Archive for April, 2013

Vegas 2013 – Day 19 – Gambling

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Today started slowly with the morning mostly lost to blog writing, email writing and app making. Sometimes the computers steal us away from our holiday, but we have to keep up with work too ;)

We decided it was time for some vegetables and headed to Sweet Tomatoes for brunch :) We love this place, so much salad and tasty soups and yummy fresh baked bread :) Unfortunately they seem to have stopped sending us coupons – we usually go a few times with multiple vouchers, but this time we just had one for Chris’ Birthday. At least we got one visit :) We don’t think she actually scanned the coupon, so we might be sneaky and go again with it ;)

Then we stopped by the cactus garden again as there were lots of almost flowers last time and I knew there’d be some flowering going on now :) Not often you get to see cacti flowering, so we went and took some photos :)

We decided it was about time we used some of the many gambling coupons we had from the 2 books of Vegas vouchers, so the afternoon was spent gambling. We started in Sam’s Town where we had $10 free play each – we won $20 between us :) Then off downtown to wander along Fremont Street and stop in a few places. First up was Binions where Chris turned $10 free play into a $20 win and also was randomly given $10 (he must have earnt it on a previous trip!) Then over to El Cortez where we both had $15 free play, we only came away with $10 between us, but still free money :) Next stop was the Golden Gate, pausing to purchase a crazy drink on the way in! :)

We eyed up this crazy glass the last time we were here – it’s shaped like the sign and HUGE! Mine is filled with strawberry daiquiri and it cost $35! That’s a lot of drink, it was very heavy! ;) Inside, I signed up to be a new player and got a $25 match play chip which Chris played on blackjack and won $50! Woo! :) I also got a pack of cards and a pair of dice for signing up :)

Time was running away with us so we started heading back to the strip, but we had to stop at Luv It’s frozen custard first, particularly since I’d managed to find a BOGOF voucher! :D Half price tastiness! :D

All the ice cream eating had taken a touch longer than expected and by the time we parked, we only had 20 minutes to get from the car park in Planet Hollywood, through the mall, across the strip, through another shopping center, across Aria, and up to the theatre! ARGH! It was a very fast walk and we made it with just a few minutes to spare! Sat in our seats, and the performance started :) Tonight was Zarkana, a Cirque de Soleil show. The only previous Cirque show I’ve seen was Criss Angel, which you may recall I really didn’t like ;) But that was Criss’ fault! Chris has seen a few Cirque shows and doesn’t really like them, but we got free tickets through MyVegas so it seemed time to let me see one properly :)

I loved it! Seriously! Of course, now I’ve read the description which says “Rock Opera” I’m not at all surprised! I loved the signing, and the music, and the amazing acrobatic feats! They made everything look so effortless that you sometimes forgot to clap, till you took a moment to look at the scene and realised that normal human bodies don’t do that! ;) We weren’t allowed to take photos, so I’ll just include the original trailer for the original version here:

The Vegas show is, I suspect, cut down slightly, as we didn’t see all of those performers. Shows in Vegas are only ever 90 minutes, apparently audiences here can’t cope with any longer ;) Apparently there’s a story, but it was lost on me, I just saw a circus come alive with strange mutants. They sing in a nonsense but scripted language which meant I spent the whole time trying to work out what language it was, only to discover it wasn’t! I guess it means we’re all equally left without meaning, but I wonder if their story might have been clearer had they used English ;) Also, there were stupid clowns being annoying and distracting me from the awesome acrobatics, which was annoying! I would have much preferred the show without their stupidity! But overall, a most enjoyable evening and good free seats :)

I was very upset to discover that they don’t yet have a sound track CD :( But I did get a couple of pairs of fab Zarkana socks (Chris is jealous, they didn’t have mens sizes!) I will be keeping one eye on the internet for it, as I really loved the music, even with the nonsense words ;)

After the show we were supposed to be going for dinner at Pampas, a Brazilian restaurant with meat on skewers… but we weren’t really hungry! Apparently too much frozen custard! So we ended up at the Palms instead, using more of Chris’ comp on tasty stromboli for dinner :)

Just the right amount of food for dinner :) Then back to Hooters for more gambling ;) Although I didn’t last very long, apparently I was suddenly very tired!

