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Unread 20 Mar 03, 08:40 PM  
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Fantasia Sam
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Ocean's 11 - (aka 11 of us in Vegas)


Wednesday 12th March – Arrival in Vegas

We left Disneyland at around 9.30ish and we drove to Vegas, the hotel had little driving direction cards behind the desk at Guest Services and the directions were pretty straight forward. I was Chief Navigator but tried not to be stressed by this monumental pressure that Paul was putting me under As we left the mountains of LA in the distance the road got less interesting and so Paul decided as we were on a road trip that he re-name himself “Rusty” and I the added pleasure of being called “Matilda” LOL!

We also came across of a convoy of trucks so Paul then decided we needed a “handle” so in true Convoy style our handle became “Big Bear”, what can I tell you….the I-15 is pretty boring and you have to make your own excitement!

“Big Bear” saw Vegas in the distance and at first thought that it couldn’t be Vegas as the signs said 14 miles to Vegas but we later realized that the Strip is not “Technically” Vegas or so we heard from good authority…OK a cab driver . We came off the I-15 at first opportunity so that we could drive up the strip. It was about 1.30ish so it had taken us 4 hours (and Big Bear hadn’t even broken a sweat) but the strip was heaving with people on the sidewalks. I got my camcorder out and I just couldn’t believe all the hotels and the fact that I recognized them all. It didn’t take us long to drive up the Strip and we arrived at Treasure Island (T.I.)and joined one of the long check-in lines. 20 minutes later we were in our room on the 26th floor and we had a great view of the strip overlooking “The Mirage” and “The Venetian” we could see “Paris” and “NY NY” – we were certainly in awe.

We grabbed a bite to eat in the Terrace Café - I got a hot chicken sandwich and Paul an open Turkey one with mash potato. Then it was off in a cab to my favourite shop Lane Bryant, the nearest one was in the Las Vegas Boulevard Mall, which is focused more for locals but it was the nearest Lane Bryant. We had already decided to keep the car in Valet and as it was free why not. Much to Paul’s displeasure but extreme patience I spent an hour and a half in the shop and bought lots of goodies – I had to go that day as it was the last day I had to spend $25 off voucher but I came away with more vouchers but wouldn’t be able to spend them myself so I gave them to one of my friends who we were meeting up with a couple of days later.

We got a cab back to the hotel and had to rush a bit in order to make our ressies for dinner. Paul made us walk to Circus Circus (20 mins at least), but everyone walks up and down the Strip, just remember things look closer than they actually are. Our ressies were for The Steakhouse (as recommended in most guide books as a very good place for Steak) at Circus Circus and it was fantastic. The dining room is in the style of a library and Paul and I were seated in red leather booth. We ordered drinks, me a Margarita and Paul some wine. All the entrees included house salad or soup, so we both had the salad and then Paul had the NY Strip (16oz people ! ) I stuck with the modest “petite” filet mignon. The steak was cooked over charcoal which you can view and melted in my mouth, the restaurant also has an ageing room, not unlike the one at the Yachtsman. All in all a great meal it came to $68 without tip including drinks.

Back at T.I. and we signed up for the Players Card which you use every time you gamble at either T.I. , Mirage, Bellagio or MGM, it’s a way to build up comps. Paul introduced me to a slot machine – we played $1 machine of 7’s and BAR but the money went sooooo quick and I was really struck by this. $20 later and it was definatley time for bed. I figured that I was going to need a lot more money to feed my gambling - I think this was the first step to my addiction

Thursday 13th March


We got up nice and slow and looked out of the window we were both surprised to see mountains – we hadn’t seen them the day before as we were focusing on the Strip and we certainly had the feeling that someone had painted a façade during the night LOL! We decided on the Mirage for a breakfast buffet and caught the tram over. Opposite the Tram stop at T.I. there is a Krispy Kreme outlet but they had them delivered and I told Paul that we needed to go to the Venetian later to get one off the line. We got to the Mirage and had breakfast and this was fabulous, it was as good a quality as a WDW buffet but way more food and choice including smoked salmon yet it was only $8.99 each, bit of a difference from what we’d paying at Disneyland LOL. I couldn’t get over how big the dining room was – we kept seeing people going up to servers saying they couldn’t find their table LOL!

