Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Shopping anyone??

A number of the large strip casinos have entire shopping malls inside of them. Much of the merchandise is very pricey, but sometimes you can find good bargains. I don't shop much, so I am not an expert, but the walk through Alladin or Caesars Palace areas also offer some small bits of entertainment. At Caesars some of the statues talk to you and move parts of their bodies. At Alladin you might encounter one of more of these:

Join Joe Krathwohl, the Birdman of Las Vegas, Lilia, the 17-year old contortionist, and many more as they accompany you on your shopping escapade and dazzle you with their unique talents. These and other variety acts such as Duality, the sensual body-balancing acrobatic act, and the magical artistry and comedy of Jason Bird occur on the main stage near the “V” Theater Friday – Monday from 1:15 p.m. until 7:15 p.m. each hour for your visual astonishment.

For a free map and a directory of stores along with a book of coupons mailed to you from the Alladin go to www.desertpassage.com
or conact the Alladin:
General Inquiries:

Phone: (888) 800-8284
E-mail: info@desertpassage.com
Ask for the Passport to Savings Coupon book and a store directory.

Or print this coupon and use it to get such shopping coupon books:


I have one book for the first one who asks and a few directories with a map of Alladin. I don't really know anyone who has shopping at the top of their list of activities, but let me know if you can't get what you would like or have any questions.

For a coupon for a free coupon book at Caesars, go to this link and print the entire page:





NEWSLETTER 6 Stratosphere

If you are new to Vegas, you should take an afternoon and see this attraction. The Stratosphere (click on link) is the tall tower casino you see in all those Vegas pictures and the view is worth a trip. In the 360 degree circle there are also maps to show you the areas you are seeing.The best time to view it is to time it just at sunset so you see Vegas in the daytime and then watch the lights come on until all the unlit areas are dark. You have to time your trip a bit, and you have to be a little patient, but when it is uncrowded there are benches.

I am not hearing anyone ask about thrill rides, but if the wind is right, you can experience a good fright because the rides take advantage of the fact that we are so far up. It is thrill enough for me to just watch a couple.

By also timing your visit, you can see the Viva Las Vegas afternoon show for $10 with a drink. I have some coupons, but to print your own go to http://www.stratospherehotel.com/coupon_viva.html
Technically, $10 is what you pay for the drink, but who pays for drinks in Vegas? Well, except you nongamblers.
This is a nice little Vegas review with comic, dancers, singers, a dog act. Think vaudeville and there you have it. I'd go with you, but I've seen it 8 times now and I have all the jokes memorized.

There is also in that area of Vegas a roller coaster in the Stratosphere and some "car" themed adventures at the NASCAR cafe. I have not experienced the car themed stuff, but some have done the new Drive and enjoyed it.

Details are in the Car post on my Blog: http://vegasbirthdaybash.blogspot.com/2006/09/like-cars.html#links

Finally, in that same neighborhood is the largest and tackiest Souvenir shop in Vegas which is worth seeing even if you buy nothing and just pretend it is a pop culture museum. Here you can buy anything you can imagine with pictures of Vegas, dice, cards stuck on somewhere as well as original dice or $1.50 decks of used casino cards marked with their logo. And there are a host of Spencer gifts type items as well as enough knick knacks to keep enabling China to make enough profit to buy out yet another trillion dollars of your debt.

While this small section of the strip is sort of an island between the Circus Circus section and the two or three miles of pawns-erotic dancers- wedding chapels that finally breaks into Downtown, it is easily accessible on the Deuce buses that run every 20 minutes. $2 a trip or $5 for 24 hours of unlimited bus rides.

