice warm rolls....the price? $23. That's a
terrific bargain, you can't get a quality (huge!!!) piece of prime rib for
less than that anywhere.....but I'd recommend passing on the continental
breakfast.

11:30 AM - We drop off the rental car and hop
onto the shuttle back into the airport. Nothing of any significance happens,
it takes us about an hour to check in and get through security, which is
reasonable. Even though (so far) the airports haven't caused any real aggrevation
(with the exception of holding the tasty goodness of Burger King tantalizingly
out of reach), I hate the whole experience of flying. Can't wait for it to
be over.

1:30 PM - Sitting in the airport which has WiFi
thanks goodness, so I won't have to slash my wrists waiting for this damn
plane....which is, as of my last check, still on time. As I update this blog,
Tracey and I are discussing whether or not we are coming back here next fall
or waiting until the spring of 2009 (when the World Series of Poker is on).

2:07 PM - We begin boarding our flight, right on
time.

2:30 PM - We take off EARLY. That has to be a first.

3:15 PM - No food on this flight but they offer
a "snack pack" we can buy for $5 and I partake. It has some salami, crackers,
cookies, that sort of thing. Oh, and "Cowbell" brand white cheddar cheese.
Wow, I caught a huge break there...as I was getting on the plane I could
feel that I had a fever, and the only prescription was more Cowbell.

5:10 PM - We hit the ground after another uneventful
flight. I guess the last thing you want is an "eventful" flight. We had to
fill out a Customs Declaration Form during the flight and now we're off to
customs. The girl at the customs booth asks us about 2 questions, signs our
forms and sends us through. Of course, this is only the first checkpoint
as we don't have our luggage yet. There is no sign of which carousel our
luggage is coming out of, so everyone off our flight is standing around a
bit confused. Finally they announce that our luggage will be coming out on
carousel 33 so we all head over there. After about 20 minutes of standing
by carousel 33 waiting for our luggage, they announce "oops, the guys put
it on the wrong carousel, it's now coming out on number 20". A stampede ensues.

6:00 PM - We get our luggage and head to the second
customs checkpoint, where I'm sure we will be subjected to a full cavity
search. Not quite. They take our CDF and send us through without a word.
Wow, customs is freaking overrated. We should have done more shopping!!!!!

9:00 PM - We arrive back home in Chilliwack, happy
after a terrific vacation. Glad to be back on a Friday night so we have the
weekend to rest. Good thing, I'm exhausted. I need a vacation.





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