There’s an American cable channel called “The Travel Channel.” Many of my American friends know I had an unhealthy relationship with this channel for a number of years. As a broke college student/grad student/student teacher/teacher I had few resources with which to travel. So I did my traveling online and on television. I’m also a sucker for learning how things work, and am easily transfixed by shows that talk about the secret underground passages in Disney allowing cast members to show up where they’re supposed to be rather than wander aimlessly or that detail the intricate workings of the Bellagio fountain. The Travel Channel often does dedicated weeks to places like Vegas. As a result, I’d spent hours thinking about what my first trip to Vegas might be like.
I never pictured taking a one year old and a four year old with me.
However, while my trip involved a few more random encounters with Elmo and Hello Kitty and fewer strip clubs and drinking than I pictured, I absolutely loved it. Vegas is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. It’s a playground that lets you pretend you’re in Venice in the morning and Paris in the afternoon.
We went to Vegas for a cousin’s wedding on Ravi’s side of the family the last week of November 2012. The wedding was 3 days, and we stayed a week.
We stayed at Aria, a hotel connected to a mall called Crystal’s. I was a bit saddened to discover that this meant I was not entitled to freebies from the Harry Winston shop there (j/k). It’s a large property on The Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard) next to Bellagio.
I felt like we had a reasonable amount of time to do some exploring. We were never bored, and we never ran out of things to do, even with the girls.
For me, the highlights included seeing the Chihuly sculpture that takes up a vast part of the Bellagio lobby’s ceiling, Fiori Di Como. I adore blown glass, and I’ve seen a number of shows that talk about this sculpture, so I was thrilled to my toes to see it in person. It is extraordinary, and no words of mine can do it justice.
It’s a river of chocolate. A 27 foot tall chocolate river. Need I say more?
I fell in love with the dancing fountains at Bellagio.
I was, in fact, so transfixed by them that I made one of the dumbest decisions of the past few years. My purse was in the basket of my stroller, but I knew I wouldn’t be vigilant during the show. So I put the purse on the ground and put my foot on the strap. I was so enchanted by the four minute show set to “Viva Las Vegas” by Elvis that afterwards I’d totally forgotten about the purse (watch the video clip-it was awesome). I walked away and didn’t realize it for a good 5-10 minutes. OF COURSE by the time we’d run back, the purse was gone.
This would’ve sucked under most circumstances. What made it something of a crisis was that my passport and Ravi’s passport along with my Singaporean foreign identification card and the girl’s fin cards were all in my purse as well as the usual suspects of cash and credit cards. Ravi and I couldn’t leave the US without our passports, and replacing the Singaporean ID was going to be a hassle (one that is finally getting sorted this week–with the holidays, it took MOM a long time to do the paperwork on their end).
All is well that ends well-we experienced no credit card fraud, there was very little cash total in the purse, and getting the passports replaced was a pain only in that it required a very long in person visit with a passport agency in LA (topic for another day).
To return to my original point, though. Bellagio’s Fountains. Could have happily watched them for hours on end. If Ravi ever surprised me with a room at Bellagio overlooking the fountains, I would be a very happy woman. I’d also be a very boring travel partner as I’d want to watch the fountains all night once they shift to an every 15 minutes format.
Elanor, Amit (my FIL) and I rode the gondolas at the Venetian resort, and were serenaded by the gondolier. Not as good as Venice, but fun nonetheless. Walking through the Grand Canal Shops was amazing–they have painted it (including the ceiling) to make it feel like you’re wandering Venice. There are performers throughout. It was a great experience.
Ellie poses with a fountain outside Caesar’s Palace
Caesar’s Palace was good fun, although next time I’d love to see the “Fall of Atlantis” show. However, as we were walking through, we met Marc Antony, Caesar and Cleopatra.
Rhi was enthralled by all the bright lights. She clapped, she laughed, she smiled, she shrieked. What can I say? She’s a happy kid.
What made Ellie happiest of all, though, was all the holiday decorations. It didn’t matter if it was the first or fifteenth tree that day, we still heard a gasp and a shriek of “CHRISTMAS TREE!!!!”
We got a sitter and saw Peepshow one night. Highly recommended for burlesque fans. For my fellow “Amazing Race” fans, Chippendales was advertising the hell out of the fact that James and Jaymes were performing–no I didn’t go, and yes, I regret that choice now.
If you want to see more photos of our trip, I’ve left the album public on my personal facebook page here.