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A Wonderful 40th Birthday Trip to Las Vegas

Author: zafiragirl
Email: francesmcampbell@hotmail.com
Date of Trip: October 2011





las vegasThis Trip Report covers 6 nights in Las Vegas at the end of October 2011, to celebrate my 40th birthday. We flew from our home in Glasgow, Scotland to Las Vegas via London on British Airways. There's me and my husband Tom, and we were meeting up with my brother and sister-in-law for 3 nights in the middle. As a huge birthday treat, we had cashed in a pile of BA Miles to upgrade to Club World, BA's business class product. We're not regular travellers, flying once a year to California if we're lucky. However, we have a pooled household account for miles, so we were able to access the miles we had earned when flying with our 3 daughters. We purchased World Traveller Plus tickets and used 25,000 miles each to upgrade to business. Club World was spectacularly good. We were lucky enough to be able to secure upper deck seats on the 747 from LHR-LAS and for the return leg too, as they were available to choose for free when online check-in opened 24 hours before our flight. This was great because to choose them ahead of time would have cost £80/$130 per passenger each way. Although I really wanted to try upstairs, I thought I could find better use for £320/$510 whilst in Las Vegas! The seat transforms into an extremely comfortable fully flat bed, and although I had read some mixed reviews about the food, we had no complaints at all. I managed to get some sleep (5+ hours on the way back!), which is unheard of when flying in the back. We've flown to Vegas using various routes, but for us the direct option with BA, GLA-LHR-LAS is hands-down the winner. It's SO nice to get off the flight and be in Las Vegas, not in Newark, Denver, or any of the other hubs we've connected through before, with a second long flight still to deal with after you've done the Customs & Immigration thing. So, we arrive in McCarran at about 7pm, short line at CBP, short wait for bags, and then we're off to the taxi line!

Taxi
I like to consider myself a fairly seasoned Vegas traveller now, and I know that if a cab takes you on the freeway to your Strip hotel, then you're being taken the long way around! Now, when I get in a cab I'll say sweetly, "Take me to the Paris please, but I'd like to go via Swenson. I don't want to take the tunnel, thanks!" So, we understood each other, the cab driver and I (or so I think!). He was busy talking to someone on his mobile phone for almost the entire journey, and all of a sudden we're on the entrance ramp to the tunnel. I said " Are you taking me through the tunnel?" and he acted as if he'd done it by mistake, which was possibly the case, as he did seem distracted by his conversation. He said that he'd "make it okay" when we got to Paris, meanwhile I started paying attention to the cab number and got my phone out to get the Taxi Authority number recorded, just in case. This was the first time I'd ever been tunnelled, and, although it is a pretty way to see some of the hotels, it meant that the meter was showing almost $26 when we finally got to Paris. I reckon it cost less than $14 last time. He tried to tell me that sometimes the tunnel is faster, and that it had been busy earlier on the surface roads, so he'd automatically taken us the easier way. I told him "You and I both know that the freeway is never the shortest route, and that you long-hauled us, when I told you no tunnel. Don't try to rip off visitors!" The driver asked me what I paid last time, and I told him he wasn't getting a penny over $15. He said ok, and that's what he got. I would normally give the driver a $20 and tell him to keep the change. It didn't spoil our trip in any way, I just hate the idea that these guys are the first impression many visitors have of Vegas and they're taking advantage.

Paris
red room paris las vegasSo we line up for check-in to our Red Room. The line was short, and the girl at the desk was lovely. I asked about the possibility of a complimentary upgrade, not rating our chances as we'd be there for 6 nights, including the busy Halloween weekend. She did a lot of keyboard rattling, before coming up with a Red Room Parlor Suite on the 25th floor. I gave her a warm thank you and a nice tip and we were off to see the room. The Parlor Suite is just a larger Red Room, but on a high floor at the end of a corridor with 2 windows facing different directions. Although it wasn't a Strip View, we were on the 25th floor, with views North over Bally's to Wynn and Encore, and views South to PH Towers, MGM and the airport. We were very happy, and the room proved to be ideally located -- we hardly heard a sound from anyone all week. Red Rooms have huge LCD TV's, and big bathrooms, although only a single vanity -- 2 basins would have been useful. There was a fridge in the room too, which was pretty useful. One minor niggle -- the only mirrors in the entire Suite were in the bathroom itself. Usually, when we're getting ready to go out, I'll shower and then take the hairdryer and my make-up into the room so that DH can use the bathroom while I finish getting ready. That wasn't possible and was pretty frustrating. Come on Paris -- a mirror in the bedroom somewhere isn't too much to ask is it?! The staff at Paris were all friendly and welcoming, and we were happy to be back there again. We decided to get out for some fresh air after being cooped up in the plane for 11 hours. It's just such a great feeling to get out and walk down the Strip for the first time. It was gorgeously warm -- about 80 degrees, even though it was about 9.30pm. We only went as far as the food court in Monte Carlo -- neither of us felt like a big meal, so we grabbed a quick McDonalds and then jumped on the tram back to Bellagio, located their $5 Blackjack table (why had I never seen that before?!), then off to bed, so happy to be back in Las Vegas!

