Las Vegas Trip Report

December 20-25, 1998

Day Two - December 21, 1998

Woke up at 9:40am. We heard the trains a couple times and I think they woke Dan up once. I was dragging this morning so I sent Dan down to the coffee shop to get us breakfast so I could get more rest.

Dan called up from the coffee shop to tell me what was available. I "ordered" a croissant breakfast sandwich and an apple juice. Dan played the Triple Play nickel video poker while he waited for it to be ready. He managed to get everything up to the room and one foot away from the table, he dropped his coffee on the floor. I got most of it cleaned up before he could get everything else out on the table.

Dan ate my hash browns and part of the ham from my sandwich as well as a blueberry muffin. We watched the news and Dan wrote a bit on the computer while I showered and got dressed.

We did pretty well on the Triple Play nickel Video Poker. Dan got 4 2's and 4 Queens. I was dealt 4 jacks and got three scratch-off cards. We cashed out while we were ahead and walked over to the California to look around.

We sat down at the $0.25 Monopoly slots at the bottom of the escalator at MSS and promptly lost $25 without a single payout! I moved over to watch a craps game for awhile. Still too intimidated to try.

We corrected a room charge for Dan's second coffee (the one replacing the one on the floor in the room) at the front desk. Dan had tried to charge it to our room from the California, but the clerk wasn't sure if she could do it because our last names are different. So, Dan paid cash. I looked at the charges on the TV and saw that he had also been charged. The front desk quickly corrected it and apologized for the problem. It was only $2.25 and no harm was done.

We looked in the gift shop and went upstairs to read and check e-mail.

At 5:30 we had dinner at the brewpub. It was Monday Night Football night and apparently you were not allowed to be a Miami fan. They were brutal to Miami!

We sat down at our Video Poker table in the corner and ordered a Pale Ale and a coke. We then decided on the Steak and chili Quesadilla and a pepperoni pizza. Excellent as usual. When the bill came, we discovered that our drinks were both comped. I'm not sure if that was because we were playing VP while eating, or if it was part of the Monday Night Football thing. We didn't bother to read the Monday Night Football sign on the way in. The whole thing came to $15.50 with a $2.40 tip.

I got a straight flush (2-5 of clubs) and Dan did pretty well himself. Dan cashed out after dinner with 100 coins, I had 240. We were now up $21.00. That's more like it!

We took the left over pizza up to the room and got the hangars and pillows we didn't get the night before. This time it took less than 5 minutes for Housekeeping to arrive. Must have been something strange happening the night before.

At 7:40pm we went down to Fremont Street. I wanted to see the Holiday theme light show at 8pm. Dan stopped at the coffee cart and I continued wandering down to the Christmas Tree. Dan still wasn't through the line at the coffee place, so I moved over to the booth where they put your face on someone else's body or on the magazine cover… you know the one. They had some gas heaters set up around the booth and people were crowded around them to get defrosted. The guy told me that I had to try a free picture if I was going to use their heaters, so I moved away. No thanks!

*** Dan Writes *** The last time we did Fremont Street I said they really needed to come up with some new shows.

I've always considered the new Fremont Street to be a bit surreal. It looks more like a museum replica of itself than itself. With the Christmas carols playing between FSE shows, it was more like a shopping mall without the holiday shoppers. I though about the juxtaposition of hedonistic Vegas and the meaning our culture assigns to Christmas, then I decided that it is not a juxtaposition after all. Vegas is about the hope of winning money for nothing, where grownups can sit on Santa Wynn's lap and ask for the cars and Megabucks jackpots they want. And if the three Santas appear on the pay line, the Vegas Christmas dream comes true.

The Holiday - Festival of Lights started and there was still no sign of Dan. I headed back towards the coffee cart and there he was… first in line. I stood by him in line and watched the show. The kids were really enjoying it. They played a number of Christmas Carols and had Santa and Rudolph in lights. It was cute.