Vegas 2013 – Day 18 – Midnight Wings

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

After a very late night we had a bit of a lie in this morning – didn’t get up till 11am! :o The bed here is apparently very comfy and we’re both sleeping very well in it, which is good :D

We decided to go to Hash House for our brunch, figuring the Diamond card did a good job of queue jumping the last time. It did the same again this time, although into a very noisy room! Last visit had been early morning, and we’d been seated in the special Diamond room. Apparently lunch time in the main room is rather different! Ugh!

Still, the food was tasty once it came and it did quieten down during the course of our meal. I had the Pub Crawl sandwich – more of their tasty corned beef with onion and pepper, cheese and mustard, with fries. Chris had the Pork Tenderloin Benedict, which was huge! :) The funniest thing about being at Hash House is watching everyones reactions when their food arrives. Everyone, without exception, goes “Wow! How am I going to eat all of that?!” and has to take a photo ;) Lots of people taking food home to tackle again later! :)

Once we had full tummies we headed over to Target on a bag purchasing mission! 2 of our bags are about ready to give up – the wheely duffle has stopped wheeling and one of the other duffles has a strap about to break :( So we went and bought new bags, very exciting :) Still, now we stand more chance of getting all our new games home ;)

There was then a lazy afternoon whilst we tried to decide what to do. We have a difficult decision to make. We originally planned to stay at Hooters for the rest of the trip, but couldn’t get much of a discount on the room as we wanted the posh suite and the casino host changed mid arranging, and our play didn’t look like enough to qualify for much. After all our playing at Rio we managed to get a free room offer for the last 5 nights of our stay. I tried to contact D’Ette to change our reservation and heard nothing. Upon checking in, we were told we could just check out early and that would be fine. No sign of D’Ette or anyone else in the Casino Host office, and the Players Club desk now just has a sign telling you to go to the cashier.

We figured that despite the awesomeness of the room, the comfortableness of the bed, the great location which allows us to walk places and so Chris can drink, but yet is slightly off the strip so easier parking and easier to get out and do things, despite all that we should probably move to the Rio to save the $700 as there seemed to be no way our play was going to get us the room here cheaper with no one to talk to! :(

We went downstairs to play some video poker anyway, figuring just on the off chance we spotted someone we wanted to be able to say we had played, but not much as there was no one around, plus, it’s a great place to play with good music :) Whilst we were playing someone came and said hi! His name was Dane I believe, and he welcomed us back to the casino, asked if we were staying there, and suggested we charge any meals to our room so that we could go and talk to someone at the “Ambassadors Desk” or someone in the Casino Host office as our play should at least get us some free food!

Wait. Hang on just a minute. What just happened?! You mean, there’s still a casino host? We’ve seen no sign of one! The desk is almost always unmanned! We’d given up all hope of our play being worth anything here! Now it might be?!

So now we’re all undecided again! We love being at Hooters, but we also love free rooms ;) Unfortunately we have no idea how much play we need to make the room free, nor have we yet seen anyone to talk to, other than Dane who caught us off guard and we failed to ask any questions!

Still, it made the rest of the evening’s play more fun :) Eventually there was another pina colada (the waitress was nowhere to be seen for ages!) and then we went and had some midnight wings :)

The evening ended with quad aces on a $1 machine, giving us a nice $400 win before bed :)

Vegas 2013 – Day 17 – Bubble Run

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Today we were up bright and early to head over to Downtown and get covered in bubbles! :) There were a lot of people all eager to do the same! We squished into the big queue of people all eager to run and waited. And waited.

Oh my goodness it was hot standing still waiting to be allowed to start! The original information had said 500 runners every 3 minutes until 9:30 when they’d let the rest go. Seems they decided 100 runners every 3 minutes was better… and so it took ages! Eventually we could see the start line!