FOOD: This is not the prime area to eat a meal so if you can, plan to get somewhere else before supper time, that is probably the best plan; however. I always get stuck long enough to be a little hungry. The Sahara buffet can be pretty cheap with easily available coupons, but it is also considered one of the worst in Vegas. That being said, I eat there on occasion with the right coupons often filling up on fruit. Some of the cheaper diners don't seem to offer much fruit. The Sahara diner there, however, is nice and at certain times in the evening offers a wonderful prime rib special. The Stratosphere buffet is passable. I like the Statosphere's 50's themed diners and in one sometimes the waiters sing. If you really want to splurge, you can eat on top of the tower. The food is reviewed as fine, but pricey. For additional information here are the dining links:


Walking up to the Riviera/Circus Circus/ Slots of fun section of the strip for food is not a good idea unless you have a coupon for a free foot long hot dog at Slots of Fun and even then you are dragging the bottom of the Vegas food barrel. Circus Circus is a joke in most reviews with its buffet coming in as dirty and tasteless at best and at the worst, diarrhetically dangerous. When the Stardust was there, you could eat a decent small meal,but the old Stardust is all dust now. (You will however, soon be able to see the classic old Stardust neon sign at Neonopolis in Downtown Vegas.)


I do not agree with you about the Circus Circus buffet. I ate there 2 times during their last June-July for the comvention trip to LV. While not, I agree, top notch, like Rio or Belliago(I've eaten at Belliago 6 or 7 times, Rio 2 or 3 times) , I found it to be a decent buffet to eat at. I thought the Gold Coast buffet was far worse then the Circus Circus buffet. But, I guess thats my opinion. In any case I did not get sick after eating at any of them.
In case you do not know -- The roller coaster on top of the Stratosphere has been closed and dismantled to be replaced by a night club and a smaller type of ride. The Sahara still has their roller coaster type of ride though. I guess the car ride you are talking about is the ride behind the Sahara and the Las Vegas monorail station in what used to be a parking lot. Your travelers probably would like this ride. The attraction is set up like a proving ground/obstacle course. For a fee($10 or $20 I think, you might check this) a person drives a real, out of the factory (not hopped up) car, through the course, with an experienced trained factory course driver. It will test a person's driving skill and abilities. There is something for anyone to learn here and I really think it would be fun.

Lucky Pete wrote me with information on a sale at NYNY. If anyone is interested, let me know.

Travelworm is still at $19 during the week for the Gold Coast. They have other specials as well. Check them out if you are still looking for rooms.

In general, I am unaware of anyone who has booked air and not decided on hotels. If you want help finding a deal, let me know once you have your air dates and I'll check around for deals on those dates. And in general, I am pretty much "question driven" at this time. I won't know what to tell you about, if you don't ask. Then, as always, I will tell you too much.


Don't miss the links to the right of the Blog that are permanent. In particular, as you play look for the link called Vegas Maps as it has a really cool map of the strip and downtown with the shapes of the casinos drawn in accurately and with options to check on major shows and other things along the route. It is one of the coolest maps I have seen on Vegas.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Atomic Museum

Now if you get bored losing yourself in decadent amusement and want to visit a museum, here is one I have never visited but might be interesting.
Nevada testing was a long way off in the 50's, but according to one poster, it affected our area:

Was recently in town and had a chance to pop over to see the Atomic Testing Museum on a lunch hour. Very well done and laid-out. Sorry I didn't have more time, but I will be back - for sure!

As a side note, I'm a health physicist, and grew up outside Troy, NY. As you may know, the Troy - Albany area had (I believe) the highest documented fallout / wash-out event of the fission products from a shot in late April 1953 at NTS. The event was well documented by one Dr. Clark, a radiochemist at RPI, who noted the increase in background in his lab. I was fascinated to see one of Dr. Clark's hand-held ionization chambers on display.

This is an important aspect of American history, I'm very glad to see it so well documented and displayed.

• $10.00 Adults
• $7.00 Seniors(65+), Military(with ID), and Youth(7-17)
(must present ID at time of purchase)
• FREE - children 6 and Under
• FREE - NTSHF Members (must present membership card)
• Group Rates Available - Call 794-5123

Monday-Saturday from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
and on Sundays from 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
The museum will be closed to the public on
Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Cravings Buffet

One place to try this December is this one. It also fits in well with tickets to LOVE.

From what I can tell, the buffet has these strengths:

Action stations where the food is prepared for you. Keeps hot food hot.
Interesting seafood and great shrimp and crab legs.
Exotic dishes.
Nice for coordination with LOVE
considered a value upscale buffet by Las Vegas Advisor

One post on each of two separate boards reported illness afterwards.
The desserts are really lacking.
The buffet gets an average rating. No raving reviews.
Standard food (prime rib, etc) not as good as other places.



