Viva Las Vegas…Part 3 (Strip Tour!)

As I may have mentioned, you can mostly walk from one end of the strip to the other, without ever setting foot outside…just travel from casino to casino through their connecting hallways and you never have to see the sun!  However, there is some spectacular sites to see if you do choose to venture outdoors.  Here are a few I took on our walk.  FYI – It was January when these pics were taken, so if you are looking for a reprieve from winter weather, Vegas has got you covered!

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Caesars Palace

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The Fountains at Caesars Palace

 

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The Mirage

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Siegfried & Roy statue at the Mirage

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The Venetian

 

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Inside the Venetian, with the sky painted on the ceiling

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New York New York

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Statue of Liberty made entirely of Jelly Bellies!!

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And then back to the Bellagio just in time to watch the Fountains!!

Billie Jean

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

I thought that the fountains were absolutely amazing and stopped to watch them every single time they started up.  No matter where I was. I think my new dream job is to choreograph water!

 

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Viva Las Vegas…Part 2

Sunrise in Vegas…I’m sure there are people that go to Las Vegas all the time and have never seen one!  However, it is worth the retina burning to watch the sun rise over the bleak desert only to hit the chrome and glass of the city and explode!

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Today we are just wandering around the Strip, no real plan but since I have never seen any of these hotels/casinos we decided to just wander around and see some of the sights…with frequent stops to eat and play the slot machines!

Remember when I said that no one could run with a theme like Vegas?  Well it became clear that the only “theme” is EXCESS!!!  Every place we went was a different theme and they were all Over The Top.

We stopped for lunch at Julian Serrano for tapas.  I was not in the mood for tapas at all, but P really wanted to eat there so we stopped.

Boy oh boy am I glad we did!!  The food was unbelievably good!!  Our waiter was fun, it was a great location to people watch for a while and just look at this bathroom!!!

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Ah-May-Zing!  And to top it off, we stopped at the slot machines right outside the restaurant and I won more there than the whole rest of the trip!  Moral of the story…shut up and do what P wants to do!!

We mostly meandered from casino to casino for the rest of the day.  One of the benefits to being in Vegas (in my mind) is the casino drink service.  No matter which hotel you are actually staying in, if you get thirsty and want a drink, sit down at a slot machine in any casino on the strip, put a couple of bucks in and a waitress will come by and get your drink order…drop a couple of bucks in tip and you are good to go! If you are lucky, that $5 you put in the machine to start will keep you entertained at least long enough to finish your drink and move on to the next casino!

I found that the bathrooms were just as over the top in every casino.  These are from the Paris Hotel and probably my favorite bathrooms ever!

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Later I stopped and had dinner at one of the bazillion Celebrity Chef burger places on the strip. P wanted to go to someplace called Shibuya for Japanese/Sushi and although we have already discussed how I really should just shut up and listen when P wants to go someplace, I just could not do the sushi…so I had some sort of overpriced burger with some famous guys name on it, none of it I can remember, which should tell you something right there!

Shibuya made this cute little dessert for my brother!  The chocolate one was really good, but that green one was just strange.  Still, it was a very sweet gesture!  Oh, just so you know, I did not stand around and stare at them while they ate and I didn’t, I hung out in the MGM Grand casino and came to meet them right as this dessert was served!  Now that’s timing!

 

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The Strip at night is stunning, and busy, and loud.  The one thing I had never encountered before was all of the “matchmakers” waving these cards around with pictures of the various women you could “hang out” with if you chose.  They would click the corner of the card with their fingernails to get your attention and then shove the card in your face.

I’m trying to come up with a game, maybe something like BINGO for this phenomenon…I’m thinking I could market it as a party game for all the bachelor/ette parties that happen in Vegas.  Still, it is truly beautiful at night!

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Viva Las Vegas…aka “Don’t you click your card at me!”