Day 2 Wednesday 26th October
coupleI woke about 6am, quite impressed that I'd managed to stay asleep so long, bearing in mind that 6am Vegas time is 2pm in Scotland! We grabbed a cab and headed straight to the Rental Center to collect our car for the week. I had reserved a convertible Ford Mustang as a nod to my car-daft DH, calling ahead not once, but twice from the UK to make a request for that particular car. Despite that, when we got to the desk, we were told that they had no Mustangs available. They did offer another soft-top, but its back seat was tiny, and as we'd hoped to do a bit of touring with my brother and his wife (who were joining us that evening from California); we declined and took a Kia Sorrento SUV instead. To be honest, any car would have been ok, and we got a good price for the rental, so we were happy just to be on the road. We headed south, planning to catch breakfast maybe at M Resort or at Southpoint, neither of which we'd ever visited before. We drove as far as M Resort, and from the road frankly, I thought it looked horrible! More like an electronics factory than a luxury resort, it just didn't appeal. We turned around and stopped at Southpoint. For a Wednesday morning, it was busy! We wandered around, but again, nothing really caught our interest in terms of food -- and there were long lines everywhere. Back in the car, we planned to head back to the Strip, when we caught sight of a Denny's at Tahiti Village, so unexciting as it is, we find Denny's reliable for a decent breakfast and we were both starving, so that was it.

Spa by Mandara at Paris
I needed to be back at Paris by noon for my Spa experience. This was a first for me. I'd taken advantage of a great online offer to have a 1 hour massage, body scrub, facial and hair treatment. Despite some pretty poor reviews for the Spa at Paris, I was excited (and a little nervous!) as I took the elevator to the Spa on the 3rd floor. Having never visited a Spa before, I wasn't sure what to expect. The prepaid voucher covered everything except the standard 18% gratuity which I took care of at the reception desk. I figured that I'd tip the therapist beyond that based on the experience. I was given a tour of the facilities, and although I never used the Jacuzzi or saunas, the changing areas and waiting room were fine -- not very luxurious, but perfectly adequate. They need to do something with the noisy air conditioning unit in the waiting area -- the buzz was driving me crazy! Also, the lighting was very dim. Yes, I know it's supposed to be relaxing, but don't put out magazines and then make it so dim that we can't see! LOL. I was glad my Kindle case has a reading light attached. There seemed to be a long wait before my therapist came, but it was probably a combination of nerves and having left my watch in the safe in our room! My massage therapist was CJ. She was truly lovely, friendly and keen to put me at ease. She did the massage and body scrub, which was nothing short of heavenly. I was worried that I might fall asleep in her lovely warm and relaxing treatment room! Nothing felt rushed, and I loved every minute of the experience. After my massage, another therapist names Elena took me for my facial. I felt as I didn't have the same rapport with her as with CJ (Elena barely spoke to me!), but the half hour facial was relaxing and enjoyable. I am no longer a Spa virgin! I loved the experience, although I felt a little cold having come from my massage and having to wait on the second treatment. There weren't very many lotions and hair products to choose from in the dressing area, but I'd brought my own things so this wasn't a big deal. I suspect that if you're used to the fancy Spas at Caesars or Venetian, then this might be a big step-down. I really enjoyed, and would certainly do the massage thing again -- I did not feel as if I'd flown half-way across the world less than 24 hours before, and was floating on air as I got ready to head to Treasure Island to meet up with my brother and sister-in-law! We decide to walk, having arranged to meet in the Breeze Bar in Treasure Island around 6.30pm. My brother was driving in from Mammoth Lakes and would be staying 3 nights. I hadn't made many advance plans, knowing that we'd have a good time no matter what. I did call ahead to Casa di Amore to book dinner (and their free limo service) for the Friday night. We were at Treasure Island first -- probably because I was speed walking to see my brother & sister-in-law (F&S) as we hadn't been together since last summer. We see that Breeze Bar are doing a promo on Budweiser -- a bucket of 4 for $15, so we get the beers in and within 15 minutes, they are here! It's so good to see them and we're excitedly catching up, although my sis-in-law keeps having to answer texts (she's a mortgage broker and was working on a loan) and is full of apologies for the interruptions. So we're chatting away, when a voice behind me asks "Is there room for two more?" I turn around to find my younger sister and her husband standing there -- they've flown in from Scotland unannounced to surprise me for my birthday. I am truly surprised. Gobsmacked. This, of course, is what all the texting was REALLY about! A large Pina Colada is obtained from the bar for me (TI do the best Pina Coladas!), and once my heart rate returns to normal, I am overwhelmed to have my brother and sister, their partners and Tom all together. I can't tell you how good that felt! We headed down to Mirage (where my sister J and husband John were staying), to have dinner at BLT burger. To be honest, I can't remember what I had to eat -- it might have been a classic burger, but I know we all had great food and many laughs over dinner. My sister is a bit of a card shark, and had been teaching me how to play Blackjack before I left for Vegas, so it was great fun to be able to head to the tables with her and S. The boys aren't big gamblers, so they found a bar and settled down to 'relax' the evening away LOL. We played for about 3 hours, eventually S and I both lost our money, but J carried on, walking away in the wee small hours several hundred $$$'s up. Told you she was a shark! Tom and I eventually decide to catch a cab back to Paris about 1.30am, with the travel finally catching up with us. We slept like logs!