*** Dan Writes *** My enjoyment of the first show was diminished somewhat by the very slow coffee guy. The Seattle's Best was probably Vegas's Best, but not Vegas's fastest. Not only did we have a slow barrista, but also it was the McDonald's curse: everyone in front of me was ordering for a family, and each family member needed a time-consuming hot drink. And hot drinks they did need, because the temperatures were in the 30's.

The Christmas show was corny, but very heartwarming, especially in its multilingual Merry Christmas message. This was followed almost immediately by the March of the Toy Solders. A troop of costume characters marching down Fremont Street, much to the delight of the small children who were there.

After the show, we walked back down to the tree so Dan could see it. I was disappointed to find out it was fake. Oh well. As we were about to duck into Binion's for some gambling, we heard an announcement that there was going to be a March of the Tin Soldiers in a few minutes, so we stayed outside. It was cold and I told Dan that the soldiers had better be good! The thermometer on top of Binion's said 0 degrees Celsius! Finally the soldiers arrived and I was reminded of what Hunter Thompson said in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", "This is not a good town for psychedelic drugs". No kidding! Giant trolls/elves and giant soldiers falling all over the place. Trippy!

We went into Binion's and only had 20 minutes to play until the next light show. I was down a little, Dan down about $20 by the time we went outside to see The Rescue.

*** Dan Writes *** The next show cast the Fremont Street canopy into the interior of a jetliner crashing into the sea. We see a variety of friendly and scary sea creatures swimming above us and up and down the street. The best part is a submarine battle with a torpedo fired from a sub over Vegas Vic shooting down to strike another sub at Fitzgeralds.

This new show starts out with a plane crash into the ocean and has an underwater theme. I really liked it. Dan didn't like it as much as I did, but we both did cry out, "Keiko!" when the show featured a killer whale. I'm a big fan of marine mammals and took a trip to say goodbye to Keiko (the orca from Free Willy) in Oregon before he left for Iceland in September. We were prepared to go back to the hotel when we realized that we'd never seen the next show, Las Vegas Legends. So, back into Binion's. Dan went back to the Blackjack tables and I sat down at Sneak Peak Video poker.

*** Dan Writes *** In between shows, I lost $20 and then won back $40 at the $2 tables at Binion's Horseshoe. I don't know what it exactly is about Binion's. Maybe it's the low table limit that allowed me to vary the amount of my bets as I wished. Maybe it is the serious, no-bullshit gambling atmosphere. Whatever it was, it was the right amount of adrenaline to make it one of the most fun blackjack sessions I've had. It also helped that I finished about $30 ahead.

Sneak Peak Video Poker allows you to see the next card to be dealt before you decide what to hold. I thought it would be a good game, but I was mistaken. I got pounded for $40 in just a few minutes. Forget that. I moved to Double Down Stud. I thought I was up, but didn't have time to figure it out. I just cashed out into a cup and went outside for the 10pm show. It was fun… lots of people were singing along with Elvis and Sinatra. Even Dan… much to my embarrassment!

We went back into Binion's. I was really close to 5000 points on my slot card and I wanted to cash out. I got it up to 5000 and got my $5. And ended up cashing out up about $85. Dan cashed out way up on blackjack too.

We went back to the room and I made Dan go downstairs and take a picture of the men's room by the buffet. There is a big piece of the Berlin Wall in there and I've wanted to see it.

At 11:30pm we ordered "Something About Mary" from the selection of in room movies. I still think that the hotels should offer Vegas-related movies. Dan and I made a big list of movies we'd like to see while we are in town. I think they could make money off of it. I'm sure everyone has a favorite.

Just a few we came up with:

*** Dan Writes *** Back at the room, we settled in to watch a movie-on-demand from the hotel room. My first choice, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, was not available. The second choice was Something About Mary, which did have some very funny parts as I had heard.

Got to bed again at 2:30am.