Then we could finally see some bubbles! :D

Then we were off! Hooray! :) I know it’s called a run, but we were walking, and so were a lot of other people! ;)

After a while we came across the first set of coloured bubbles :) There were 4 in total – red, green, blue and yellow. They were dyed with something, and apparently had a taste, though we didn’t try eating any! We made sure to walk through the middle where the bubbles were spewing out for maximum coverage! :D

Lots of people seemed to either be avoiding the bubbles or just didn’t care – bah! We were there for the bubbles! :D We might not have won fastest time, but we were definitely some of the most colourful people by the end of the race! :D There was an after party with tasty bananas and loud music and more green bubbles! These ones we were allowed to stand under, and so everyone was! It’s fun being covered in bubbles :D

Here’s the result of the colourful bubbles on our shirts :)

It wasn’t just our shirts that were covered – we were too! Head to toe in random colours! :) We were also very hungry having done this without any breakfast. So we needed to try and find somewhere we could have free food where we would be allowed in covered in colour ;) Alas, Tony Roma’s didn’t open until 4:30 so we couldn’t have ribs for brunch. Instead we headed over to the Palms figuring we’d be alright in their food court and had free Panda Express instead :)

Then it was time for a bath! A long soak to try and get some of this colour off! It was supposed to just wash off, but it wasn’t budging without some effort! We were glad for the jacuzzi at this point, and made very green water, hehe :D

We had an afternoon of computer usage – catching up on emails and blog writing. Then a little bit of video poker and my first alcoholic drink of the trip! :o When the cocktail waitress came round we actually said yes, and I had a pina colada :) It was scrummy! Never had one before, will be having more ;)

We needed to be down by Planet Hollywood for our show later so we headed off to find food along the way. Given it was a Saturday night we were expecting everywhere to be busy, but since we had a voucher for Nine Fine Irishmen we stopped there on our way. There was a 40 minute wait for a table… until Chris mentioned my Gold card and upon showing them that we got seated straight away! :o Wow! My Gold card actually let us jump a line! :D First time for everything ;)

It’s an Irish pub and there was a live band playing :) We had a beer & cheese dip to start, and then I had bangers and mash (I can’t resist when there’s a chance of British style sausages!) and Chris had some pork. It was all very tasty :D

The meal was mostly paid for with the MyVegas voucher and then the balance paid for with my MLife comp – yay for free food! :D

Then it was off to the V Theatre for our evenings entertainment – Evil Dead the Musical! :) For some reason we had VIP seating – I think what it meant was the section between the splatter zone and the cheap seats ;) But it meant silliness when we were greeted by one of the dead and had our photo taken, royalty from Yugoslavia ;) There was some annoying waiting around as the show before had started late so we couldn’t get into the theatre! Ugh!

The show itself was rather good :) Very, very silly with a lot of over the top splatter and silly songs :) Having just watched the first film I was impressed with how similar it was, picking up on all the ridiculous bits and making a mockery of them ;) I’m guessing the bits I didn’t know were from the other films, which I now want to watch! :D Alas, no photos, as we weren’t allowed to take any, nor a cool tshirt as they didn’t have any :( Chris has ordered the soundtrack CD from Amazon though ;)

Vegas 2013 – Day 16 – Hooters!

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Today started with some packing and then leaving the Rio. It took two trips down to the car to move all our stuff! We appear to have rather a lot of bags already! ;) Then over to Hooters to check in :) Thankfully having a suite booked meant we could check in early and up we went to the top floor to our lovely suite :) (Okay, so the top floor is considerably lower than we were staying at Rio, but it’s as high as the hotel goes!)

It’s a very nice room with a jacuzzi, more towels than we can be bothered to count and a dining table to work at :) It does suffer a little from old style air conditioning and being rather loud (clearly the hotel suites are more often booked by partying twenties rather than couples relaxing!)