Sunday, October 22, 2006

How safe is stuff in the room?

While over the years I have heard of people losing some things due to theft, I think it is very rare. Generally, you belongings are safer in the room than they are in your pocket. If you do have a huge win, you can lock the money up downstairs at the Orleans. Here is a thread discussion:


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Very informative trip report with photos

Every once in a while a really outstanding trip report is posted. This one has great food reviews, some show notes as well as a couple fine pictures of Red Rock, a report on the new car driving experience, and information on where to see Roller skate competition or shoot a machine gun.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Two new Shows at the Golden Nugget






I have not been eating pizza lately and never in Vegas. However, one place was mentioned as one of the top ten pizza places in the country. but you really need a car to get to this one.



In 1905 Gennaro Lombardi established the first Pizzeria in America. It was located on Spring Street in the heart of New York's Little Italy. By good fortune, when our grandparents came to America they settled just 50 yards away. Ever since those early days, pizza has been at the center of our family life. Our parents got their first jobs feeding coal into the big bakery ovens where Sicilian pizzas were baked and carried out into the neighborhood to feed the immigrant families hungry for a taste of home. Over the years the time-honored skills of the Pizzaiolo, the pizza chef, have been handed down from our fathers, uncles, aunts, brothers and cousins - from one generation to the next.

As Italian immigrants settled across the country, they carried their love for combining food, family and friends with them to every corner of America. At Santarpio's in East Boston, the Home Run Inn on Chicago's South Side and at Tommaso's in San Francisco's North Beach, this tradition has continued and evolved. Every neighborhood has placed it's own personal stamp on it's local pizza. The debate over which city makes the best pizza will never be settled, because each of us has such warm memories of that first date or family gathering at our own neighborhood Pizzeria.

At Metro Pizza, we honor the great traditions of America's landmark Pizzerias. Our dough is made fresh each day from the finest wheat, hand-stretched and cooked on the stone of our hearth ovens. Our sauces are made from only the finest vine-ripened tomatoes and topped with select cheeses, choice meats and the freshest vegetables, herbs and spices available. Each of our pizzas is a hand-crafted labor of love, backed by three generations of experience.

We believe that a true Pizzeria should be a gathering place for family and friends to relax, share great food and enjoy each other's company. We have visited hundreds of Pizzerias across the country, learning and gathering recipes to bring our guests a taste of home, wherever home might be.

Which city has the best pizza? At Metro Pizza we celebrate all of the great traditions of the pizza experience and we Thank You for choosing us as your neighborhood Pizzeria.


Zagat Winner 2 years running, We believe that a true Pizzeria should be a gathering place for family and friends to relax, share great food and enjoy each other's company. We have visited hundreds of Pizzerias across the country, learning and gathering recipes to bring our guests a taste of home, wherever home might be.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Skywalk project

If this is completed by the time we arrive in Vegas, it will be a way to get a taste of the Grand Canyon only 2 hours from the Hoover Dam, so about 4 hours from Vegas.


Friday, October 13, 2006

slot machine hint

The easiest way to locate nickel machines on the casino floor is to look at the lights on top of slot machines. Called candles, the bottom of the light is colored and that color can tell you the denomination of the machine. Typically the nickel machine candles are red, quarter machine candles are yellow, and dollar machine candles are blue.

Hotel update as of 10-13-2006

Since I sent out the Barbary Coast advertisement, I thought I would just do a little overview and update on good deals and clarify how good that offer is.

That Barbary Coast winter special does beat the i4Vegas discount price on the $40 days, but if you are thinking of booking on the $60 days, i4Vegas is cheaper and $100 weekend rate can be beat at the discounter too. The Barbary will match the discounter's prices if you ask.

The Barbary Coast is an excellent choice, by the way. It is centrally located on the corner of Las Vegas Blvd. and Flamingo and gives you the advantage of coming out in the center of the strip any time of the day or night without a shuttle ride. Currently it is still owned by the same folks who own the Orleans so they will price match. Slink stayed there his last trip and he brought me up and showed me his room. it was very nice, comfortable, with rich wood all around. The casino has been sold and its days are numbered, so it is also a last chance to stay there.

