Part-time traveller, Full-Time Brummie

USA Sept 2010 – Tigers, Big Elvis and our first “big” win…

Manage to sleep until 7:45am – this constitutes a lie-in so far this holiday! Today is one of the few days where we don’t have any structured plans, so I let Mr Fletche sleep until 9am before I send him down on the Starbucks run…

First stop is the Secret Garden, but this doesn’t open until 10am. It’s about quarter to 10, but we decided to come back later this afternoon instead. It’s back across the Mirage and out to the Boulevard to discover what this end of the Strip has to offer.

We walk through TI, and then over to the Fashion Show Mall to spend my birthday money (which my Mom had very kindly exchanged into dollars for me). Except, I’m not a good shopper at the best of times,and I’m hot, and I’m a bit grouchy, and I’m hungry so all we end up buying is a cable to connect our MP3 Players to the Fletchemobile…

Over to the Palazzo, in search of the Grand Lux Café. This was one of my few “must-do’s” on the list for today… We’re seated quickly, I ask for a Bud Light, and I get ID’d! Luckily I have my driving licence with me; I laugh and explain that I celebrated my 33rd birthday yesterday… We get a chicken salad sandwich with fries, ½ pizza ½ salad combo, plus drinks, for $25. No room for their legendary cheesecake I’m afraid!


We walk through the Venetian – I’m loving this hotel – back towards the Mirage. It’s off to the Secret Garden (again) to spend some time with the dolphins and the tigers! The dolphins do what they do best (swim around the pool) and the grown tigers and lions do what they do best (snooze in the sun).

The tiger cubs are cute though, and the keeper’s talk is very interesting, particularly when he talks about how they spend pretty much 24/7 with the cubs, and talking about Siegfried & Roy. They clearly do a lot for the conservation and preservation of these animals; but I don’t think that the Secret Garden is really worth the entrance fee. As a Mirage guest, I would have been happier if entrance was included within the Resort Fee, and we were invited to give a donation instead.

Siegfried and Roy's white tigers

No rest for the wicked – thought this was meant to be a “lazy” day? It’s over to Bill’s for Big Elvis. We’re there about 20 minutes before the show is due to start, and already its standing room only.

We grab drinks from the bar and perch on the edge of a table. We survey the crowd. We are the youngest there. By a long shot. But hey, its Elvis isn’t it? Everyone knows and loves Elvis right? And Big Elvis is great – amazing voice, great stage presence. But after all the walking we’ve done over the last couple of days, our feet won’t permit us to stand anymore, so we leave after half a dozen songs to rest our weary legs back home at the Mirage.

Big Elvis

Revitalised and rejuvenated, we head back out a little later to brave the dreaded Deuce. The reason? One of my other “must-do’s” for today was Stratosphere.

We catch the Deuce outside the Flamingo (as I was convinced we couldn’t pay on the bus, and there was no ticket machine at the Venetian Deuce Stop – imagine my surprise when I discover people happily paying cash on the bus…So much for my intense research…). The queue was huge, a million people appeared to get on, yet we were still able to get a seat (apparently those million people were getting off at the Venetian) and we started on our slow, slow journey up the Strip.

I wouldn’t recommend the Deuce if you’re in a hurry to get anywhere (maybe the Ace is better as I believe that makes less stops?) but it was a good chance to have a look at what appears to be the abandoned end of the Strip (barring Circus Circus of course).

We get to the Stratosphere and up into the tower just as the sun is setting; the views are amazing! Not sure if we’d have the stomach for the rides (the brave/foolhardy (strike as applicable) riders mainly appeared to be young men who had consumed their body weight in alcohol…) so we contented ourselves with taking lots of photos of the twinkling lights of Las Vegas laid out before us. Note: It’s very very windy up there – ladies be warned if you’re planning on wearing a short lightweight skirt…

Stratosphere1 Stratosphere2

By this time, we’re getting hungry again… our Grand Lux Meal seems so long ago. Now despite Mr Fletche being very impressed with my research and planning so far, I worried he was getting the hump that I was calling all the shots – all the food choices so far (Mon Ami Gabi, Kokomo’s, Grand Lux Café) has been mine. So “you choose tonight” I tell him. Wherever you want to eat. As long as it’s not pizza or pasta (remember my food quirks?). So we get the Deuce back to the Mirage, catching a Volcano show while we’re there, and I wait for Mr Fletche to decide where we’ll eat tonight.