At this point I realise it’s midday and we’ve not eaten and I’m starving! So we head over to Terrible’s to use some of Chris’ comp in the cafe there :) We ordered an appetiser of meatball sliders to share to start, and then I had a corn beef hash and Chris had a grilled cheese sarnie with bacon. Apparently the starter came with fries and was huge! Then Chris’ 99cents of bacon made us smile for being huge amounts! :)

It became all the more impressive when Chris’ very expired Gold card got us the 30% discount and all our food only cost $12 of comp! Super cheap free foods! :)

Since we were on the same road as the Sketchers outlet we obviously had to pop in there for our annual shoe replacement. Each purchasing 2 pairs of new shoes after much indecisiveness :) Mine are mostly purple ;)

We popped over the road to Toys’r’Us (mostly to use the restroom) and got distracted by board games! Whilst we managed to resist buying anything there… Chris did order one of the games from Amazon (much cheaper) and the other is on my list to try and play at Shire Games soon as he has Dixit and all the expansions listed online ;)

It was now time to head over to pick up our Bubble Run registration pack, but we were very hot, so we stopped at the Palms for some free Blizz first ;) Then went and joined the long queue of people to get our numbers and tshirts ready for tomorrow :)

On our way back we stopped at Walmart for a couple of things… 2 hours later we came out having spent $200… oops! New clothes, Blu Rays, random fun things, and drinks :) Didn’t manage to get the new bag we need (2 of ours are about broken, and we have a lot of board games to bring home!) but my feet were too sore to try anywhere else!

Back to Hooters and time for dinner :D

Mmmmmmmmmm wings! :D

Then to get the internet working in our room and to try out the jacuzzi :) Oh it is good to be back at Hooters :D

Vegas 2013 – Day 15 – Drive-In

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

Today started with some gambling to earn a free buffet at the Gold Coast :) For free food always tastes best ;)

So far, they are definitely winning on the bread pudding! It was a little untraditional in that it was full of cinnamon, but super tasty! :) Unfortunately, they totally failed to refill my drink which spoilt it somewhat :(

At some point during the morning Chris had come up with an idea for a card game, so next stop was to try and find some playing cards to graffiti with a Sharpie to try it out ;) We ended up at the World’s Largest Gift Store – “If it’s in stock we have it” is their famous tag line :D Used casino cards for just $1.50 a pack seemed the best option, and we chose a selection with different coloured backs so we could tell the various decks apart.

Armed with the equipment we needed, we headed up to the Diamond lounge in the Rio. Clearly everyone else was there for the free food, and we were a little odd just sitting, drinking water, and busily writing on cards and then covering a table in them! :)

I’ll leave the game to your imagination for now as we’re still playing with rule variations and trying to find the most fun way to play :)

Next up was using a Groupon for dinner at Capo’s Italian Steakhouse. It was a little weird to get in… hard to find the door and then being greeted in a silly way, and led through a different door… and then it was super dark inside! However, there was live entertainment and tasty foods :) I had a lasagne, except it wasn’t like any lasagne I’ve had before! There was only a little pasta, sandwiching together some ricotta cheese, crushed meatballs and italian sausage, with melty cheese on top, then swimming in a bowl of tomatoey sauce! Very odd, but very tasty :) Chris had a steak, and we finished it with a chocolate lava cake :)

Once our tummies were full, it was time to brave the daylight outside and dash over to the drive-in before it got dark! Tonight was customer appreciation night – free film! :) There were lots of people there to enjoy the free films, with 4 screens on, and a band playing whilst we waited for it to start :) We watched Wreck It Ralph which was great :) I really like the drive-in :)

Vegas 2013 – Day 14 – Laughlin

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

Today we drove over to Laughlin. It is a long and mostly straight drive, except for the last little bit when you wind between the hills down to the water. Then you get to go “Oooo, water!” :)

We wandered along the river walk, darting inside casinos to cool off now and then. The Colorado Belle is the most impressive, looking like a large ship and has nice theming throughout :)

