Las Vegas Trip Report, July 30 - August 2, 2000
Originally posted to the alt.vacation.las-vegas newsgroup on August 16, 2000

Well, I've only recently found this group, AFTER returning from a recent trip to Vegas, but it's proven to be very insightful as I already begin to plan my return trip to Sin City for later in the year. I've also enjoyed reading the various trip reports, so I thought I would contribute a meager one of my own, albeit a couple of weeks after the fact.

DAY ONE: I've probably been to Vegas about 10 times, many times a quickie business trip for the February MAGIC convention. blurred vegas at night (paris and bally's hotels)This time however it was strictly an R&R trip for my GF Naoko and I. We departed San Francisco via United Airlines early Sunday morning, and surprise surprise there were no delays or cancelled flights! We got into Vegas around 9am and cabbed it straight over to the Hard Rock Hotel. I selected the Hard Rock because a) it's where my Naoko and I met 4 years ago, and b) I've stayed there a couple of times previously and enjoy the atmosphere, find the rooms decent, and love the pool generic sildenafil. I do have to say that this time was the first time I felt old (I'm 35) and perhaps a bit out of my element. I got the HR for $59/night for a Sun, Mon, and Tues. night stay, using Travelscape, whom I was referred to by a nice phone clerk at the HR when I made my original inquiries.

I knew our room wouldn't be ready at 9:30am so we checked our baggage with the bell clerk and ate brunch at the 24/7 Mr. Lucky's diner in the hotel, nothing special. I did notice several groups of alt. looking folks having breakfast with "Def Con" t-shirts on. I couldn't for the life of me figure out who they might be, thinking maybe they were in for some sort of x-games competition, or possibly to see No Doubt, who was playing the next evening. It was only after returning home that a Google search reminded me that Def Con was a computer hacker convention. We then went to the pool, giving me my first taste of that desert Las Vegas heat. Both Naoko and I couldn't lay out for 10 full minutes before we were dripping in sweat and retreating into the pool. This pattern was repeated many times during the next 2+ hours.

After more waiting at one of the HR bars inside, we finally got into our room. It was as expected, although I was bummed we were on the side facing Paradise and UNLV and not on the side that overlooks the pool and has a good view of the Strip. After a much needed nap, we took the HR Strip shuttle over to Caesar's and walked from there to the Bellagio, which I hadn't been in before. I wasn't overly impressed, it was nice and all but at heart it's still a casino with clanging slot machines and carpet you'd never live with in your own house. We went to the buffet, and waited just about an hour to get in. I don't know if it ultimately was worth the wait, or the $23 per head it cost, but it was good. I have a hard time justifying $23 for a buffet, but hell, we would've paid roughly the same had we gone to the Rio, my usual buffet stomping grounds, once you figure in cab fare. As per usual at an LV buffet, I left completely stuffed and fighting cramps!

From Bellagio we walked over toward the Venetian, which my brother, a total Vegas-aholic, insisted we check out. On the way, we happened to be on the bridge between Bellagio's and Bally's right at fountain show time, which was a pleasant surprise. It's probably the least tacky hotel gimmick I've seen in Vegas, which isn't saying too much. The Venetian was okay, again sort of a let down after the build-up, and having been to the real thing several times, definitely a let down. (But as someone posted recently to the board, who goes to Vegas for thematic accuracy?!) My brother had tipped me off that the Rialto bar, near the C2K club, was a good "people"-watching spot (by which he really meant, a good place to watch prostitutes trolling), but I couldn't convince Naoko to have a drink, so we moved on and walked back South on the strip.

On our way to the Venetian I had noticed the ".25 cents Roulette" signs outside the Casino Royale, and figured that would be a good low-stakes introduction to non-slots gambling, so we decided to check it out and ended up spending the next 2+ hours in there. It took forever for someone to vacate a spot at the .25 cents Roulette wheel, and once they did I myself camped out for a good hour, slowly milking my $20 worth of chips. I mostly played the Even/Odd or Red/Black bets, really only wanting to extend my gambling foray as long as possible. I did end up hitting on 29 twice (Naoko's age, how special!), and so an hour later I left the table up $17. I was so ridiculously happy at my good fortune (and it was 2am and many watered down drinks later). Poor Naoko wasn't as happy, having had to wait out my "run" with a desultory hour of nickel slots. We cabbed it back to the HR and passed out.