Day Trip from Xian to Mount Huashan, China

Mount Huashan is famous for some horrifying things, including the steps so steep you are basically hiking straight up (see here), and also for the plank walk which just NO NEVER.


The mountain is located just outside of Xi’an, China.  To get here, you can take a bus from the Xi’an train station.  The bus takes about three hours and costs  22 Yuan ($3.52 USD)  You can also opt for a high speed train that leaves from Xian North train station (not the same one the bus leaves from.)  It takes 35 minutes, for 55 Yuan ($8.79 USD.)  You can also take a regular train, but there is really no logic in that.

Going to Huashan from the Xian train station:  the buses are located all the way to the right of the train station if you are facing it. You cannot miss them, there are a bunch.  The the destination is written on the bus in English (read the destination as buses to the Terra Cotta Warriors also leave from here!)
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I traveled to Huashan on a high speed train and took the bus back.   Buses leave from Huashan back to Xian as they fill up. It took a while for us to have enough passengers to leave.   The bus was way too hot to sit on while we waited, so we lined up in the precious shady spot on a nearby curb.

My bus on the left, people sitting on the right:

hot bus back

When you get off the high speed train in Huashan, there are supposedly green buses to take you the rest of the way.   I got immediately latched onto by some taxi driver who kept shoving a map of the mountain in my face and I eventually got in his cab, fuming at myself the entire time because I know better.   Then he got out of the cab at the mountain to walk me up to the entrance.   The walk from the parking lot to the entrance is not long in a “Wow this is a really long walk!” way.  But it is VERY long when you have a cab driver inexplicably escorting you to the entrance.  The more I kept shouting “NO, YOU CAN LEAVE NOW” at him, while pointing at him to go back to his car and leave me alone, the more he kept shoving the map in my face.

I think, I am not sure, that he had planned to bring me up to the cable car.  This fit with several things, including him shoving the map in my face AND the woman he talked to about my tickets only selling me a ONE way bus ticket from the entrance to the cable car.  But I am not sure.  Either way, when you get to the mountain any which way you want to get there, there are a lot of people outside with official badges who will never let you pass unless you tell them what you want.  Then they bring you inside and tell the ticket agent what you want.  It is extremely frustrating and even if this is all legitimate and not a scam, you still feel like you are being scammed.

Once I was finally free, I took a bus to the West Peak cable car.  Or I took it somewhat near the West Peak cable car.  Once you get off the bus, you have to walk up a lot of steps to the actual cable car. I counted 504.   That is a lot of steps for us lazy people taking the cable car!

Mount Huashan climbing oneMount Huashan climbing twoalmost therebut wait theres moreThen finally, I am at the cable car!

Mount Huashan cable car
huashan cable car ride Mount Huashan cable car rideMount Huashan cable carMount Huashan cable carYou can see the steps below for people who chose to hike instead.

steps mount huashan steps mount huashan steps 2

Once you near the top, it looks like you are moving into the sun.  This hole in the mountain is the cable car stop.

Huashan flying into the sun

Whew, made it alive!

After exiting the cable car, it is still a walk up higher to the tea house.

huashan tea house up topOnce you are as far as you can go without committing to make it all the way to the tea house, you are here.  Note: second from the left is the walkway marker for the NO NEVER plank walk:

huashan markers

IMG_1214IMG_1215And of course, the final steps to the tea house:

tea house at topI really, really wanted to go to the tea house.  But as I stood there contemplating whether or not I would slip and die by sliding off the side of the mountain, I became more and more convinced that yes, this would be how I would die if I dared to walk up the steps.  So I did not.  I mean, LOOK AT IT.  Walking up seemed to be doable but walking down?   It is like you are just begging to slide and fall.  Also, let’s remember, I was still feeling a recent fall down the steps at Longsheng Rice Terraces.


Despite my being a scairdy cat, this was still a fantastic day.

Arrival in Xi’an China: The Day Nothing Went My Way

I flew to Xi’an from Guilin.   At the airport, I was doing a combination of trying to stop sweating and silently willing everyone who was staring at me to STOP STARING AT ME.

We had a meal served to us on the plane.  I could not identify it so I did not eat it.   As we were about halfway through our flight, there was an announcement that I had never heard in real life before:  “Is there a doctor on board?”   YIKES.   The very young looking woman in front of me stood up to help. If she is old enough to be a doctor, then I am old enough to live in a nursing home.  I don’t really know what was going on because other than the initial announcement, there was no English spoken regarding what was going on.