Then there was a hunt for Taco Bell, which we both really fancied all of a sudden. On the Nevada side of the river there wasn’t anywhere much to eat outside of the casinos. Eventually we gave in and crossed the bridge into Arizona, no sooner had we done so than civilisation appeared! A little area of nice new restaurants! Hooray! Taco Bell :)

Once we had full tummies we headed off for a drive over to Katherine Landing. Once upon a time, there was a mining town named Katherine. There’s not a lot left of it now, apparently, but we never managed to find it. We did go down to the landing, past the closed booths where you clearly have to pay in the summer, and watched the water for a bit :)

Then we drove off on Katherine Mine Rd in hunt of the old town. Alas, the roads we thought we needed all stated “Private Land” and “No Trespassing” and we got scared ;) I’m sure at one point I found instructions on where to park and how to hike up to it, but with limited internet out there I couldn’t find them :( We stopped to take some photos of the cool road signs though :)

The road we were on turned to a dirt track for a number of miles, which was a bit random, given it’s marked as a proper road! Then at the other end, there’s a new Katherine Heights development of pretty new houses :)

We headed back into Laughlin to try and find some geocaches, but were thwarted by the river being too high (we would have had to go wading!) and there being too many people around and sitting on the benches we needed! So we only managed to find one.

Then it was back to Vegas, and time to grab some food on the way back to our room. We opted for some more buffalo fingers from the Sports Deli (free food!), this time with chilli cheese chips. We were asked twice if that was all, because how could 2 people possibly share just 1 main and 1 side? There was plenty of food, in fact we didn’t manage to eat it all!

Then we used the power of the projector to watch Evil Dead (we’re off to see the musical in a few days and thought we should see at least the first film before hand!) before bed :)

Vegas 2013 – Day 13 – Cheesecake Factory

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Woke to a phone call – oh no! What’s up? Oh, just needed instructions on how to use the washing machine! Oh well, there went the lie in and now we’re awake :)

Had a bit of a business meeting whilst still in bed, hehe! Planning our next games and the day ahead. Then off to The Cheesecake Factory for an early lunch :)

We’ve been to The Cheesecake Factory many times. We’ve tried so very hard to fit all the foods into our tummies! We’ve tried ordering lunch portions of salad (still GIANT bowls!) or how about just sharing starters? Nope, there’s never space for all the cheesecake! It always, without fail, has to be boxed up to come home! Today was no exception :)

We shared a small mushroom flatbread (with garlic and cheese), the Buffalo Blasts (pastry triangles filled with spicy chicken and cheese and coated in a buffalo wing style coating) and an appetiser sized vegetable salad. There was still too much food! We barely managed the starters and didn’t even attempt the cheesecake, ordering it to go from the outset! :)

Mine is “Chris’ Outrageous Cheesecake” and full of coconut and pecans and chocolate cake and so yummy! I’ve had two attempts at it so far an there’s still some left! :)

We spent a little time in the Apple store, as we often do. Eyeing up the latest random gadgetry and pondering purchases, before declaring further research required online and leaving.

Then it was back to the room to do some work! Shocking I know, but necessary :) A new game – hooray! :)

Our evening entertainment was courtesy of Elton John at the Colosseum in Caesars. I’m not a huge fan and didn’t know a lot of the songs, but watching Ray Cooper the crazy percussionist waving his tambourine around kept me entertained :)

On the way back we stopped at In’n’Out Burger for a quick dinner of freshly cooked food :)

Vegas 2013 – Day 12 – Geocaching

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Today started with a trip to The Orleans for a free buffet there :)

Yes, that is all a bit pathetic, but my tummy still isn’t right. At least I had some vegetables :) Unfortunately, the bread pudding wasn’t nice there, it was covered in a sugar syrup! So I didn’t really eat much, opted for some sugar free apple pie instead, which I mostly dissected to get the apple out! ;)

Then it was off into the desert for some geocaching :) Alas, I forgot to take any photos of the crazy dirt track we were bumping along! The day involved a lot of photos like this one:

That one nicely shows the car in the middle of nowhere in the background too :) At one point we climbed up a hill and looked down over our car…