Ah Las Vegas.  The Entertainment Capital of the World.  Or so they call themselves…loudly, and often!  At 43 years old I had never been, so it remained a mysterious, glittery oasis in the Nevada desert.  My brother and brother in law went two/three times and year, but as a single mom with young kids, dashing off to Vegas was just not in the job description!

But then, my baby brother turned 40!!!  That was certainly reason enough to head to Sin City, right?? Plus, my kids are older now, easier to skip out for a few days and not be worried that they will re-create Lord of the Flies in my house (ok, mostly not worried!).

So even though I am totally a “Type A” planner, I had never been and M & P had been a bazillion times so I left the planning to them.  Plus, as MLife members, they got all sorts of perks and free offers so I was really just tagging along for the ride!

With the deals they got, the only real expense was going to be airfare and fun money.  My next course of action was to beg, borrow and steal any and all airline miles I could find to get me to Vegas.  Fortunately for me, I have family members that can really rack up the miles, so I was able to join M&P in First Class!!  It would have been truly embarrassing to be sitting in the back waving to them up front!

Our US Airways flight departed at 8am, lasted 5 hours and we landed at 10am…gotta love those time zones.  I thinks that’s gonna hurt more on the way back! We landed and got to baggage claim,  where our driver was waiting for us, with a sign, with P’s name on it…if you know him, you know how hard his last name can be to fit on a sign, still they did the best they could and we knew what they meant.  M&P grabbed their bags and we all stood around looking for my bag…and looking…and looking…and looking.  Finally, when all the bags were accounted for and I still did not have mine, off to the  “lost baggage counter we went.”

You will be happy to know that my  bag was safe & sound, and accounted for…IN SAN FRANCISCO!!!!  And while I am sure that it is lovely in San Fran, it was not where I was.  So the customer service person arranged to have my bag delivered directly to our hotel as soon as it got back to Vegas so off to the hotel we went…in a stretch limo named for some artist.  The Bellagio names all of its limos after  artists. One day you might be in the Michelangelo, the next day Picasso or Cezanne, etc.

Walking into the Bellagio is an experience itself.  The lobby is stunning with its glass chandelier/sculpture “Fiori Di Como.” It is made up of 2000 hand blown glass blossoms and it is absolutely incredible.  All you have to do is see how many people are stopped in the middle of the walkway looking up to know how special it is.  Also, as it was January, the lobby was decorated for Chinese New Year.  It was pretty awesome!

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Chinese New Year Decorations, Bellagio Las Vegas
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Chinese New Year Decorations, Bellagio Las Vegas
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Chinese New Year Decorations, Bellagio Las Vegas

With the possible exception of Disney, no one can take a theme and run with it like Las Vegas, but no time to stop and stare, we have a suite to check in to! Bellagio has two areas for check in (heck, maybe more if you are checking into the Villas) one for regular guests, and one for VIP’s.  We headed straight for the VIP area.  Don’t judge…they have cookies!  Our room was not ready yet, but no biggie…I didn’t have any luggage to worry about anyway!! Off to the casino floor!

We wandered around the casino for a while as I tried to take it all in…as a mom to two boys, I am used to a good amount of noise, but the bells, whistles flashing lights and cheering that happen on the floor of a Las Vegas casino was really something.  Fortunately, our room was ready in short order and up we went.

If you stay at the Bellagio, a room on the front of the hotel, close to the center and as high as you can get is absolutely the way to go.  It is a perfect place to watch the fountain shows and gives a great vantage point over all of the strip.

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View from Suite at Bellagio

The fountain shows run every 30 minutes during the day, more often at night.  The television plays the music so even if you can’t hear very well through window (what, you aren’t staying in the Lakeview Suite with the balconies?  Yeah, me neither!), at least you can turn on the TV and listen along…its surprisingly well synced up!

I did video one of the shows so when we get there, you can see for your self!  But for now, all we did was find something to eat and go to bed.  It had been a long travel day.