Arrival in Xi’an.  UGH.  I need to buy a lighter (yes, smoking is gross) and there is nothing open in the airport.  I go outside to take a cab to my hotel.  No cabs will let me get in.  There are about eleventy billion cabs outside.  Approximately five lanes worth of cabs, all going back way so far that I cannot see the end of the lanes.   Every cab I tried to get in told me “NO.”  What do you mean, NO?  I’ll show YOU no.


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It didn’t work.

I went and stood to the side and smoked a cigarette before trying again.  This time I scored a cab driver who let me in the cab.  It was so hot in the cab so I opened the window and ahhhhhhh, cool breeze!  The driver then instructs me to close the window.  I assume he is going to turn on the air conditioning.  I was wrong.  Hot.

The driver got completely lost looking for my hotel and never turned off the meter.  He ended up leaving me not really at my hotel at all, but pointing in the general direction.   He also did not give me change.   The cab cost $87 Yuan ($14.22 USD) and I gave him $100 Yuan ($16.35) and he drove off.  I don’t really care about two bucks.  It’s the principal.  I had a cab driver in Guilin chase me down to hand me 2 Yuan (32 cents).

Mind you, all of this is my own fault because I should have just taken public transportation.

i check into my hostel:  Ancient City International Youth Hostel.  I am booked in a private room.  I have a cute room which is a decent size for China.  Everyone who works at this hostel is incredibly nice and they all speak English.  The room actually has American outlets, you rule.  I also like the WHEN you get trapped” as opposed to “if.”

When I get into my room, I check my email.  There is an email from my bank regarding suspicious activity.  The email has a reference number, and they ask me to call them.  I get instantly furious.  I told my bank before I left that I was going to China.  My bank is forever contacting me for suspicious activity.   I know, I should be grateful they look out for me.  But being that I have dealt with this so many times, I know how long this phone call is going to take.  Not to mention, I TOLD YOU I WAS GOING TO CHINA.

So I call my bank.  FROM CHINA.  They ask for the reference number from the email, I give it to them.  Then there is a verifying that I am me part.  This is long because they ask you about ten questions.  Then there is the “Let’s go over your most recent charges” part.  I had to cut her off and yell about how much this phone call is costing me because I am calling from China, which is where I told you I was going to be, using my debit card.  She then tells me that she sees the travel alert but does not see anything about them contacting me.  Well you did.  You know, like when I first got on the phone with you, I gave you a reference number which is how you looked up my account to begin with.

Finally this conversation ends.

I walk around the corner to 7-11 and stock up on milk tea and I buy this, without any clue what it is, because THIS:

pigIt turns out he had custard inside.

I am so mentally exhausted.  Between the whole “no cab at the airport will take me” to “It is SO HOT INSIDE THIS CAB” to “let me argue with my bank” I am just done.   Even the cute little custard pig cannot cheer me up.  I fall asleep instantly.

Guilin, China: Fubo Hill

My last stop in Guilin is going to be Fubo Hill.   Making it here will be an accomplishment as I have tried a couple of times now and ended up lost.  By now I can kind of figure out how to walk here from my hotel, but I am not leaving from my hotel.  Nope, I am leaving from Yao Mountain.  Boy was this a production.

I want to take a cab to Fubo Hill from Yao Mountain.  There are lots of drivers in the parking lot, none of whom will pay attention to me when I approach them.  A couple walked away, one was sitting in his car and rolled up the window.   I find a group of cab drivers all together.  One keeps putting out a huge wad of cash and flashing hundreds at me to the point I wondered if maybe “taxi” or “Fubo Hill” sounded like “hooker” in Mandarin.

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Okay screw you guys, I will walk all the way out of here back to the main road and catch a bus.  This is a pretty long walk as I saw on the way up here.  But I have a hill to see and then a flight to catch, so off I go.

As I am walking down the hill, a cab stops for me.   He is yelling “FUBO HILL” at me and I am ignoring him.   I am pretty far down and I no longer need a cab since I am already gross and sweaty from the walk.  He keeps yelling at me, I keep ignoring him, pretending I am so engrossed in taking pictures of whatever this is (I have no idea what this is):

It becomes clear that he is never going to stop yelling at me until I get in the cab.  I get in the cab.

