Las Vegas August 16 - 20, 2007

Tracy and I flew out to Vegas on the afternoon of August 16th. It was on uneventful trip out there. We caught a cab to the hotel, Mandalay Bay. We checked in and got a room that looked over the pool. When we got up to the room (17303), it had not been cleaned.

We called down to the front desk. They did not have any other rooms that over looked the pool area, so they offered us a $100.00 credit for room service and hotel restaurants; we took it. They sent up a housekeeper ASAP. We went to dinner while she cleaned the room.

We caught a cab up to the Fashion Mall. Tracy found "Strip Burger" online. It has really good juicy burgers and good milkshakes. It is all outside next to Cafe Ba Ba Reeba. They do have misters going all the time, so the 104 degrees, doesn't feel too bad. The burgers are big and one order of fries can feed four people. It is on the corner across from the Wynn hotel. Of course there is a stop light, and can I just say that there a lot of "honky" cab drivers in Vegas. I thought Chicago was bad, Vegas beats us. The cab drivers don't even give you a chance to move your foot from the brake pedal to the gas pedal, before they are honking at you.

By the time we got back to our hotel and up to our room, which was clean. We just vegged and watched a party going on in the beach area. We also watched Ugly Betty and then Grey's Anatomy. Tracy went to sleep first, just before Grey's ended. I couldn't stop looking out the window; the lights of the city from that height are just amazing. I stayed up for about a half hour more and then went to sleep myself.

The next morning got up and leisurely made our way down stairs to Cafe Raffles for breakfast. After breakfast we got ready and went down to the pool; got down there about 10:15am. We worked our way around to where we were last year. They had definitely changed the pool area. They added a store, a casino, a restaurant and a takeout window. I had wanted to get a cabana, like we had last year, but they had none left when I called. We staked out a spot and then settled in for the day. I was smart this year and brought a spray bottle with me. Vegas in August means 10 minutes on the chair and then 20 minutes in the pool, 10 minutes in a chair and then back in the pool for 20 minutes. It is just too hot to lay out the whole time. There were a few clouds in the sky, which helped with the heat. We laid out for about two hours and then went inside to have some lunch.

We ate light; with being in the heat, you do not want to over eat or you will get sick. Then back out into the sun. About an hour went by; and the rain clouds came in. We could see lightening by the mountains. The Lifeguards pulled everyone out of the pools. There were a couple of different groups of 20-somethings down in our pool area. They had been drinking all day and were getting kind of loud and vulgar. They kept trying to get back in the pool and the Lifeguard would have to shew then out. We stayed for about an hour and then went upstairs.

We got online to see where we wanted to have dinner; comparing the online pages with our hotel guestbook. We decided on Red Square. We've wanted to eat there since 2000, so now was the time. We called down and got a 6pm reservation. We then got all dolled up for dinner. As you can tell from the photo, my weight is way up. I am working on getting it down.

We were a bit early so we walked through Mandalay Bay Place. We went into a couple of stores and browsed their selections. Tracy tried on a few jackets. Then we headed over to Red Square. We checked in with the hostess and was seated right away. As luck would have it, we were seated next to the two gentlemen that were seated in front of us on the plane out to Vegas. They had been drinking for a wee bit. We talked a bit. Our waiter was very good. He advised us on the different martinis; massive list; but hard to read in the small font that they had and it is a dimly lit. We each ordered a different type of martini, but of course they were $14.00 a piece. We each had the Lobster Bisque, Tracy had the Chicken Kiev and I had the Beef Stroganoff; and then a second martini during dinner. The atmosphere is loud and someone kept taking photos, so there was a flash going off every once in a while. It was not a "relaxing" dinner, but very good.

After dinner we really wanted a Chocolate Soufflé, so we went over to Fleur De Lys. We sat in the bar area, which is not the most comfortable and had another drink and the soufflé. It was okay, not the best. The best is still at this restaurant in Reno attached to the Silverado Hotel, in which we can never remember the name. Afterwards, we hit the slots for a bit and then went up stairs. We did take a couple of Silly photos.

KC and the Sunshine Band were still on stage at the Mandalay Beach. That's why I really wanted a room over the pool are so we could see how the whole concert on the beach thing worked; since that is where Chicago was playing the next night. People were either standing in the wave pool or sitting/standing on the beach. It was way dark so we could not tell if they had towels or blankets to sit on. I know that they did not have any chairs. We watched the last 20 minutes or so of their show. We also took a few silly pictures, most of which I can not show.

