Friday, December 22, 2006

I would have finished this sooner, but the end of the weekend was the start of a cold that I think is almost gone. By the end of the work day, I was just too pooped to continue. Okay, now to finish the weekend off.

After a good night's sleep, it was time to head out again . No Trolley this time. We headed for the monorail which would get us close to our starting point. The monorail runs the length of the east side of the Strip (from the Sahara to MGM Grand). The monorail was one block south from our hotel at the back of the Sahara Hotel & Casino. Nope, we did not stop to look around the Sahara -- just a walkthru the casino to the station entrance. We got off at Bally's which left us off where we wanted to start.

A walkthru Bally's led us into Paris Las Vegas shops and restaurants. The shopping area was designed to look like old Paris, I think, as it did not look like anything I saw in Paris four years ago. When we reached the casino part, you could actually see some of the Eiffel Tower feet that is built atop of the casino. When we exited Paris Las Vegas, we saw the Bellagio across the boulevard. The Fountains of the Bellagio were actually dancing to Con Te Partiro (Time to Say Goodbye), sung by Andrea Bocelli & Sarah Brightman. So we watched from across the boulevard while it was playing.

We crossed Las Vegas Boulevard. As we walked up the long walkway to Bellagio's main entrance, they had music coming out of the speakers built in each pillar. When you enter the Bellagio labby and looked overhead, we discovered a "ceiling adorned in a breathtaking display of 2,000 hand-blown glass flowers - the Fiori di Como, created by world-renowned artist, Dale Chihuly".

We came to the Bellagio to checked out it's conservatory. The Bellagio Gardens and Conservatory was adorned in Christmas cheer. The right side of the entrance had four reindeers made of pecans; center part had giant glass ornaments; and the left side were a family of polar bears made of some kind of white flowers. Papa Bear stands tall, mama bear on all four peers out and baby bear is rolling on his back. The center court has a ground cover of poinsettas around a silver encased Christmas tree. At the four corners of the court are double balls of roses. Silver stars are hanging down around the tree. Along the walls of the conservatory were giant pine cones under snow kissed pines.

Whoever designed and decorated the Bellagio left nothing out. When checking the place out, you need to look left, right, bottom and top and out the windows. There's a wonderful painted ceiling by the left exit of the conservatory.

We walked back out the way we came in. On the weekend, the Fountains of Bellagio plays every half hour. We walked to the center of the fountain and waited for the next show. We were entertained by the various water gushers to the accompaniment of Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Gotta came back another time and catch a night time water dance.

Working our way north, the next hotel/casino was Caesars Palace. Entering the lobby, you are met by a huge statues of the Three Fates. At least I think it was the Three Fates as it was three females. Behind the registration desk is a large mosiac of Apollo (?) driving a chariott. The Racetrack and Sports area had a beautiful backdrop of stone seahorses, huge circular aquarium, and large mosiac of a mermaid (looked like Ariel). We stopped at the food area for a late lunch. My sis had pizza and I had fish 'n' chips -- very large and good fish. Next were the shops of the forum. The mall is decorated with a blue sky, roman columns and fountains with huge statues. These were shops you would most likely find on Rodeo Drive -- mucho money. I was not interested in shopping. I headed for the area where Bacchus and his fellow gods were going to perform. So I sat waiting for the next show while my sister wondered around the shops. Plus, my ulterior motive was to rest my feet and people watch. My sis returned in time for the show. These are animatronic statues that are over 7 feet tall. Bacchus sits in the middle with Apollo, Aphrodite and forgot the other male god standing around him. These guys perform every hour on the hour. After the show, we headed out. Wow, was I surprised. I did not know that they expanded the shops beyond. It seems they added three more floors of shops at the other end. The escalators are round and not straight. They carry the Roman decor into this area too.

Next up was the Mirage. As soon we entered the hotel, we were by the White Tiger Habitat. Totally enjoyed watching the white tiger that was in residence. He (I hope) loved licking the rocks that is in the habitat.

Of course we walked around the casino floor on the hunt for the Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat. We got there and changed our mind on entering and decided to check the rest of the hotel out. Enroute to the main lobby, we walked through the Tropical Rainforest. It's a beautiful recreation. Behind the registration desk is a humongous salt water aquarium. It was interesting to see the variety and colorful fish they had in the tanks.

Our feet blessed the Mirage and Treasure Island for installing a tram between the two hotels. It left us where I could pick up the "will call" tickets we had for the show tonight. We did not spend time here as we were coming back later. So the search was on for the walkway to the Fashion Show Mall. My sister wanted to do some shopping. Me, I found a place to sit and wait for her after I found a Borders to pick up Marjorie Liu's latest Eye of Heaven. Of course, Borders was totally at the other end of the mall -- more walking. It's a very big mall anchored by Neiman Marcus, Macy's, Dillards, Nordstroms and Saks Fifth Avenue. My sister was able to cross one person off her list and she answered the call of Dooney & Burke.

Now we're back at Treasure Island. I was sad to see that Sirens of TI was grounded. Guess they were removing the barnacles from the ships. I did see a bike that was designed with a Siren in mind. I regret that I did not take my camera out to add to the memory collection. At Pho, we had Vietnamese noodle soup for dinner. It was very good. Finished just in time for our show -- Cirque du Soleil's Mystere. Another great show. Not as good as KA, but still great. I just love Cirque du Soleil. After the show, we headed to a long line for taxis. It was good to learn that it would have cost the same as taking the monorail back but less walking .

We really could not stay out late as we had to get up in the wee hours of the morning to catch our 4am shuttle back to the airport. Thank goodness Starbucks was opened at the airport so I could get a Caramel Macchiato fix -- a venti one. As I got napkins to go, my sis discovered another David Phelps creature -- the Desert Tortoise.

It was a fabulous getaway. All the hotels, except for the Bellagio, require you to walk through the casino to get to any of the attractions. Plus, the signs are deceiving because it would not give you the direct route to the attraction Did you notice -- nary a mention of exchange of money between us and the casino. Yes, we did stop and watch some of the action on the roulette, black jack and craps tables. But, we could not be parted from our money The trip was to see the Cirque du Soleil shows and sight see. They got enough money from us for the shows.

As I was writing this and found links in case you wanted more information, I discovered that I needed to do this same type of research prior to our trip as there are some stuff I wanted to see and found more tips and tricks. Oh well, I will be returning back and hopefully it will not take another 10 years. Yeah, like I'm really going to find time to do research before a trip -- procrastinator am I.

Click here to see larger and more pictures of the Las Vegas trip.

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