Fubo Hill!  I am finally here!   Hello General Fubo!

general fuboEntrance:
Fubo Hill entrance Guilin ChinaLook at the giant topiary peacock!

fubo hill peacockAnd Fubo Hill with the peacock’s head sticking out below:
Fubo HillI tried to go into the Thousand Buddha Cave and got shooed out.

golden statue

Back out on the other side, this is Sword Testing Rock where legend has it that General Fubo had used this rock to test his sword.

IMG_1053There are also carvings and statues:

fubo hill1 fubo hill statues fubo hill grottoAfter leaving here, it was time to go back to my hotel to collect my stuff and head to the airport.  To prove once and for all that after all the times I got lost looking for the bus to Fubo Hill this trip, I did actually know where I was, I walked back to my hotel.




Guilin, China: You Can Ride a Bobsled Down Yao Mountain!

Today is my last day in Guilin and I still have lots to do!   I do not want to leave this place at all.  It is so beautiful here.

Karst Guilin, China

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I am up and out with my luggage in storage and I head off to Yao Mountain.  I have to take the #3 bus here and I have a very good idea where it is.   Only problem?  I pick the wrong corner of an insanely busy intersection for which you need walk underground and through a little mall to cross the street in any direction. I do this and come out still at the wrong corner.  Third time?  WRONG CORNER.  I have zero directional skills.  I decide to get on any bus and just connect to the #3.

Sigh.  We never connect to the #3 (save for when the bus crossed the intersection and I felt too stupid to get off the bus 50 feet from where I got on.)

So I take a little sightseeing trip and when I feel as if I am okay to get off without my Chinese paparazzi figuring out I am lost, I do.  I am now going to go for a cab, which takes a while because there are none since I have ended up somewhere that is not along such a main road.  Yeargh, idiot.

Finally a cab comes and it is a good thing I have a map with everything written in both Chinese and English.  It is much easier to show someone where you are going, than to figure out how to mime “Yao Mountain.”

The cab cost me 23 Yuan ($3.75 USD) for what was a pretty long ride.   My cab driver walked me to the ticket booth.  I am not really sure why.  The cable car costs 95 Yuan ($15.52 USD.)

Yao Mountain is a place I have been dying to visit.  Not only can you take a swing chair up, you can BOB SLED DOWN.  That’s right, you heard me!  BOB SLED DOWN THE MOUNTAIN!!!

yao bob sledYao mountain bob sled track Guilin China

Unfortunately, my dreams were crushed when I found out that to bob sled down, you have to take the swing chair up, then walk halfway down to the bob sled platform.

bob sled platform I was still considering doing this, even though I am pressed for time.  But on the ride up, looking down at the steps, I was positive I would twist my ankle and die.  Bob sled dreams CRUSHED.

Here is the start of the stairs.  You know, underneath that rust colored debris.  Yes, THIS is what  you walk on to begin your descent to the bob sled.
Yao Mountain death trailIf you make it past that without slipping, you then have to make it down steps without a railing, covered in debris.  I hate myself for being such a fraidy cat.  If I had time, maybe I could have sat down and scooted down them.

stepsView from the swing chairs going up.  Note the beautiful karst in the background and bob sled track below:
Yao Shan Mountain cable car bob sled Guilin ChinaJust beautiful views all around.

gorgeous greens as far as the eye can see Guilin China Yao Mountain cable carview of guilin china from yao mountain View of Guilin from Yao Mountain cable car Yao Mountain swing chair high up Yao Mountain swing chairsWhen you get to the top, there is not really much up there.   Your picture is automatically taken as you exit the cable car and you can purchase it as a key chain if you would like.

If you have a loved one with you, I imagine that sitting here and gazing out over beautiful Guilin would be a very romantic moment though.  Even more so if they had positioned the chair so that the view was not blocked by a tree.

heart swing yao mountainAfter arriving back at the bottom, I found bottled iced milk COFFEE.  I have not seen iced coffee in so long.   I wanted to buy a case of it.   It was so delicious.

Up next: Taxi frustration into Fubo Hill.

January 1, 2011: Last Day of an Epic Trip

Saturday, January 1, 2011 – Day Nineteen of Nineteen: Last Day

[This is the last part of a nineteen day trip report.  If you would like to start at the beginning, go here.]

One last morning waking up at the Riviera.  Sigh.  I am up at 7:30 and out at 8:30.  No no no no noooooooooooooooooo I DON’T WANNA GOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOMMMMMMMMMMEEEEEEEEEEEE WAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH.

