Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Vegas Strip

031(Jan) After our morning touring the Hoover Dam and having a burger and endless steak fries at Red Robin (thanks Eric & Cheri for the gift card!) we headed over to the Las Vegas Strip. The casinos along Las Vegas Blvd. or ‘the strip’ are massive and a great deal of walking is required so we chose several that we wanted to visit; the Venetian, Treasure Island & the Bellagio. The Venetian welcomed us with a Chinese New Year theme decorating the atrium that features a 25 foot waterfall. We headed toward the Canal 029Shoppes and window shopped and strolled along the canals watching the gondoliers singing and guiding their gondolas through the canals over to St. Marks Square. At SMS we were treated to an ornately costumed operetta. The singers and musicians were very talented. And although we didn’t buy any diamonds at Pandora or fragrances at Chanel, we thoroughly enjoyed the elegant ambiance and delightful performance.

We must have picked one of the colder week-ends this year to visit Las Vegas as snow was predicted overnight. Heading out and across the street to Treasure Island had us pulling on gloves, earmuffs and snuggling into our coats. Treasure Island has a more contemporary feel. It’s more casual and open. One of the things Treasure Island is famous for is an outdoor Pirate Show with two large Pirate ships in their moat in front of the Casino. We had missed it last time we were in Vegas so thought we’d catch it this time. Well, it’s been changed to Siren’s Cove with the lovely girls in one ship singing their siren’s song to the pirates aboard the other ship. Of course, a battle ensues with fire and explosions to the delight of the gathered crowd. Sorry, TI – I’d rather have the pirates back! Our experience was influenced by the very foul language and heavily drinking crowd. Treasure Island was originally built by the Mirage as a family friendly casino with a video arcade & kid-friendly swimming pool.034 In 2003 that was changed to an adult friendly hot tub and a contemporary nightclub.053 And, by the way, the Sirens/Pirates show now comes with a ‘Parental Guidance is suggested’. Back to Vegas being ‘Sin City’ for Treasure Island.

We headed back out and to the south a mile past the Mirage and Caesar's Palace on the way to the Bellagio. Best known for the Bellagio Fountains, it is a huge, elegant, classy casino and hotel. We walked through the entire casino floor and were amazed at all of the players at the poker tables. It was Saturday night and the place was packed! Our objective was the Bellagio Conservatory decorated in the Chinese New Year’s theme, “Year of the Rabbit”. 041The Conservatory’s botanical gardens were magnificent! As was the Hotel Lobby which features the Chihuly chandelier ‘Fiori Di Como’, made of 2,000 glass blown blossoms. The Lobby is also home to this magnificent mosaic 043mirrored & golden horse and the very classy check-in desk. Many people around the casino and lobby were dressed ‘to the nines’ but many were more casual like the fellow checking in….and us!

But since we weren’t staying the night at the Bellagio, we headed back out into the chilly night and were just in time to see the fountain show. Set in an eight acre lake and using 4,500 lights and 1,200 water nozzles, the Bellagio Fountains present a water ballad set to music every half hour. It really is awesome and we enjoyed the show. 055

On our homeward walk we crossed Las Vegas Boulevard and strolled the other side of the street past the Bally’s, Bill’s, Flamingo, Imperial Palace and Harrah’s Casinos on our way to our parking garage. We past by Rockhouse Bar where they were selling a yard long beer, 100 oz. for $38 or a guitar beer, 80 ozs. for 27.95.  Many folks on the streets were carrying these. Also, present on nearly every street corner were people056 handing out brochures and business card featuring mostly naked women and contact numbers. Since many people took what was handed to them and then dropped the cards, they were littered everywhere on escalators, streets and parking garages.

Vegas is Vegas; part glitz & glitter, elegance & class but liberally coated with alcohol & gambling overindulgence and built on the knowledge that ‘sex sells’. One week-end was plenty for us. We’re headed back out to the desert and the wide open spaces.

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