The Orleans still beats that price, however, and can still be had anytime, including weekends from Dec 10-21 for $25 just by saying you found the price at i4Vegas. I find it hard to bellieve that the Orleans comes out ahead of the Gold Coast, but it does so I would not even consider that option. I can speculate that the recent shakeup in personnel with many of the employees of the Orleans going to the South Coast (now Point) and hosts taking their clients with them has freed up rooms and depressed the price. Some of the video poker has been downgraded too.

So it is a very good year for me to have my Birthday homebase there. Everybody is a winner without even gambling.

But remember too that even if you booked at the Orleans, you can always rebook at the Barbary Coast and cancel the Orleans with no penalty for changing your mind.

Remember that flexibility too as you plan your trip. If your airfare lets you add a day or two on either end, you will see more of Vegas for very little addiional money. The rooms are still flexible and the deals are still holding.

All the Coast casino Blog posts can be found here:

or by clicking on January in the Archive section.

Of course, you can beat Coast prices if you want to stay at El Cortez, two blocks outside of the Freemont Experience downtown. Slink and I will stay there during cowboy week (4-9) to beat the very high prices that week, but if you wanted to stay the 10th thru the 21st you could stay for $18 night in their vintage queen and even have one of those nights free. I have never stayed in these rooms, but the adventure might appeal to some. What I understand is that it is like camping above the casino. One queen bed and the dull ringing of slot machine bells to lull you to sleep. Again i4Vegas has that price, but Cortez will not match it, so once you booked you would be stuck with a cancelation fee if you changed your mind. It is a long way from where I'll be 10-21. Slink and I will have better rooms. The biggest advantage in the El Cortez is that they have the best blackjack games offered in Vegas. Blackjack is basically drying up as a decent game, but the El Cortez so far has kept traditional payouts and rules. That is one of the attractions for Slink. Their standard rooms are $22. Their tower rooms, which are almost exactly like those in the Orleans, are $27 and again each carries the free night offer for the 12th.

I know some of you folks are still considering whether to come to Vegas or not, but I really don't know of anyone looking to book at this time, so I have not been aggressively following hotel prices and sales. If you start seriously looking for hotel deals, let me know. Also the link in the permanent links to the right of this Blog called "Hotel Search Engine" will get you to Trip Advisor and you can search yourself for the discounter deals.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Poker Radio - The Las Vegas Hilton launches "Poker-Straight From The Hilton" featuring host Rodd William Stowell and appearances by poker experts and Hilton Poker Room Manager Marc Nelson. The show airs every Monday, 3 p.m.-4 p.m. Pacific Time on KLAV, the talk of Las Vegas, 1230 on the AM dial. Streaming worldwide is available at klav1230.com. Stowell brings a wealth of poker knowledge and broadcast experience to the new show, which will feature news about the world of poker.

In addition there is a lot of Vegas talk. I'm not sure it is my kind of station, but it is kind of cool to listen to a local Vegas station while doing the Blog. So far the music has been eclectic. "Blue Moon of Kentucy" some blues. Most of the time is talk, however. Right now I am listening to Glocal warming's (greenhouse gases) effect on building design. Reminds me of a young Costa Rican student I met on the bus to Jaco who was carried a book called Green Architecture and talked about his dreams for future building in Costa Rica.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Be on The Price is Right

NOTE: Admission to the show is $44, but there’s an unadvertised 25% discount when you present a Total Rewards players card. Factor in $10 in equity and it’s a slim $23 outlay for an entertaining afternoon.

: “The Price is Right ­– Live” Stage Show in the Jubilee Theater at Bally's Las Vegas. This marked the beginning of a scheduled two-year run on the Vegas Strip. The show, from FremantleMedia, the producers of “American Idol” and “The Price Is Right” TV shows, will run simultaneously in Las Vegas and Atlantic City throughout 2006. The live shows, offering chances to win the same valuable prizes as the TV version, will be presented Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and on Fridays at 8 p.m. Tickets are $39.95 (plus tax and service charge) and are available at the Bally’s and Paris box offices, or by calling 702-967-4567 or toll free at 1-877-374-7469. Tickets can also be purchased via
www.ballyslasvegas.com. There is no age requirement for ticket holders. Contestants must be 21 years of age or older. #41706