I play quarter Double Double Bonus video poker:

$20-$75 – four of a kind fives

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Switch machines.
$20-$100 on four of a kind threes.

quarter threes

Put in another $20, should not have.  I was just being greedy, and the fair punishment for greed is loss.

I walk over to the Peppermill for breakfast.  It is so amazing to me how clean the Strip is after last night’s celebrations.  You can’t even tell anything happened here.

Riviera quarter Double Double Bonus video poker.  $20-$60 Kings:

quarter kings

$20-$0, greedy again, $20-$0

I go upstairs to my room to shower and pack.

One last trip Ellis Island for penny Ultimate X = lose lose lose.  Cleopatra Keno, get $100.  Go degenerate on quarter Double Double Bonus video poker because the Aces with a kicker progressive is $875.  Lose.

Imperial Palace, $100-$40 on Ultimate X.

I check in for my flight online and it says they are looking for bumps PLEASE.

On my way to the Riviera now, its 12:52.

Riviera, my last play gets $20-$60 with full houses and flushes and straights, but I gave back the winnings in an attempt to win eleventy billion dollars and not go home.

Time to go to the airport!  Delta is still looking for volunteers to get bumped.  Hey!  I want to be bumped!  Bump me please?  I did not check out of my comped room at the Riviera so that if I were bumped, I would have a place to stay for FREE.  Sigh, I don’t get bumped.  Home I go.

I get back to New York and decide to treat myself to a cab from the airport to my apartment.  This ends up with me being dropped off outside my apartment, which is blocked off by a mountain of snow that is higher than me. While I was in Las Vegas, I missed a blizzard in New York.

If Brooklyn gets 20” of snow, where do you think it is shoveled/plowed to?   There are mountains lining every sidewalk.  Walking through Brooklyn after a major snow storm feels like you are walking inside a maze because there will be snow walls lining the sidewalks.

So I have to either scale this mountain with my luggage or walk to the corner and then walk on the sidewalk.  There is a spot on this short walk that no one ever shovels EVER.  So by now it is icy.  And the sidewalk is narrow not only because of the snow mountains, but because it seems there has been no garbage pick up for days.  AND this happened at a time where people were throwing out tons of Christmas Day garbage.

Remember how I woke up this morning in Las Vegas and noticed how clean it was after a huge New Year’s Eve party on the Strip?   Take me back, please.  Take me back.

Las Vegas: Last Aces of 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010: Day Eighteen of Nineteen. Last Full Day :(

[This is day eighteen of a nineteen day trip report.  If  you want to start at the beginning, you can go here.]

Oh how I hate going home.

I am still at the Riviera.  I wake up at 10:00 and am out at 11:00.

Whoa what the hell is going on here?  The Riviera is PACKED.  Damn, all these people must have piled in for New Year’s Eve.  Yesterday I had the casino to myself. Today I am unable to play MY Double Double Bonus video poker game because there is a couple on it playing one quarter at a time and holding all the wrong cards.  Oh hey look – let’s drop a pair of Jacks because you have a Jack and a Queen that are the same color but not the same suit.  Sure, that is the correct play!  I am so happy for you that you are on MY machine because with skills like that, you are just running up the progressives without any chance in hell of hitting one yourself!

That said, I lost $40 on Double Double Bonus video poker.

I walked down the Strip to catch the 119 bus to Ellis Island.   It stops right on the side of Palazzo, across from Treasure Island.

Treasure Island Las Vegas Nevada

The restaurant at Ellis Island is PACKED.  Being solo, I got in right away though.  Take THAT all you people with your big fancy party of twos and threes.

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Ellis Island has two Ultimate X machines.  Both are taken.  I play a 50 play penny video poker game in the same back.  I am dealt Jacks for $125.  SWEET.

dealt 50 play jacksI try and make a big deal so that the Ultimate X hogs will get jealous and leave.  It doesn’t work.   I thought I finally got my wish when one guy got up but it turns out he was only going to the ATM right behind us.   UGH.

I try some Keno and won a little bit.  Finally it is my turn at Ultimate X.  I put in $40 and I load my $12 free play from my points and go at it.  I got as high as $50 and never cashed out.

Walking back to the Strip, I once again stop at the Westin for Starbucks.

I pass through the Barbary Coast and what is that?  OH MAN ULTIMATE X IN NICKELS!  WHEEEEEEEEE!   I WANT TO PLAY!