Day 3 Thursday 27 October
jackpot las vegasWe wake a little later the next day, but we're still the first ones awake. F & S agree to walk down to meet us at Paris for breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi. F has heard that they do excellent Bloody Mary's, and that's what he thinks he needs to kick-start his morning LOL. J and John are suffering from their long journey and late night, so they opt for a room service breakfast and to meet up with us later on. They were upgraded to a Suite at Mirage, so they're thoroughly enjoying the experience! We ate in the MAG conservatory, which was nicer than the patio -- which seemed very cramped! The food was just excellent. This is our 6th trip to Vegas, and second stay at Paris, but we've never eaten at MAG before. I had a great omelette and S had the amazing cinnamon crepes. I can't remember what the boys ate, but I know we all really loved it and thought the bill was quite reasonable for such a lovely meal. Tom and F decide to go for a drive out towards Hoover Dam, whilst S and I "need" to shop! We went to the Boulevard Mall off Flamingo for a change of scene. It's a typical American Mall, probably uninteresting unless you're used to the smaller scale shopping centres in the UK. To me, it's typically huge! I didn't do much shopping though -- just enjoyed browsing. S and I headed back to the Forum Shoppes and had a late lunch in La Salsa. I'm not a huge Mexican food fan, but the nachos we shared were very nice and the service was good. We liked that there's valet parking right outside too! We meet up with the boys and with J and John to head out for the evening. F has a favourite Indian restaurant that he always tries to visit when he's in Vegas, so that's where we're headed. It's on East Twain, (just off Paradise) and it's called the India Palace. Last time we were there the food was great, but the décor was pretty poor. Now it's all been remodelled and is very nice and fresh. The food and staff are excellent as ever, and I'd really recommend it if you're a fan of Indian cuisine. I think the cab there cost about $15. After dinner, we decided to do something against much of the advice I'd read for visitors to Las Vegas. It being almost Halloween (and us being brave Scots (well, all of us bar S who's a CA native)), we decided to head to (cue scary lightning bolts!) Circus Circus and the Haunted 13th Floor.... This was hokey as they come, but such a good laugh. Your basic haunted house, but in a hotel. Lots of 'ghosts' jumping out of darkened bathrooms and squealing girls (us included! LOL). Basically, I'd only recommend it if you're in a crowd and have all had a couple of beers. As there's nothing to recommend in CC apart from the Steakhouse, we headed back, walking down the Strip for some more gambling and Pina Coladas at TI. I'm usually a penny slots fan, and did quite well (for me, anyway), winning $139 on a Platinum Hits machine within about 20 minutes. I played a little more Blackjack with the girls, quit when I doubled my buy-in and then headed back to bed, this time walking to Paris on the East side of the Strip. I love the atmosphere late at night! I played for a little while in Paris while Tom headed to bed. Winning streak appearing to be over, I went to bed about 2am. Day 4 -- Friday 28th October Today it was our turn to walk up to meet the gang for breakfast, and we chose the buffet at Treasure Island. We weren't impressed. Maybe it was partly our fault, as by the time we got there, they were changing over from breakfast to lunch offerings, but I thought the quality was pretty ropey and was glad I'd managed to get in line to have an omelette made for me in time. F had sushi, lots of it, and almost immediately began to feel sick. At first we thought it might just be a hangover, and attempted a cure with pina coladas at the pool, but it wasn't happening for the poor guy! We decided to have a couples' day -- each doing our own thing and meeting up for dinner (the much anticipated Casa di Amore night!). We hoped that a lie-down might make F feel better. Sadly J and John wouldn't be joining us tonight -- my sister has a friend from Australia who also happened to be in town that weekend, so they were meeting up for dinner with her. Tom and I took the car out for a drive and he showed me where he and F had been the day before. I saw Boulder City, which is quite picturesque, and we stopped at a little marina at Willow Beach on Lake Mead (just across the Arizona border). The silence there was quite a contrast from the hustle and bustle of the Strip and it was a good way to have some 'us' time, as well as an opportunity to stop off for some room supplies on the road home. Back to Paris later afternoon to get ready for dinner. F & S had agreed to meet in our room, go for drinks and be downstairs to meet the Casa di Amore limo at 7.15pm. We found seats in the bar near the elevators in Paris and settled down. I jokingly said I was feeling lucky and went to put $20 in the nearest penny slot. I came back about 2 minutes later, having won $136. I cannot believe the luck I'm having on this trip... Limo is waiting outside, and our driver Don, is a scream. We get safely to Casa di Amore and get shown to a booth. Food and service are great as always -- with this place, the atmosphere is key. The guy who sings and plays at the weekends is great fun, and it looked as if everyone was having a great time. Apart, that is, from my poor brother F, who looks uncharacteristically pale. He excused himself and ended up being sick outside before he even had his starter. Not wanting to spoil our night, he grabbed a cab back to TI and his bed, leaving us with S. The meal was great, and I was duly embarrassed with a surprise dessert and 'Happy Birthday' sung to me by the whole restaurant LOL. When we were done, the restaurant manager came over and apologised that the limo would be quite a wait, as it was busy doing other pickups and dropping off a large wedding party. He offered us the option of waiting with a complimentary drink, or heading back to the Strip in a taxi paid for by CdA. Great service -- most impressed with the whole operation there, and we'll certainly be back. We dropped S back at Treasure Island and chose just to continue with the cab back to the Paris as we were all super tired. As we got into the casino, my $136 winnings from earlier in the evening were burning a hole in my purse LOL, and I decided to play a little before bed. Tom headed upstairs, and I sat down to feed my money back into the Paris coffers. It was a funny hour - winning a little, losing a little, but with a general downward trend. I moved machines much more than I would have if my friends had been with me -- normally I'd stick at machines close to whatever table they were playing. Eventually, I was down to my last $30 or so, and decided that when it was gone, I'd be quite happy to head for bed too. I chose a machine called 'HeeHaw' and started to play. I was obviously tired as I'd started to play before I realised that the max bet was $3 a spin -- a little rich for my usual tastes. Down to my last $6 in this machine, when the thing goes bananas.... Lights flashing, bells ringing, message on screen: JACKPOT HANDPAY CALL ATTENDANT: WINNINGS $3200.56!!! OMG. I don't know what to do! I stop a passing cocktail waitress and ask her how I call an attendant. She said, don't worry -- they'll come to you. She was just lovely. She asked if I wanted a drink, but honestly, I was too shocked to even think about it! I gave her a $20 bill anyway. The attendant arrived and asked for my ID. Thankfully I had both my Driving License and Passport in my bag, and she took the license. I asked if I should follow her, but she said no, I was to wait with the machine and she'd be back soon. 20 minutes later, I'm still waiting, by now convinced that she's run off with my ID to claim the money for herself, and I was so shaken I couldn't even remember her name, Let alone what she looked like! LOL. She came back and said she needed my Passport after all. I told her I was anxious about giving her all my ID and letting her leave me, but she assured me that it's standard practice and that she'd be back soon. Another 20 minutes, and my little CW has been by a couple of times to check on me! Eventually the slot attendant returns with another official looking guy who has my ID documents in his hand. He says "Good evening, Mrs C, I see from your passport that you've been in the United States since September 2010...?" WHAT? "No", I say, "We arrived on Tuesday night". He says "The last stamp in your passport is from September last year". I replied "If I'd been in the United States since last September, the Immigration authorities would be looking for me!" and he said "Yes, that's what we thought!" I asked him to look again for stamps (all the time sweating blood!), and eventually he found the stamp I'd been issued on the Tuesday night. Phew! It's only then that he congratulated me on my win. He asks me to sign a couple of forms and explains that the Casino will use these to apply to the IRS for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number for me, which allows them to pay me my winnings in full without tax. Yipppeeee!! He then tells the slot attendant to pay me the big wad of cash she's holding in her hand! I somehow hadn't imagined that a handpay is just that -- she counted 32 $100 bills and a single into my hand, right there on the casino floor. It was a completely unreal moment. And then I had to claim my unused $6 in credits still on the machine LOL! Most poetic of all, (although the humour might not translate), in Scotland the term "HeeHaw" is accepted slang for 'nothing'. As in; "I gave him a great birthday present, but I got heehaw in return!" To have had a "HeeHaw" machine give me my first ever handpay is classic! I virtually ran back to my room -- in fact, I did indeed run the length of the 25th floor once I was all alone! In the room, Tom had fallen asleep in front of 'Law and Order' and woke up when I opened the door, asking "What kept you??" I yelled "THIS!!!!!" as I threw my $3201 in the air.... LOL :D Of course, he wasn't asleep for long after that! We texted the good news to J & John and F & S. SO funny to see the texted replies to that one... Eventually fell asleep in the wee hours dreaming of what I'll do with my windfall!