Of course, I can’t leave the poor lamb to make a decision all by himself, so I ask what type of food he fancies. “Something quick; a burger?” After disregarding BLT Burger (Mr Fletche still sulking about the price of last night’s meal and refusing to line the pockets of Mirage any more than we have to), we decide on Denny’s.

Except there is a huge queue and a waiting list. Yes. A waiting list. For Denny’s.

“How about where we went for lunch today?” Mr Fletche is bowing to my knowledge and research on Las Vegas eateries. But with so many restaurants to try, I don’t want to eat at the same one twice, so I suggest the Cheesecake Factory at Caesars Palace. Which is about the furthest restaurant away; so we trudge through CP until we spy the huge Cheesecake Factory sign, visible for miles. Unfortunately, the queue is also visible for miles.

Almost crying with hunger, we decide on our last alternative – the Caesars Palace Food Court. One Kung Pao Chicken and one House Chow Mein later, we’re feeling much happier and ready to try out the slots at Casino Royale.

None of the slots really take my fancy at Casino Royale, but when Mr Fletche sits down at a machine, I decide to stick a twenty into the machine next to his. I have a couple of go’s, playing around with my bet combinations, and don’t even notice the five seven’s blinking at me. In fact, I don’t realise until the embarrassingly loud machine finally silences and I’ve just banked $30. Thirty whole dollars!

Now I know this isn’t a big win in the grand scale of Vegas wins, but I was chuffed. I cashed out at $40; Mr Fletche won nothing. I decided that I had rode my luck at Casino Royale, redeemed my ticket, kissed my fresh new $20 notes and back to Mirage.

I was reluctant to gamble at Mirage, wanting to end our Vegas trip on a gambling high, but when two seats opened up at the Video Roulette, I couldn’t resist sticking in one of my newly acquired twenty’s. My strategy was simple; bet $1 on Black or Red, and $1 on a quadrant of numbers (not sure of the right terminology, maybe a proper grown-up gambler can tell me? When you put your chip on the corner of 4 numbers?)

Not much was happening, a few $2 wins here and there and I can see my $20 dwindling. And least I’ll break even I thought, determined not to put in another twenty. And then one of the numbers in my quadrant came up – that’s $13 thank you very much!

I change my quadrant selection – it comes up again! Another $13! And they say good things come in three’s, third time lucky, three’s a crowd and all that… cor blimey, it’s only come up again!

With about $47 credit, I play a couple more games and then cash out at $40 once more. Mr Fletche won nothing. Again. I am smug gambler; Mr Fletche wants to know why I didn’t bet bigger in the first place…

We hang around until we get drinks from a passing cocktail waitress, and take them back to our room (the drinks. Not the cocktail waitress.We’re not that sort of couple…).

It’s our last night in Vegas, and it’s been great fun. We reflect on the good points – my gambling luck, LOVE, the jelly-bean Statue of Liberty – and the bad points – Porn-Slappers, the cost of the meal at Kokomo’s … and conclude that it’s been a fantastic experience. We would definitely return (so much we never got to do…swimming pool time, Ellis Island Steak Special, Downtown – and I never even set foot in Wynn/Encore…).

If the rest of our trip is as hectic as our first four days, we’ll definitely need a holiday to get over our holiday!

In 2010 A Brummie Home and Abroad headed off to Las Vegas for the very first time. This is a day by day account of Las Vegas for beginners


5 responses to “USA Sept 2010 – Tigers, Big Elvis and our first “big” win…”

  1. We always make sure our blood sugar level is on an even keel, or we land up being rather feral – not a good look for those nearing 60! Love the place in lights. Not a place I have thought of going to though the Squire would like to 🙂 Good post, Em.

    • emfletche says:

      Vegas is exhausting Suzanne – keeping blood sugar level up is vital! Would love to return now I’m a bit more of a savvy traveller and not quite so wide eyed and in awe of everything…I’d definitely take a day just to chill by the pool next time 😀

  2. That’s the exact way that I bet- pick a certain colour or number and run with it haha! (I’m not a gambler, I get bored from it easily)

  3. You were very brave to venture onto the viewing platform in the Stratosphere – we stayed safely inside the restaurant when we went!

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