Well see, there is a guy sitting at the machine and not playing it.  I say “guy” because it wasn’t until a few seconds later that I realized I should be using the misnomer “DOUCHEBAG.”  Because you see, I asked DOUCHEBAG to move and he said “No” and then turned away from me. I want to grab him by his throat and pull him backwards onto the floor and beat some sense into his smug face.  But KARMA dammit.  This is so unfair.

I walk to Imperial Palace to Ultimate X  and I get my second royal on this machine!  No multiplier, but I don’t care!  Here it is in all it’s blurry glory:


Next I play Cleopatra Keno, played forever and cashed out only because I was starving.

Lunch (dinner?  It is 5:33) is at Hash House a Go Go at the Imperial Palace.  I’m waiting impatiently for anyone to take my order.  Pounding headache.

Someone please take my order.  H-E-A-D-A-C-H-E

After eating, I have to walk to the Riviera since the Strip is closed to traffic for New Year’s Eve, which means no more buses.

I get to my room and housekeeping took all my toilet paper, tissues and towels.  You have got to be kidding me.  I call for them to bring some up and wait way longer than I care to.

I am not a big partier in Las Vegas.  I also don’t really care that it is New Year’s Eve.  All that means to me is that there are too many people in the casino.

Since I am going  home tomorrow and would like to not do laundry when I get home, I take one more trip to the Circus Circus KOA to wash all my clothes.   I sat in the laundry room absolutely frozen the entire time.   I am in Vegas every December, this may be the second coldest I can remember.

After my laundry is done, I concede that okay FINE, I will go outside for the stroke of midnight.   But not before I play me some video poker.  And BAM.

I ended 2010 with a $590.25 Aces with kicker progressive.   I was shocked.

prog aces with kickerI cash out and go outside all excited.  Yay!  Happy New Year!  Yay!

Here are some blurry fireworks:

1 2

Las Vegas: Pretty Bellagio Conservatory Pictures

Thursday, December 30, 2010 – Day Seventeen of Nineteen

[This is part seventeen of a nineteen day trip report.  If you would like to start at the beginning, please go here.]

I wake up at the Riviera this morning at 6:00 am.   I am out by 7:00.

Quarter Double Double Bonus video poker:
$20-$80 Jacks


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Monopoly $20-$0

Double Double Bonus video poker $40-$0

I go outside and take the Deuce bus to the Bellagio. One goal of this trip is to eat breakfast here because I have not done that in so many years.  It is FREEZING out.  I wish I had my gloves.

Oh terrible day.  The Bellagio buffet is doing holiday brunch today even though it’s not a holiday.  This means that it is $35.  This means NO.

I stopped and took pictures of their conservatory done up for Christmas.

Bellagio Christmas conservatory candy canes Las Vegas Nevada Bellagio Christmas conservatory Las Vegas Nevada Bellagio Christmas conservatory polar bears  Las Vegas Nevada Bellagio Christmas conservatory reindeer and sleigh Las Vegas Nevada Bellagio Christmas conservatory toy soldiers Las Vegas Nevada Bellagio Christmas tree conservatory Las Vegas Nevada Bellagio Conservatory baby polar bear christmas Las Vegas nevada Bellagio conservatory Christmas igloo Las Vegas Nevada Bellagio Conservatory Christmas ornaments Las Vegas Nevada Bellagio Conservatory Chrsitmas ornaments Las Vegas Nevada Bellagio Conservatory Mama polar bear Christmas Las Vegas Nevada Bellagio conservatory penguins Chrismas Las Vegas Nevada Bellagio Las Vegas Christmas conservatory

I went across the street and paid Planet Hollywood $20.83 for their breakfast buffet.  UGH.  That is insane.  The coffee here is too hot so I kill some time by writing my notes for the morning and playing with my camera.  Then of course as I finally go to fill my plate, the server completely clears my table.  She TOOK MY COFFEE AWAY too, just as it was getting to a temperature that wasn’t going to burn my tongue off.  “I’m sorry, I thought you left.”   I like how you assumed I wouldn’t tip you either.  So I didn’t.  Okay I did.  But I didn’t want to.  But KARMA. DAMMIT.

At 10:00 am, I am on the Deuce bus headed back to my room at the Riviera.  Once there,  I take a nap.  I have the “Do Not Disturb” sign on my door.  So housekeeping calls to wake me up.  Why do they do this?  Why doesn’t “Do Not Disturb” apply only to knocking on the door?  This infuriates me always and forever.

Later on, I go outside.  I take the 108 bus to Terribles to try and repeat yesterday’s big wins and NO WINS FOR YOU.