We then walked to the Forum shops at Caesar’s Palace which is the next hotel along from The Mirage going down Strip. There were loads of shops and restaurants here and I couldn’t get over the painted sky. We had a mooch but I couldn’t find anything that caught my eye so we looked in the casino I thought it was quite small but later realized that there were two casino rooms. We then we went onto the Bellagio, again more shops and I looked in Tiffany’s which was divine :::sigh::: no purchases. We went into the casino and I played some 5c (that’s more like it) slots and my money lasted longer but no jackpot ! We then walked back along up the Strip to the Ventian which was practically opposite our hotel. We were already feeling the urge to have Krispy Kremes. Krispy Kremes off the line are awesome and if you like donuts you will fall in love with these little sugar rushes which are just melt in the mouth yummy scrummy. When they come off the line they are warm and squidgy I love them, can you tell? Some of our friends were going to be arriving by now so we headed back to the hotel.

Our friends (Tia & Ed) were having difficulty securing a room, they were given one on the 18th Floor with a view of the Battle however it had yet to be cleaned YUCK so they went back to the Front Desk and insisted they had one on the same floor as us. After a wait they were finally granted this wish, but they couldn’t get into their room until later on. So we took the tram to Mirage and had drinks at the Lagoon Bar. Inside the Mirage there is like a mini Tropical Rain Forest and it’s unbelievable – but the carpet was really in your face. We had some drinks and then we had to decide on what to do for dinner and with 4 people who didn’t want to make a decision this was a harder task but we settled on Tony Roma’s (the place for ribs) I had seen one just before Circus Circus the night before.

Paul and I went off to the Fashion Mall across the street from T.I. and I managed to get some more clothes in Dillards J. We all met in the lobby and another friend Barb had arrived so the group was starting to grow ! We hot footed it off to Tony Roma’s, Paul made us walk again. The restaurant was in The Stardust which I hadn’t realized before so we headed in and we had about a 40 minute wait so we sat in the bar area and ordered drinks – Barb and Tia had Mudslides and I had a Margarita don’t know what the men drank….who cares ;-) We had a great meal all of us had ribs which are just the best.

We walked back to T.I. to walk off our full bellys but I think we then went and saw the volcano at the Mirage first. I was skeptical; about this as it didn’t look very a very realistic high volcano to me but it doesn’t go off until after dusk and it is awesome – really realistic and good fun they run it every 15 mins (and we could even see it going off from our room). Time for the casino again and I got a load of nickels but then couldn’t find a nickel machine that I liked or understood LOL! So I changed them all up for quarters and then Paul taught me some Video Poker, which I enjoyed but then I found a video blackjack machine and I was in heaven – I think we were “up” when we left the machines. We went to the lobby to wait for another arrivee it was nearing 11.00 – the men were tired so went to bed but Tia, Barb and I stayed up – Carol had been delayed slightly but we still waited. She finally bounced in a bit stressed and tired and absolutely ravishingly hungry – she hadn’t eaten anything for hours. So we went up to their room got her settled and then Tia went off to bed whilst Barb and I went to take Carol for something to eat – it was past midnight and the only thing open was the café. Carol had a sandwich and Barb and I forced ourselves to have a dessert each. I got to bed around 1.30am


Friday 14th March


We met for breakfast around 9.00am at T.I. buffet which was very nice and great value $7.99 each. We then decided to get a few more hotels under our belts before more friends, Patrick and Roger arrived – LOL we only got as far as the Forum Shops again and then it was time to get back to T.I. to greet their “limo”. It was a beautiful day again, early 80’s, but we had all heard the weather was gonna change the next day. The pool was very busy (Mirage pool was shut so they were all coming over to our pool and therefore it was packed) so whilst we were waiting for the guys, Carol, Paul and myself decided to check out for space by the pool – there wasn’t any so Carol and I enquired about a cabana and thought what the hell so we got one of those – it was really cool even for $100. The guys had now arrived at check-in and again they were having difficulty getting a room near all of ours, so far we were all on the 26th Floor – well Ed went and talked to the Front Desk Manager and before you knew it – P&R were gonna get a room on the 26th floor and one was held on the same floor for Dayna and Pinky, who were arriving later that day – Ed rocked!

So we all went to chill out by the pool in our cabana and more froo-froo drinks were ordered, and I do believe that sun and alcohol were mixed :::Shock::: It was great fun and a nice relaxing afternoon. Dayna and Pinky finally arrived and we were nearly at full strength.