Day 4 -- Saturday 29th October
Tom & I were up bright and early again -- I was keen to see the Cosmopolitan and try my luck at their lose $100 promotion. The deal is that if you lose $100 in their slot machines in one calendar day, they'll give you another $100 in free play. I joined up at the Players Club desk, and sat down to feed my $100 into a Platinum Hits machine. Half an hour later, I cashed out with $117. Well, there was always time to try again later! J & John were having another lazy Room Service breakfast, so we agreed to meet up with F & S for breakfast at Bellagio buffet. This was to be our last morning with both couples, as they were driving and flying back home later in the day. Breakfast was as good as it normally is there, but I felt as if the section we were in had too many tables crammed in -- it was more difficult to move around than I recall from previous visits. After breakfast, which was quite late, we headed to the Cosmo (for F & S to admire) and then Vdara and Crystals. Although we've visited Vegas since CityCenter opened, I'd avoided it as I think it's a bit of a blot on the landscape! I really liked the Cosmopolitan: I was pleasantly surprised to have enjoyed the atmosphere in there so much -- normally ultra-modern is not really my thing! We met up with a couple who are friends with F & S, and then the boys went to a bar whilst us girls hit the Miracle Mile shops (...a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!). Couple of hours later, and it's time to say our goodbyes. J and John are headed for the airport, and F & S are off to collect their car at Bellagio and drive back to CA, their kids and trick or treating. At least with J & John, it's only goodbye until Tuesday! I shed a little tear as we stand by the Bellagio fountains and hug. Tom and I find ourselves alone in Vegas with 2 days all to ourselves and $3201 in winnings! We decide that a show and dinner to celebrate is in order and a good way to lift the slight gloom that always settles when I have to say bye to my Californian family. We decide to jump on the Monorail from Bally's to MGM and pop over to the Tropicana to see if there are any seats still free to see Gladys Knight. We didn't realise that night was the final night of her run in Vegas and we felt lucky to be able to grab a couple of the remaining few good seats. By the time we got back to the Paris (via the obligatory stop at the Haagen Dasz stall in Bally's!), we had just enough time for a rest and a shower before getting ready to head out for the show. Gladys Knight was very good. Considering she must be getting on for 70, she can still SING! Her band were great too. It was the first Vegas show I've seen since Siegfried & Roy in the late 80's, and Tom's first ever. A good choice, we felt it was excellent value. Strangely, although we quite liked the feel of the Tropicana in the afternoon, I wasn't so keen on the vibe at night -- it was very bright in there, and the crowd was very young! By the time we came out and got back to Paris, room service was beginning to feel like a very attractive option! We order up a burger for Tom and a Prime Rib Sandwich for me, and a banana split. When we last stayed here, I was really impressed with the size and quality of the banana split and also with the presentation - it was delivered on a try packed in ice so it kept properly cold until the mains were finished. I was a little disappointed that they didn't do that this time, and the ice cream was more than a little gloopy by the time we got to it. It was tasty nevertheless, and pretty good value at $42 for the meal. Afterwards I went back downstairs to have another go at removing some cash from the Paris slots. No luck at all this time, and I lost about $100 before I gave up for the night.