Next is Ellis Island because I cannot get enough of playing penny Ultimate X.  I put in $40, got up to $110 and cashed out at $100.

I actually had a dealt four of a kind Queens with multipliers that was an $80 win.

ultimate x dealt queens

Cleopatra Keno: $20-$150

This is what I’m talking about!

I stopped at the Westin on my way back to the strip for Starbucks and slot machines.  I lost $30 on an Easter Island slot here.

Barbary Coast!  I put $40 into a Wizard of Oz Big Event slot and hit nothing, nothing and more nothing all the way until I had nothing left.  These games have a community bonus.  Your eligibility is dependent on you actually playing.  When you are done playing, you usually have time left on your meter.  I did.  As I was waiting it out, the Big Event Bonus kicked in the literal second my timer ran out.  YOU SON OF A BITCH.

Hello Ultimate X nickels at the Imperial Palace!   $20-$65.  Hit and run.

I get on the Deuce and make my next stop Encore.

encore butterfly tiles encore flowers Encore Las Vegas entrance Encore Las Vegas no strollers encore red butterfly encore sign

I played Cleopatra Keno here for a very long time. I went up and down and back up and back down.  I must have played for about two hours and lost nothing.  I also won nothing but the glass is half degenerate.

Back to the Riviera and in bed by 1:00 am.

Las Vegas: Finally a Day Filled with Wins!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010 – Day Sixteen of Nineteen

[This is part sixteen of a nineteen day trip report.  If you would like to start at the beginning, go here.]

I unintentionally slept until noon today.  I am finally sleeping in and my trip is coming to an end.

I am at the Riviera.  I need coffee. I planned to play $60 and get coffee, then come back and get dressed.  That did not happen.

I did get an iced coffee. Then I put a $20 bill into a progressive Double Double Bonus video poker quarter game aaaaaaand…

Wait for it…

Okay why am I making you wait for it?  I am sorry.  Without further adieu, I hit the $552 progressive for Aces with a kicker! EEEEEEEEEEE!

quarter aces with kicker

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I go back to my room to show my cute little stuffed dog a picture of my beautiful win.  And to also put it away so I don’t feed it back later.  Then I go back out.

Double Double Bonus video poker $20-$40

I spotted a new Elvis quarter game, it takes nine quarters. That is out of my league but I just won $552 so I am going to go for it.  I put in a $100 bill and  hit a $325 line pay.  Whoa, today is going to be my day FINALLY!

I go out back to catch the 108 bus to Terribles Casino.   I have the Las Vegas Advisor coupon for a $100 loss rebate.  The way it works is that you turn in the coupon, then you go and lose $100, come back and get $100 slot play.  The thing is, you need to lose $100 totally.  Not that you lose $50 and win $25 and then lose another $50.  In that scenario, your losses are $100 but that $25 win shorts them to $75.  See?

I wait on line forever at the Terribles Player’s Club.  I give the boothling my coupon.   He kind of doesn’t really do anything and puts it on the counter behind him.   I just know this is going to cause me grief.  I flash back to the time I went to Mohegan Sun and the boothling did the very same thing with my $50 free play coupon and after an hour of it not showing up, another boothling had to dig through tons of discarded paper to find the coupon that the original boothling never did anything with.

But whatever, let’s go gamble!  I can do whatever I want because I HAVE to lose $100!

I put a $100 bill into fifty cent Keno and whoa, I win $292!

fifty cent keno


So I am clearly going to keep this money and screw the coupon for the loss rebate.  So not only do I have $300, I have no headache from dealing with my coupon going missing.  WIN WIN.

I try Keno again because KENO:

Stop for a break and I dropped my pee pass in the toilet again.

Quarter Keno:

At 3:45 I stop for a break at the coffee shop.   I have not eaten yet today so I order breakfast.   Then I wait about 20 minutes for my check.   I hate when this happens.  Why does this always happen?

I actually balls up and try DOLLAR Cleopatra Keno.  This was very scary.  This is nowhere near inside my budget.   I put in a $100 bill and watched it go down and then back up to $100.  I cashed out and breathed a sigh of relief.

As I am playing, a woman asks me to sell her a cigarette.  I hand her one and hold out my hand for change and she asks “You are really going to charge me?”  Uh, didn’t you just offer to pay for it?  Then she tries striking up conversation with me.  So we can thank this woman for my cash out.

