Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Viva Las Vegas--Part III

This will be my last Las Vegas post...awwww! If you've been following my previous posts, you may have asked yourself if we actually did any gambling and your answer is, YES! We had fun playing little bits here and there. We would lose a little, win a little, nothing big. Then the last evening we were there, Jeff finally hit on his number 8 playing roulette and won about $200. We figured we just about broke even as far as what we spent on gambling. We didn't go to win, we went to have a good time and that was accomplished.
We did A LOT of walking while we were there. Taking a cab anywhere, even a few blocks, was a minimum of $10, so we used the feet God gave us and pounded a little pavement. For lazy people like ourselves this was quite the task. It did give us a great opportunity to take pics here and there and all over Vegas. Sigfried and Roy's tiger tried to attack me while walking on the strip one day.We stayed at the Paris hotel and casino and it was beautiful inside and out. It features a miniature version of the Eiffel Tower, if you really want to call it that and a large replica of a hot air balloon. The restaurants and shops inside and made to look like the streets of Paris with the ceiling painted like the sky. It was a really cool atmosphere and felt very relaxed.We ate at a lot of great places; the little patisserie in the hotel; La Brassiere, where Jeff experienced a Kobe beef burger for the first time; the ESPN zone; and Stack at the Mirage. The one place we ate that we did NOT enjoy was Ah Sin in our hotel. It was supposed to be great sushi/Japanese steak house. We did enjoy the sushi we had, but the service was terrible, the atmosphere was hot and noisy, and the main courses really weren't great. We entertained ourselves instead by coming up with a fictional character whom we named Soy Frog. I know, original!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Viva Las Vegas--Part II

For part two of my Vegas series, I decided to feature my favorite hotel/casino we visited, the Bellagio. While I have seen all of the Ocean's movies, this is not why I loved the Bellagio so much. It was simply gorgeous! It is also home to a Tiffany's, which is any girls' favorite store. The fountains out front "perform" every 15 minutes from 8pm to sometime around midnight, and every half hour or hour during the day. We saw a show during the day, which was nice, but nothing compared to how beautiful it is at night. The show was just starting in the picture above.The decor inside the hotel was unlike any other we visited while in Vegas. The picture above has to be one of my favorites that I took during the whole trip. They are floral umbrellas suspended from a domed ceiling along the halls leading to the lobby. The picture below is what the view behind the check-in desk looks like.Just beyond the lobby and check-in desk was a huge indoor garden area. The floral scent was intoxicating. There were various water fountains, hundreds of tulips and spring flowers in bloom, a zen garden, an all-glass greenhouse that contained all sorts of flowers and butterflies fluttering around. There were also sculptural pieces using flowers, like the snail photo below.Jeff had to take a stab at his take on an artful photo. I think he did a pretty good job with the unusual lighting that was being cast onto this patch of cosmos.I commented that the next time we go to Vegas, I definitely want to stay at the Bellagio. I'm sure it's not cheap based on its' enormity and beauty, but I'd sacrifice some other luxuries for a chance to stay at this gorgeous establishment.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Viva Las Vegas--Part I

Jeff and I took our first trip to Las Vegas this year at the beginning of March. It was absolute sensory overload! So much so, that I don't think I can even cover it in just one blog post, so prepare yourself for a Vegas series. Not to mention that I took tons of cool photos that must be shared. I have never been in a place where there was so much to see and do!

Jeff had originally wanted the trip to be a surprise, but he is historically a horrible secret-keeper, so before the day arrived, he had given in and let me "guess" where we were going. It wasn't hard to guess since we had both said we'd like to make Vegas one of our next trips. He did maintain that he had a surprise planned, which turned out to be the Cirque du Soleil show "Love" featuring the music of the Beatles. If you ever make it to Vegas, and have the means, definitely see a show.

We also got to tour the Bodies Exhibition at the Luxor, which I thought was really interesting. I think Jeff could have done without seeing fully preserved skinned humans in various poses, but it was a truly educational and unique experience. I would not recommend this activity for the weak of heart, or more particularly, stomach.

The other show/exhibit we attended was the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay. This activity would be great for all ages from baby to gramps. There were all sorts of aquatic life to watch. They give each person a handheld listening device and each exhibit had a number that you entered that explained what types of fish/mammals you were looking at and a little bit about them. It was nice not having to stop and read a placard at each tank. It allowed us to just enjoy watching while learning a little bit too. The high points for me at the Shark Reef were the room that had the jellyfish tank and the touching pool, and the final shipwreck underwater room to view the sharks. The jellyfish were just indescribably beautiful and graceful, although they did not photograph well. The touching pool looked like a lot of fun for the kids. I did reach in and pet a stingray and then wondered what to do with my wet hand. Thankfully they had some hand sanitizer and papertowels available. The underwater viewing room was a little trippy, especially for anyone who has watched the scene in Jaws where the shark busts through the underwater glass walkway, but it was all good. We managed to escape unscathed!