Then there was a very long train in our way…

Eventually we headed back into Vegas and went to the Queen Victoria pub for a very British dinner using a Groupon :) Well, I say British… the starter was a quesadilla (very traditional!) but then Chris had fish & chips and I had proper English sausages and mash – yum :)

Vegas 2013 – Day 11 – Penn & Teller

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Today started with a trip over to Sam’s Town to make the most of their 7x points day. We sat and played Video Poker for a couple of hours and between us earnt almost $70 of food comp! Yay! :)

Then we headed over to Rock’n’Ritas to use one of our MyVegas coupons for a free meal. We’d swapped the MyVegas coupon for an actual coupon when we were at Circus Circus yesterday, and unlike most of them, it was only valid for 3 days instead of 30! So we thought we’d best use it quick!

I had BBQ chicken with garlic mash and beans. The chicken was nice and tasty, as was the mash :) The beans were a little sweet for my still sore tummy though. The food was good, but the place lacked atmosphere. Despite the name, there was no music playing, just some basketball on TV screens no one was watching. The entertainment was mostly provided by a guy making a huge balloon sculpture for a kid, which turned out to be the tow truck from Cars and big enough to fit over the small childs head and be worn! It was fab! :)

As we were in Circus Circus and they had an offer on chips, Chris decided to do a little gambling whilst I watched. I appear to be a bit of a bad luck charm though, as I’ve never seen him do very well out of these “Buy $20 get $30 promo chips” offers. He turned $60 into $90 of chips, and then back into $30 via a Blackjack table, not the best demonstration of making free money ;)

Soon it was time for Penn & Teller :) We went up on stage and inspected the box and signed the envelope, like all good audience members should, and then enjoyed the show :)

Mostly it was the same show we’d seen last time. There was a new bit with Teller being a Teapot and Penn singing… which was a touch weird but funny :) Even having seen it before, the show was very good. They’re very enthusiastic and it’s not just about a trick. If you ever get the chance, you should definitely see them :)

Then it was back to the room and a quick game of Food Fight which I lost miserably before bed. The game is good fun mostly, but sometimes the cards are just mean and I just watched all of my troops get beaten, barely making a dent in Chris’ hand. Ho hum!

Vegas 2013 – Day 10 – Diamond

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

After a rather failed nights sleep thanks to still being rather ill, we had a bit of a slow start to the day. Eventually we decided to head down to Circus Circus as I reckoned I could probably manage a slow amble through the Chuck Jones Experience for which we had a Groupon.

Chuck Jones famously made many of those animated characters we grew up with :) Bugs Bunny and Road Runner and the like :) The experience wasn’t really all that exciting. Looking at the original sketches was kind of cool, but the interactive quiz was broken and there was no paper or pens around to play with the Zoetrope. Even the gift shop was lacking in anything to entice a purchase despite having 10% discount! The best part was watching some Road Runner cartoons ;)

Afterwards we headed outside to McDonalds as Chris was hungry. I delicately nibbled a few chicken nuggets, but still didn’t really feel like eating.

Then it was time for more shopping! :) We headed over to the Gamblers General Store and the Spinettis Gambling Supplies and spent a long time browsing :) The first shop has super static carpet, which I remember from the last visit! Even a few steps and the metal shelves caused sparks! There was a lot of browsing and inevitably quite a lot of purchasing too ;) Useful things like a card shuffler (for our deck building games) and card holders and a small roll-up card playing surface :) Along with some transparent cards, some Double 9 Domino cards and Slot dice.

Obviously we couldn’t resist playing some games once we got back with our new things :)

Then it was time for some dinner. We walked over to Palms and had some free Panda Express, which I actually ate! Hooray! :)

On our way back to our room, we stopped by the Total Rewards desk and finally Diamond was showing up on their screen! Woo! :) We collected Chris’ shiny new Diamond card and got our free tickets to Penn & Teller which we rushed over to the box office to redeem! One of the great benefits of the Diamond card is 2 free show tickets every calendar month! This means we’ll get to have another 2 before we go home too! :)