I am done here so I walk over to Hard Rock to use my American Casino Guide coupon for free play.  I hit four of a kind fives with this and cash out with $70.

quarter fives

I try a Press Your Luck Big Event slot: $40-$0

I wanted to go to Ellis Island tonight but it is just easier to take the 108 bus back.  So I decide to instead go visit the Hilton.

I play a Goldfish slot and turn $40 into $90.

Monopoly Bonus City slot machine:  $20-$75, $20-$0.

I break here because I need to go get more $20 bills since I only have hundreds.  Life is so hard sometimes.

I come back to Monopoly and turn $40 into $60.  I note that maximum bet on this game is $40.  YEESH.  I am player super carefully to make sure I don’t accidentally touch that button.

Quarter Double Double Bonus video poker:

Quarter Wheel of Fortune slot machine:

I never once got the spin.

Moved to another Wheel of Fortune game: $20-$0.

Keno: $80-$80.

Phat Cats slot machine: $20-$0, $20-$20

I played around here forever.  I could not lose my initial $100 stake.  That is, until I finally did.  With a little hard work and persistence, you can do anything!

Put $100 in Rockin’ Billy slot machine, cashed out with $130.  I should call it a day now.

I walked back to the Rivera from here.  I got to my room at 10:00 with $120 still for today and $900 in winnings.  YAY.  This is how every day should be!

Las Vegas: Double Aces Day!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010 – Day Fifteen of Nineteen

[This is part fifteen of a nineteen day trip report.  If you would like to start at the beginning, go here.]

Up at 8:30 at the Imperial Palace.  Breakfast is at their buffet.  There are people out there who will swear that you will die if you eat here.  I always get so annoyed at how ridiculous these people are.  But today when I took a bite of a chocolate chip pancake only to discover the chocolate chips were raisins, I started leaning towards joining the boycott.

I went next door to Harrahs for some Starbucks.  I miss having a Dunkin Donuts nearby.   I came back to the Imperial Palace to play Ultimate X in nickels:


Today I am moving hotels again.  This time to the Riviera.  So many people hate this place and rant and rave about “THE SKY IS FALLING.  IT IS A DUMP. SQUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAK”   I happen to love the place.  First, it gets my vote for Las Vegas casino with the best exterior visual. Continue reading

riviera daytimeRiviera Las Vegas night neonSecond, since no one else likes it, I tend to have the casino to myself for the most part.  No people = my heaven.

I take a cab between the two.  The driver passes the entrance to the Riviera.  So now I am dropped off in a very inconvenient spot out back, up steps and nowhere near reception.  I tried to pay $13 on a $10 fare but he did not have singles.  So he got $15 and was overpaid after screwing up and leaving me all the way in the back.  Haaaaaaaate.

I can’t check in until noon, so I check my bags.  I decide on instant that I hate the bellman.

Quarter Double Double Bonus video poker:  $20 – four of a kind fours = $100

quarter fours

Got $10 free play, $0

Nickel video poker: first hand  $20-$50 with dealt fives.

dealt nickel fives

I cant cash out, the machine is broken. This is a trick!  I am not falling for it. I’m fine with killing time waiting for an attendant.


Quarter Keno, $20-$0

Quarter Double Double Bonus video poker:
$20-dealt sixes.  I was going to cash out at $70 but made it up to $85.

quarter sixes


quarter kings

Chase the Royal:

Quarter Double Double Bonus video poker – dealt Aces!!!!  $20-$200

quarter aces

I check in and get room 2314 in the Monte Carlo tower.  I love that these rooms come with a refrigerator!  My room comes to $172.48, which is for two comped nights, and two at $70 each.  I am paying the resort fee on both $70 rooms.  But it was the cheapest offer I had for New Years Eve so I am okay with it.

The checkinling tells me that i can get a better view if I take a nonsmoking room.  No thank you.  If I want to view Las Vegas, I will go outside.

Riviera Las Vegas room spot the Las Vegas luggage Riviera Las Vegas room

Room view:

pool view Riviera Las Vegas room view Riviera Las VegasI sort my money and I’m up $280 for today.

I take a shower and watch another DVD.  I am hungry so I stop at Riviera’s food court for take away.  I lost  $40 on my way there.

$20-four of a kind threes = $115

I am headed to Ellis Island to play penny Ultimate X.  I love Ultimate X and playing it in pennies is just as fun as playing it in nickels.