Paul, Carol and I had decided on Top of the World at the Stratosphere for dinner whilst the others were gonna go Downtown to the Main Street Buffet. We had a mad cab-driver to the Stratosphere he told us what side we should get out of the car and was really condescending coz he had heard our British accents but hadn’t twigged that Carol was from the States – once we got out of the cab – he shouted at some people for getting out of their cab in front of him….he was a nasty cab driver let me tell you !

We loved the Top of the World at the Stratosphere, this was a revolving restaurant and the food and service was top notch and it was a pricey affair $220 for 3 ! . Prime Rib and Steaks were the choice again and Carol and I had Lobster Bisque as appetizers – really good food but there was no room for desserts. The view from this restaurant was spectacular we were over 100 floors high and helicopters were passing us, scary if you think about it but some great sites were seen. After the meal we got in another cab over to Downtown and to Fremont Street where we saw the lightshow, they were great it’s like a cross between the Disney electric parade and the lights and video screens at Piccadilly Circus. I insisted on going into the Golden Nugget to do some gambling (another pattern evolving here) and we found some Video Poker to play – but it was ever so smokey in there – I think Carol and I both won some money and so we went and cashed up and then got a cab back – we rang Barb and the rest of the gang were pooped and had all gone to their rooms – this sounded like a plan to me so I was pleased to get to bed before midnight.

Saturday 15th March


Some of us had booked Spa treatments for the morning at the T.I. Spa. I had a Body exfoliation, followed by an aromatherapy hydrotherapy bath and rounded off with a Swedish Massage. Not cheap but very indulgent. The staff were very friendly and not at all intimidating. There were free drinks and fruit and smoothies on offer and it was a nice experience – only complaint there wasn’t enough relaxing area with enough seats for everyone waiting.

By now I was hungry but Paul had already had Steak and eggs for breakfast so I suggest Ghiradellis and then we’d meet up with the rest of the crew. The weather was cloudy and it started to rain just after Paul and I got into Ghiradellis – we both had choc fudge sundaes mine was with a brownie. As it was raining quite hard we then walked through Harrahs, Imperial Palace, Flamingo and Barbary Coast, now we may have stopped in a couple of these and did some more slots. We then met the others at NY NY where it took an age for everyone to get their food in their food court area we then headed over to MGM to see the lions they were just sooooo lovely and cute and very big.

We then headed on out to go to the M&M store, when we got out of MGM we noticed that the Manhattan Express was running so P&R, Ed & myself headed over to ride that whilst the others went on. This was one of the scariest coasters I’ve ever ridden – it was good but not a smooth ride at all! We met the others at Aladdin and then walked back to T.I. as we were supposed to be meeting at 5.30 we were all running about 15 mins late. Then to Tia and Ed’s room for a toast for Tia’s birthday, Rachael had arrived and already done damage at the blackjack tables LOL. We then headed out to the Bellagio we were gonna get a limo but it was a 2 hour wait so it was off in cabs, much to Paul’s disgust. I think we were in line for just over half an hour OK I wasn’t in line coz I was playing video poker but we had to wait a while once through for a table for 11 of us.

The Bellagio buffet was just out of this world and the best I’ve ever had in my life. There were so many salads, Alaskan Crab legs, as much shrimp as you could down, smoked salmon. Prime Rib, Beef Wellington. Venison, Rack of Lamb, 5 different types of mashed potatoes, different breads, sushi, soups and chowders and don’t even get me on the desserts. Heaven pure heaven and at $32 it was well worth it including soft drinks, We could have sat there for hours well we nearly did. Both Dayna and I were scared that Pinky & Paul were gonna be up half the night with indigestion. After dinner we saw the fountains, very beautiful, then back in the cabs to T.I. for some quick gambling time before our 10.30 show of Cirque’s Mystere which is held at T.I. Mystere was simply awesome and so very clever Paul and I loved it at $88 a ticket it was well worth it.

After the show we took in some more slots which meant video poker and blackjack for Paul and I but I was losing so went to bed it was about 1.30 again before our heads hit the pillow.