Day 5 -- Sunday 30th October
If we're in Las Vegas on a Sunday, we try to go to mass, usually at the Guardian Angel Cathedral, just north of Wynn/Encore. I'd just recently discovered that there's another Catholic Church, just off the Strip behind Tropicana, called the Shine of the Most Holy Redeemer. We were up bright and early, catching mass at 10am, before heading back to Denny's for a quick breakfast before the main business of the day... SHOPPING! Now, if you've managed to stay with me this far, firstly, thanks, and secondly you must have realised that with a big win on the slots and a business class baggage allowance to use, that shopping was going to feature somewhere in this trip report LOL! We headed to the Premium Outlets South, armed with little more than my wallet, a handful of discount vouchers, oh, and Tom to carry all the bags LOL! Did we shop 'til we dropped... Clothes, shoes, handbags, presents for our girls. I bought myself a beautiful bracelet with some of my winnings and as a birthday treat -- well, I'll only ever be 40 once! It was such a great feeling to go to town with gift buying and not have to think about the credit card bill. We had so much fun. We headed back, dropped off the bags and went back to the Cosmopolitan to try and lose that pesky $100! I didn't manage it and walked away with just over $200, having sampled a couple of their truly gorgeous chocolate martinis. My new favourite Vegas drink -- they are the BEST! Our last night dinner was booked at Mon Ami Gabi, and it was lovely. I was disappointed with the 'Frites' that went with the 'Steak Frites' though. I had expected skinny french fries -- these were more like long thin potato chips/crisps -- hard, dry and crunchy. Had I known that they'd be like that, I wouldn't have ordered my steak without any sauce accompaniment. It was a little like eating the leftover scraps from a deep fat fryer. Oh well, I'll know for next time LOL. Otherwise, the steak was incredible, and Tom's beef wellington was very impressive too. Threw another $100 or so in a slot machine with no reward... guess my winning streak couldn't last forever! Before going up to bed, we stopped by the front desk to ask about the possibility of a later check-out. I didn't think we'd have much chance as the next day was Halloween itself and the city was already packed. I was asked if I had a Total Rewards Card, and much keyboard rattling went on. After a couple of minutes, the desk clerk told us we could have the room until our flight was due to leave the following night (9pm), comped based on my play during our stay! Result! Off to bed happy!