$40-$0 Ultimate X

Double Double Bonus video poker:
$20-$220 via Aces!!!!!!!
quarter aces1

I walked back to the Strip, stopping at Flamingo to have breakfast for dinner.  I need to clean out my comps because I am never visiting a Harrahs property in the next six months and your comps expire if you do not play within six months.

Its 8:54 pm and I’m waiting for someone to take my order.  Yeagh I hate my waitress.  In addition to being slow, she keeps calling me “Baby”.  Please, stop.

I take the bus back to Riviera.  First one takes half an hour to show up and it is packed.  No way in hell am I getting on that one.  Another one comes right after and it is empty.  Score!

I originally planned to get off at Encore and do some gambling there but I am exhausted.  That does not stop me from gambling at Riviera before bed.

Riviera $100-$0 Double Double Bonus video poker, had to do it.

$100-$0 in DOLLAR Double Double Bonus video poker, had to do it.

Bed 11:30

Las Vegas: Free Play and Cash Back Day

Monday, December 27, 2010 – Day Fourteen of Nineteen

[This is part fourteen of a nineteen day trip report.   If you would like to start at the beginning, go here.]

Awake at 7:00 at the Imperial Palace.   I am in a bad mood, despite having actually won money yesterday.  Maybe it’s because my trip is almost over no no no no nooooooooooo.

I actually ate Burger King for breakfast.  It cost more than any other option because any other option would have been comped.  But I just did not feel like having to deal with any person today so that seemed to be the easier option.

After breakfast, I go back to sleep and wake back up at 1:00.  I’m going to shower and then go out and collect all my leftover free play and random cash back.

On my way out, I cashed in a 95-cent Imperial Palace TITO and it shorted me a quarter!  I am losing money today without even having gambled yet.

Continue reading

I get to the bus stop in perfect time for the Deuce bus.  I have been using a local’s pass this trip.  They are good on Strip routes only if you have a local ID, which I do not.  It has not been a problem at all so far but today’s bus driver was just dying to ask me for ID, you could see it on his face.  But I stared him down and I won.  You should note that (a) I am aware that using a local’s pass is against the rules and possibly even the law and that (b) I don’t care.

I got off the Deuce at Oakey to get cigarettes and water and when I went back to the bus stop, the Deuce was right there!  The Deuce is acting like a private car for me today.  Woo!

I had $39 in free play at the El Cortez via cashing in my points.  This is a very bad use of points but who cares?   I played it all in a nickel Cleopatra Keno and cashed out with $20.

I had $15 cash back at Fitzgeralds and I collected that.

Lunch was a Binions burger, which was covered by a voucher I had from earlier in the trip that I won on the Binions “Spin to Win” promotion.  Afterwards I went and collected all my Binions cash back.  I had $37 here.  I am rich!

Over to the Four Queens. I collected $11 cash back here.

From here I take the Wax bus to Sahara.  The bus jerked at some point and I almost fell!  Some chick touched me to get my attention and gave me her seat like I’m a common tourist who can’t hold onto the pole!   I guess I deserved it.

I did the Sahara daily free pull = $0.  Then I stopped for some iced coffee at their coffee place and the dude asked me “Do you want it iced or hot”  ICED DAMMIT.

Lost thirty bucks in Barkin Bucks and Buzzin Bee Band slot machines.  Gah.  I suck.

I leave Sahara by going out the back and catching the 108 bus to Flamingo to walk up to Ellis Island to get my $10 free play there.  Woop.

Ellis Island Ultimate X.  I am betting with free play + $10 cash.  I got some hits to cash out, these are all pennies by the way.

1227101859-01 1227101924-00 1227101928-00

I walk back to the Imperial Palace and take some pictures along the way.  The Flamingo is now an ad for H&M.

Flamingo Las Vegas with h&m wrap

Caesars Palace Las VegasBallys Las VegasBack to the Imperial Palace with $145 from all my collected cash back and wins.  Woo! Yay!

Ultimate X at the Imperial Palace:


Cash out to get $20s.  Someone left a penny on tails in the cash dispenser. I did not realize this until after I saw the penny and thought “YAY PENNY ON HEADS” and after picking it up, I saw it was on tails. NO. Someone also tried to steal my machine NOOOOOOOOOOOO.  FAIL.

I lost $60 fast.  Stupid unlucky penny.

Room at 5:00.

I did not write anymore today so maybe I just went to bed.  Either that or I won eleventy billion dollars and I am just censoring that out so that you don’t ask me for charity.  You will never know the truth!