The next morning (8/19), we had no where to be, so we ordered room service and relaxed in the room for a bit. We decided to hit the pool area again for a couple of hours. It was busier then Friday. We laid out for a while and then went to have lunch. We asked the couple next to us to watch our chairs while we were gone. We brought them back some chips and salsa as a thank you. We stayed for another two hours and then went up to the room to start getting ready for dinner and the show.

Tracy had been communicating with a women named Toni from LA. We were meeting her and her daughter Stacey before the show. Trac and I went to Raffles Cafe for dinner and just after we got seated Toni called. We then switched from a table for two; to a table for four. Toni has been a Chicago fan for many years. She was also at the Chicago Convention that was held in Vegas back in May. She told us stories and we just got to know each other. While we were sitting there Robert Irvine (from Food Networks Dinner Impossible) and another gentlemen were seated just across the room from us. My jaw dropped, and that doesn't happen. I never would have expected to see him in that restaurant. After dinner, we headed down to get in line for the show; it was a GA (General Admission) show.

We found out while in line that it was sold out and that there were 3500 people expected. Once in the door, we each grabbed a towel to sit on. We found a place on the sand in front of the stage. As you can see from the photo, the only way to be close to the stage was to be in the water. We knew that we were not going to stand in the water, so we knew that we were not going to be close. Toni's favorite band member is Jimmy and Jimmy was not there this night. She was disappointed. It was still a good show. Stacey went into the water. She wanted to see how close see could get. They played for 90 minutes.

We went to Red, White & Blue for an after show snack. We talked about the show and how Keith waved at Stacey. We were there for about an hour, then it was time for Toni and Stacey to go back to there hotel. Her husband and two boys also came to Vegas, but not the show. Toni called her husband and asked him to come pick her and Stacey up at the entrance to our hotel. We all walked out front and Tracy and I waited with them. We were not going to let them wait by themselves. We said good night when hubby got there and Trac and I went upstairs. We talked for a bit and then went to sleep.

Okay, it Sunday morning, time to pack and go home. We get to the airport and our flight is delayed due to weather in Chicago. We wait a bit and then they ask for volunteers to go out on Monday, because they need to add extra fuel to the plane, incase they need to circle. Tracy's gut told her that we should do this, so we did. They told us that we would get a hotel room for the night, $20 in food vouchers and a free round trip ticket. We flew US Airways. And the next adventure is about to start; they end up canceling our flight. Those of us that volunteered to give up our seats were asked to wait while they took the other passengers downstairs to process them.

Then it was our turn. The nice ticket agent had this look of despair in her face. She informed us, that since the flight was canceled; her manager wanted to let us know that they were not going to give us the free flight. We ALL were not happy about it. The only reason we gave up the seat was for the free flight. There was a lot of confusion as to where we were being processed at. When it was final figured out, we were all in agreement that we were going to fight for the free flight. There was one gentleman who took the lead. He fought for everyone and got us what they promised.

Once Tracy and I were processed, we went to get our luggage and wait for the hotel shuttle. We waited for the shuttle and waited. Once it finally got there, there were like twenty people for a van. We asked how far the hotel was and then decided to take a cab. We arrived at the hotel just after the van got there. We checked in and went to the room. ICKY!!!!! Is the only word for it. The Orleans hotel was across the street. We went over there and checked in. It was nicer, but no Mandalay Bay. We were tired and hungry. We finally decided on the Steak House for dinner. Everyone said that they had really great prime rib and they would take our $10 dinner voucher. We ate, it was relaxing, except for the smoke. The Orleans is a very smokey casino. We had not experienced that in any of the other hotels. After dinner, we went up to our room and just vegged for the night, playing on the computer and watching the lights on the strip.

Okay, let's try this again. It's now Monday morning and we go to the airport with plenty of time to spare. We check in and our flight in on time. We get to the gate and our flight is delayed by one hour. We run into some of the other passengers for the day before. We all agree that we are getting to Chicago TODAY!!! Trac and I go get some breakfast and snack food. We were both on the cell phone to different people. I called Carmen at work and asked her what the weather was doing. She said that it was raining, but not all that bad. Well, we did get out with just that hour delay. Once we landed in Chicago, we got our luggage and a cab to my work; where we parked the cars. Luckily my job is located REALLY near the airport; I see planes landing and taking off out of my office window and we can park our cars in the garage and not have to pay for airport parking. It saves us a lot of money that way. After getting home, I checked emails, unpacked the suitcase and got ready for going back to work.

Overall it was a great trip; I did not get burnt to the point of hurting. And we got a free ticket out of it and we are thinking about using it to go to the Chicago Convention next year. I hope you all enjoyed our little adventure!! Thanks for reading it!!! Rhonda