Day 6 -- Monday 31st October
The weather was incredible for the whole time we were there. For all the days checking forecasts before we arrived, every morning it was great to look out the window at the beautiful sunshine. To be able to walk on the Strip each day in shorts is a joy for those of us who live in dark wet places most of the time LOL! Tom had already promised to take me shopping at the Apple Store at the Fashion Show Mall today to choose a birthday gift from him (how lucky am I?). We had decided to try the Wicked Spoon Buffet for breakfast. We wanted to love it here, but weren't all that impressed. The ambience was a little like dining in a nightclub -- lights too dim, music too loud. Or maybe we're just getting old LOL. It was just okay. After a quick stop at Paris to get some cash, we walked along to the Mall, via the $10 store in Treasure Island. It's become a bit of a tradition for me to get a couple of different coloured pashminas each time we visit -- I have a rainbow now. The Apple Store was mobbed and chaotic. We had a hard time getting any staff member's attention -- they all seemed to be too busy playing with their iPhones. Not a good advert for the Company. When I did get to speak to someone, he directed me to a colleague at another desk who did her best to ignore me too. Eventually we got so fed up we left without buying anything. Disappointing, but there's an Apple Store in Glasgow too, so we'll not be too stuck. After that, we did a little more shopping, and picked up some ready-made sandwiches to snack on in the room before we had to leave for the airport. We made our way back to the hotel to pack and shower. I managed to fit in a final session on the Paris slots, losing about $150, before winning $243 on a Deal or No Deal machine at the last minute! I decided to run while I was ahead, and hit the room again to change before taking our car back to Avis. That went smoothly, and we were back at McCarran for 7pm. A flight delay of 2 hours didn't seem so bad when we had a lounge to wait in with complimentary food and drinks! Flights home were excellent too. I returned home to find everyone safe and well, and enjoyed a wonderful celebration of my 40th on the 3rd, with lots of cards, presents and a party to enjoy. The perfect trip in every way. Thanks for reading -- hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it!

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