Sunday 16th March


I rang the girls room in the morning to check that we were still meeting at 10.00 which I think we still did – Tia had left a note in our door to say that they had got to bed about 4.00am LOL after they had eaten AGAIN! Rachael was the last one to bed at 5.30 and I think everyone had a good time in the casino. Those that could make it met up and we headed on out to the Ceasars Sunday Brunch, we had a waiter that was 71 and from Cuba and talked a lot and from what I understand from Dayna he was real shaky in pouring champagne – so we stuffed ourselves again and then headed off to meet up with Rachael and T&E at Paris. Paris is a beautiful casino another one of those fake skies (they like fake skies in Vegas) but it doesn’t get too smokey and I like the lighting in there. Paul, Barb and I played video poker for over an hour whilst the others played blackjack and won about £700 between them ! Paul and I then headed off back to the Venetian shops to get gifts but couldn’t find any so we headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner – we were all meeting up at Aladdin’s PF Changs for Chinese. This was a very nice meal and I didn’t think we were gonna eat as much as we did but we sure managed to polish off most of the food. Everyone else bar Pinky, Paul and myself went off to see an arty topless Vegas show – La Femme ? (can’t remember) we went back to the hotel – Pinky to pack and Paul and I went to see the Battle show at T.I. which was very good. I wanted to do something real Vegas so I took my Margarita with me from T.I to the Mirage LOL it’s the little things. At the Mirage we saw one of the Tigers who was lovely and had the most beautiful face but he wasn’t happy to be there and he kept scratching at the enclosures door to let him out – bless.

We then saw the Volcano erupt again and bought some gifts for Paul’s niece and nephew then we played some more video poker whilst we waited for everyone to get back from the show. It was then time for Patrick, Roger and Carol to leave us in their limo. We waved them all off and I was sad to see them go. Some of us then headed back into the casino. T&E and Barb didn’t need much persuasion to do some more gambling. Barb, Paul and I were back at the video poker, this meant that Barb and I were on our gambling drink of mudslides I just love the way that the waitresses just come round and ask what you want to drink and you just have to give them a buck a drink – cool! Obviously I’m completely missing the point of how much I’m putting in their machines LOL. Paul and I were now going off to bed I think it was nearing midnight and we still hadn’t packed for our departure the next morning but Tia told us that Ed was playing blackjack with Pinky at one of tables so went and had a looky over there – it was very nerve racking just watching – finally we said our goodnights and goodbyes and went to bed.

Monday 17th March


We got up early and packed and got ready and then had our last buffet breakfast but our hearts weren’t in it so ate hardly anything and then we checked out – bumped into Tia and Ed and then headed on out of Vegas at around 8.3. We met a lot of rain on the way to LA but 5 hours later we finally made it to the car drop off at the airport. Shopping and Food helped while away the time and we waited for our flight to be called it left LA at 17.45 we arrived home at just before 15.00 (London time GMT) on Tuesday afternoon.


Finally...


There were 11 of us in Vegas and I had met the others bar Tia’s hubby Ed at DISCon last year. It was great to see meet up with these people again who have become such good friends and Paul seemed to enjoy himself and meeting everyone. I really loved the choice of hotel – the rooms were great. Mystere was soooo good. The lions and tigers were just lovely. My favourite casino was Paris it was great and the group did well there. Bellagio was just lovely; the food and the fountains. We never got around to doing any afternoon shows and I never got to see the inside of the Luxor but with 11 of you it’s hard to do a lot especially as we all yack the whole time. Obviously Paul has now enrolled me in Gamblers Anonymous and probably won’t ever let me got to Vegas again on my own – which is fine by me it was fun having Paul there and I know he’ll come again – but it’s cheaper for us if I do most of the traveling alone – it’s a win win situation for me.

If you have nay other questions please feel free to PM me or mail me.
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Unread 20 Mar 03, 08:53 PM  
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Anne
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Thanks for posting this Sam

Vegas certainly sounds like an amazing experience
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Unread 20 Mar 03, 09:14 PM  
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Kazzie
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Sam... Just WOW! It was great to read such detail I felt almost like I was there
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Unread 20 Mar 03, 09:58 PM  
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Wow loads of info!

It sounds like you had a wonderful time Sam!
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Unread 20 Mar 03, 10:28 PM  
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Thanks Sam,
must get there someday to lose all my money that I haven't got.
Sounds as though you had a fantastic time.

So when you off back then
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Unread 21 Mar 03, 09:09 AM  
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sounds like my kind of holiday Sam! ... shopping, eating, drinking margeritas... etc etc...not forgetting the gambling of course!

Just got to whine a bit to mark now...
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Unread 21 Mar 03, 12:08 PM  
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Wow what a trip.

We are going to Vegas next year so I'll be printing this off for then.

Thanks Sam the detail was excellent.
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Unread 21 Mar 03, 12:45 PM  
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Wow Sam,

I love the sound of the buffets

Our friends went to Vegas a few years back and she rode the coaster at the top of the Strat

Looking forward to hearing all about Disneyland
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